August 15th. (Above) The New Portal (Visitor Centre) for Dudley Canal Trust, This is the veiw from the car park which will be the front of the building.
August 15th. The new Swing Bridge is now in place and working for visitors to cross into the new centre for boat trips. The Upstairs balcony will have chairs and tables on it so you can sit out in the summer to have your meals
August 15th/16th. The Family Weekend at the Black Country Living Museum. This is a posed publicity photo for the BCLM with a family from Kings Norton.
We had a suprise visitor drive in today, Mr Charlie Chaplin.
15th/16th August. I took the Morris Truck and the 2- Supercars to the BCLM for the weekend.
The weekend started with problems with the blue car with me having to strip down the carborator and clean the jets out before I could run it. Weather was nice dry and sunny, The Museum opened it's doors again at 6.30pm for the night time session where about 1,800 people came in, we ended up driving the cars in the dark when we finally finished at 10pm.
During the weekend I was based inside Broooms garage which is quite handy to put the little cars in at night.
Sunday came around, then another visit from my mate Charlie who collered Bob the Bus Driver. Sunday was a bit lower in visitor numbers on a nice sunny day, things were going well until the red car started playing up in the late afternoon, sounds like blocked jets again ! Still another job to do when I get back to work on Monday.
The kids love the little Supercars, it's nice to see them running around but best of all they all like to get in them (When stationary) to have their photo's taken in the car.
30th August. "Wings And Wheels" Vintage Event.
Sunday August 30th. I took the Ford A Coal truck to the Wings and Wheels event at Halfpenny green Airport. Weather was forcast to be wet later on but it tuned out to be dry ish ! Morning was fine untill we were waiting for the Red Arrows to fly by at 2.15pm the rain started spotting down and got heavier later on.
A good turn out of vintage and classic cars with a good crowd of public managed to pack the place out.
Also a good reprstive of Miniture Steam engine was on hand running around the site.
I was amazed at the amount of American Pick up trucks that were on show as well.
August 31st It's Bank Holiday Monday and it's pissing down with rain as usual !
I was planning to go to the Arley Vintage event to do the car boot sale after loading up the Morris Truck on Friday morning in ready to do so.
I also needed to move Bittell and the Flying Scott joey boat around to Tipton ready for next weekend's clean - up.
But as the weather was very wet I decided to move the boat instead of getting stuck on a muddy field at Arley
But thinking we would get too wet going around the block which would normally take around 3 hours and three locks to do I went around to the otherside of Dudley Tunnel to see if the JCB Tunnel Tug had had enough charge overnight. I thought this was the dryer way to Tipton......Which it was.
So, We set off at 10.30am after doing the mine check traveling the 2-miles of Dudley Tunnel under Dudley Hill untill we came out in the rain at the top of Parkhead..........Bittell and Flying Scott was moored at the bottom of Parkhead Locks After assending the three locks with the two boats we connected everything up on the back of the tunnel tug and went back into the depths of Dudley Tunnel.
The New Portal looking a bit better now with no scaffolding around it, The glass was delivered and fitted a few day's ago. We have a nice balcony to sit on looking over the boats.
Okay, this is the Start of Madness Month ! 5th September. The Tipton Clean-Up (Photo Ann Johnson)
Saturday September 5th TIPTON CLEAN UP. I had 10 volounteers turn up on the boats to do this clean up, we started out at 10.15am from the Black Country Living Museum, First port of call was the Birmingham New Road Bridge to cut back the overhanging trees and bushes that was partly blocking the bridge hole. Then we went on to the Fountain Pub for Lunch provided by Tipton Community Association (The organisers) Later we de-weeded the Wall of Death ! (Well that's what I call it) The one by the Fountain Pub which can only get to by boat, then carried on down the offside cleaning the weeds out of another wall, By 4pm we had just unloaded our full joey boat onto the C&RT Truck
6th September. Santa-Pod-Raceway in Bedfordshire from the Air at the European Finals 2015. Over 25,000 people packed in !
An Image from Friday Night Qualifing where Top Fuel Cars ran 4.01 e.t.'s @ 290 mph using 8,000 h.p. !
Sunday 6th September, Got up early at 6am to get ready to go Drag Racing. With over 250 compition car/bike entries
and 20 deg c heat dry and sunny all day realy bought out the punters through the main gates with somewhere like 25,000 spectators came to see the European Finals with Competors from Sweedon, Norway, Germany, France,Malta,
Greece, and England.
10am With everybody standing we heard the National Anthem playing over the P.A.System, Then without hessitation
16,000 H.P. Fired up from two Top Fuel Dragsters, With ground shaking and side by side smokeing Burnouts, this was turning out to be a good day ahead.
8- Top Fuel cars quallified to run the first round, with engine blow up's and well outa shape runs from exessive tire shake.
Pro-Modified put on a good show, have a 16-car field.
There were 2 Jet Dragsters and 1 Jet Funny Car running mid five second runs at over 260 mph. We had a French Man turn up with a Rocket Powered Motorbike, that ran 5.11 e.t. @ 270 mph !!!! Which he said it was the quickest run he's ever done !
3pm We had a flypst by "SALLY B" The Flying Fortrace WW2 Bomber Plane which did about a dozen fly by's up and down the drag strip.
By 3.30pm they were starting all the Finals. It was all over by 4pm........I must admit it was the slickest Race Meeting I've ever seen....Okay the weather was good, there were no oil downs or any incidents on track to contend with.
The only bad part was the getting out off the site.....we had que up for 1 1/2 hours just to get out off the evnet.
But it was a good day's racing.
Thursday 10th September. The first floating Porta a loo !
ON Thursday 10th September We moved Bittell towing the Flying Scott from the Black Country Living Museum around to Netherton via Netherton Tunnel which took us about 2 hours to complete. When I got there, the organisers had a job waiting for me, they wanted to borrow the Flying Scott to transport a dissabled Portaloo Tardis over to the other side of the canal to a new stage that was being set up ready for the 30th aniversary for this BCBF Event.
I've carried some unusual things on this boat in the past but never a Port-A-Loo !
12th/13th September, BCBF. Good dry sunny weather realy bought out the crowds at this event in their thousands !
The Second weekend in September is the turn of the " BLACK COUNTRY BOATING FESTIVAL" (BCBF) The Weather was great during the week of the setting up, but looking not very good with heavy rain showers due over the weekend, but as the weekend came along the rain came down during the night rather than the day time which this year was Hot 'n' Sunny 20 deg c Which realy bought out the crowds to see the 85 boats that were booked in plus the many trade and craft stalls.
Dudley Canal Trust had BITTELL, FLYING SCOTT, SAGITTA & Electra (Tripboat) there.
I bought along my 1946 Fordson Major Tractor and my 1960 Morris Commercial.
The Tractor, I bought around on the Friday afternoon, but it did not run very well at all ?
It was poping and banging whilst running on the T.V.O !!!!!
It did get there eventually. I had no time to see what the problem may be , so I wrapped it up and caged it in for the night.
On The Saturday I came armed with tools to do the job.......I remembered what somebody told me two years ago about the Spark Plugs........."THEY NEED CLEANING WHEN RUNNING ON T.V.O." Evey now and then.
So By using the HEXAGONAL HOLE in the Radiator Cowling I stripped the spark plug apart, so to clean off all the black carbon build up...........It took me about 1 hour to do a good job in cleaning these 4-Spark Plugs.
The Tractor fired up okay (Just on Petrol) I did not put the T.V.O. Through the Carborator to save fouling the plugs up again (For now) On the Sunday at 5pm I warmed the engine up nicely then tuned on the T.V.O. IT SOUNDED GOOD ! But the proof would be when I put load on the engine on the way home..........Well the tractor went back very well, back to it's normal self now.
Next event is TIPTON FESTIVAL (NEXT WEEKEND)
Tuesday 15th September. Fitting mooring rings into the towpath of the BCLM.
Kevin the Nail made 8 mooring rings on his forge at the Black Country Liveing Museum.
I then organised a small Workparty of 5 of us to dig the holes out to fit the mooring chains concreted them into the ground in ready for the Working Boat Gathering which we have 42 visiting working boats due to arrive over the 26th/27th September. We also had time to dig another hole to fit a strapping post on the sharp bend of the canal arm. The Moris truck delivered all the tools to do the job, we were all finished by 1pm that day.
19th/20th September. Tipton Canal Festival, The Human Fruit Machine worked well and was very popular.
September 19th/20th was the turn of Tpton Canal Festival. It was blessed with very good sunny warm weather and crowds of visitors who came to see the 82 boats that were booked in. Dudley Canal Trust had Sagitta, Bittell and Flying Scott on show, plus the introduction of the "HUMAN FRUIT MACHINE" Which I spent about 20 hours building and painting. This was very popular with eveyone who had a go ! I took my Morris truck to put on show which also delivered all the stuff to go on site. At 1.30pm Saturday was the turn of "BAND ON THE BOAT" Which has now become a popular thing each year which we all set off down the canal, And the Band Played on....................
Later on Sunday we all got the boats into the Black Country Living Museum ready for next weekend.
Juat after packing up the Tipton event I was straight into the next event at the BCLM (Black Country Living Museum).
During Monday (In the rain) we managed to clean out about 10 wheelbarrow full of dirt from under the lift bridge whilst the bridge was up getting working boats in. I want to thank my two assistants Nick Wolfe and Simon Walker who stayed on their boats all week to help giggle the boats around to get the 42 working boats that were due to turn up as the week went on.
On Wednesday/Thursday I took my tractor and Ford A coal truck down to the museum, I also managed to give the lift bridge a good service with grease and oil. Then later we got the Flying Scott in place to cut back the tall reeds that had grown by the lift bridge and around the boat dock area. This made a small mooring for the Tug "Coventry" After filling up the Flying Scott we unloaded all the reeds out of the boat and onto the back of my Morris truck which went up the top on the muck heap.
Nick cut down the tall weeds by Broad Street Bridge, with boats comming in at the same time, by the end of Friday All visiting 45 boats were in place, yes we did have a few more that wern't booked in but did find a place for them......JUST.
26th/27th September Working Boat Gathering at the Black Country Living Museum. 1946 Fordson Tractor and 1932 Ford A coal truck on show. plus 45 visiting boats.
A nice wide angle photo of the Working Boat Gathering by Malcolm Ranieri
As Friday 25th arrived boats were coming in thick and fast, with lot's of shuffling around by the end of Friday we had got all 44 visiting boats in place. Saturday Morning was cold to start with but very sunny, the whole weekend was sunny, I can't belive we have had three boat rallies in the Sun !
Plenty of visitors came through the Museum gates during Saturday, aparantlly they had to open up the "overflow car park" which is allways a good sign. PHOTO BY MALCOLM RANIERI
Tug's on the move at the Working Boat Gathering, photo by myself.
During Saturday The Morris Comercial was drove into the loading area (loaded with packing cases), the Jones and Atterwood hand Crane was pressed into action to unload the truck from the Dock side into the waiting Joey Boat, then the Tug Bittell towed out the cargo onto the Main line of the canal. We did this demonstration many times over the weekend. During Saturday Dr Busker arrived, playing his accordion around the Village and Canal Side. Later on Saturday night The Busker played the piano in the back room of the pub much to the joy of the boaters who realy enjoyed themselves.
Dr.Busker playing outside the Bottle and Glass Pub in the Village of the Museum. Photo by Martin Attewell.
As Sunday Morning dawned the fog on the cut was in evidence, with a right chilly morning. Busker had got out his Pit who came on Bittell to have a large cup of tea to wake him up ready for the day ahead. Boaters very slowly got up with squinty eyes and a pounding heads, they soon got on with their breakfast's with the smell of eggs & bacon in the air A bit later Dr Busker fancied having a play on the chuch organ (with advance permission) Having looked at the organ to uncover it he managed to set off the alarm which he said protected God very well ! After sorting the alarm system out Dr Busker went to work playing Hymms for the Chruch Service to the waiting audiunce. Finishing off with a rendition of the "Dam Busters".
By 4pm the lift bridge was wound up to release the many boats who realy enjoyed themselves this weekend.
Sunday Morning Dr Busker playing the church Organ for the Sunday Service.
Monday 28th September. I went back to the Museum this morning to start jiggling boats around the canal side back where I found them over a week ago. On Wednesday I had a lift to the Museum to get my vehicles moved which I had parked in the Rolling Mills for a few days. First of all was firing up the Fordson Tractor which I drove back home at Parkhead Locks which took me about 20mins. (2-miles)
Then drove back to the Museum in my own car, to finish off some tidying up around the canal side. Later on I got the Ford Coal Truck started and drove back to my workshop in Lye, having a lift back to the Museum later on to collect my car.
Thursday, I collected Bittell and Flying Scott joey boat from the Museum Canal Arm, connected on the back of our electric tunnel tug (JCB) and towed the lot through Dudley Tunnel and down the three locks at Parkhead, meanwhile, Sagitta was going around the long way around via Netherton Tunnel.
Friday, Both DCT Boats were on show outside our Pumphouse for the Green Team's Coffiee Morning. I took my tractor down there as well, The Mayor of Dudley arrived at 11am with the playing of a Ukalaly Band to wellcome the visitors. Later that afternoon I went over to our towpath for a meeting on our new trip boat "Dreamcatcher" which needs some work doing to it.
Saturday 3rd October. Got Sagitta in my lock outside the Cottage, to do some running repairs to it ready for next weekend.
Monday 5th October, The crew from Peaky Blinders moved into the Black Country Living Museum. This will be the thrird series that will be filmed this week, ready for next October 2016.
With all the trick efffects this is how the BCLM will look on T.V.
Saturday 10th October, We, for the first time had a inside look at the new Portal (Visitor Centre) which is nearly finished apart for a few bit's a pieces internally to the decore, Upstairs is the Bar and Restaurant plus a lovely viewing balcony to sit on to view the boats going in and out of the tunnel, Ideal for Gongoozlers to look at.
As you go Downstairs via the large spiral staircase in the round tower you come out in the shop area and ticket sales for the trip boats, Visitors go through into the education centre to see the many displays before boarding the trip boats. It's all very exiting times now.
Saturday 10th October. All the guests that were invited for the Shovel Unvieling. Both photos by Martin Attewell.
At 4.30pm Saturday 10th October around 75 guests were invited along for the shovel unveiling.
Sunday 11th October. It's that time again we move Bittell and Sagitta down to Stourbridge ready for next weekend event. Having dropped enough cars off at the Bonded Warehouse first we left Parkhead at 10.30am with Sagitta going into Blowers Green Lock first followed by Bittell, we carry on through the Merry Hill shopping centre till we caught up with the back of Sagitta and both arrive at the top lock at the Delph locks (8 locks down) The weather today was dry and sunny but cold........A lovely October day to do some boating. By 12 midday both boats were at the bottom of the flight, we then carry on along the long pound till we arrive at the top lock of the Stourbridge Lock flight (16-Locks Down) We had a nice steady run all the way down using 14 volunteers over the two boats which made it easy work and a plesent day out, we arrived at the Bonded Warehouse at 3.15pm.
17th/18th October........It's the Stourbridge Open Weekend.....Again ! This event realy comes around too quick each year !! again held at the Bonded Warehouse, this year we saw 51 visiting boats pack in and many vintage/classic vehicles along with the musical fairground organs that play down the street and traction steam engines, Again we are very lucky with the weather again (It's very rare we get any total rain outs here) It was dry and cold which I think is a bonus this time of year.
Tuesday 20th October. It was about 10am this morning when I was just going to work, I heard the lock paddles rattling on Blowers Green Lock and the sound of vintage engine's going thump, thump, thump !
Wednesday 21st October......It's getting to be a busy week....The Black Country Living Museum decieded to buy this old WW2 German Sea Mine off Trevor Smith, So On Tuesday afternoon I collected this Sea Mine on the back of the Morris Truck on the way back home yesterday.
Saturday 24th October. It's chucking it down with rain Again ! So With a crew of 8 volunteerers who were brave enough to come out to play boats today we set off from Stourbridge on "SAGITTA" & "BITTELL" at 10.30am, on a wet and windy day......It looks like Winter is here sooner than we thought ! by 11am we were at the bottom of the Stourbridge 16 locks (Up hill) with the two boats which we have to split up (they won't both fit into the same lock together) so it's double work to do the 25 locks ahead of us. With the crew working together we all get into the same routine, by 1.45pm we had reached the top lock with both boats, it is slow going especially in the rain were you have to be carefull around wet locks ! By 2.45pm we had reached the bottom lock at the Delph Flight where there are 8 locks going up hill, By 3.45pm we had both boats at the top, then by now we are on the home straight going through the Merry Hill Shopping Centre watching all the cars queing up in the rain to get in there to do their shopping, we then arrived at the deepest lock on the BCN, Blowers Green Lock, both boats up and across the basin to moore up Sagitta and Bittell for the night, having dropped the crews off back at Stourbridge to collect there cars I got back home at 5.15pm and jumped into a hot bath !
1st November. Peacock celibrates it's 100th birthday.
On Sunday November 1st I was invited to the Black Country Living Museum for n.b. PEACOCK 100th Birthday.
Irene De-Boo kindly organised small party gathering outside the Rolling Mills where Peacok was moored for this special event. The weather could not have been better with sunshine and a warm 20 deg c heat.
Sunday 8th November. Bringing Dreamcatcher down Factory locks.
Sunday 8th November, As Dreamcatcher is to high to get through Dudley Tunnel the boat has to come around the block which normally takes about 3 hours and three locks plus one long 2 mile Netherton Tunnel before getting back home to Parkhead to start work on the Trip Boat. There were quite a few welding jobs that needed doing on the cabin area to make the boat more secure plus doing needed repairs which I managed to do inbetween heavy rain showers and wind which was coming from the storm "Abigail" By Friday the long list of jobs were done, the boat was returned to the Portal this Sunday 15th going round the same route we came around.
Wednesday 11th November. "Canal and River Trust" fitting new lock gates to No 1 lock of the Parkhead Flight. The crane with a 50 ft jib, was hired in to lift the 2-gates over another canal to reach the lock chamber.
November 12th. It all started off with a wet wipe getting tangled around the rotating masserater in the bottom of the sewer pump.
Over the December period I decided it was time to get the old 4-wheeled car trasporter out to give it a refurb. Getting the trailer on the ramp was a bit of a game as the wheels did not line up with the blue ramps on the ramp, so I had to make some tempory ones.