where have all the birdies gone? - December 1, 2022David Robertson returns to writing for CanalsOnline Magazine, commenting particularly on the lack of birds and waterfowl this year on the Staffs and Worcs canal.
the hire boats are back - June 6, 2022So here they come. To be honest they’ve been here since Easter. But this is different, the floodgates have opened as it were. Chugging along the Staffs and Worcs here, past old bridge number 38. Like a flotilla of drunken ducks. Yes, the hire boats are back - just as you thought it was safe to go back on the water.
what did you do in the lockdown daddy? - June 6, 2021With an end to Covid restrictions in sight, David Robertson reminiscences on the good old days of lockdown, when people avoided each other and spent their lives sanitising their hands with alcohol rub and soap.
space invaders - December 1, 2020I was walking the dogs, Blue and Milly, down the towpath toward bridge number 38, when a ghostly spectre appeared out of the mist A vision of Darth Vader appeared from under the arch and began to charge toward us at an alarming rate of knots.
iiiiit's christmas! - December 1, 2019So here we are then. The trees are bare, having deposited their leaves onto the towpath here down by old bridge number 38, on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. Yes, yet another layer of damp detritus to mark the passing of the old year. And the season of goodwill is upon us once more.
blowing my own trumpet - September 1, 2019Life down here by bridge number 38 on the Staffs and Worcester Canal is rarely very exciting. Therefore, when someone I know from Faceboat, but have never met, text me (is it text or texted - answers on a postcard please) to say, ‘We will be chugging past your place in a day or so - we’ll give you a wave as we pass,’ the temptation to invite them over for a cuppa and a digestive biscuit is too hard to resist. In fact our local, The Hinksford Arms has just been refurbished - and very nice it is too - so it would be rude not to really, wouldn’t it? Put the tea bags and Mcities back in the cupboard Kate, we’re off to the pub.
jogle blogle - June 1, 2019Hello everyone and welcome to my latest column for, CanalsOnline Magazine. I hope you’ll indulge me just this once. When I started writing for the magazine some months back now I promised that we take a look together at what was just beyond the normal ‘canal-scape’ - which I hope that in some small measure we have managed to do.
bratch locks - March 11, 2019How about that for a February then folks? Did you break out the flip flops and the sun tan lotion? A lot better than last year don’t you think? The ‘Beast from the East’ was about to come roaring through if you remember. Mind you, I think we brought that upon ourselves to a great extent and that we ought to pay better attention to our use of rhyming couplets. Naming it 'The Least from the East’ might have lessened its impact. Or better still, reducing it to a fungal infection, ‘The Yeast from the East,’ would surely have resulted in warmer weather - albeit a little itchy.
whales in the cut - December 1, 2018‘Surely not?’ I hear you cry, but yes, it’s true. I’ve seen them with my own eyes, beached on the towpath. Whales of all descriptions. Bicycle whales, car whales, pram whales, you get the picture. I know, I know, the old ones are the best. But, at the risk of repeating myself, it’s true! In fact there’s all kinds of scrap iron accumulating down here by the banks of the Staffs and Worcs canal.
the pirate boat - September 1, 2018So - imagine the scenario. You’ve been enjoying your holibobs in the Lake District, far away from old bridge number 38 and you get a message on your phone from something called, ‘The Pirate Boat.’ ‘Ahoy there! - Meet me at Botany Bay.’ Well I don’t know about you, but I was intrigued.
spring has sprung - June 1, 2018Ah yes, spring is here down by old bridge number 38. After a bit of a false start that is. No sooner had the weatherman told us on March the first that, ‘today is the metrological start of spring,’ what did we get? The Beast from the East howling in and then storm Emma icing up our southern regions. Winter drawers on then.
signs of spring - April 1, 2018As mentioned in the last edition of ‘Canals Online’ magazine, spring has well and truly sprung and is now in full swing down by old bridge number 38. ‘How do you know,’ I hear you cry. Well I’ll tell you a few of the tricks us old timers living down by the cut use in defining the passing of the seasons.
bridge on the staffs and worcs - March 1, 2018Oh that looks nice. Cup of tea and a biscuit. Pull a chair over here, put your feet up and relax while you catch up with this edition of Canals Online. Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many meanderings along and around the ‘cut’ as we call it here in The Black Country. We’ll delve into something here, poke about a bit there and lift a few rocks to see what scurries out.