Saturday 1 May 2010

Bitts and Pieces

Various up to date barge shots to catch you up - you are actually more ahead than the readers of Dad's barge-blog at this point. You are honoured. The big metal fan thing is called a "leeboard" - it's like a keel that the barge crew could swing down the leeward (down wind) side of the barge to prevent a side-wind sliding the barge bodily sideways. You couldn't have a permanent keel as these boats needed to get up shallow creeks and inlets. It is, in case you are interested, 21 feet long and 8 foot six across.
The other two pics show the big bits of wood which go through the front deck and support the big front winch (windlass) which was used to raise and lower the masts and rigging to go under the Thames bridges. These bits of wood are called (unimaginatively) "bitts". The outer two are called the windlass bitts and the central one, which holds the central non-return ratchet mechanism ("pawls") is called the pawl-bitt. So now you know.
At last the dry April with its chilly breezes, has given way to a bit of useful rain and the garden and the allotment are breathing a sigh of relief. The timing's not great, the rain happening just when it's bank holiday and Mum was intending to get amongst the goosegrass and general weediness of the orchard garden, but she doesn't mind. It's warm. She dons wax coat and wellies, and arming herself with her new big purple horse-feeding flexible bucket, goes and gets amongst it.
Dad, sadly, is on call this weekend, so spends a good deal of Saturday at work, and then chilling with the papers, which is no good to us, but we are tired from helping Mum. That's when we're not distracted by cats and squirrels, of course. What do you do when it's teeming with rain, and you can see a squirrel mucking about in the Paulownia tree at the bottom of the garden? Stand on the threshold with your nose sticking out of the door, whimpering, that's what.
Have a great Bank Holiday

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