An excerpt from Wind in the Willows

Nice? It's the ONLY thing, said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING - absolute nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing, he went on dreamily: messing - about - in - boats; messing----'
From 'Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Off topic - Once in a Blue Moon

I do like the Neil Armstrong touch in this link - he was my childhood hero.

A lovely 'final' day

I had a lovely evening last night just pottering about doing odd 'commordrial' jobs at Byfleet Boat Club and then set off this morning in blazing sunshine (it was a wee bit chilly) to go down New Haw and Coxes locks (after a chat with the National Trust maintenance team who were undertaking towpath repairs).

I think the only reason for coming home was the need to tax the car (which was parked at Addlestone). The tax runs out today and that's another £170 going to the Government - it would be OK if it was used on the roads but I doubt it is.

Plans are afoot to be out and about again next week and to moor at Warren Farm (Byfleet Boat Club moorings just below Newark Lock) and then go with other club members up to Woking Palace to celebrate Heritage Day (we can't take narrowboats up the Woking Stream but we will be looked after by the 'cruiser boys and girls' I am sure).

Let's hope for an Indian summer.

Godalming to Byfleet

A lovely trip down from Godalming to Byfleet with friends yesterday.

A bit of a challenge between Unstead and St Catherine's locks as the water level was about 12 inches down due to some unannounced run-off of water to facilitate the repairs to the Riff Raff weir (so named  because of the 'Riff Raff' type of people who constructed the weir in the mid 1700s).  The weir at St Catherine's was pulling very strongly, the clearance under Broadford Bridge increased by 12 inches and the bottom was just too close to the top.

At St Catherine's I ran into my old Personnel Manager from BA days - so nice to see you George and renew the friendship.

A discussion with the National Trust showed they were unaware that the run-off of water had effected navigation to such an extent.

Moored very peacefully last night outside Byfleet Boat Club.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Lovely mooring at Godalming

I have a lovely mooring at Godalming - Sainsburys is just 2 mins walk away as is the lovely town of Godalming with non-chain shops (what a delight).

Spent the day in London yesterday (excellent train service from Godalming) seeing a friend and plan a quiet day today (it's going to rain I understand) and will potter off home first thing tomorrow morning.

This must be what retirement is all about.

Monday, 27 August 2012

St Catherine's and Godalming

BBC boats moored at St Catherine's
Yum Sing, Leo No2, Aqua Vitae
A very enjoyable weekend despite falling over (one gin too many perhaps).  A great weekend with Byfleet Boat Club at St Catherine's.  I could have gone home today but need to be in London on Tuesday so thought I may as well go on to Godalming (southernmost point on the connected network is the 'claim to fame') and go to London from there and then make my way slowly back to Addlestone during the week - I think that's what retirement is all about.

A number of us went up to the lock late on Sunday afternoon to watch the boats go through.  We were really impressed by the two little boys managing Trincomalee II under the guidance of their grandparents.  They handled the boat very well and received a round of applause from those present.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Only a short trip today

Off from the moorings at Addlestone and up to Byfleet Boat Club; top up with water and do a few odd jobs around the cub and then on to the New Inn at Send in company with Anita and Peter on ThatWey.

Encountered hotel boats Snipe and Tarus at Papercourt Lock (the lock that moved) who wanted us to move back off the lock waiting area so he could get out.  We didn't think it necessary but did so anyway - we would have been fine not moving but it only cost us a few minutes and made them happy.

Now moored at the New Inn at Send (and going for a drink soon!) in the company of Aqua Vitae, Hazell NutThatWey and Cherie (St Pancras Cruising Club).

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Where are we now (7) Home

Home now at Addlestone.  Good trip down from Windsor apart from at Romney Lock where there was a cruiser moored on the lock waiting area with the curtains drawn.  Had to negotiate around the small weir and drop Brian off - not very safe.

Rang the Lock keeper just after 09:00; the boat was still there with the curtains drawn.  Lock keeper not very happy at all and was off to give him an abrupt waking up and a dressing down (all in one go I hope) - well deserved in my view.

Miles: 16
Locks: 8


Miles: 169
Locks: 148
Movable bridges: 18 (15 usually open)
Aqueducts: 8 small and 1 major
Tunnels: 1
Engine hours: 75.6 @ 1.2 litres per hour (Beta 43) = 90.6 litres (to be confirmed when I fill up)

Where are we now (6)

Oops - forgot to do it last night!

A good day leaving Mapledurham at about 07:10 - no one came near us asking for the £5:00 mooring fee which we would willingly have payed - very nice mooring.

A really enjoyable day with a quick stop at Tescos in Reading for milk and on down on a beautiful day.

Amazed at the long string of buoys between Bray and Boveney for Olympic security and the temporary bridge (being dismantled now) which was in place for the Olympic rowing.

Moored overnight in Windsor on the inside at Baths Island - again no one to collect our mooring fee.

CanalPlan estimates 5 hours to Weybridge to that should get us through Thames Lock on the Wey before 13:00 (closure for lunch) and onto our home moorings early afternoon which will mean less than 7 days Stratford to the Wey.  Not caused by 'fast' boating but by putting in some long days - average day length so far is exactly 10 hours - getting weary now and wouldn't wish to continue 10 hour days (at my age) for too much longer.

Miles: 34
Locks: 13 

Monday, 13 August 2012

Where are we now (5)

A long day today - we left North Oxford and joined the Thames via Dukes Cut.  No one on at Kings Lock and no one either at Godstow.  I asked about a licence at Osney but the lock keeper was 'too stressed' at 09:00 to deal with it so we obtained our licence (not free as I expected on a return from maintenance).

A slight 'challenge' at Abingdon where the river was running quite fast but as the old addage goes 'lest said - soonest mended'.

We are moored up tonight just above Mapledurham lock after a very damp afternoon.  We passed Sue and Vic on No Problem as we came out of Benson and they went in.  Nice to see you Sue and Vic.

Miles: 38
Locks: 14

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Where are we now (4)

Another good day today from just south of Banbury to the northern outskirts of Oxford which means we can sneak up Dukes Cut in the morning and then head off down the Thames - we are planning to be back on the Wey on Wednesday late afternoon.

Miles: 24
Locks: 15

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Where are we now (3)

A good day today - we set off from just above Marston Doles top lock at 07:30 and pottered across the Oxford summit which was a lovely trip.  Down Claydon and then the 'challenge' of Cropredy with its annual festival.  It wasn't too bad but the attitude of some of the single-handed boaters coming north left a lot to be desired - just trying to push through when waiting 30 seconds would have made things so much easier.

We stopped at bridge 168 in Banbury to stock up on food at Morrisons and then on to bridge 175 on the Oxford at Twyford - Brian is happy as there is excellent TV reception and he can watch the final of the 5,000m at the Olympics.

Miles: 25
Locks: 21

Friday, 10 August 2012

Where are we now (2)

Who is it and where is it
Well another marathon day as Ian and Karen put it.  We left Cape Locks at 07:30 and travelled through Warwick and met up with John and Karen on Australis and worked all the way up to Calcut with them - they didn't join us for the final three to Napton Junction.

Then on and up the Napton flight and we are moored this evening with our stern just (and only just) hanging over the lock waiting area above Marston Doles top lock - we hope to get through Cropredy and its festival tomorrow and that will be a slow 3 miles.

Picture shows my crew crossing the lock - anyone guess who it might be and which lock it is? 

Miles: 19
Locks: 33

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Where are we today

Well Brian and I had a good trip up to Stratford and managed to get away at about 16:00 and made it to just below Wootton Warwen before calling it a day.

We were up bright and early the following days despite the Plymouth Gin and Lemonade (no tonic on the boat!) and we off by 07:30.  Progress was steady but slow due to the number of hire boats about but we made it to Kingswood Junction by 14:30 and started down Hatton at 17:00 and we at the Cape of Good Hope by 19:00 (2H:40M for Hatton).

Just cooking at evening meal after a quick drink in the Cape of Good Hope.

Miles: 14
Locks: 38
Aqueducts: 2

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Last painting update

There are some more photos I'd like to have but I am off to collect (and pay for !) the boat tomorrow and I have put the painter under enough pressure to take photos for me.  Hope to get away from Stratford (Railway Bridge No 64 area) as soon after lunch as possible and try and make it to Wootton Warwen or Preston Baggot bottom lock for tomorrow evening.  That way we should clear the lower Stratford on Thursday and at least be at the top of Hatton for Friday morning if not outside the Cape of Good Hope! Have to fill up with diesel and water before we go but the evenings remain light enough to continue on a bit. 

The plan is to turn right at Napton Junction and go down the Oxford (I think we will miss the crowds at Cropredy Festival) and then down the Thames (EA have confirmed I am entitled to a section 9 exemption for the Thames part of the trip providing I don't waste any time which is a fair compromise.)

So it is off to Stratford in the morning with my friend Brian from Orion's Wey and we'll make our way home onto the Wey.

I'll try and keep the blog updated with our progress.

I have brought all the information about the repaint together here. There is also a link on the lefthand side of the main page called Leo No2 Painting under 'Local Waterways Sites'.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Painting update (16) bow decoration

The bow sides have been done - the Aqua blue is there to represent my friends (and the people who originally fitted out the boat) Mick and Suzanne Wilson of  Aquarius Narrowboat Fitters.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Painting update (15) red handrails

The red handrails
compliment the colour scheme
Looking aft from in front
of the engine bearer
The red handrails have now been completed as has the font deck.  Bearing in mind I have not seen it 'in the flesh' it looks wonderful from all the photos mark as been sending me.

He's also said I can go up to the boat on Monday and take it away on Tuesday morning (7-August).  Getting quite excited now.

Update 05-August - collection now Wednesday at lunchtime - not ideal but it is right to get the job done properly.

The front deck.  The deck
'proper' around the gas
locker will be raddle red