Monday, 15 August 2016

Darkblue Narrowboat

I'm sorry we didn't let you moor up next to us. 

We have been kind and allowed it in the past, only for the mickey to be severely taken. Enough for us to vow "never ever again".

If, as you said, you'd travelled up all the way from Staines, you would have passed Windsor, Dorney lake, Maidenhead, Cliveden and Cookham. I appreciate that it is high summer, and many places are jam packed, but i severely doubt there wasn't at least one mooring spot for you anywhere on the whole of your journey.

Summer Protip: if you see a mooring, stop at it!

Please don't think too harshly of us. And I hope you found a spot, eventually.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Family Tree

Sheena says she does not want to hear about my "working class roots" ever again. I did try to counter this, with the 300 years of cockney geezers I'd discovered. But the 2000+ years of my ancestors living in castles did the argument no favours at all.

 24th Great Grandfather King John.

** We're all fine. Still floating. news update soon.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Hey Hey..

Not the Monkees

We made it back safely. There were a couple of brown trouser and "barely moving" moments. Particularly around Cookham lock, where the two weir streams meet. But no loss of control. If something had gone wrong, it would have been very wrong indeed, because there is a large amount of water flowing through the cliveden reach at the moment.

The islands are nearly submerged, and it's also very choppy, with a high swell. Heard the exhaust complaining a couple of times when it got swamped, but once we hit the Bourne End reach, it was relatively plain sailing. Even Cookham bridge let us through without argument. Used a single rope for the towing. Our bow to the tug's stern dolly. Gave us a slimmer profile, than being breasted up. Worked, thankfully. Mr Bukh didn't let us down either. Worked flat out all the way, without anything popping, falling off, or belching out black smoke.

Should also mention that the hirefleets are still sending boats out. Saw 'Caversham' and 'Le Boats'. I know they have big seaworthy engines. but jeez...  I wouldn't risk it. it's madness out there..

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter Weekend

 This is a post I wish I didn't have to write.
on Good Friday, the marina was extra busy with gongoozlers. Not wishing for an Easter bank holiday full of people strolling past the boat, kicking gravel onto the paintwork, and generally setting Olly off; I decamped to Cliveden. It was a beautiful sunny day. The river warnings were yellow (Stream Decreasing). I had a weeks worth of food onboard. Thought I would be fine. Journey down... No Problem..
Then it started raining. A lot. And it got a bit windy. Cue 'Red Boards' (No navigation) on the whole river. Stuck! I'm tied up safely enough. Nice mooring. But the stream is so fierce that nobody is going anywhere for the forseeable. And it's too rough and speedy for the marina tug to come and tow me back. Nature has well and truly rustled my jimmies.

But, that's not all... no... this morning my uncle Danny phoned me up. I knew immediately why he had called. My mother had died.
Mum had kept the full extent of her illness from me. Shielding and protecting me from as much pain and sorrow, as she could. And always had done. It was an infection that finally took her away. Far, far, too soon.

Today, I have had a long dog walk. The lads love it down here, and don't seem too bothered about our predicament. Stoking up the fire right now. It's raining again. But, I'm grateful that there are two bags of coal on the roof. I'm sitting, pondering some of my earliest memories. Of Portsmouth, Fratton, Portchester, Fareham and Hampshire. Mum would not want me to get upset at her death. Her last weekend was spent laughing and joking with the nurses. She wanted me to be happy.

So, here I am. Grateful that Sheena is down in devon, with a bath and comfy bed, not having to go through this. Grateful that the lads are here, with their daily needs and requirements. Grateful to be alive, myself. Though, not the happiest of days..
My Mum loved this particular version, of this particular song.. So I will share it in her memory.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Spring is upon us

... well, almost.
 Hi Everyone. Hope you are all well.
Not much has happened here, over the winter. The uneventful grey and rainy days have all merged together into one long squishy and squelchy dog walk (and the cozy glow of evening fires). Still, I guess, at least, we are all fit puppies now. Slipping and sliding in the mud, trying to get some traction, would probably get to some people after a while. But, the boys seem to love it. I guess they don't overheat. And I find it's strangely life affirming. It's a tiny little percentage of a taste of what the people had to endure at places like Passchendaele and the Somme, one hundred years ago. Not to mention Trench Foot. Much as I enjoy lolling around in my shorts, with bare feet, on summer meadows; winter by the river has a lot to say for itself too.
Olly ~ 11 months
On a happier note, I'm glad to report that the boat is still floating and we didn't develop any window leaks. The village of Bourne End has been kind to us again. We've been reassured that there is a mooring for us here as long as we need it. And Sheena has been keeping her skills (and sanity) in, by volunteering at one of the local charity shops. It's been nice for us to be able to live together again, after all the illness related separation we had to go through in our previous boating years.
Though, sadly, with the chaps daily wants and needs, there hasn't been a great deal of time for me to get any serious reading done. A lamentable situation, which I hope to remedy with the forthcoming longer hours of summer daylight. It's nice that the sun wants to stay out until 5.30pm now. Hopefully, it will warm up soon too, so I can get this year's engine and paint/scraping/filling jobs done.  Too much of  wimp to be out there in overalls, unless I absolutely have to.
Bryn ~ Doing 'the stare'.
The picture quality of my phone camera has noticeably degraded, since I had to perform open heart surgery and jump start it. Sheena's been taking some excellent pictures with hers. So, hopefully image quality on the blog will improve. Maybe even a kingfisher, if we are lucky.
One year on, and we still miss Sumo very much. The thump of the tail, and the shine in his eyes, when he noticed that we were awake. It's comforting to have his ashes here on the boat. Still travelling with us. And a reminder that one day, we will end up like that too. So.... the most is being squeezed out of every possible moment of every single day. Which I think is a positive thing.
Sumo on Thames
Though some of them appear to be remarkable similar, each day spent by the river is indeed different.


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Bryn is Six

Birthday Boy
Lil Ols

It's different having two dogs. In some respects, more work, and in others, less. They're both been quite content to bimble about on walks, and aren't hassling me to chuck something for them every two minutes. They are both well behaved on the boat, seemingly aware of how much space they have to run around and go nuts in. Olly is past the "zooming up and down at 100mph" stage, and seems to love his moving home. They've both taken to sleeping on our bed, which is a bit of a squeeze. But also, pretty cosy and snug when the temperature has dipped to subzero.

We're spoilt for choice of excellent walks around Bourne End, but the one we do most days, is past Winter Hill. It's an iron age settlement, with tumuli and wide open meadows (where Amy Johnston was able to land her plane). The boy's recall is excellent with the whistle. And I'm currently amusing myself by teaching them to respond to their names in morse code. (B for Bryn and O for Olly).

For heat, we've been using the ever reliable homefire ovals. With an assortment of softwood and hardwood kiln dried logs, which (extremely fortunately) we can get delivered to the boat. We haven't been cold. Our morso stove is fitted with a backburner boiler, which feeds two radiators and 53ft of copper pipe. Everywhere is toasty and warm. Being able to heat the whole of the boat from a single heat source is undeniably, one of the best things ever. No sign of damp or fustiness, anywhere. If we ever do get ourselves another boat to live on, a gravity fed heating system is a must have.

Anyway, We're all enjoying winter. And I hope you are, too.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Horn of Henley

New Innovative Eco-friendly Design
With this handy lightweight tool, one can easily blow amplified raspberries at mooring wardens, aggressive swans, and the good denizens of Phylis court, as one cruises oneself past in fine style.
Excellent value, as one horn should last you all season (provided you do not get it wet).
Available now for the specially amazing introductory price of 4.99 english pounds (price will increase to 147.99 during regatta week, when demand outstrips supply).
Note: We can also deliver a shorter version, if the weight of this model is too much for your wrist. But, unfortunately, the decibel level and projected distance are halved.
Our dogs love it.
Yours will too!