A Good Walk Unspoiled

The other day I decided that, although it would be good cruising weather, it would be just as good for walking.  The wind, though still chilling out of shelter, had dropped considerably, and the sun shone much of the time.  Here is my route, followed by some pictures and notes.

map flecknoe shuckburgh
Flecknoe & Shuckburgh.  My route shown as red dots. Please note that this is a sketch map, so is not strictly accurate, and lacks much of the detail to be found on the Ordnance Survey mapping.

Continue reading “A Good Walk Unspoiled”



Whittington Lock
Whittington Lock, Staffs & Worcester Canal.  Any narrow lock will do, the scene of this tragedy has yet to be reconstructed.

Here is the tragic end to the young life of Harry Johnson, a coal miner from Walsall Wood working his stepfather’s coal boat through the long lost Ogley Locks.

Lichfield Mercury 20 October 1905 p5 col4.



W is for …

The latest in my ad hoc series on surname origins.

Based on: Reaney, P H, (ed. Wilson, R M), 1997, Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., OUP, Oxford, unless otherwise stated or implied.

Some commentators on this topic go into lots of detail about derivations, but it seems to me to be unnecessary, in most cases, to go further than the obvious, e.g. Sawyer was a man who used a saw to cut wood.


Continue reading “W is for …”

The kindness of the stranger

fwood roof
Donated firewood awaiting the saw

I guess most folks experience this once in a while.  It’s when someone does something to help, pure altruism, when there is every reason for them to just continue what they were doing.  Boaters are generally pretty helpful, especially around locks, where single-handers like me are often helped through.  To some degree that is part enlightened self-interest; it is much quicker to help than to wait for me to operate the lock unaided.  Today I was helped through Claydon Bottom Lock by someone bound for Banbury.  When walking along the cut I often take a windlass with me, so that I can help others. Continue reading “The kindness of the stranger”

Grist to the mill

Along this stretch of the Oxford Canal, just like most places in this fair land, are visible clues to a long history.  Going along at a “reasonable walking pace” there is time to notice things that you might not notice in a car, on a bicycle, or even on foot.  A boater cannot just stop suddenly, but, when there is not a hedge to obscure the view, there is time to make a mental note, even take a picture (though unattended tillers can be wayward!), and wonder about the folks who went before.  The most obvious are the buildings that stand proud, or sometimes rather dilapidated, above the landscape, in this case the floodplain of the River Cherwell as it flows south towards Oxford.

Twyford Mill
Twyford Mill, Oxfordshire from the Oxford Canal, once used to mill corn.

Continue reading “Grist to the mill”

What? No data?!

I have not been active online over the last week or so because I managed to use up my monthly data allowance of 20GB.  Up until last Monday I had been using about 14-16GB per month, but by then (17th) I managed to get through 24GB and 3 network essentially cut me off.  My own fault, and I still don’t know how I managed to get through three times my normal data usage!

WM Slat Mill Lock
Whiskey Mac in Slat Mill Lock, bound for Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Continue reading “What? No data?!”

Private 47100 Joseph Tongue

cenotaph e
Cenotaph, St James, Ogley Hay, east face. Men who gave their lives 1914-1918.

Further exploration of the men commemorated by the cenotaph at St James, Ogley Hay, in my home town of Brownhills, in the West Midlands.  This is prompted by a request submitted to BrownhillsBob by a great granddaughter. Continue reading “Private 47100 Joseph Tongue”