Crick Boat Show

We knew the forecast wasn't good today so we decided that driving to Crick today was probably a good bet if we wanted to miss the crowds. Well we definitely did miss the crowds. However, the number of boats on show was also modest and there were spaces in the basin (marina) even with several historic boats including President taking up some berths. I expect there will be more crowds as the weather improves over the weekend.

The basin on the first day of the Crick Boat Show; President in steam

Nevertheless, despite the rain, we enjoyed looking at what was on offer. There is always something of interest and we met some friends.

The William Piper boat in the basin certainly looked the part to us with its reclaimed wood interior and its shiny restored Ruston & Hornsby 2YM engine. They won the "Favourite Boat in Show" with Pyrus last year; perhaps they will win again this year.

The performance artists that were the boat Lady Lydia certainly raised smiles!

The Lady Lydia raising a smile

The crew of Lady Lydia suitably dressed for the weather

Without naming names I was very much taken by the poor standard of steelwork on a couple of the foreign-produced boats on show. I suppose, as always, you get what you pay for but I can't help feeling that some modestly-priced boats based on British hulls might have a better resale value.

A very neat disabled-adapted boat

A Farewell to Khayamanzi

We met Andy Edwards (and his father) twice on our recent Thames Ring cruise. It turns out that this was to be their farewell cruise. Andy's brother reports on his blog that Andy has sold the boat and moved ashore.

I shall miss reading the blog of Andy's life aboard (and his model railway). It was a blog that I always checked (before the days of Google Reader). His web site, that preceded his blog, remains a great resource for those new to canal boating.

Good luck on the land Andy, especially with the teaching, and best wishes to Simba.

Albums Update

It is some time since I revised our web albums. I have just posted a link to our third web album (Even More Journeys with Albert) and added all our Thames Ring images from our spring trip this year.

I have also updated the header at the top of the blog to show Albert with her latest signwriting and colour scheme.

Shallow moorings and charity boating

We took Albert out onto the cut on Sunday (May 21st) to carry out some small jobs - mostly touching up the hull blacking. After a frustrating series of attempts to moor-up that failed because of the severe lack of dredging along the canal from bridges 60 to 64, we finally manage to moor up near the Navigation Inn at Cosgrove to do one side of the hull, and near Solomons bridge to do the other. At one time this section was a delightful place to moor - but not now. I know we draw around 30" but that is not that deep compared to loaded working boats and when we got stuck (firmly) near the centre of channel, it didn't improve my mood. I suppose this is the boating equivalent to complaining about potholes in roads. The only difference is the Grand Union mainline in Northamptonshire is the boating equivalent of the M1 near Newport Pagnell. I don't see many potholes in the MI!

In the late in the afternoon NB Comfortably Numb arrived at Cosgrove from the south and moored up behind us. We had met them back in April at Thrupp. In the meantime they had gone down the Thames and Kennet & Avon to Bath and were now going north to attend the Crick Boat Show at the weekend. It was good meeting them and swapping stories about Thames & K&A boating.

We turned just above Cosgrove lock and then met the first of a dozen (mostly) hire boats that were taking part in the Walk4Matt charity walk from Rugby to Twickenham timed to arrive at the Guinness Premiership Final this coming weekend. The walk is fundraising for the Matt Hampson Trust. You can get a flavour of what they are doing and follow their progress from their blog. The boats act as floating overnight accommodation for the sponsored walkers. Some "walkers" were in wheel chairs; some in canoes. In addition to the normal commercial sponsorship each boat was sponsored by a Premiership rugby side. The boats came from a variety of companies including Willow Wren, Ashby Boat Company, and Clifton Cruisers who appear to be a sponsor of the event. What a great idea!


Since we returned from our extended trip, we have only taken out Albert once for a short trip. We incorporated our monthly walking group outing with a boat trip for our friends. However Albert has seen some small improvements, one of which was new front fender. When we purchased Albert back in 2003 the front fender was basically shot so we purchased a new one - a fancy button vee. The fancy refers to the fact that it was decorated with a turks head. It lasted well but over the years it had become compressed, and for some strange reason become twisted.

A visit to Tradline at Braunstone produced a new button vee, this time not fancy. They produced the last fender. I note that the new fender is somewhat deeper that the original, even taking into account the compression, and that the core is rubber not rope as the last fender. Maybe the rubber core will resist distortion a bit better than rope. I remember Colin Jones at the fender-making class I attended at Stoke Bruerne Museum in the 1990s stressing the importance of the core but he was not keen on rubber. However, we had a rubber-cored front fender on our last boat and it lasted over 10 years.

Button-vee front fender

Stern fenders - two tip cats and a button

To Yardley Gobion

Readers may have noticed that our location on Google Latitude is Yardley Gobion and yet I haven't recorded our trip home. We did make it home on Tuesday 4th May but we have been very busy since catching up with other things.

The Globe, Linslade at night

On Bank Holiday Monday we left The Globe and picked up our friends Ant & Jo Cross at the Three Locks at Soulbury for a trip through Milton Keynes. The weather was bright and sunny.

On one of the bends on the Jackdaw pound (above Soulbury) we had an incident with another boat. For the first time in fourteen years boating we actually collided with another boat. I was steering. On a bend, a boat appeared so I moved over to the right expecting the other boat to negotiate the corner and it simply didn't! It just went straight on. They gave no warning at all and failed to take any evasive action. Despite selecting hard astern our bow fender hit their bow quarter. No significant damage was done to either boat. One of their crew was in the bows throughout the incident but he gave no indication that they were in trouble until after the "bump" when he stated that they had lost steering in the shallows. I also suspect that when they realised that they were not going to make the bend they slowed down and lost even more steerage. They apologised and continued on their way. The annoying part of the incident was that it probably could have been avoided if they had given me any sort of warning.

The decent of the Three Locks was interesting with one pair of boats leaving a bottom paddle up whilst filling a lock, and some crews having difficulties with gates. We saw Lavinia Maud Too coming up the flight. Until recently this was moored at Kingfisher Marina.

Jo & Ant enjoyed their trip through Milton Keynes. For those who drive through the New City on a daily basis the view from the canal is a revelation. We moored up outside the Black Horse at Great Linford for the night and had dinner at the pub. Good to see it has reverted back to its original name.

The Mural, Wolverton

Detail from the mural

The next morning we had a short trip through Wolverton and Cosgrove home. Working boats Nuffield & Raymond were moored up by the new residential developments (Royal Train Sheds)in Wolverton. The low bright sunshine on Soloman's bridge at Cosgrove highlighted its detail.

Raymond at Wolverton

Solomon's Bridge, Cosgrove

The Globe Inn, Linslade

As predicted the weather this morning was dreadful - driving heavy rain. Last night we had thunder and lightning. We didn't see the point in moving on in the morning since we are not on a tight schedule. As a result we "battened down the hatches" and had a morning inside the cabin. Looking around the moorings most other boats nearby did the same.

After lunch, as the weather improved, we moved on through to Leighton Buzzard. It was windy and leaving Slapton was not straightforward as we had moored up in a spot where we got the full force of the easterly winds. The new marina at Grove Lock is filling up and is now half full. By contrast the BW long term moorings at Leighton Buzzard (near Tesco), which are usually packed full, had loads of spaces. Perhaps BW should convert some them to 48 hour or 14 day visitor moorings, it would help.

Cherry blossom at Wyvern Shipping

Wyvern Shipping
(note the highlighted additional bow flares of Ocean Princess)

We moored up at The Globe Inn just below Leighton Lock and enjoyed a meal. They were serving Olde Trip ale and Aspall cider. We took advantage of one of their larger tables to play Scrabble.

I can also report that Maggie's damaged hand is improving and the bruising is going down.

Duck visitors near The Globe


Today the weather was much improved. Maggie's hand still hurts and is still swollen but is improving. We dropped down the Marsworth flight in warm sunshine it was delightful. The views across the Chilterns were great.

The Ship, Marsworth

We were joined at the pair of locks below Marsworth by Mad Hatter, a dutch-barge style narrowboat. They turned at Pitstone and returned to Marsworth.

At Ivinghoe locks a group of lambs had escaped were having a great time on the towpath.

Lambs loose at Ivinghoe Locks

The Lion at Whipsnade viewed from the canal at Slapton

We moored up above Slapton Lock, still in sunshine. Tomorrow they are forecasting rain - joy!


We went back to the boat on Friday to finally complete our Thames Ring journey. The journey to the boat was a amazingly quick. We got a lift to Milton Keynes station from our friends Shirley & Geoff Emmins and caught a semi-fast train to Berkhamsted. We arrived at the boat a mere 50 minutes door to door.

New signs at Berkhamsted - by Phil Speight

The weather was warm and sunny but rain was forecast. We picked up provisions and water in the town. In the park by the station a pair of geese were raising three goslings.

Geese at Berkhamsted

We were joined by NB Summertime at the first Gas Lock. They stayed with us to the summit at Cowroast. At Northchurch Maggie had a spill, tripping over a concrete slab. I looked over to see her flying through the air. She appears to have hurt her wrist after falling onto it. It has restricted her locking skills but I may not replace her as crew quite yet. Actually, her hand has swelled up impressively and applications of ice and ibruprofen have only just kept it under control. She tells me that she is being brave and I believe her.

It began to rain intermittently but heavily. Just below Dudswell the heavens opened! We finally made the summit very wet and miserable but decided that it was better to continue to Bulborne. Along the Tring cutting I saw a mink making its way along the towpath and disappearing into the undergrowth. Looking back I saw it again, this time it went into the water.

Tring cutting

We finally moored up by the former BW depot at Bulborne and lit the fire for the first time for a while.