Wednesday, 21 October 2020


I came up to the boat this morning after a very early but short shift at work.  I’d brought with me a surprisingly large cargo of new foam cushions for the dinette.

The old cushions were probably original to the boat, so were a bit flat to say the least.  Getting them out of the covers was easy, but I was a bit worried the new ones might be a bit more tricky to get back in, given that they were so much thicker.  Fortunately it was pretty easy — and it turned out my measurements were correct.  Sitting at the dinette now feels like a completely different experience!  Not only can you not feel the wooden slats, but the view looks different just for being a few inches higher, and air seems thinner!

To get rid of the old foam, I researched nearby tips, and found that the one at Northampton was about the only one that was both open today and didn’t need a booking.  Possibly thanks to it being a very rainy day, there were very few people there.  Tomorrow morning we have a boat test set up, and the weather is meant to be a lot better.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Momentous on test

The November Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test on Momentous by Trinity Boats.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Two in one day

I met Andy the photographer at 7.30 this morning in Towcester, and we travelled first to Swanley Bridge Marina on the Llangollen.  It was raining here, clear beyond Birmingham, and then foggy.  For the boat test, we did the internal photos first, then as the mist began to lift we took the boat out for the running shots — which Andy says worked really well, with the boat in sunshine and mist in the background.

Then we set off for Garstang and a marina on the Lancaster Canal, where it was also sunny enough.  The drive back seemed like a long way; actually it was a long way.  I’m staying on the boat tonight and will head home tomorrow.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Cratch cover cleaning

I was originally going to be doing boat tests today, but the weather further north meant we changed them to tomorrow.  So with a spare day, I decided to give the cratch cover a clean, to try to get rid of the green tinge round the edges.  After shopping for the necessary agents, I took the cover off, put it over one of the picnic tables at the top of the bank behind the marina, and began scrubbing.  I was using a car soft-top cleaner, which goes on white but soon turns green as the slime comes off.

To rinse the cover, I laid it on the bank and rolled out the hosepipe.

While the cleaning needs the cover to be wet, re-proofing needs it to be dry, so I put the cover back over the picnic table and left it for a couple of hours while I had lunch, and did various other jobs such as washing all the microfibre cloths and dusters we have on board.  I also took everything off the well deck and gave that a wash.

For re-proofing I used Fabsil Gold, which is the more concentrated one.  Last time I did it I used a spray can, and felt most of the product missed it’s mark — so this time I bought the liquid one which needs to be painted on and then rubbed with a cloth.  The instructions say to paint the whole item and then do the rubbing, but I thought that was impractical so I did it panel but panel.  It also means you can really see where you’ve been.

Of course nothing looks quite as good after it’s dried, but as least I know that the whole cover has had a good coating of re-proofer and I’ll be interested to see how rain sits on it.  Putting the cover back is always a bit of a chore; you don’t realise how big it is until you have to handle it.

It’s been a nice sunny day here, and quite warm in the sunshine.  The view over the marina to the spire of Hanslope church always eases the effort involved in these jobs too.  It’ll be a fairly early start and a long day tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 September 2020


To work today using the train from Milton Keynes.  There were big delays into Euston because of signal problems.  I’m staying on the boat because of doing boat tests later in the week.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Rediscovery Cruise: Day 24

We had a lovely evening with Catherine and Matthew last night, and for the first time on the trip lit the fire.  This morning we set off at 8 under blue skies and in calm conditions, although it was very chilly.

Within half an hour we were back in our berth in the marina.  Adrian has gone home, and starts a new job on Monday.  I’ve gone to work, and will stay on the boat a few more days because of doing some boat tests early next week.

1 mile, 0 locks (303 miles, 193 locks)

Friday, 25 September 2020

Rediscovery Cruise: Day 23

It’s been a very tiresome day’s boating today — and not just because we were going through Fenny, Milton Keynes, New Bradwell, and Wolverton.  It has been exceptionally windy, which always makes things difficult, and it’s been cold along with it; I started off with a coat on and swapped for a thicker one (but I have still be wearing shorts).  We set off at 9, with Adrian bringing the boat while I walked along to Stoke Hammond Lock.  I need not have bothered, as the lock was full and one gate had swung open.  Below the lock, in the open hold of an old boat, was a sculpture which I’d seen on my walk yesterday; it appears to be made from a huge tree root.

When we got to Fenny Stratford Lock a Wyvern hire boat was the other side of it.  They wanted water and we were now waiting on the water point, so they let us through first.  Adrian went to swing the bridge out of the way.

There seemed to be more boats moored up than ever, and many of them are widebeams.  It often makes passing boats coming the other way difficult.  We met several at bridges too, which is always the way.  We’ve seen at least a dozen Wyvern boats.  The new flats opposite the marina in Milton Keynes have progressed quite a bit since we were last down this way.

The wind only seemed to increase as the day went on.  There were waves on the wide bit of canal near the Galleon pub.

One boat on the permanent moorings by the Wolverton Aqueduct had a novel take on a beer garden.

Cosgrove Lock was the last of the whole trip, and a boat had just come down so it was in our favour.  We moored up in the village, near the horse tunnel, in a section that’s away from the trees.  Catherine and Matthew are coming to see us this evening; Grace has other commitments, and Nigel is acting as taxi driver.  Adrian has been making dinner as we’ve come along.

15 miles, 3 locks.  (302 miles, 193 locks)