Wednesday, 25 April 2012

'Pearl Barley'


I am fascinated by canal boats, especially the colourful narrowboats with traditional paintings.  In the photo above, the horse-drawn boat 'Elland' is on the left and the narrowboat on the right is a beautiful boat called 'Pearl Barley', which they were using to power 'Elland' when it wasn't being towed by the horse.  This is also a traditional 'under the cloths' boat, similar to 'Elland', that would have been used to transport goods. These narrowboats were not, I think, built for the Leeds-Liverpool Canal (most of the traditional boats here were wider barges - see old picture on my blog on Sunday)) but they nevertheless give a good flavour of the days when canals were serious working waterways.

(Later note:  I am reliably informed that Pearl Barley is actually relatively new, built in the 1990s... Nevertheless it (she?) is beautiful and, I think, built with great attention to the traditional detail).

I didn't get chance to talk to the boatman but a Google search suggests that he is the owner, Duncan Davis, who sounds a colourful character himself.... his family run The Black Bull Inn in Frosterley, in County Durham (website worth a look!)  He is described as 'a dyed-in-the-wool Geordie (ie: native of Tyneside in NE England), folksinger, church bell-ringer and ex top London photographer'.  Wish I'd had a chat now!


6 comments:

  1. Boy, you crammed a lot into one post! Thank you for the link to the Black Bull. I really want to go there, even if it means having to go through the airport hassle. The decorations on the Pearl Barley (is that a pun?) recall a gypsy caravan. And the canalside view brings to mind spots in Appalachia. Wonderful post! Jim

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    1. I'll gladly come with you to The Black Bull - doesn't it look terrific?

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  2. The pub looks brilliant and it has its own peal of bells!!!

    I too, find canal boats intriguing. Most of the Trent and Mersey (my local) is a 'narrow canal' (under 7' wide), so the boats we see on it are mainly of the narrow variety.

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  3. How wonderful to see these. I would love to travel along the canal on one of these one day!

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  4. Oh what a wonderful series about the barges. The photo with the horse makes me think of a scene from WIND IN THE WILLOWS.

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  5. Hope we can meet at the Black Bull Inn one day. The traditional painting on the canal boats look quite "American country" style... or rather, the other way around. :-)

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