Monday, 10 July 2017

Thames and Kennet Marina

A quick trip to the Thames and Kennet Marina at Reading today for a boat test. The weather was fine, and the marina ducks formed a welcoming party.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Threpence Ha'penny on test, plus 22 Crick boats.

The August edition of Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test of the winner of Favourite Boat at the Crick Show, Threpence Ha'penny.

There's also the usual Crick special, with mini reviews of 22 other boats.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

A catch up and an operation

We knew Helen and Andy from Wand'ring Bark and the Jam Butty were down south, so had been trying to meet up with them. It didn't quite work at the weekend, but it did today. Adrian was due at midday at a hospital in Wimbledon, for surgery on his neck; for months he's had a prolapsed disc, and the solution was to remove a bone spur from the affected vertibra. As Helen and Andy would be near Hampton Court that morning, we arranged to pay them a visit. They were moored just above Molesey Lock, and we found them without difficulty. It was great to catch up and hear about their life afloat; they needed to be off by 11, and so did we to get to Wimbledon, so we went with them the couple of hundred yards down to the lock (just to say we'd been boating today!). A boat was coming up, so we jumped off at the lock landing.

At the hospital, Adrian was soon in his room and answering the same questions multiple times. He had visits from the surgeon and the anaesthetist, and about 2pm was taken off down to the operating theatre. While he was having his surgery, I walked down the hill to Wimbledon village, where every shop has a green and purple flag outside.

I had a late (and Wimbledon-priced) sandwich in a cafe, then decided to walk back a different way, taking in the All England Club on the way.

Back at the hospital it was a while before Adrian was out of the recovery room and in the High Dependency Unit for a few hours of post op observation. By the time I left, the anaesthetist and the surgeon had been to seem him, and both were happy with how it had gone ("a bloody good job", was the surgeon's verdict on his own work), and dinner had arrived. He's now back in his own room being served tea on a tray with a doily.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Two in one day

An early start this morning, heading up the M1 and across the Derbyshire Dales to the Macclesfield Canal for a boat test. Unfortunately the more pessimistic of the weather forecasts turned out to be also the more accurate, however we did the best we could with the conditions.

That one was done by lunchtime, so we headed off to Mercia Marina for the second boat test of the day. Frustratingly, the sun was shining from Macclesfied southwards. At Mercia, we headed straight outnon the boat to make the most of the sun, only for it to cloud over a bit. Of course the sun returned as soon as we got back. With that test done by about 4.30, we treated ourselves to tea and the Willow Tree Cafe, along with a piece of courgette and avocado cake -- mostly because it sounded so weird.

It was a bit like carrot cake, with neither the courgette nor the avocado coming through particularly (which may be a good thing). It was also gluten free, and surely at least one of your five a day.

It was nearly 7pm when I got back to the marina. I considered driving home this evening, but I've already done 270 miles today, so I'll get up early and head back in the morning.

Thursday, 15 June 2017


Work today. This is really just to log another night on board.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017


I need to be up in the midlands on Friday (assuming the AccuWeather forecast is more accurate than the BBC one), and my shift times this week meant it made more sense to come up to Briar Rose today than tomorrow. I arrived a bit before 5pm and found the boat sweltering inside, so I flung open the side doors, the windows, and the Houdini hatch. The boat next to us is still out and so is the one beyond, so a duck was making use of their jetty for a bit of a spruce up.

It'll be an early night tonight as I've been up since 4am, and need to be on a train from Wolverton just before 6 in the morning.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Blisworth Tunnel Boats on test

The July issue of Canal Boat is out, and includes my biat test on a spec boat by Blisworth Tunnel Boats