Posts Tagged ‘boats’

Friday 13th April 2012 (Easter Week)

Trent & Mersey, Rode Heath to Middlewich

The next morning @coalboat posted a tweet of us still sleeping whilst he was setting off! Nice one Brian.


Brian McGuigan@Coalboat

@nbcornish That’s D’riculous on this frosty morn at Rode Heath. Have a good trip. http://yfrog.com/g03eazuj

What a nice way to start the day, the weather was warmer & brighter, the sun was shining.

We had taken it really easy yesterday as we had been contacted by the suppliers with regard to our drive plate problems & it seems that the particular gear boxes fitted a couple of years ago are faulty but an ongoing court case over the matter last year prevented them from telling us this when our first one failed. only on the second failure we have been told of this & have been offered a full replacement without charge. That is the good news, the bad is that we still have to get back to Aqueduct Marina with the existing one that takes its toll on the drive plate, I tried to use the gears a little as possible yesterday & decided on the same plan of action today as we had 20 locks to do. This is good practice however for handling your boat.

So, we left Rode Heath back along the Trent & Mersey, coming round to Thurlwood lock.

On to Lock 58 & watching the traffic rushing past on the M6.

A bit further on near lock 60 a horse from the stables was grazing near the lock gate.

At lock 63 I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful colour of the towels on the washing line, wonder how many washes before they fade to pale pink!

Isn’t it strange the things you notice when the sun is shining! we carried on & I was being extra careful with the amount of gear usage, The wind was minimal so it was easy to go very slow & just glide between the locks, so far so good. At lock 64 near Malkin’s Bank Golf Club BW are doing some work on one of the pair of locks.

Just before bridge 160 there was substantial ground works going on behind the boatyard, it looked like it may be the start of an extension to an existing industrial estate, but the heavy machines reminded me of  dinosaurs with the buckets waving around like giant heads & the engines roaring, yeah, I know some imagination!

We made a lunch stop at Wheelock & emptied the rubbish & wine bottles! lunch was Smoked haddock Chowder & hot baguette, lovely!

Just before bridge 65 there is a Dutch Barge style narrowboat moored, she is beautiful.

A bit further on towards Middlewich & all seemed well with the drive plate however reverse gear was getting harder to engage & disengage it literally took two hands, hmm worrying ,

however this heron looking liked he belonged to the ministry of silly walks took my mind off things for a while!

We passed the salt working getting closer to Middlewich, The lamentation of swans that we saw on the way out were still there we counted 30 in total.

We were approaching Kings lock  nice & slowly as we saw a boat coming up in the lock & as with everybody else today thought they would just come out leaving the gate open a we were only about 100yds away, again saving us gear usage, but no, they shut the gate & left the paddles up. when we past them it was obvious they didn’t have much care for others or themselves! One of the young children was poking at a manky dead duck with her fingers by the lock, then ate chips from chipper, parents unphased!

At this point I knew we would need to use reverse as this junction is very tight if you are turning onto the Middlewich Branch & into Wardle lock, as i was trying to carry on doing things slowly Lochaber decided that a blast of reverse was need to get round & under the bridge into the lock…..big mistake, she came out of reverse but no way was she going to engage reverse again!

So a sad end in the ongoing drive plate saga to a rather pleasant day. Tomorrow we will have to make it back to Aqueduct marina with NO REVERSE GEAR!  Somebody has a lot of stress & two spoilt holidays to answer for!

Today 11 miles, 20 locks, 6hrs & NO reverse gear now!

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Sunday 8th April 2012 (Easter Sunday)

Trent & Mersey, Rhode Heath to Macclesfield Canal, Hardings Wood Junction

The weather forecast for today was not good, very cloudy & light rain most of the day. That however was the least of our problems at the moment.

Anyway, we decided that nothing was going to blight our Easter week.  We left Rode Heath around 10am this morning after the rain had stopped, there are 12 locks between Rode Heath & Hardings Wood Junction all relatively close & we were fairly lucky most seemed to be set in our favour.

This is looking back from lock 45 still on the Trent & Mersey heading towards Kidsgrove, the rain had stopped but the sky remained overcast although it seemed warmer as the wind had dropped today

Any of you who have had a look around our blog so far will have read about the unexpected drive plate problems we had on our first real trip with the boat last year

This is the offending object once removed & once it had been replaced  she was running really well & alot quieter, however at about the same amount of running hours again we are hearing the familiar sound worsening every day of a potential drive plate collapse! We have made it from Aqueduct to Hardings Wood Junction & met a nice couple with nbAdventurer Joey & Carol who also have problems but theirs was in the form of a leak. They recommended Tony at Red Bull Services Ltd. His workshop is just between bridges 97 & 98 at the junction as you turn to go up the Macclesfield canal.  This is Tony’s place.

It can be spotted from the lower Trent & Mersey as you come into Kidsgrove before you turn onto the Macclesfield & go across the viaduct.

Although this will solve our problem & get us on our way it means we will not get to Bugsworth now this week, probably not even Marple, I think Bollington may be the limit if the weather allows. The other issue that is concerning us is WHY we have got through 2 drive plates in only 130hr running time. The suppliers were I have to say very unhelpful in the first instance saying that the whole episode was our fault as we must have hit something very hard, categorically not! I kept all the emails between us & them & I am determined this time to get some answers. I will keep you informed as to how it goes.

This is The Red Bull Pub at lock 43 as you come into Kidsgrove, quiz night on a Wednesday, good meal deals . I made a note of the pub so if the weather is as bad as predicted tomorrow & we are obviously stuck then it may be a pub day!!

We pulled into the 48hr moorings at bridge 97  & walked over to see Tony, obviously it is Easter so no parts suppliers open till Tuesday, but he is happy to take the drive plate out & replace if necessary once he can get a spare on Tuesday.

After speaking to Tony we decided to have a stroll into town as we needed some jam to go with the scones I had in the bread bin! On the way over the aqueduct we saw nbGemima Puddle Duck coming into lock 41, the light had somehow highlighted the rusty colour of the canal water. This colouring is caused by the iron ore from the tunnels.

Harecastle Tunnel is made up of two separate, parallel, tunnels described as Brindley (2,880 yards) and the later Telford (2,926 yards) after the engineers that constructed them. Today only the Telford tunnel is navigable. The tunnel is only wide enough to carry traffic in one direction at a time and boats are sent through in groups, alternating northbound and southbound. Ventilation is handled by a large fan at the south portal.

South portal of the Brindley Tunnel

The Brindley tunnel was constructed by James Brindley between 1770 and 1777. Brindley died during its construction. At the time of its construction it was twice the length of any other tunnel in the world.

To construct the canal, the line of the tunnel was ranged over the hill and then fifteen vertical shafts were sunk into the ground. It was from these that heads were driven on the canal line. A major problem was the change in the rock type which ranged from soft earth to Millstone Grit. The construction site was also subject to flooding regularly, a problem which was overcome by the construction of steam engines to operate the pumps. Stoves were installed at the bottom of upcast pipes to overcome the problem of ventilation.

The tunnel had no towpath, and so boatsmen had to “leg” their way through the tunnel, lying on the roof of their boat and pushing on the sides of the tunnel with their feet. It could take up to three hours to get through the tunnel. The boat horses were led over Harecastle Hill via ‘Boathorse Road’. A lodge (Bourne Cottage) was built by the side of the squire’s drive at the point that the boat children crossed it, to prevent them straying up towards Clough Hall.

The tunnel was twelve feet tall at its tallest point and was nine feet wide at its widest, which proved to be too small in later years. The tunnel suffered subsidence in the early 20th century and was closed after a partial collapse in 1914. Inspections of the disused tunnel continued until the 1960s, but since that time, there has been no attempt to investigate the interior of the tunnel at any significant distance from the portals.

The gated portals can still be seen from the canal, although it is no longer possible to approach the mouth of the tunnel in a boat.

In recent times, water entering the canal from the Brindley tunnel has been blamed for much of the prominent iron ore (responsible for the rusty colour of the water) in the canal, and there are proposals to install filtering (possibly using reed beds) at the northern portal. Telford Tunnel

South portal of the Telford Tunnel

Due to the amount of traffic and the slow process of legging, the Harecastle Tunnel was becoming a major bottleneck on the canal. It was decided to commission a second tunnel to be built by Thomas Telford. Due to advances in engineering, it took just three years to build, and was completed in 1827. It had a towpath so that horses could pull the boats through the tunnel. After its construction it was used in conjunction with the Brindley tunnel, with each tunnel taking traffic in opposite directions.

Between 1914 and 1954 an electric tug was used to pull boats through the tunnel. In 1954 a large fan was constructed at the south portal. While all the boats are within the tunnel an airtight door is shut and all the air is pulled through the tunnel by the fan. This allows diesel boats to use the tunnel without suffocating the boaters. Today the journey takes about 30–40 minutes.

In the late 20th century, the Telford tunnel also began to suffer subsidence, and was closed between 1973 and 1977. The towpath, long disused, was removed, allowing boats to take advantage of the greater air draft in the centre of the tunnel.

A series of smaller canal tunnels are joined to the Telford tunnel. These tunnels connected to coal mines at Golden Hill and allowed both the drainage of the mines and the export of coal directly from the mines to the canal tunnel without the necessity of first hauling it to the surface. Small boats of ten tons’ capacity were used in this endeavour.

The Ghost of Harecastle Tunnel – The Kidsgrove Boggart

According to legend a young woman was decapitated in the Telford Tunnel in the 1800s and her body thrown into Gilbert’s Hole, a coal landing stage within the tunnel. The man had hacked the woman’s head from her shoulders with a piece of slate until it was removed.

It is believed that she now haunts Harecastle Tunnel, either in the form of a headless woman, or a white horse, and her appearance used to forewarn of disaster in the local mines. Some boatmen took long detours to avoid the tunnel, and today the tunnel keepers relate tales of occasional mismatches in the number of boats going in and coming out. Such tales are, however, fanciful, as any such discrepancy would result in a major search operation.

In fact there is no record of any such murder, and the story seems to have been inspired by the murder of Christina Collins in similiar circumstances near Rugeley. The association with another canal ghost ‘Kit Crewbucket’, who haunts the Crick Tunnel, would also seem to be spurious.

So that has given you a history lesson on this area which I hope you have found interesting, we love finding out about the history of the places we visit, it somehow seems to give the visit a purpose other than just a stopping place for supplies etc.

We will be moored up until Tony replaces the drive plate on Tuesday, hopefully,  We are up above the Trent & Mersey on the Macclesfield overlooking the scrap yard, very picturesque! It’s not too bad the yard is lower down so it is not visible from the windows.

Lochaber has cooked a curry, Murgh Makhani from the Co-op it was delicious & more so cos’ Lochaber doesn’t cook often! oh, more wine I really must go!

Today 5.5hrs, 14 locks, 4 miles, 1 knackered drive plate

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Wednesday 22nd February 2012

After a lovely but cold weekend at Aqueduct Marina last weekend it has been back to the daily grind this week! The world of Sales, but I have to admit my job can be quite interesting as I do travel around quite a vast area of north-east Scotland.

After watching Tim & Shane Spall in the first of four new programs about their journey around the coast of the British Isles aboard Princess Matilda we were stuck with the image of Tim’s face as he was trying to negotiate the choppy waters of Rattray Head on the leg of the journey from Banff to Peterhead.  Both of these places I know quite well as they form part of my working territory. Tim was absolutely right about the little church which seems to sit near Banff but is actually in McDuff the next village, we took the photo below a few summers ago on a long weekend around that area.

Tim was also right about Banff seeming to be stuck in a time warp, it seems that they have left the modern world behind & agreed, it is a steep walk up that hill! The Harbour is quite nice & often has fishing vessels in but not as many as in years past when it would have been thriving but due to fishing stocks, quota’s & high selling prices the fishing industry in Scotland is in the midst of troubled times at the moment & I should know I work for an Aberdeen fish merchant!

Today I was actually at Peterhead & made my usual lunch stop, sitting in the cliffs overlooking Peterhead Harbour, I looked for Princess Matilda but obviously they were nowhere to be seen today! this is what I did see though, the rather interesting looking vessel is I think used for laying cables under the North Sea, maybe something to do with the numerous wind farms that seem to be appearing offshore. Rattray Head is to the port side if you were leaving the harbour.


Driving home took me down via Aberdeen where our office is, Tim remarked in the program on Tuesday evening that Aberdeen is one of the main Scottish ports, mainly full of off shore supply vessels & such like no fishing boats now they all go into Peterhead where there is still a daily fish market.

The temperatures are unusually warm for the time of year in Scotland at the moment, the daffodils are almost out along the River Dee on the south side of Aberdeen.

So, thanks to Tim & Shane  for giving me the reason to make a blog entry on a normal working day that took a route similar to the one they took on Tuesday evening but by road.

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Monday 6th February 2012

January is not a good month for us as we don’t manage to get to our nb much due to the travelling time & the dark evenings, so we haven’t seen her since the Christmas break  & we are missing being aboard. As I am trying to get a blog established & in the routine of writing it every day I thought what better way to do that than to share some of my daily experiences with you as well as our boating days.

As I work as a Sales Manager I am obviously mobile & travel around parts of Scotland & if I had to pick a place to be other than the English canals this would probably be it. I thought you might like to share some of my daily scenes from around Scotland as I do not frequent built up cities like Glasgow & Edinburgh but mostly outlying areas.

On my 20 minute journey to Dundee twice a week just a few minutes from home I pass the elaborate gates of Glamis Castle birthplace of the former Queen Mother.

The view below is the picture I see as I am half way into my journey, the Angus glens in the background & Tayside farmland in the foreground. The snow you can see is quite deep on the hills but is just a sprinkling on the lower ground. We have had a remarkably mild winter in Scotland this year by the standards of any previous years & especially compared to last year when I was getting home in temperatures of -18c !!

The picture below was taken January 2011 as I was digging a way out from our front door, but the whole country suffered an unusually tough time that winter not only Scotland.

The skies were clear blue & the temperature around 4c in Dundee today, a couple of fishermen had strung  lines out into the River Tay then retreated to the warmth of their cars! Wimps!

I had been listening during the day to the reports about the Queen visiting Norfolk on the day that celebrates her 60th year as Queen of Great Britian. I have to say I am not a royalist however I have nothing but respect & admiration for this lady who has guided her country on the right course for 60 years in what must have sometimes been very difficult citcumstances yet I personally don’t think she has ever got it wrong, some may put that down purely to advisers but how many influential people still get it wrong even with advisors. I think she was born to be a Queen as Charles has born not to be King but William has. Jusy my opinion of course.

However I felt that as I live so close to Glamis Castle  this day should be remembered in my blog.  I have decided to include a few snippets  by The Daily Telegraph as I thnk thier coverage was exceptional today.

Diamond Jubilee:

The King is dead – long live the Queen

Britain 60 years ago was an austere and conservative country moving out of the   shadow of war but gripped by rigid social conventions, says Harry Mount.

01/04/1944 of King George VI with his daughter Princess Elizabeth

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King George VI with his daughter Princess Elizabeth in April 1944 Photo: PA
Queen Elizabeth II (L) and her mother in law his mother Dowager Queen Mary (C).  The Queen Mother, the 101-year-old mother of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, died in her sleep on Saturday M

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The Queen lands at Heathrow airport on February 7, 1952, and is met by the Prime Minister Winston Churchill and (right) 3 generations in mourning at George VI’s funeral
Diamond Jubilee: The King is dead – long live the Queen; The proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession;<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
AFP/Getty Images

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The proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Westminister Abbey The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

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The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II inside Westminster Abbey in 1953
Coronation of  Queen Elizabeth II (1953) , Prince Philip Duke Of Edinburgh , Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret

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One of the official photographs of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, with Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (right) and Princess Margaret
February 1952, was, like February 2012, a cold one. On the morning of the 6th,   Sandringham was bleak and wintry, as George VI’s valet desperately tried to   wake him. A front-page piece in this newspaper – reprinted in our pullout   today – painted a touching picture of a frozen rural Britain that had just   lost its king. “The village doctor,” we reported, “drove along the road that   winds through the Royal estate, flanked on either side by the brown withered   ferns through which, less than 24 hours earlier, the King had himself   walked. No blinds were drawn over the windows of this favourite home of the   King. The smoke from the first fires hung limp in the still morning air.”

There was nothing the doctor could do; over on the other side of the world,   the 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth had become a queen. The balmy Kenyan   weather could hardly have been further removed from sub-zero Norfolk, but   the mood was just as sad, as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh rushed to   the airport.

“When the car, travelling at speed, passed near Nyeri,” wrote another Daily   Telegraph correspondent (they had no byline in those days), “the Queen and   the Duke, despite the sadness of their journey, smiled and waved to small   groups of people who, sighting the Queen’s standard gleaming in the evening   sun, had stopped to watch them pass.”

Back in London, members of both Houses of Parliament swore the Oath of   Allegiance to the new Queen. Proclamations of her accession were made at the   Royal Exchange, Temple Bar, Trafalgar Square and St James’s Palace – where   Queen Mary, mourning her son, gazed out of the window as the Garter King of   Arms, Sir George Bellew, made his announcement on the crenellated ramparts   of St James’s Palace.

Much of Britain closed down. The Horse and Hound Ball at Grosvenor House, Park   Lane, was postponed for seven weeks. All coursing – still legal in those   days – was put off, too. Racing was cancelled until after the funeral, and   the rugby international between England and Ireland at Twickenham postponed.   The FA Cup still went ahead, although a minute’s silence was observed at all   matches, including Brentford v Fulham, where one Jimmy Hill was declared by   the Telegraph “the best man in the field”. The players, wearing black   armbands, joined the crowd in singing Abide with Me and the National Anthem.

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee message in full

Official Diamond Jubilee portrait of Queen Elizabeth II photographed in the Centre Room of Buckingham Palace, overlooking The Victoria Memorial StatueImage 1 of 4

Official Diamond Jubilee portrait of Queen Elizabeth II photographed in the Centre Room of Buckingham Palace, overlooking The Victoria Memorial Statue Photo: CAMERA PRESS/John Swannell
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh photographed in the Centre Room of Buckingham PalaceImage 1 of 4

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh photographed in the Centre Room of Buckingham Palace Photo: CAMERA PRESS/John Swannell
Here is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee message in full.
Today, as I mark 60 years as your Queen, I am writing to thank you for the   wonderful support and encouragement that you have given to me and Prince   Philip over these years and to tell you how deeply moved we have been to   receive so many kind messages about the Diamond   Jubilee.

In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we   will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength   of family, friendship and good neighbourliness, examples of which I have   been fortunate to see throughout my reign and which my family and I look   forward to seeing in many forms as we travel throughout the United Kingdom   and the wider Commonwealth.

I hope also that this Jubilee year will be a time to give thanks for the great   advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future   with clear head and warm heart as we join together in our celebrations.

I send my sincere good wishes to you all.


Tuesday 7th February 2012
Another day closer to getting down to our beloved nb, hoping to go down for Fri. Sat & return Sun evening but with the weather at apparently -15c down there we won’t be cruising anywhere this weekend. Such a shame after our lovely Christmas week & all the mild weather in January that we never took advantage of! I hope the two tubular green house heaters we purchased in the summer have switched themselves on & are at least keeping the frost off the inside! I must remember to take water as the tap at the mooring will possibly be frozen all weekend at least we can use the shower facilities in the main building at Aqueduct Marina.
The working day was pretty boring, I have been a Sales Manager for just about 20 years now & I have never seen the catering industry so deflated. This current Government has a lot to answer for, they seem to be making a nation of haves & have nots rather than an equal society. Ordinary folk just can’t afford to eat out much now & if they do make an effort they are cutting down on the food & drink consumed which is having a knock on effect in independent hotels & restaurants while the multi national chains Pizza Hut, Whitbreads, Weatherspoons etc ( other outlets are available) are offering crap food & tasteless lager at prices so cheap independent outlets can’t compete. Sorry, daily rant over,  it just makes me so mad. I have made a conscious decision to boycott Tesco, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Lloyds TSB &  Weatherspoons & I think more will follow!
I drove past a couple of hairy pals on the way to do some calls today, I love these guys they are so docile & chilled.
I was later reading how the canals of Venice have frozen over for the first time in 20yrs, they won’t be shouting for a Cornetto any time soon then!

Frozen Venice: the lagoon and canals ice over as

Europe’s big freeze continues

A small boat makes its way along a partly frozen canal in Venice
A small boat makes its way along a partly frozen canal in Venice. The city’s lagoon has frozen for the first time in more than two decades.Picture: Marco Sabadin/AFP/Getty Images
Thursday 9th February
Not much to tell you about yesterday just another day of work & cold weather, however Scotland have got off very light this year compared to England. We have had no snow to speak of & even temperatures although cold this week have been well above average but further south below Manchester there has been quite a few inches of snow, frozen canals  & very harsh sub zero temperature up to -15c. They are warning that the cold from Europe & the warmth from the north will collide on Friday & Saturday causing major snow, ice & even colder freezing temperatures!!
Due to all that I am gutted as we were due to travel to our beloved nb tomorrow for the 3yr celebrations at Aqueduct Marina.
We have decided that this would not be wise, firstly due to the potentially bad travelling conditions & also that the locks on That’s D’riculous will be frozen solid as will the taps on the marina & hoping that the greenhouse heaters we installed before we left are doing their job, we decided it might be better to just leave her closed up & condensation free until next weekend when the weather is supposed to be a bit more normal for the time of year. This means we will have missed the celebrations at the marina but we can enjoy the journey & our weekend without the added stress of adverse weather conditions.
Needless to say, if the weather men get this wrong & the road are ” travelable” over the weekend & temperatures rise I will be one mad cookie as I was so looking forward to our trip this weekend. GUTTED!
So, I must go & do some work.
I have been hearing today about the River Danube being frozen along with vast parts of Europe, it seems like the UK & Europe has been turned on its head as far as the weather is concerned, It has been 6.5c in Aberdeen today, almost tropical compared to all our fellow boaters on the canals.
By Veselin Toshkov

    • Wed Feb 8 2012

 Balkan nations suspend shipping on frozen Danube


A man walks on the deck of an icebreaker trying to free itself from the frozen Danube River in southern Romania on Wednesday. Bulgarian authorities say up to 90 percent of the river is covered with floating ice, making it extremely difficult to navigate.

Danube    A man walks on the deck of an icebreaker trying to free itself from the frozen Danube River in southern Romania on Wednesday. Bulgarian authorities say up to 90 percent of the river is covered with floating ice, making it extremely difficult to navigate.

Vadim Ghirda/The Associated Press

SOFIA, BULGARIA — At least four Balkan nations suspended shipping on the Danube River because of severe frost and the vast amount of ice blocking the heavily travelled waterway.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Serbia made the decision because up to 90 per cent of the river’s surface is covered with floating ice, authorities said Wednesday.

The conditions are making it extremely difficult to traverse Europe’s main commercial waterway, which winds 2,860 kilometres from Germany and serves as the natural border between Bulgaria and Romania.

Europe has been battling a deep freeze that started in late January and has killed hundreds of people. Snow has trapped thousands in Balkan mountain villages and prompted worries of flooding as the heavy snow melts. In Greece and Bulgaria, flooding on Monday and Tuesday left dozens of homes under water and at least eight people dead.

Serbian emergency officials have said the country’s army will use explosives disperse ice on the Danube and Ibar rivers to try to prevent flooding.

The Sava and the Danube rivers are partially frozen, with large chunks of ice floating down the two waterways. In some parts, ice on the Danube is 15 cm thick, but so far it hasn’t jeopardized the work of Serbia’s biggest Djerdap hydro-power plant, near the Romanian border, officials said.

Serbia also banned any shipping along the Sava and Tisa rivers. An official, Milos Milovanovic said “the entire Sava river is blocked with ice, even around Belgrade.

“We will make maximum effort in the next 10 days or so to break the ice,” he said.

Officials fear the ice could cause the rivers to overflow and jeopardize the work of the hydro-power plants.

In Bosnia strong winds knocked over power lines and left tens of thousands without electricity, potentially for the next several days.

Half of Mostar, Bosnia’s second largest city, is without power and snow piled some 80 cm deep is preventing work crews from dealing with the problem, government spokesperson Pero Pavlovic said.

People in Mostar fell into a “shopping hysteria”, emptying shelves and in some cases getting into fist fights over flour, he said.

The Polish Interior Ministry said Wednesday that six more people died as a result of the freezing weather. It also called on people to be careful when using coal heaters, reporting that one person died of asphyxiation. The temperatures in the country fell at times to -32 C.

In Bulgaria, the government declared Wednesday a day of mourning for eight people who died after torrential rains and melting snow caused a dam to burst, flooding an entire village. Two people are missing and rescue operations were continuing.

Dike reinforcement materials and heated tents for flood victims and rescuers are needed, EU commissioner for humanitarian aid Kristalina Georgieva said after visiting the flooded areas. She warned that the freezing weather may be followed by a harsh spring and said residents need to be prepared for possible flooding.

Poland and Italy immediately responded to Bulgaria’s request for aid to flood victims, Georgieva said, and added that the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark also have stated their readiness to help.

The U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria has requested the U.S. Agency for International Development to approve $50,000 in funds for the Bulgarian Red Cross to aid those affected by the flooding.

The Associated Press

But maybe we are not having it so bad after all, we have decided to go down to our boat next weekend when hopefully the driving conditions will be better.

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