A Train going through a canal Lock?

Yes, that’s what it is! Believe it or not. This seems, to me anyway, as the greatest insult you can give to a canal that is sadly terminally ill. Well, maybe it’s passed the ill stage by now and we can probably, officially confirm its death. We all know that the railway brought about the closure of many of the canals. But to build the railway line through this canal lock chamber seems a step too far. Locks are the hart of a canal, the levels (pounds) are the arteries.

The railway has become a living beast, no longer is it just steel and noisy diesel. Now it’s alive and it has resolved to confirm its victory over the canal. A track through the lock chamber, like a blade through the very aorta of the canal.

Train in the lock
A train in the old lock chamber on the Ballinasloe Canal.

Okay I know it’s not the intercity express! It’s just a narrow gauge railway bringing turf (peat) to the nearby electricity power station in Shannon Bridge. But this sight at Kylemore Lock on the now derelict Ballinasloe Canal is a sad sight indeed. Much of the original lock chamber is still perfectly intact, in fact, the gates are still reasonably complete. Although nature is claiming them back and soon there will be very little left of them. I think they may have been made of oak, but it’s hard to tell. Let me know if you have any information on them, please.

One of the lock gates at Kylemore lock on the Ballinasloe Canal
One of the lock gates at Kylemore lock on the Ballinasloe Canal

 

 

 

 

 

 

This canal was closed to boat traffic in 1961, which isn’t that long ago really. However, since then the bog has claimed much of it back. The narrow gauge

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A job well done.

In the water Driftwood is alive and spirited, but on the hard she is awkward and tall. That lively gentle motion of a living boat is replaced by a temporary rigor-mortis. I feel I need to get the work done a quickly as possible and get her back into the water without any unnecessary delay.

Driftwood on the slab.
Click to enlarge.

None of what I’m getting done is going to improve her looks. This is not aesthetic maintenance. Back in the water all the work will be hidden from view. But I’ll know it was done and that’s what matters. I need to add expensive anodes beneath the waterline, like a pretty lady donning diamond earrings that will never be seen beneath her long hair. But still she feels better knowing that she is wearing them.

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How I look after my bottom!

Driftwood hanging lifeless, like a convicted felon on the gallows. Click to enlarge

Today we had Driftwood lifted out of the water to do a few jobs on her bottom. Now the first thing is that boats do not like being out of the water any more than fish do. I get real nervous when I see her balancing on some boat stand where she is putting all her weight on just a few Sq. inches instead of her weight being spread throughout all of her hull as happens when she is in the soup.

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A look behind the scenes:

That’s a silly title really because there are no scenes when you vlog, not as such. We try to make it just us being us as much as we can. So far we have avoided showing us brushing our teeth in the mornings which seems to have become the vlogging base line.  But driftwood.tv is really a blog not a vlog and through it I’ll open a window or two into our lives a little wider.

I’m writing this from my bed, well I say my bed but it’s not mine really, it belongs to the HSE, or to Portinuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe to be a little more pedantic about it.

This is the exciting view from my bed!

I’ll spare you the details of what’s wrong with me because I’m assuming that gastrointestinal side of biology is not a fascinating topic of discussion for you, as it isn’t for me. But don’t worry it’s nothing too serious.

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The Oncologist and the Pilot:

This short story is a true story I assure you. I have of course changed some of the names, well what with GDPR and all that I suppose I better.

It all started when my brother and his wife (Aidan & Sue, and yes that is their real names) joined us on the boat for an overnight. It was one of those exceptionally sunny winter days. But no wind at all, so it all looked very summery.

Sun setting as we crossed Lough Garadice.
Sun setting as we crossed Lough Garadice.

Although it was chilly whenever you were in the shade. We headed out from our moorings bound for Haughton’s Shore a quiet little hideaway on Lough Garadice.  All was very idyllic and we crossed the lake as the sun tipped the horizon behind us. Being November there weren’t a whole load of boats about; in fact we didn’t see another boat all day. Still I was hopeful of finding some company in Haughton’s Shore so you can imagine I was a little disappointed when we rounded the headland to see the mooring was empty. We tied up and

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Dromod

Approaching Dromod

Lanesborough to Dromod.

When you get great weather in Ireland you wouldn’t really want to be anywhere else. We untied from our berth in Hanley’s marina near Lanesborough and headed north along the beautiful river Shannon towards Dromod. Now Marion hasn’t drove the boat in quite a while and to be honest with you she needs to get back into practice.

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Cruising along the River Shannon

On Ireland’s river Shannon we don’t always get weather like this, so when the sun does comes out we have a tendency to panic and try to make up for lost time. This explains why in Ireland on a sunny day you will see snowy white bodies glowing in the sun and soaking up as much cancerous radiation as their bodies will accept. Today was an exceptional day for a spin on the river so I made the trip up

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Driftwood Drettmann DD Yacht 10.5Mtr

Drettmann DD Yacht

It was Marion who first set her eye on “Driftwood” a 10.5Mtr Drettmann DD yacht that had just been brought into Ireland on a truck to be sold into a growing boat market. She was called Staris at the time and at first I didn’t really like the look of her (the boat that is, not Marion.) I was very happy with our current boat and didn’t want to change. But those women folk know how to weave their magic on us men…

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Bringing Driftwood home to Ireland

Driftwood Ireland

I’ve mixed emotions about bringing Driftwood home to Ireland, but we had to make a decision one way or another. We’re both in Ireland full time and only getting out to the boat for two weeks twice a year if we’re lucky. Driftwood was becoming very neglected. Looking after a boat is expensive at the best of times but when it’s hundreds of miles away in another country it becomes even more difficult.

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