Wednesday, 16 August 2017


A much better day weatherwise than forecast. I set off in the car before 7, and had a very good run up to Overwater Marina at Audlem. I'd been expecting quite a lot of cloud, but in fact there were blue patches and even sunny spells at times. It was a bit breezy though, although every marina seems breezy almost all the time. Ian was the photographer today, and as it was gone 12 by the time we had finished, we went for lunch in the cafe. There were signs saying it was under new management, so I was pleased to find they still had oatcakes on the menu, which I had with bacon and brie.

The drive back was good too, and since then I have had another go at stopping the drips from the towel rail (I fear still not completely stopped), and have checked and topped up the batteries. They were on 90 per cent when I left this morning, and with it being nice and sunny here, back up to 100 by the time I got back. It was supposed to have clouded over by now, but it hasn't.

Tomorrow I'll be up very early to be at work for 6.30, and then go home. We'll be back on board next week, ahead of setting out on our big autumn trip.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A long gap

It's been two months since I was last at the boat. I came up today as I have a boat test to do tomorrow. When I arrived, I was pleased to find the batteries at 100 per cent; they've been kept that way entirely by the solar panel.

I got here at about 3pm as i wanted to do a couple of jobs. One was to use sealant to try to stop the leak on the heated towel rail. Early indications are that it's partly worked, but not completely.

The other was to empty the loo. As it's been quite a long time since it was used, it was the easiest empty so far. Everything was really dry and well composted. There was a bit of a fly problem with the pee bottle, but 95 per cent of them were dead.

I've also had to expel dozens of spiders, include a huge one who'd taken over most of the shower room ceiling. He went out the window, but I'm not entirely sure that he's not still on board.

A fairly early start tomorrow; unfortunately the weather doesn't look as though it'll be as good as it has been today.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Jem Boats on test

The September issue of Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test of Jem Boats' first boat.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Waterway Routes maps

Way back at the Crick show, Paul Balmer of Waterway Routes kindly presented me with a full set of his maps.

A few weeks ago, I finally found time to load them onto my computer, and my iPad. I've been looking at some of the places we'll be going on our bit trip this September, and the maps have a lot to reccommend them. For instance, I like the way they tell you how long you're allowed to stay at official visitor moorings, and that loads of unofficial mooring sites are marked too.

These maps have proved a really good planning tool. Will I use them on the back of the boat? I'm not sure -- because i don't particularly want my iPad out there, and I'm also addicted to the commentary in the Pearson's guides! But for sheer volume of information, and because they're regularly uldated, Paul's maps are a really useful addition.

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.