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Harrow on the Hill Offices, Blisworth

Houses past and present

Michael Tyler


Owner and main contributor to the site.

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Not so much present….. more past.

Was asked to get some pictures of where we used to live in Apsley.

So here they are.

40 West Valley Road
40 West Valley Road
40 West Valley Road
40 West Valley Road
View from 40 West Valley Road
View from 40 West Valley Road
23 Chambersbury Lane
23 Chambersbury Lane
Florence Longman House
Florence Longman House

Didn’t really have time to get out of the car and make a meal of it.

A) Because I fell of my bike at the locks and smashed my camera up. The viewfinder is now like a test screen you used to get on telly when all the programs had finished.
B) Because I just cycled 60 miles and really couldn’t be bothered.

So that’s all folks.

Day on the bike

Harrow on the Hill Offices, Blisworth
Harrow on the Hill Offices, Blisworth

Much faster than the boat, I had to bike back and collect the car after a weeks boating.

In this case, just over 60 miles.

Took me a wee while. Boating along the canal is fairly easy. Riding on the towpath is too.

A fisherman stepped backwards into me and told me I needed to get off and walk. I told him they, (fishermen), didn’t own the towpath. Someone else shouted back, they pay for it.

Another pathetic and useless argument.

It’s the first time I’ve ever hit a fisherman. It was his fault.

Bugger him.

Moving on

The thing you’ve got to remember about the towpath. It’s a right of way. You can’t expect to block it without giving due car and attention to the other users.

I couldn’t really be bothered to stop and explain this, fairly obvious pre-requisite to being a towpath user.

And moved on.

Stranded boat

Some holiday makers were blocking the path a little further down, past Leighton Buzzard, on the way up to Birkhamstead.

They offered to move out of the way, as they were blocking the towpath with their heaving and hauling pushing with poles and whatnot.

The boat was skewed across the width of the canal.

I was happy to watch, I said, which put them off a bit….

Still they carried on with their poking with the pole.

Poking with a pole

This isn’t something you want to do. The pole has a very small contact footprint. Unless you poke it dead flush, which rarely happens. Things will move, the pole slips, you may end up in the cut.

It’s not the way to do it.

I said “get the pole under the draft and lever the boat off the bottom”, which was briefly tried. Said boater was nervous about snapping his pole, and made some comment about snapping the pole. And I said “it doesn’t snap when I do it on my boat”.

So we tried that.

Didn’t work.

Told him to switch the engine on, turn the tiller fully toward the bank and blast it off, together with a bit of pushing.

Didn’t budge an inch.

I grabbed the middle rope and pulled the bow in to the bank. Told him to put the engine on.

Another couple from a boat they were in convoy with up the way turned up, she jumped on the boat to help ballast it to one side, and he started pushing with the pole. As I said, not the best idea, but he was a hire boater also.

I carried on pulling it to the bank, and one of the other guys gave me a hand.

Once we’d got it to the bank, I said “push it out”, the three guys pushed the stern out. The tiller-man engaged the gears, told the ladies to rock it a bit….  Off it went…

I got a thanks and a beer.

Very nice.

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  1. Sounds like a bit of a grim day strting off…I found fishermen on the towpath a dour lot most not friendly to the boater…give them a wide berth I say…I think they may be quite jealous of the boating life style…I was constantly shouted at for going too fast even though I never did go fast past them…I hated fishing competitions where they were on the bank within feet of each other for as much as a mile slowing the journey down considerably….my experience of fishmen was there were one or two nice guys but mostly they were hostile and a tad unpleasant.
    Those poor hire guys…it can be really difficult to get the boat adrift once it becomes stuck fast…sounds as if they were really grateful…nice ending to the day…..riding the towpath can be very hazzardous there are so many ruts etc Ive come off my bike a couple of times. Sorry to hear about your camera. Love the photos of houses past…Apsley mill looks good. Glad you got to pick up your car and bring it closer. Hope things go well at Calcutt boats today!!

  2. Nice to see pictures of dwellings dwelt in. I grew up in 40 West Valley, leaving at about 26, when I got a flat in Stevenage where I worked: for Hawker Siddeley Dynamics. Grandma moved from there to sheltered flat accommodation at Florence Longman down in Apsley when she was in her eighties, having slipped previous winter and broken an arm on an icy pavement in steepish West Valley Road. She had to be ‘worked on’ to get her to move though – understandably.
    Chambersbury Lane was where we lived whilst I was working in London – after which we moved off to Southampton (who have a football team, I believe).

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