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, 23 May 2013

Update on the house renovation

The party wall between me and
James next door
I have been to Stoke Bruerne today to check on the progress of the
You can see from the marks on the
remaining wall where the awful wall
was the surrounded the staurs
'new' house.  I must say I am delighted with how things are turning out and all the workmen whom I have met have been very accommodating and helpful.

The plastering was finished just as I arrived and the new kitchen arrived at about 14:00.  I have seen samples of the possible new floorboards; I now need to make a decision when the builders send me the prices and advise on the extra time needed to put in 'boards' rather than carpet - I know what's right in terms of returning the house to original but I have to balance that with living there as 'Anno Domini' catches up with me.  There are before pictures on the estate agents particulars which are here.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Moored River Wey

I am moored on the Wey at the moment whilst the works are undertaken to renovate the house.  The builder specifically asked me not to 'pop in' as they may be at an awkward stage.  However I am going tomorrow (23-May) as I am going to discuss bedroom flooring.

The current state of the flooring is chipboard and I want to see if it is financially viable to:

1. Remove the chipboard and put down reclaimed pine floorboards
2. Retain the chipboard and put down an 'engineered' wooden floor
3. Retain the chipboard and put down good quality carpet

I think there are pros and cons of all the three options - I know the cost of the carpeting so it is just really t talk to the builder and the floor expert to see what they can do and what my budget will allow.  I assume that the house originally had pine floorboards (built about 1840) and if I can I'd like to do that but fear it may delay the completion of the work and severely dent the bank balance.  The only way to find out is to see what can be done and what the cost is (and not to forget if it includes or excludes VAT and the not insignificant amount of 20%)

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Wey Transit Licence

I quite regularly purchase a Wey Transit Licence to travel between the River Wey and the tidal Thames at Teddington or vice versa.

There's been a lot of 'disquiet' (I don't think that's too strong a term) recently with advice that we couldn't stop on the trip between the Wey and Teddington (or Teddington and the Wey) but those who know this stretch of the Thames and the tidal Thames will understand that a full transit is not always possible.  This was brought to a head last Friday (10-May) when the lockkeeper at Teddington advised me to be 'off the river that evening'.  It was 16:00 and the transit time to the Wey is about 3 or 4 hours so I politely (I hope) pointed out that it would not be possible to accede to his request because of the opening hours of Thames Lock (River Wey) which closes each evening at 18:00.  His response was to tell me to be above Sunbury that evening.  Having single-handed from Bulls Bridge that day (my choice I admit) and taken the first available tide of the day I felt that perhaps stopping at Hampton Court would be sensible from a tiredness point-of-view.  I rang the EA Helpline who advised me that the licence was valid for 24 hours (just as I originally thought).

We were not challenged by the lockkeepers at Molesey or Sunbury on the Saturday morning but I still had a feeling that I wanted a bit more concrete information to back up the call to the EA so I E-Mailed their helpline and asked for the Terms and Conditions of the transit licence as they do not give you those when purchasing the licence.  They kindly responded today with this Terms and Conditions which I have made into a PDF file which is available here.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Return from Little Venice

We stayed on at Little Venice as I needed to go to Stoke Bruerne and Stonghold, Winging It and Leo No2 had decided to join St Pancras Cruising Club Thames barrier cruise on the Saturday.  The weather on the Wednesday was awful and the forecast for Saturday was much the same so we had a quick towpath conference and decided that discretion was the better part of valour, sent our apologies to Andrew Phasey, and headed for Bulls Bridge and the Hanwell flight.

We had a good trip and on arrival at Teddington Winging It and Leo No2 went back to the Lock office to purchase a Wey Transit licence.  The issuer said to me that he wanted me 'off the river' that evening. I replied that would be a challenge as it was now 16:00, Thames Lock (River Wey) closed at 18:00 and it was 3 to 4 hours cruising to the Wey.  Well, he said, be above Sunbury tonight.  I paid my £10 for the transit licence and left.  I was not impressed with the level of customer service from the Lock Keeper.  My view of the transit licence is that it is a licence to travel from Teddington to the Wey (or the Wey to Teddington) and that we should try and complete the transit as quickly as practicable.  The tides dictate if you can make the Wey or not and, single handing down Hanwell, the tidal trip to Teddington and then to be requested (it was a bit more than that) to keep going for another couple of hours is perhaps not sensible.

I rang the EA Helpline and received very good help from the person who answered the phone.  I was advised that a Wey Transit was valid for 24 hours - that seemed sensible to me so we spent th night at Hampton Court.  We wondered if the Lock Keepers at Molesey and Sunbury would question our licences on the Saturday morning but they did not.

I expect some boaters have been 'taking the michael' and making extended transits - that's not in the spirit of the agreement but I think an overnight stay on the way up or down the Thames, if the tide times dictate, is within the spirit of the agreement.

Once back on the Wey we decided to join the Byfleet Boat Club's 'Commodore's BBQ' at Warren Farm and enjoyed a lovely evening in good company despite the weather.

A small setback this afternoon; the blanking plate on the back of my Morso Squirrel started to fall out.  There was a sheared bolt which we couldn't get out so I have order a new plate from TLC and in the meantime I'll have to rely on the central heating.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Work progressing at Stoke Bruerne

The place where the fireplace was
I was invited to go and look at my 'new' house today as the electricians wanted to know where I wanted the power points.

The kitchen is stripped and one small wall is down, the fireplace has been removed to give a huge amount more space in the sitting room and, as can be expected, there is mess everywhere.

At long last I am becoming excited about the prospect of living there - I know it is the right thing to do for me.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Canalway Cavalcade

Well here I am at Canalway Cavalcade (Little Venice) and after such a short time here (3 hours) it is a 'never again' from me.  Four times I have come here and four times I have been abandoned into the countryside whilst all the 'in' crowd have moorings in Brownings Pool.  I couldn't even obtain my goodie bag (with it's security braclet) so I am sitting in the dark on my boat wondering how I can complain in the morning without 'losing it'. The Waterspace Office closed at 18:00 and whilst I arrived in time to collect my stuff being single handed and with what can only be described as an utter shambles for those not fortunate enough to be allocated a Brownings Pool mooring I had to stay with the boat until such time as I could moor it safely - that was 20:00, some two hours after the Waterspace Office closed.

I know and understand that the festival is run with volunteers but if you charge money you should deliver.  I will sleep on my anger and decide what I what I will do in the morning but I think it will be asking to see the person in charge (not just the Waterspace Manager), if that's not possible then it will be an E-mail to the Chairman of the IWA.  At the moment I am ashamed to be a member of the IWA have experienced the treatment I have this afternoon.