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.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Big Decision moves on

I have had my offer accepted on a property in Stoke Bruerne alongside the lock waiting area above Stoke Bruerne top lock. It's the second cottage along from the left. My name is down for a mooring with CaRT.  As always there's always many a slip twixt cup and lip but I am hopeful that there will be as few issues as possible and I can move to Stoke Bruerne without too much delay.  I would like to think I could volunteer at the Canal Museum during the colder times (days with less daylight) and perhaps with CaRT during the summer.  Time will tell. Click for full details.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Big Decision

I have made a big decision recently having put my house on the market and, this week, accepted an offer on it.

I am interested in a house that fronts onto the Grand Union in the Northants area - that will move me to a more dynamic canalside location (a bit like moving from an unadopted road to the M1 I suppose).

There's lots of things to consider, a very close involvement with Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society over 25 years, a more recent close involvement with Byfleet Boat Club (great new website), volunteer work for the National Trust on the River Wey and occasionally for the Basingstoke Canal Authority on the Basingstoke.

But the house I have is as near complete as I can make it for me, I still have the energy to want (need?) a project, and the house I have been looking at, whilst seeming to be structurally sound, needs a fair bit of TLC.

Of course in these days there's many a slip twixt the cup and lip but I am hopeful things will proceed if planned.  If not, then I have a lovely house and varied interests where I live. Once the offer I have made on the new house is accepted I'll post details but not until I have had the offer accepted.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Thames Cruising web site

My friends Richard and Sue (Indigo Dream) and I have been working on a new website (it's really a portal to other information) to pull together all the disparate information about cruising the tidal Thames from Waterscape, the PLA, CaRT, EA etc (still very much work in progress but in a state now where it is quite usable).

Rather than me rewrite things may I suggest that, if you are interested in looking at the site (and providing us with feedback) that you look at the information Richard and Sue have provided about the new site.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Byfleet Boat Club Illuminated Boats

Byfleet Boat Club will be hosting an Illuminated Boats evening from Town Lock (River Wey) to the Pelican Pub and afterwards in the Pelican Pub for an evening meal and a few drinks.

The River Wey and Godalming Navigations Manager, John Gibson and his wife, are kindly attending; you will have an opportunity to meet John.

Well known 'personalities' Mick and Suzanne Wilson (Aquarius Narrow Boats) and Dick and Alison Snell will form part of the judging panel for the best three boats.

Everyone welcome to attend.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Fireworks at Send

Leo No2 approaching Walsham Gates
in the rain this morning - taken by my
friend Suzanne on Aqua Vitae.
Some members of Byfleet Boat Club braved the weather this weekend to go to Send (in Surrey) to see the fireworks and to enjoy an evening in the pub.

Just before leaving home we received news that the Wey was in flood - it seems a regular occurrence this year, I imagine because the ground is so thoroughly soaked after such an awful summer.  We decided to go as far as Byfleet Boat Club on the Friday and see what the morning brought.

Saturday 09:15 and we received the news we had hoped for, the river sections were open so off we went. We dragged the bottom between Papercourt Lock and the winding hole above Worsfold Gates.  Very odd we thought with such a lot of water around.  It turned out, after a phone call to Thames Lock, that the weir had jammed on a tree on its way down.  As soon as that was fixed the water levels came up.

We enjoyed a pleasant evening at the fireworks followed by an equally enjoyable evening in the New Inn at Send.

At about 04:00 I could hear the rain pounding on the roof - such a snug feeling inside the warmth of the boat.  I poked my nose out (still in my jimmy jams) just after 07:00 - we all had a quick chat and decided to get ready to go quickly to avoid the certainty of more red boards on the river sections.  We were off in less than 20 mins and made it through Walsham Gates as the relief weir-keeper made his way up to put the red boards on.

A lovely weekend with good friends - what more can you ask for - good weather - not this year I fear!

I have been obliged to turn on my spam prevention as this post got me a number of E-mails from Bradford encouraging me to have a new aluminium shop front - on your bike mate!