Sunday, 25 June 2017

Adding to the album

At Braunston I was able to add two boats I've not seen/photographed before to the album - both, I think, with relatively new owners.
The first was Belfast, which has just been bought by one of the co-owners of Fulbourne. It had previously been a community boat taking parties of children on trips, since the 1970s - how brillaint to have a cabin conversion with such provenance.
The other was Carnaby, which was one of BW's last disposals. The new owners have smartened it up but not fundamentally changed its very unusual configuration. I have it in my head that Carnaby or Cantley, or possibly both, were adapted for carrying reels of fibre optic cable for laying on the towpath.

Looking through the Sticker Album, I am horrified to see that I don't have a photo of Purton - they've been at practically every gathering I can recall and we've been on a quiz team with them twice! Halsall is another one I have seen on numerous occasions, in two different guises, but if I've taken a photo I've not managed to keep it.

I also have some pictures of boats looking rather different from my previous ones - Paddington, which has changed colour, and Lancing, which is almost unrecogniseable.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Massive hit

The highlight of today for Chertsey was the inaugural gig of the Shellac Massive, utilising a number of records Andy had brought along representing a wide range of genres, from the Savoy Orpheans to Kurt Weill. Part way through the evening messengers from Typhoon arrived bearing Halfie's gift of some brass screws and - with brilliant timing - a 78! Thank you Hallie.

We had food and beer and guests, and a melodeon interlude from Flamingo. I highly recommend the Shellac Massive to help your thirties themed party go with an appropriate swing. (Is that glowing enough boys?)

Friday, 23 June 2017

Braunston 2017

Arrived 4.30. Purchased patchwork trousers and brass items. Ate tea. Went to beer tent. Talked to lots of people. Excellent. Now retiring to the distant strains of the Irish Rover. In an uncertain world, it's nice to know that some things don't change.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

A convenient view from the stern end

It might not be the most scenic view from the stern end, but it was certainly convenient. When Laurence brough Chertsey back from Grendon, rather than manoeuvre the new blacking backwards along the concrete slipway, he backed her onto a pontoon instead. I could get used to this.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


The passenger pigeon is, sadly, extinct, but we had a pigeon passenger on Sunday, who hitched a ride for quite some way.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The new black

So, after seven years, Chertsey has finally been blacked again (mind you, I reckon it was four times that long before the last time). This time we didn't do it ourselves, but had it done in the dry dock at Grendon - and I'm very pleased with the result.
As a compromise between the Comastic we used last time (and on every previous boat) and the most basic product, we decided to try SML Ballistic Black which was gaining popularity among the boaters at Alvecote. Laurence said it was the first time they'd put it on an old boat, and he was so impressed he then used it on his josher, Lynx. It goes on thickly and takes quite a long time to cure, but looks very good. They certainly did a nice neat job.
The same goes for the tunnel bands - I think they look so much better and more 'right' now.

Finally, I asked Laurence if they could repack the stern gland - this never got done properly when I first had Chertsey. Again this seems to be a very good job - and what impressed me most of all was that you wouldn't have known anyone had been in the cabin - when I came back it was exactly as I had left it, despite the fact that everything would have had to be moved off the floor. That shows a kind of respect for the customer and for the boat which really stands out.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Mad dogs

As Ricky apparently has no sense of climatalogical self-preservation, and no intrinsic insulation, being his owner (factotum?) carries tremendous responsibilities around preventing him getting too cold (Has he got his jumper? Does he need a blanket? Is that the right coat?) or too hot, which is an even more frightening prospect.

Because he does not have the sense to seek out the shade, and in any case would not countenance it if it meant letting one of us out of his sight (must be why they call them sight hounds), and because he is black, and has neither fur nor fat, weather like last weekend's is a bit of a challenge.

But we rise to it. First there was the wet tea towel, with which he could be draped. But it didn't always stay in place, and sometimes left large areas exposed. Whilst wetting his tea towel on Saturday, I decided to look in the rag bag for something more suitable, and found a rather fetching old scarf of mine. Being thin cotton, it's lighter to wear, drapes over more of him, and stays in place better.
Compromise my dignity? Absolutely not!
However, the weekend required more than just constant evaporative cooling, so I unleashed my secret weapon - a £10 Wilko's children's beach shelter, designed to protect todays delicate little flowers from the evils of UV. After a bit of a struggle we worked out how to assemble it, and found a way, just, of fitting it onto the back end deck. I wasn't sure it would work, but it was a a great success.
Yes, I am very cool
With his bed inside it wasn't hard to persuade Ricky to go in, and it was noticeably cooler inside - the canvas has some kind of reflective quality. You might think that a fixed unidirectional sunshade might give only sporadic protection on the North Oxford - well, I did - but when the sun was at its highest and hottest the overhang at the top kept most of the interior in shade, and even when it was lower and seemed to be shining straight inside, there was still some shade. It also had the unforeseen advantage of shielding most of the sheep en route from his gaze, thus saving him a lot of barking energy.