Saturday, 22 October 2016

Signals and hot air

Once again itchy feet had us on the move this morning.  We are still heading south and although we’ve been this way previously neither of us had noticed the railway signal box in the garden of the house by Whitebridge Lane bridge. 

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The signal box is named Stoneycombe Sidings Signal Box and it looks genuine.  But two things didn’t look right.  The grey foundation bricks looked relatively new and the signal post is right beside the canal.  This means the railway would have been exactly where the canal is and the canal was most definitely here first.  I then had an aerial look at the location using Google Earth.  There is nothing to suggest a railway in this location.  More internet searching revealed the following information on a signal box forum 

“I can put folk out of their misery on this one. Up here in the Midlands we have two signalling enthusiasts, the brothers Roger and Martin Fuller. Both have built signal boxes in their gardens to accommodate parts of their collection, and the box in the picture is one of them. No connection at all with Stoneycombe, apart from the fact that that is where the nameplate came from.”

Shortly afterwards we passed Roger Fuller’s boatyard where nb Hadar was born made.Smile 

Apparently the ground water in Stone was of an ideal quality for the brewing of ales.  The Joules family were brewing ale in their Stone pub during the 1600’s.  In 1780 Francis Joules moved the operation from his pub to a purpose built brewery beside the Trent & Mersey Canal which gave him excellent transport connections. This brewery was demolished in1974 but one of the warehouses still stands beside the canal.

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The Joule’s family is probably more famous on Francis’s brother’s side of the family.  James Joule became a pre eminent physicist and gave his name to the standard measure of energy which he discovered, ‘the Joule’

Stone Boatyard was a hive of activity.  Their hire fleet is still quite active and the boat docks also looked busy.

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It was here that we had another boaters meeting with Richard and Linda (nb Pendle Warter) who were out walking the towpath .Reader you may remember we last met Richard at Wheaton Ashton and on the Ashby Canal before that.

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Memories flooded back at Ashton Lock.  In 2013 we waited for an hour in the queue whilst an “instructor” showed a hire crew how to work a lock.

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No queue today

A young couple on a working boat and butty were moored below the lock having lunch.  It smelt delicious.

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Although it’s school half term holidays the canal was rather quiet.  We only met three oncoming boats all day (two at blind bridge holes…. as you would expect!).

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Love the strength in this bridge.  It’s on hell of an arch.

There was a red hot air balloon off in the far distance.  It was almost a red dot which made reading the lettering very difficult.  Obviously my eyesight is degrading.  With the naked eye (I only have one that works) I thought it was ‘French Letter”.  After subsequently zooming in on the laptop I now know it’s Red Letter.

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We both noticed the sign in this next photo.  I wonder if it’s having the desired effect.

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Now moored at Great Haywood.

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