Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Longing for the River Thames

I expect you’ve all been wondering what’s been happening to me, as I haven’t spoken for some time. I can tell you though that it’s not because I’ve had nothing to say but rather that I can’t get any time to myself on the computer these days….. The Boss always seems to be on it and I’ve had such a lot to say over the year too.

But now I have the computer I can’t remember most of what I wanted to say. Isn’t it awful?

They’ve just gone off shopping to Tesco’s after Janis persuaded him they needed to buy provisions. He was using the computer then and didn’t want to leave but he went in the end as he always does when she suggests something. He’s so soft and silly and not the same man at all these days. But for once I was pleased as it meant that I could talk to you.

We’re in Hungerford at the moment. Yes at last on the way back towards civilization and we’ve been here for a couple of days. But we seem to have been on the Kennet and Avon Canal now forever and I’m so flipping bored.

The Skipper’s family live down this way and I suppose he’s got to see them really while he’s so close. I know that’s why we’ve been so long but I do wish he’d hurry up and get it over with ‘coz I’m so dying to get back on the River Thames.

I love it there. The lovely deep and wide water. It makes a boat feel as if it’s doing the proper thing it was born to do not continually getting stuck in some ditch or other and never being able to get alongside at the end of the day. I like everybody to be able to see my beautiful paintwork as well and not have it hidden by tall stinging nettles and covered in bird droppings. I like to feel my engine thrusting me along with the water piling up in front of my bow and then caressing my sides and bottom as it swiftly rushes by.

But there you are.... We boats are made to obey our skippers and though I can give him ideas (he wouldn’t be the same man without my influence you know), I have to wait till he physically does do something about it and the old chap seems to take forever sometimes. Never mind I expect we shall get to the Thames eventually.

Even though he’s slow he gets there in the end!

He does such silly things sometimes though; like that day at Bathampton that he cycled into Bath and not only left me unlocked all day but left my top hatch open as well. It was just as well that it was a glorious day and it didn’t rain at all, otherwise my boatman’s cabin would have been thoroughly wet through. And what if a stranger had come aboard while he was away and raped me or something! ….

I simply can’t bear thinking about it!

But it’s his age really so I suppose I’ll have to make allowances for him and put up with it.

Though Janis is just as bad you know, and obviously not a good influence on him. Did I tell you about when she ran poor ‘Roots and Wings’ aground on the River Avon on our way down to Bristol from Bath and the Skipper had to turn me right round to go back to give her assistance?


Well I can tell you.... What a do! …. This’ll open your eyes.

It took over two hours for me to re-float poor old ‘Roots and Wings’ and the Skipper on this occasion did very well and followed my instructions as to what to do very quickly... He’s fine when he concentrates you see. My old companion was stuck fast and I reckon she was held by a submerged tree trunk or something in just one narrow spot amidships as when I pushed and pulled from different directions all she did was stick fast even though she rocked and rolled so easily and I was able to swivel her right round completely. Luckily there was plenty of water to do so. In the end one massive push on her starboard side ‘midships with my engine at high revs (black carbon chunks were flying out of my roof funnel I’ll tell you) and all of a sudden ‘Roots and Wings’ slid clear seemingly as easy as you like, as if to say “What’s all the fuss about.”

It was a bit cheeky and ungrateful of her actually I thought after all the time and effort I’d had to put into the operation. I was knackered too and very glad when soon afterwards we found a proper mooring on a pontoon at Keynsham.

But Janis and the Skipper have just come back unexpectedly so I’ll have to close.

But see you all again soon. I promise.

Friday, 4 September 2015


I am now a member of the West Berkshire County Library and I have my plastic card complete with bar code to prove it. This morning I came in search of free Wi-Fi at Hungerford Library and found that I had to be a full time member to enjoy the service, even though I shall probably only use it once.

But on thinking about it a little more, in fact the idea is fine since when I get to Newbury I can immediately log on to Wi-Fi at the library there by just flashing the same white card with bar code since that will be in the West Berkshire area as well.

But here the library is small and there are many people using it today for different reasons. There are the young mothers with toddlers in the play corner facing me and, as well as myself and one other lady trying to concentrate while using our computers, right behind me is a large ladies knitting circle; here I refer of course to the size of the circle rather than that of the ladies and all those people who know knitting circles well will immediately understand what I mean when I suggest that knitting is always accompanied by lots of happy contented chatter as well as the ardent noisy click of knitting needles.

So the small Hungerford Library is not one that advocates or encourages silence on this particular morning and I shall need to concentrate very hard on writing as my tiny brain will continually wish to join the ladies behind me or the little ones enjoying themselves in the corner.


The Stanton St Bernard White Horse


Reflections along the Kennet & Avon Canal


We arrived here yesterday afternoon having spent the morning and early afternoon travelling down through the ten locks from Great Bedwyn. The weather, as is usual in my experience as soon as September begins, remained autumnally cool all day, though magically the rain held off for the whole passage. Nonetheless we were very pleased to see that two separate berths, with the luxury of rings for our mooring lines, were available just ahead of us, as we moved through the swing bridge, just above Hungerford Lock, by the parish church. We then spent the rest of the day walking up one side of the high street visiting the numerous antique shops while searching for a decent pair of 7 x 50 binoculars for Janis. As it happened there was lots of choice and she found a good pair at a suitable price too. These antiques bazaars are like Aladdin’s caves to me (boat chandlers are too but that’s another story) and I spent a great deal of time just browsing whilst concentrating in particular on the particular job in hand.


Roots and Wings overtaking


As I have already mentioned the weather is becoming considerably cooler now and when I awake in the mornings the temperature is recording less than ten degrees which I fear is a shuddering foretaste of things to come. For the last two nights I’ve had to dig out the spare blanket (my winter blanket) and spread that over my bed for comfort ……

This boating is a hard life you know, but some of us are forced to do it and therefore we must stalwartly carry on I suppose….. Oh dear!