Saturday, 30 January 2010

Taking on Supplies

Uneventful and peaceful day. Purchased essentials, such as pork pies, coffee and muesli. Got back with a load of logs to discover that mister had steamed in on the King seat.

King seat challenge
Rest of the weekend passed in a cosy blur of relaxing by the stove with books, coffee, and classic FM from radio (though i did get well fed up with their endlessly recycled adverts for Denture fixatives).

Steve turned up on Monday morning, and started ripping bits of the boat apart in preparation for the electrics installation. We beat a retreat for a week, so he can get busy without us cluttering up the space.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Noisiest Thing

You'd be surprised at how loud these little birds are.
Easily the noisiest thing on the river.

I thought they were Moorhens, but Sheena's book of birds authoritively states that they are Coots. Apologies.

Thursday, 28 January 2010


Rainy Day
No, nobody fell in. It just chucked it down with rain all day. Went to investigate the local charity shop, and purchased some cutlery for the boat. Surprised to discover that it was made by IKEA. I've never been in one of their stores, ever. Yet they still managed to worm themselves into our lives, somehow. It was cheap. It's chunky. And it does the job.


Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Oh Sunny Day

Oh Sunny Day

The sun came out, and so did lots of people with brooms to scrub down their boats. Not seen the place that busy since we moved in. Presume the marina will be heaving with people in the Summer. Took the opportunity of walking over the railway bridge to Cockmarsh and let Sumo have a splash about in the shallower waters there. He took great delight in rolling about in innumerable dried cowpats, but thankfully, went in for a swim afterwards.

From the other side of the river, our scruffy waterline is clearly visible. We'll be glad when out of the water time comes around again, and we can touch up that brown flaky stuff.

close up

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Back on Boat

Dawn at Bourne End
Threw open the bow doors and was greeted by this beautiful dawn. Considered myself very lucky to be witnessing this moment in time. Thanked the ancestors who'd enabled me to experience this level of peace and tranquility. Then the ducks and geese stopped their honking, and we all watched the sun rise.

Plan was to spend a few more days on the boat with Sumo, to see how he'd get on with his new boaty routine. Outside temperature dropped to -3 most nights, but inside, we were roasty and warm. Tucked up in bed, I was slightly suprised to notice ice on the inside of the windows. but we didn't feel cold. And the water (when it melted), ran out of the ventilation channels, rather than dripping down onto the floorboards.

The pontoon was a bit white and crunchy in the evenings, but because it hadn't rained, it wasn't dangerous and slippery. We did have one slightly scary moment when Sumo tugged me towards a prawn that a seagull had dropped, but otherwise he behaved himself very well. Until we got onto land, where he resumed the "tugging beast" routine again.

The hose and water tap froze, but we got by with bottled water (which i'd filled up during the day). There were a couple of days when the temperature didn't rise much, and the hose didn't unfreeze at all, but we managed fine. The ice crystals soon melted with the cabin temperature.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Power every hour

inverter/charger combi
After serious thought, web trawling, conversations with Steve the mechanic, and careful deliberation on our future power requirements, we've decided to go with a Mastervolt inverter and charger combi (and also a bank of 4x135ah batteries to feed it). Most people who've fitted it on narrowboats say that it provides RELIABLE and trouble free operation. Which will make the routine of 'managing power' much easier for us. And our lives, simpler.

mastervolt guts

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Proximity of Water

out of the window
Sheena took this picture to remind herself that the water is very close to the window.

Thursday morning was beautiful. We were blessed with full on sunshine, and a warm daytime temperature. The water ripples cast reflections off of the cabin roof interior, and we were both very happy. Later, it heaved it down with rain again. But it was nice for us to experience what boating in the sunshine might feel like. Great.

In the evening, we enjoyed some good honest pub food at 'The Firefly'. I had the homemade steak and kidney pie (mash and two vegs). Sheena had the sausage and mash (with onions and peas). Waddled back to the boat, and chilled out to tunes with the stove on. Sumo did not attack the pub cat (and vice versa). Considered the evening a great success.

Friday, we had to pack up and travel back to Dorset for the weekend. So we also got to experience what hireboaters feel, when they've finished their holiday. Thankfully, we will be coming back.. the boat is our home.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Bad Pasty

bourne end has everything
Sheena arrived in the rain. But then it stopped. boat was nice and warm for her arrival. We drank lots of tea and coffee, polished off the melton mowbrays, and went for a potter around town. We later dined on battered sausage, chips, curry sauce, and the nastiest tasting, most foul smelling cornish pasty i've ever had the misfortune to order.

It was 'wrong', on so many levels.

So please, I beg you.. If you're ever in Bourne End, Bucks. And you feel the need/urge for a cornish pasty. Please don't get them from 'Smiles' chip shop. They suck. Everything else from there is fine. very nice. recommended. but steer well clear of their pasties!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


oh dear
Had to get up early to empty the beast (who won't be able to wander in and out whenever he feels like it anymore). The river had risen another few inches overnight. No wellies, so we had to wimp out and turn back. Relit the stove, listened to some tunes, and drank lots of coffee for the rest of the morning.

lunch ~ co-op special offer
Stuffed some mini melton mowbray pork pies, and nipped out for supplies, while the beast was having his after-lunch nap.

Went for a nice ramble through 'Well End' to 'Spade Oak' in the afternoon. A "massive marshy nature reserve owned by the National Trust", apparently. But the no wellies situation meant we couldn't explore very much of it. Got chatting to a bloke out walking his beast, who said that Amy Johnson used to land her plane nearby for the Bourne End regatta.

Amy Johnson
Her wiki page turned up this interesting information..
She drowned after bailing out into the Thames Estuary. Although she was seen alive in the water, a rescue attempt failed and her body was never recovered. The incident also led to the death of her would-be rescuer, Lt Cmdr Walter Fletcher of HMS Haslemere. There is still some mystery about the accident, as the exact reason for the flight is still a government secret and there is some evidence that besides Johnson and Fletcher a third person (possibly someone she was supposed to ferry somewhere) was also seen in the water and also drowned. Who the third party was is still unknown.

Spent the evening experimenting with coal and logs on the fire, and pondering on the time when it was permissable to just plonk one's plane down wherever one jolly well felt like it. (as Cecil Lewis does, in his memoirs 'Sagitarius Rising').

Then tidied up, scrubbed down, and generally made sure the boat didn't resemble a sh*thole when Sheena turned up.

Monday, 18 January 2010

First visit of 2010

Bourne End Twilight

Arrived at Bourne End, and was surprised at how swollen the river was. The boats nearer the concrete and buildings were in danger of floating out over the car park. But as dogma is moored on a floating pontoon (which rises and sinks with the water level), we were comparitively safe.

Jumped onboard at Twilight (or 'The crack between the worlds' as Carlos Castenada called it), and lit the Stove to warm everything up. Was delighted to find that nothing had burst, broken or leaked from the snow and ice. But not so delighted to find that the starter battery was as flat as a pancake, and the previous owner had wired the lighting circuit into it. Doh! No Engine. No Power. No Lights. It was looking like a very grim night. But the marina rustled up 54ft of extension cable (in the dark), and hooked us up to shorepower (thankyou!!). It feels like we are cheating while connected to land via an umbilical cord. But we now have a fully functional kettle, and it's all very civilised onboard.

Sumo took to it like he'd lived on a boat forever, and soon found the sofa. He also quickly located the fridge and largest heat source, which he hogged all evening.

hot dog
Spent a five star evening listening to Classic FM, and drank numerous cups of coffee. The cheap windup solar powered radio was the best investment, ever. Dropped it in the sink, it bounced. And still works. Boat was completely toasty by the time we went to bed. Had a restful and peaceful night.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


snowy garden pots
We must be the last place in the country to get it, but now we have snow too. Which is a relief, as it's less treacherous to walk on, than the sheet ice we've had negotiate over the last couple of weeks. Sumo loves it, and was rolling around all over the place. He's only ever seen a few flakes before.

Looks like we will be stuck here for another week until the big melt. But we're using the time to boff up on our cooking skills. Stay warm, everyone.

sumo in snow