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.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Moving Leo No2 back to Stoke Bruerne (Day 2)

The autumn colours are
I was up early and off by 07:35 knowing I would have to work Cookham lock myself but what I didn't bargain on was that the last boat through had left the upper gates open, the sluices up and of course the lock full.  Never mind I had a volunteer operate Sonning for me during his lunch hour so what you gain on the swings you loose on the roundabouts!

I was a funny day weather wise.  Jacket on, then off, then on, then off and I eventually lost count of the number of times I put it on and took it off.  It was a lovely still day but I find myself quite tired so called it a day at about 17:00 at Pangbourne.  I still feel as if I am way ahead of my orginal planned (GU) schedule.

Miles 15: (37)
Locks: 12 (21)

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Moving Leo No2 back to Stoke Bruerne (Day 1)

The Autumn colours are coming but
they will be better in a week or so
For all of its life so far, in my ownership and Mick's and Suzanne's Leo No2 has been resident on the Wey, then the Basingstoke and then the Wey again. With my move to Stoke Bruerne the time has come to move Leo No2 to close to my new home and to that end will end up in Blisworth Marina.

I was hopeful that friends may be able to help crew with me up the GU to Yardley Gobion where Leo No2 has her periodic appointment with the 'bottom blacker' but it wasn't possible to fit things in with moving off the Wey at the end of September and the appointment in Yardley Gobion so I changed my mind after consultations with friends and am taking the more circuitous route up the Thames and the Oxford and 'over the top' through Wigram's Turn, Braunston, Blisworth and Stoke Bruerne.  The narrow locks of the Oxford and the 'operated for you' locks on the Thames are very appealing so it was that this morning I set sail from Weybridge, having spent the night on the wall and find myself tonight in Cliveden Deeps just down stream of Cookham Lock.  I don't think that's too bad for one day single-handed.

I was surprised how quiet the Thames is both in terms of flow of water and number of boats - it is almost as easy going upstream and it is down!

If anyone is interested I timed the lock movements and the times between the locks and the results are below.

Miles: 22 (22)
Locks: 9 (9)

Lock In Out Time In Time Between
Shepperton 09:00 09:10 00:10
Chertsey 09:55 10:05 00:10 01:05 01:05
Penton Hook 10:35 10:50 00:15 00:55 02:00
Bell Weir 11:30 11:40 00:10 01:05 03:05
Old Windsor 12:25 12:50 00:25 01:20 04:25
Romney 13:40 13:55 00:15 01:30 05:55
Boveney 14:30 14:35 00:05 00:55 06:50
Bray 15:20 15:35 00:15 01:05 07:55
Boulters 16:05 16:10 00:05 00:50 08:45

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Lovely Heritage video of our Waterways

Not much more to say really but enjoy.  It is on YouTube and it is here.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Village at War

This weekend is Village at War weekend. It is difficult to describe but suffice to say that it supports the Canal Museum and is an amazing experience.  Photos are available here.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Village at War Weekend

Whitby (L) and Darley making a
breasted up approach under
the Stoke Bruerne bridge
In the Stoke Bruerne top lock
It's only just starting but the boats are turning up thick and fast.  Whitby and Darley came down, winded, and then back up again as the mooring line between the Museum and the southern portal of the tunnel starts to fill.  No wonder I have no time to do any housework!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sonning Bridge Postbox

Photo credit - Ian and Helen Wright

It seems to be in the news today.

Information about it is here (and on other news sites)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

New mooring Restrictions at Stoke Bruerne

A picture is always worth 1,000 words
There's been a lot of discussion recently about the new mooring restrictions implemented at the 'honey pot' sites on our waterways, one of which is Stoke Bruerne.  Since the announcement came from CRT I have been walking the mooring line between the Museum Green and the southern tunnel portal each evening and trying to work out how many 70', 60', 50', 40' and 30' boats there was still space for.  In other words have the moorings been full as is the inference from Canal and River Trust.  The simple answer is no apart from the Bank Holiday saturday evening.  They will probably be full again this coming weekend when we have Village at War weekend.

Does this mean I am against the 48 hour restrictions - no I think the fact that boats should move on after a short stay is good for the area and good for local businesses.  But is it right to slap a £25 charge for over-staying?  I am not convinced by that approach. The same view applies not just to Stoke Bruerne but to anywhere else.  By all means monitor the moorings, relax the the time limits during the winter; perhaps make the 48 hour and 7 day moorings all 14 day moorings but insist the boats move on - that's what Continuous Cruising is all about.  Winter should be winter - i.e. the time our clocks are set to GMT and not some fuzzy logic of 01-November to the Thursday before Easter - Easter moves so much that's a difficult date to follow.

The notices explaining the restrictions are complex,  more so if English is not your first language (as is the case with a number of hirers).  I don't understand why maps have not been used to show the restrictions with a 'You are here' arrow.  I'll update this post with links to the CRT website with their updates on the situation at Stoke Bruerne but please bear in mind that these rules also apply to the other sites where the new restrictions have been implemented; Foxton, Thrupp (Oxford) and the like.

Links - CRT View is here
Stoke Bruerne Visitor Mooring information is here

Just to reiterate - I am not against restricting the mooring times provided it is done in conjunction with the boaters (how many of those CRT people implementing the restrictions are boaters I wonder) and seeks to keep Continuous Cruisers as Continuous Cruisers (for that's what they sign up to) and not, using the recently applied euphemism, continuous moorers.  There will be, of course, aways reasons why someone cannot move on, sickness (of person and boat), and all manner of genuine reasons which I think everyone accepts.

I walked up to the tunnel in the rain last night.  There was a trading boat that had been there since the previous night - nothing wrong with that, other than they had left their chairs on the towpath, I very nearly walked into them and fell over - no not too much vino!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Blisworth Tunnel Geology

I was lent this diagram today which I had permission to scan.  I find this kind of information most interesting and it explains why you always get wet to some degree when in the tunnel.  I understand it takes 2 months for the water to make it way from ground level on top of the hill through to the tunnel.

A season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

With apologies to John Keats.  However it did look particularly

beautiful from my bedroom window this morning so I hurried downstairs and took a couple of photos to record a rather pleasant scene.