Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Mexican Standoff and the Headless Lady

You’d have to be amused.  We arrived at our 3rd swing bridge to find it closed with a day boat tied to the bridge bollards on our side.  On the far side there was a private boat moored on the other set of bridge bollards and a lady was sitting on a bench seat watching the world go bye.

I managed to get close enough to the towpath for Jan to reach the bank.  She walked forward to the day boat and asked them if they were going through the bridge “No! We’re waiting for our ladies who have gone into the village to shop.”  Jan then politely informed them they shouldn’t moor on the bridge mooring as it was needed for boats going through.  The two members of the day boat crew then asked Jan what they should do.  Jan suggested they pull their boat back from the bollards and moor against the edge.  They were happy to do this.  It appeared obvious that they didn’t understand the protocol.

Jan then went to the bridge, unlocked it; and opened it for me.  As I approached the open bridge the lady on the bench seat got up and went back to the private boat on the other side of the open bridge.  Husband appeared from below and untied the boat before motoring through the open swing bridge. 

Had we arrived at the scene of a Mexican Standoff?  Rather funny anyway!

Just past the village of Low Bradley is Hamblethorpe Swing Bridge and it was damned stiff to operate.  I was watching Jan struggle with it when I realised there was an interesting memorial behind her.

The camera was on the wrong setting and I was also doing two other things so the photo isn’t very good.  However it appeared to be a Polish Eagle with the Red & White checker symbol of Poland.  A subsequent google search revealed it was indeed a Polish war memorial. 

AT NOON on September 23rd 1943 the Polish crew of Wellington bomber HZ251 took off from Skipton on Swale in North Yorkshire for a routine training mission. Shortly afterwards their aircraft fell out of the sky; crashing on the banks of the Leeds-Liverpool canal at Bradley, near Skipton. None of the crew survived.

The canal continued along following the contour lines on the side of the valley. There were good views to the west and south.

It actually turned out to be a much longer cruise than we had planned as we were unable to get against the bank.  The bottom of the canal is also rather close to the top in places which made it slow going.

At one point we got a hell of a surprise when a monstrous boat appeared on a bend going in the opposite direction.

After the initial shock we realised it only appeared to be larger than normal otherwise it wouldn’t have fitted through all the bridge holes and locks.  As the steerer passed us he looked at us and called out “Waiouru!”  He even pronounced it correctly. Smile Then he mentioned they had been to NZ and were going back shortly.  We’ve actually been quite surprised by the number of Brits who have visited NZ.

Jan was particularly taken with this house <click click>

Oh… the headless lady!  She was sitting on a bench seat outside a house in Farnhill.

Jan had noticed a large number of ripe blackberries at our last swing bridge.  After mooring for the day we walked back and picked 2.5 pounds.  Should be enough for some blackberry and apple jam.

Now, the reason for the delayed post.

I was attempting to download some canal information from the gps to the laptop and the laptop wasn’t recognising the gps. <grrrr> When I attempted to restore an earlier laptop configuration file the operating system “locked up”.  Not a problem <I think>; I’ll just run the recovery program.  That didn’t work <grrr>.  Actually it got worse……  I was locked out of the operating system getting the BSOD <help>.  After pulling the boat apart I found my recovery usb thumbstick. <phew>  Only to discover I was now locked out of the hard drive which had the operating system <oh no…. this is serious>.  Do I have to reformat the hard drive and reinstall all the programs and data.  Actually the advice on Google was to take the back off the laptop and remove one of the hard drives before attempting to reinstall the operating system, followed by all my data.  That will take hours.  Eventually I found a blog link where some clever geek had explained the problem could be fixed by repairing the disk master boot record with three lines of DOS text. And it worked!  Oh thank you…. You’ve saved me hours of grief!

Normal service has resumed…..


Maffi said...

I seems to be happening more and more. People here often moor and wait for someone else to open the bridge. Lazy or too tight to buy a key?

Tom and Jan said...

I expect she was very tired after opening and closing the previous swing bridges :-) But it was amusing that she didn't want to help!

Marilyn McDonald said...

As a crass antipodean who will talk to pretty much anybody, I wonder if it is the British reserve? The not wanting to make a fuss, not wanting to appear critical, not wanting to talk to anyone unknown?

Davidss said...

Was this the souped up laptop you detailed the other day? Is the problem with the OS (the OS being?), or a problem with that manufacturers firmware / installation of the OS?

Whatever, It's not a problem an amateur needs! :-)

Andy Farmer said...

Definitely a good time to back up all your data just incase it happens again!

Wellswebcam said...

Hi Tom,

Good post any chance of a linky regarding "Eventually I found a blog link where some clever geek had explained the problem could be fixed by repairing the disk master boot record with three lines of DOS text"
It may come in handy!



Tom and Jan said...


All the lady had to do was walk another 30 metres and asked the other boat crew if they were going through the bridge.

Tom and Jan said...


It was Windows 8.1 and somehow the master boot table got corrupted which meant the laptop couldn't see the data on the drive. The problem was made worse by the new Microsoft software protection which then locked the C: drive preventing the standard Recovery from reinstating everything. I have a backup but that's useless unless the recovery program can access the drive.
However all now fixed!

Tom and Jan said...


I had a backup but Windows had locked me out of the hard drive.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Ade,

Unfortunately I lost the browser link when I rebooted and reinstalled the system.

Marilyn McDonald said...

That's what I mean, Tom, all she had to do was go and ask - she didn't, and why not? What stopped her?
Given the other boat was moored incorrectly, my pick is she was not able/comfortable/assertive enough to go and ask them what their intentions were and to get them to help her, even if they weren't ready to go themselves. Also, what on earth was her husband doing? I cannot imagine you or Jan just waiting and saying nothing. Nor could I imagine David or me doing that. So there has to be an explanation that isn't in our experience or way of operating. Hence my theory of reserve/shyness/whatever that stops that couple making a first move.