Saturday, 30 July 2011

Shireoaks Marina

I don’t think we shall ever get off the Chesterfield Canal now!
The Skipper seems so intent on remaining here, I don’t see there is any future for me and I can picture myself as a rusting hulk sitting in a bank of silt for the rest of my days with green silken weed, thick as a blanket, all around me.
It simply isn’t fair, especially after all that I’ve put up with for his sake.
At least we reached the summit pound of the canal and if I wasn’t able to rub noses with the bricked up entrance to the Norwood Tunnel because of weed growth in the water and the end actually being hidden by foliage growing over the canal, at least we got as far as we could and it was nice to see everybody aboard so happy.
I don’t think I’ve ever had so many passengers aboard at once, certainly not while the Skipper’s been in charge and it was a treat to hear all the enthusiastic chatter while they were all here. Malcolm and Christine were a great help, especially with their expert knowledge of the canal and area. Of course the ‘Old Man’ said he would put a link on the blog for Christine’s company as well as talking about the guides, but I notice he’s forgotten so I’d better put it in here.
The company is called Richlow and they produce wonderful waterway guide books, which I can thoroughly recommend and their email address is:-
So here we are, just the Skipper and I now, at Shireoaks Marina waiting while he still attends the surgery in Retford. His appointments have been reduced to once a week now so it shows that his wound is healing satisfactorily. But it is still going to be a long time before I can even start to persuade him to leave.
He toddled off on Thursday with his backpack and bike for the local station and of course left his pack on the train when he got off at Retford. So he wasted goodness knows how much extra day time having to go all the way to Lincoln to retrieve it again. But that’s another story and I wonder whether he will be brave enough say anything about it to you ..... It’ll be interesting to find out!
He went on Thursday last and has an appointment for next Thursday and on the one after that as well but with any luck this may be the last .... Fingers crossed!!
After the summit he had planned to return to Retford and wait there for his wound to heal but he reckons now and I have to agree with him, that the Marina here is much quieter and safer than the towpath at Retford which is so close to Asda Stores. And anyway he has his heart set on a new project now, while we are here.
Oh dear! We seem to have been at this point so many times before!
By the facilities block there is a largish fenced off area where the Chesterfield Canal Trust is building a replica of a ‘Cuckoo’ Boat. These are the traditional horse drawn wooden boats that used to carry the varied cargos of the area surrounding the canal, mostly coal though, up to the River Trent and beyond. They remained unchanged in appearance until the trade stopped in the 1950’s. They were always towed by horses along the canal and were never motorised and when they arrived at the Trent, a mast would be stepped and they would sail up or down the river.
Being constructed entirely of timber, unfortunately none of these craft have survived and only rare photos and a model that somebody has made of the boat are available for the boat builder to use to build the replica.
Fortunately the builder in question, David is well chosen for the job and nobody needs to, or does, question his expertise. He works diligently every morning weather permitting during the week with whoever volunteers to help him, mostly by enthusiastic members of the Chesterfield Canal Trust. But the Skipper has decided to lend his hand as well while he’s here. So during the week he’s been toddling off round the basin to spend three hours planing the keelson to shape with a large block plane. No modern machine tools are used only the tools that would have been used in the original construction.
I think he’s enjoying it, but is finding muscles that he hasn’t used for years which ache like mad when he returns. No doubt he will bore you all with the details himself.
Hopefully we will move on in a fortnight when he has been signed off by his nurse.
Oh I do hope so!

1 comment:

Christine at said...

Dear Futurist, I know it's probably the skipper who's got it wrong - but the "cuckoo" boat being built at the Marina (name New Dawn) is NOT a "replica". She's the next in line of her type to be built, even though the last one was in the 1930s! A moot point, but boatie and/or history geeks rumble on about this sort of thing. Anyway, it's very good of your chap to help with a unique project. Oh, and it was very good of you to take us on a lovely trip last weekend, up the oldest, and most beautiful?, flight of locks in the country. (And thanks also for the link to our Richlow site). Christine