Friday, 15 March 2019

Goodbye Paul

This morning was very windy again, with the odd squally shower.  Adrian did work while I did not much, apart from a trip to get lunch and dinner.  This afternoon was the reason we were up here — to go to Paul Macey’s funeral.

It was a very nice service at the crematorium in Milton Keynes, and it was also good to chat to his family afterwards.  We’d followed the blog for a long time and met Paul and Elaine a few times, most notably at Paddington Basin on the day Prince George was born.  He also often used to message me when he was listening to the radio.

Back at the marina, just where we parked there were sparrows going in and out of a little hole in the wall.

On the boat, we spent a mucky half hour trying to stop the bilge pump running — not pumping, just running — something that will require more work on another occasion.  Tomorrow, we’ll go back to London as I have work, and Adrian will go home from there.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

New lock gates

As usual after night shifts, I went to bed early and got up quite late.  It was another blustery day with squally showers blowing through from time to time.  The boat has been bouncing about in the wind.  The forecast calming down sort of happened after lunch, but I still didn’t fancy heading out, partly because the forecast is pretty windy for tomorrow too.  However, in a sunny spell this afternoon I walked the mile or so down the towpath the Cosgrove to see the new gates which have been installed at the lock.  They have certainly stopped the continual flow through the previous leaky gates.

There were some daffodils by the bridge, which looked very nice in the sunshine.

Adrian is coming up on the train, so I’ll drive to Wolverton to pick him up.  A sausage casserole has been simmering away on top of the stove all afternoon.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019


I came up to the boat this morning after my night shift.  I was meeting someone at the marina at 10, and was early enough to stop at Tesco in Wolverton to buy some food.  Just after ten, a director of RCR arrived to fit a remote monitoring device which is undergoing testing before being launched later this year.  It was all installed by lunchtime.

It has been extremely windy all day, with waves on the marina.  Every now and then a squally shower blew through too.  I had originally planned to head out of the marina this afternoon but there was no way I was going in strong winds like this.  I did see one boat going past, a Wyvern hire boat.  It has calmed down in the past hour or so, so I’ll see what it’s like tomorrow.  Instead, while the engine boards were clear I checked and topped up the batteries, and then filled the water tank.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Joy Louise on test

The Jim Birch Boat, Joy Louise, is the test boat in the April edition of Canal Boat.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Mercia again

It was pretty chilly when I got up this morning, even though the fire had stayed in.  I made a prompt start with the drive up to Mercia Marina for a boat test.  I arrived about 9.30 having had a test from Andy the photographer saying that traffic meant he would be late.  It meant I managed to get all my note-taking done before he arrived.  When he did turn up, not really late at all, we set off to do the running shots in sunny but rather cold and blustery conditions.  Once back at the marina, the owners and I left Andy to do the interior shots while we went to the Beetroot Tree cafe, which is new since we were last here, and was right next to the boat.  Andy joined us afterwards, and treated himself.

The drive back to the boat was easy, and as there’s a quick turnaround on this boat test I’ve spent the afternoon writing it — which just goes to show that it is possible if you put your mind to it.  Tomorrow, a very early alarm for work, then back home.

Monday, 4 March 2019

First visit since New Year

I came up to the boat this afternoon, as I have a boat test further north. tomorrow.  Everything on board was fine, if a little chilly.  I got the fire and the Eberspacher going, put the shower bar back on, and turned the water on.

It was fairly bright and sunny, but there was a very stiff breeze making waves on the marina.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Dartford Warbler on test

Something a bit different for the boat test in the March edition of Canal Boat, which is a holidays special.  It’s the ABC hire boat, Dartford Warbler.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Watt Knot on test

The February edition of Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test of Watt Knot by Ortomarine.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

New Year Cruise: Day 3

I thought it might be frosty this morning given the forecast, but it wasn’t. We were in no rush, so had a pretty relaxed start.  When we were ready to leave, Adrian walked up to the lock so I could go straight in.  Within the hour we were back in the marina and secure in our berth.  We packed up, did the little bit of winterisation that we do, and set off.  Adrian took me to Milton Keynes to get a train back to London, then he drove home.

1 mile, 1 lock.  (13 miles, 2 locks)

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

New Year Cruise: Day 2

We had a lovely evening on board Rowington last night.  Adrian had made his speciality bobotie for main course, which we took along and heated up in the oven.  Catherine had made a trifle, and Grace had made a lovely sticky toffee cake.

After dinner we played a few games of Uno Roboto — until I just couldn’t stay awake any longer.  I had lasted until about 10.30, so apart from an hour’s afternoon nap, I’d been up over 28 hours.  Back on our boat I was asleep within seconds; Adrian tells me there were fireworks nearby at midnight, but I didn’t hear them.

This morning we had a very slow start to the day.  About 10.30 we visited Rowington again to find a very similar situation there.  It was gone 11 when we finally released ropes from mooring rings and set off, on a rather chilly and drizzly morning.  We passed quite a few moving boats.  We went past our marina and into Cosgrove where the moorings were virtually empty.  Down the lock, the moorings below were much busier; the first stretch is winter moorings and appeared full.  We went across the aqueduct and turned before the Galleon pub, back across the aqueduct and into a space for the day.  It was about a quarter to two, so had lunch, then spent the rest of the afternoon lazing about and dozing.  The sun came out, giving the solar panel something to do and lighting up the trees on the embankment across the tow path.

7 miles, 1 lock.  (12 miles, 1 lock)