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Archive for August 23rd, 2012

Boat Blog: Thames Tideway Information

Posted by indigodream on 23 August, 2012

Best page to look at is here: http://www.thamescruising.co.uk and then click through to whatever you need.

This is now quite an old page and not really maintained.

Waterscape used to have a London page under “useful downloads” which contained tide tables, lock opening times and most importantly of all the series of Tideway Handbooks. Unfortunately with the change over to the CRT site this information went awol though some of has subsequently reappeared after a bit of prodding.
At the time of writing, information on tides and lock opening times was available here: http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/noticeboards/london-waterways – at present they are in the middle of the “notices” box. A kind CART-er gave me the link, it still works! I have managed to find this page from their home page but it is not obvious – click on the right local waterway, eg Regents Canal and then click on the noticeboard link.

I have been unable to find the Tideway Handbooks on the CRT site, so I have uploaded the most recent copies that I have and also found links to versions on the old Waterscape site – I suspect those links will stop working before long.ย  Do keep checking on the CRT site – more up to date copies may appear there in due course. It’s always wise to chat with Jeremy the lock-keeper at Limehouse before cruising the tideway – he may have more up-to-date links to the guides, as well as live up-to-the-minute information about the river….

In the meantime, in increasing order of fun lunacy (delete as appropriate):

Upstream Edition: tideway-handbook-upstream. Clickย HERE for a link which may work to the old Waterscape site.

Downstream Edition: tideway-handbook-downstream Click HERE for a link which may work to the old Waterscape site.

Estuary Edition: tideway-handbook-estuary Click HERE for a link which may work to the old Waterscape site.

There are lots of other places you should look:

The PLA web site has more detailed tide tables but be careful they are in real time ie Greenwich Mean Time, not British Summer Time. They have a great video of nb Madam going up the tideway at supersonic speed and they also have their Notices to Mariners – do check if any apply before you set out, don’t expect Limehouse, Teddington or Brentford Lockies to know them. The main site is here: http://www.pla.co.uk/, Notices to Mariners are here: http://www.pla.co.uk/notice2mariners/index.cfm/site/navigation and access to the video and their tide tables is from this page: http://www.boatingonthethames.co.uk/

The IWA have a concise and very useful Thames Tideway Guide. It will cost you 30p and is available from here: https://www.waterways.org.uk/shop/product_details?id=1029

Wondering about anchors: Then this page is useful: http://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=28719&st=60. The advice coming out from negotiations between the St Pancras Cruising Club and the PLA is that an anchor should have 15m of chain and 35m of nylon warp.

Finally and most importantly no page about the tidal Thames should fail to mention the St Pancras Cruising Club, they are the experts and they allow non-members to join their convoys on the strict condition that you attend a briefing and laugh at Andrew’s jokes. Their web site is here: http://www.stpancrascc.co.uk/. In particular look at their events page, time your trip to London to coincide with one of their trips and also have a look at their tideway guide which is worth reading.

Please do leave a comment if any of these links don’t work.

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Odds Blog: Olympic Closing Ceremony Photoblog

Posted by indigodream on 23 August, 2012

Rewind to Sunday 12th August

Having had a very satisfying wander round the Olympic Park we moved towards the Olympic Stadium – the queues were minimal and we were soon on the island. Having Richard’s insider knowledge was invaluable – we were sure we went to the loo before we did the long climb to the upper tier!

The view from the top was both spectacular and intriguing – we were in so early that the stage was still being assembled; then at 7.30pm the pre-show started and we were coached in what to sing and when. I don’t know why they bothered – the crowd was so energised that we sang and cheered whether we were meant to or not!

The closing ceremony was a full-on experience – the pace was relentless – quite the most overwhelming experience I’ve ever had. I confess that, for me, it could have finished an hour earlier – our senses had been stimulated since 7.30pm – the televised bit didn’t start until 9pm so our sense had been assaulted for and extra 90 minutes! By the time we got to 11pm I was ready to go home – my throat was in tremendous pain – I hadn’t realised that I was brewing a throat infection and had just abused my vocal cords with hours of loud singing and cheering – I could hardly speak for the next 5 days but sometimes you just have to go for it!

The stage being assembled at 7.26pm – there was still a lot to be done at this stage…

Full stadium this side

There were lots of empty seats on this side though – I’m not entirely sure whether they were filled…

The building of Tower Bridge – this was at 7.32pm – the show opens at 9pm – wow, they did work hard to convert the bowl from stadium to showground…

I did work out this was a phoenix but I hadn’t realised how spectacular it would be later on…

Drums being hoisted into position on Battersea Power Station…

Richard was unimpressed by the stumbling around and lack of safety harnesses – that’s a big drop into the pit..

We’re not too sure of the role of those volunteers sitting in front of the stage – they looked mighty bored! They moved later on – just as well, or they’d have been incinerated by the pyrotechnics!

The first of the vehicles being moved into place – I really enjoyed these preparations – there was so much to see…

We were sure that this camper van was going to knock the traffic sign over – he just missed!

The leader of the totally brilliant Hackney Colliery Band bore an uncanny resemblance to Ken Dodd as he capered round the stage…

The LED panels were firmly tied into place tonight, but there were still plenty of other things for the audience to be doing…

The paper-wrapped vehicles created a real air of mystery – would that wrapped piano be played, and by whom?

Practising our synchronised waving – a new Olympic Sport ๐Ÿ™‚

The London Symphony Orchestra – a change of pace after the manic efforts of the Hackney Colliery Band – and this is still the pre-show!!

It’s 12 minutes to the start of the show and they’re still abseiling around getting the set ready – I’m so glad I wasn’t in charge of these ‘just in time’ logistics ๐Ÿ™‚

Richard had to stop himself from helping random strangers – he still felt like a Gamesmaker, even without his uniform…

Anticipation…
4 minutes to go…

And we’re off – the start of a frenetic three hours of entertainment ๐Ÿ™‚

Zoom in to see the drummers suspended on the London Eye – there were abseiling drummers on the other buildings too. I’ve been very impressed by both ceremonies’ use of percussion..

There were an awful lot of combustion engines taking part in the ceremony – I hope they included them in the “carbon neutral” calculations for the games ๐Ÿ™‚

The lorries were full of colourful surprises!

This percussion/dance group were fantastic – they used a mix of staves and what looked like dustbins to drum their beat – the lights reflecting off the bin lids made a great show of their own…

The first ‘set’ was cleared away very quickly, leaving an intriguingly empty stage….

The flags and the athletes streaming in – I wonder what it was like down there – the atmosphere must have been great but I felt a bit sorry that they didn’t have any seats – but maybe top athletes don’t get tired!

Assembling the athletes must have been a logistical nightmare – no wonder they needed so many blue costumed ‘stewards’…

The mysterious white pyramid was built, then demolished, within minutes – it all seemed a bit arty to me but as it was accompanied by Kate Bush I didn’t complain ๐Ÿ™‚

The assembling of John Lennon’s face just seemed weird, but I’m not a fan…

Naomi Campbell looking suitably aloof…

The light shows from the seat back LED’s was astounding..

I don’t know how this tightrope walker kept his balance with all the noise and flickering movement from the crowds and the big screens but he did!

The light show was spectacular but relentless…

I was a bit mystified as to why Fatboy Slim needed an inflatable octopus – I texted Cousin Denise, my oracle for modern culture post-1995, and she didn’t know either!

I’m not a fan of the Spice Girls but the stadium came to life when they came on stage….

Hot pyrotechnics for the Muse (Cousin Denise told me who they were!)..

These indoor fireworks were just a small taster of what was to come..

Boris waving the flag…

Rio comes to London – check out the fireworks rushing ‘into’ the bowl…

The upper tiers were quite smoky after the fireworks….

The opening of the petals was the start of a poignant sequence – we dreaded the flame going out…

The flower opened – not so long to go now…

The opened flower of the cauldron didn’t need to fireworks – it was beautiful enough as it was…

The phoenix moved me more than I would imagine..

The stadium, fireworks and the phoenix aflame…

The second phoenix carried ballerina D’Arcy Bussell to the stage…

The petals drooping to the earth – I was so very sad at this stage (and in some pain from my throat) – all too much really!

The petals are starting to lose their fire…

Just a few left to go…

Our last, most poignant photo – that flower cauldron was a thing of beauty….
There was a lot more ceremony to come afterwards, including a truly monumental firework display which much has rivalled the noise of Krakatoa exploding all those years ago! But the natural end for me was the dousing of the flame and the flight of the phoenix…

And we still have the Paralympics (but no tickets!)

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