Sunday, 31 May 2009

Crick Tunnel

We walked down the towpath from Crick Marina to the tunnel entrance on Saturday, and could hear a boat coming long before it emerged from the darkness. We'd seen a few boats heading the other way, all of whom had seemed surprised by the chaos of the show -- double mooring, trip boats, gonzoozlers. This boat, however, seemed to want to be here: They moored up at the first available place, just a couple of boat lengths from the tunnel.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Canal Boats On Test

Canal Boat has produced an A5 book of boat tests, which was on sale at Crick and seemed to be doing quite well. It contains 24 tests published over the past few years, and seven of them are mine.
This also seems like a good opportunity to point out my new writing-focused website, at It's mainly so people who want to know about the writing can do so without having to wade through all the Debdale and other stuff.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Judy and Amanda

Jim from Starcross posted the other day about the little boat which Norbury Wharf uses to attract customers. They park it out on the junction of the road leading the boat yard. Well, Judy was at the Crick Boat Show. I can confirm that what Jim says about the name is true: Judy on one side, and Amanda on the other. I seem to have photographed the same side as Jim though; perhaps that's it's best side!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Crick Boat Show

We've had two fantastic sunny days at the Crick Boat Show. It seemed quite busy with visitors, but there were fewer new boats on show than in previous years, and the land based area was also a bit smaller. Several of the boats I've tested over the past year were on show, including Caxton from Barnowl and Fizzical Attraction by Crown Narrowboats. It was also good to see this year's offerings from some of the other builders I've got to know, including Fernwood, Cauldon, and Reading. I also spoke to a few other builders about doing tests on their boats over the coming months.

We spent a lot of time over the two days talking to people, including Del and Al from Derwent6, Lesley and Joe from Caxton (who say they'll be back blogging again in about three weeks), Paul and Christine from Waterway Routes, and Sheila from Sanity, who showed us around the Braidbar boat, Felonius Mongoose.

We went over the newly reinstated scaffolding bridge over the canal for a walk along the towpath. Sanity was moored just about as close to the bridge as it was possible to get.

We stopped to speak to Andy from The Maisibert which was moored out on the canal (it was Cassie the dog we recognised first!). We also watched the trip boats from the show, one of them being the little day boat from Foxton Boat Services.

We seem to have spent a fortune, on food, ice cream, water, ice cream, zip-off trousers, and ice cream! All in all a very enjoyable couple of days, with plenty of good contacts made.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Nantwich Aqueduct

This is the short but still rather impressive aqueduct at Nantwich. One concern, though, is that it does appear to be leaking a bit through the brickwork.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Wooden Horse

This fine fellow stands on the towpath just opposite the entrace to Nantwich Marina. He's one of a number of wooden sculptures along this stretch of canal.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Nantwich Marina

I've been to the pleasant surroundings of Nantwich Marina today for a boat test. The weather was mixed, with both sunny spells and showers. It was extremely windy, though, which made negotiating the exposed Shropshire Union quite tricky. An added bonus was that my sister came down to see me once the test was done, bringing my little niece with her. It was lovely to see them; Rachel has grown a lot since I last saw her a few weeks ago. Nantwich Marina has a nice little cafe where we had tea and scones, followed by a walk down the tow path, in an effort to get Rachel to sleep!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Canalway Cavalcade

I managed to get away from work a bit early this afternoon, so was able to spend a very enjoyable couple of hours at Little Venice, where the Canalway Cavalcade was taking place. The place was swarming with people, making the walk from Paddington tube station round to the far side of the pool a very slow journey. First stop was to meet up with Simon from Tortoise.

I had a look round the boat (at 30ft, it didn't take long!) then we sat on the front deck in the sunshine, with a great view of the comings and goings, which included a wedding reception on one of the widebeam restaurant boats.

We then took a slow walk back round the pool, hoping to spot few people. I spotted Steve Hayward's boat, Justice, but he didn't seem to be around. But Jo and Keith were on board Hadar, and it was good to catch up with them. I saw them last during our Debdale cruise at Christmas, when we came up the Hillmorton Locks side by side. A little bit further down was Sonflower, complete with its very reflective new paintwork, so I went and introduced myself to Peter.

All in all, a very enjoyable afternoon, but I'm now feeling a bit sunburned. I really should have taken my new Tilley hat with me, rather than leaving it in the car at work!