Tuesday 30 July 2019


Making the most of Pip and Mick on Oleanna being on the River Wey at the moment, I went up to Guildford this afternoon to meet them.

Of course I also met Tilly the cat, shown here on the towpath as I left.  She’d just be madly rushing up and down trees.  We had a very pleasant couple of hours chatting over a cup of tea.  No-one will be surprised to hear that toilets and batteries were among the topics of conversation.

Friday 26 July 2019

Swanley Bridge Marina

A fairly early alarm this morning, then I walked through the Horse Tunnel under the canal to my car, and set off to meet Andy the photographer for a boat test.  It was at Swanley Bridge Marina on the Llangollen — a new boat test location for us.

Ever since we set up this test several weeks ago, the forecast has been good.  Indeed, it was even good today — but the actual weather had other ideas, with some fairly solid cloud.  Even so we got everything done.  There’s no cafe at Swanley Bridge, so we drove five minutes to the Nantwich Canal Centre and had lunch at the cafe there, and also caught up with Bill and Sheila who own the centre.

The drive back down the M6, M42, and M40 seemed rather long, with several slow bits.  Andy dropped me back at my car in Bicester; I drove back to the marina and walked down to Cosgrove.  I had dinner, then just as I was about to set off back to the marina it started to rain.  Fortunately it was on and off, and I didn’t get very wet.  I blasted down to the winding hole above the lock, and someone on the trip boat told me I was going the wrong way — until he realised I was turning.  The turn itself was very efficient, helped, I suspect, by the back pumping.  A boat which was now behind me commented that I’d obviously done that before!  When I got back to the marina, I did another very efficient spin and reverse into our berth, not even touching the sides.  The Navigation Inn is very busy and noisy this evening, so I hope it quietens down soon as I have to go to work early in the morning.

1 mile, 0 locks.  (2 miles, 0 locks)

Thursday 25 July 2019


I had a late shift in London, so got up early and walked back to the marina to bring the car to Cosgrove.  While walking, I checked the trains from Wolverton and discovered that because of the predicted heatwave all trains after 10am were cancelled.  I decided that my best bet was to get a train from Milton Keynes Central instead; so rather than a fairly laid back morning I left for work much earlier than planned.  At MK I managed to get a space in the station multi-storey car park, and then got the first train my ticket would allow.  I meant I was in London much earlier than needed -- but at least I was there.  The trains back home later this evening look like a nightmare -- so whether I get back to the boat at a reasonable time is anyone's guess.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

RCR and Cosgrove

I drove up to the marina this afternoon, as the technical director from RCR wanted to make some changes to the remote monitoring device he fitted back in March.  It’s still a work in progress, and there have been a few updates.  My drive seemed very slow; when I got to the boat it was hot and full of spiders.  Mr RCR had done his stuff within an hour or so, so I decided to head out of the marina.  The Taverners Cruising Club just the other side of the bridge are having piling put in.  It’s about a foot in front of the existing concrete edge, so there’s also a dredger there which is filling in the gap with dredgings.

When I got to Cosgrove I began to worry that the moorings would be full and I’d have to turn round and go back.  But although it appeared there were lots of boats, it was clear further on, and I got a mooring on the final straight bit of edge.  The good news is the side hatch is on the water side of the boat, and there’s also a bit of a breeze.

1 miles, 0 locks.

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.