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)

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Crick Show: Sunday

Dull and rainy on and off today.  We went over to the show and did some shopping, including buying a new chimney.  While there we bumped into Lesley and Joe, and Amanda and David, whom we’d made plans to meet.  They had brought a picnic lunch with them, so arrangements were made for them to come to Briar Rose and eat it with us.  A few hours were spent catching up on news of boat purchases, and of course talking toilets.

In the afternoon it brightened up considerably.  We met Debs and Mark, friends of Andy and Helen Tidy, as they are thinking of buying a boat share and wanted some advice.  We then stayed over at the show site and watched the exhibitors canoe race, which is always fun.

We had dinner on site chatting to Debs and Mark, and were also joined by my cousin Jon and Carolyn.  We went to the entertainment tent for the Dolly Parton tribute act, finding somewhere to sit by taking a picnic bench in from outside,

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Crick Show: Saturday

Saturday was another hot and sunny day.  Andy and I looked at more boats before he headed off at lunchtime.  The Canal Boat stand, which was a trailer and gazebo this year rather than the usual tent, looked rather good.

Chris, the editor of Canal Boat, came to Briar Rose for a cup of tea with his wife, Clare.  I wrote quite a lot of mini reviews in the afternoon.  In the evening we went over to the entertainment tent to see Paul Young and his band Los Pacaminos.  En route, we passed the Braidbar boat, Freedom, moored up by the bridge, and Jerry and Linda invited us for gin and tonics on the well deck.  Malcolm who owned Santiago, the show boat from a few years ago, was also visiting them for a boating fix.  We also met up with my cousin Jon who was there camping with his partner, Carolyn.