Saturday, 31 July 2010

Lily Pads and Paddles...

Some stretches of water just ask to be paddled. A raft of waterlilies entice you under the cast iron bridge, a gateway to be explored. The Anglesey Branch Canal links the large lake at Chasewater (used for sailing and water skying) to the Wryley and Essington.

This was once a polluted, industrial transport canal surrounded by coal mines. Intriguing bits of brickwork, heavy metal fixings, and rusted chutes to load the barges with coal still remain, but are now softened by nature.

The lake at Chasewater is fed by springs. It's this water that feeds the canal and has purged it of pollutants. The lack of narrowboat traffic on this stretch means that the water is lovely and clear.

Huge Carp patrol the banks of weed, although they quickly disappeared as soon as I got my camera into the water... typical.

The canal terminates in a large basin. The shallow banks make it easy to haul up and find a grassy knoll on which to eat your sandwiches.

On the return trip the water lilies made excellent little tables to put your coffee cup down onto.

It may at first seem like a clever idea to pop your car keys on one to take a silly photo, but when your kayak drifts away, you quickly realise what an idiot you are. Every time I tried to paddle back to retrieve them the wake from my boat threatened to sink the lily pad. Oh dear!
Never mind, I have a cunning plan...

Monday, 5 July 2010

Cars in the Park...

Lichfield city held a car show at the weekend, and as a bonus, this year it was free!
There were acres of static car displays, ranging from this humble little car for doing the shopping....

... to a more exotic ex-rally Ford RS 200 (drool)

Fancy, shiny cars parked in rows are all well and good, but this sort of machinery is best experienced in action. To my glee, there was an arena set aside for some petrol burning, larking about.

There was a good variety of off-roaders. This was one of the specialist 4x4s. Four wheel steering and full active hydraulic suspension, meant there wasn't much that could trip it up.

"Did you feel a bump dear?"... "Yes, I think we may have run over the bungalow again."

The new speed bumps put in by the council didn't seem to have any effect.

My favourites were the mega fast 'Tomcat' style machines... how fast???!!!!

The roar of some of the V8 engines was fantastic.

Drivers should stay alert to other road users at all times, and not be distracted by their passengers...

Seeing a Ford Focus jump this high over a ramp is impressive, but a common weekly spectacle at the local Sainsburys car park come Saturday night as anxious drivers hit the speed bumps trying to beat closing time on the 'beer run'...