Sunday, 7 July 2019

Two Hoots on test, plus 20 more Crick boats

The August edition of Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test on the Favourite Boat at the Crick Show, Two Hoots.

There’s also my mini reviews of 20 more boats from Crick.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Godalming Wharf

To Goldalming Wharf on the beautiful River Wey today (well, technically the Godalming Navigation) for a boat test.  This is the closest boat test ever to home — and with Godalming being the most southerly point on the connected system, it’s not likely to lose the title any time soon.

Friday, 31 May 2019


To Banbury today for a boat test, on a day which was rather more cloudy than we’d have hoped.  It did brighten up a bit during the morning, and the lift bridge and lock provided some scenery.  The drive home took three hours rather than two, though, which was frustrating.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Finesse Spec Boat on test

The July issue of Canal Boat is out and features my boat test of a new Finesse spec boat.

I’ve also written a review of Canal Pushers, a new crime thriller by former BBC exec Andy Griffee.  And can I also recommend a piece by Pip Leckenby of Oleanna, which has been abridged from her blogs about how their first commissioned boat went wrong.

I’m off to work again today, but will be coming back to the boat tonight.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Back to work

Back to work for both of us today.  I took Adrian to Wolverton station for an early train, and then went back to catch a later train myself.  I’ve come back to the boat, as I need to be here at the weekend.  This is really just to log another night on board.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Post Crick

A boat came past early, and at about 8am we also moved forward past a couple of moored boats to join it on the lock landing.  The lock keepers were running water down the flight to top up a low pound, and then at about 8.30 the lock was unchained and we were allowed in.  Our locking partner was a professional boat mover.  We had a good run down the flight, but only met boats coming up at the penultimate lock; at the bottom, there were a few queueing to come up.  It was chilly, but generally sunny, and I always like the wooded section below the locks, when the M1 starts to diverge from the canal.

We needed to collect my car which has been at Heyford Fields since we picked up the boat last week, so I dropped off Adrian at the marina, and carried on.  He collected the car, and our bill from Gary at BLS.  Adrian then drove to the little car park near the bottom of Stoke Bruerne Locks.  He’d made lunch for each of us before he left, so I had mine on the move while he had his at Stoke Bruerne.  The time difference between car and boat travel is such that he was also forced to adjourn to The Navigation!

At Stoke Bruerne Locks boats we’re coming up and one was waiting to go down, so we had a locking partner.  Pretty much all the locks were in our favour, and as the other boat had a couple of crew on the bank, I was able to go and open the lock ahead each time.  Mike and Stuart from the trip boat, Charlie, also came for a walk down a couple of locks, so it was good to chat to them.  As we went down the flight, the clouds built; at the second to last lock it chucked it down.

The flight took little more than an hour, thanks to locks in our favour, and the ability to work ahead.  We stopped at the bottom to put the kettle on, then I set off the for final leg on the boat while Adrian drove the car back to Thrupp Wharf — adjourning to a different Navigation pub.  We got back into our berth well before 6pm, so it had been a long day but not as long as we’d feared it might be.

21 miles, 13 locks.  (39 miles, 35 locks)

Monday, 27 May 2019

Crick Show: Monday

This morning at about 9 we set off to turn around.  As we needed to pass the water point we stopped the fill up, having to wait a few minutes for another boat to finish.  While we were there we put the washing machine on.  Before long, another boat came along and waited outside us.  As we filled up, Lesley and Joe came past on the newly acquired boat, Steadfast.

We went up to the winding hole, turned around, and retraced our steps.  The boat we’d had to wait for first thing had come from a space right opposite the water point, so as it was a bit nearer the show we pulled in there.  We walked up to the village, then had lunch on board, before going over to the show site.  In the CRT tent, one of their brickies had made a CRT logo in brick and stone.

I stayed over at the show to see the announcement of the winners.  Finesse won the widebeam class, with their Brigantine.  Boating Leisure Services won the Favourite Narrowboat with Two Hoots.

Braidbar were second (again) and Ortomarine third.  I then hotfooted it back to the boat and we set off.  By the time we got to Watford Locks, we were number ten in the group to go down, so we had over an hour to wait.  I managed to get three blogs done for the past three days, when we’ve been in Crick’s communications black hole.  The top and bottom locks have big water saving signs on the balance beams.

Once we were on our way down, the locks took no time at all, and we continued to Norton Junction.  We went down the top lock and were joined by a Wyvern hire boat.  The next lock is locked for water saving, so as we’re moored quite close we hope to be first down in the morning when it’s opened again.

5 miles, 8 locks.  (18 miles, 22 locks)