Our Boating Companion Edward Winter 1950 - 2020


Edward Winter navigating a very reedy section of the Aylesbury Arm in 2009

Since buying our first narrowboat in the mid 1990s, almost every year we were joined on our travels by our dearest friends Anne and Edward Winter. A quick look through this blog will reveal many references and numerous photos of the four of us navigating the inland waterways across the UK and even on one occasion along the Irish Waterways. With Edward and Anne's wedding anniversary in August we often celebrated on board with a special "towpath feast" - often Edward's favourite chilli con carne. 

With the recent Covid-19 Lockdown we have kept in close touch regularly by sharing Zoom dinners, even attempting to do this from Albert when on our recent journey to Napton. Unfortunately the lack of bandwidth west of Braunston defeated us. Last year Edward had some heart surgery but he had recovered well enough to indulge again in his passion for flying  - although not solo. All through lockdown he appeared well. It therefore came as a complete shock to receive a call from Anne on Saturday 18th July to say that Edward had died suddenly that morning. She was in deep shock and so were we. 

Edward was a warm convivial man who was a brilliant boating companion. He was capable of turning his hand to most things on board - even down the weed hatch where his height helped. He even brightened up dark evenings on board with his bewildering array of magic tricks. We will miss him dreadfully. His passing was made even more poignant because our Golden Wedding garden celebrations, which Anne and Edward were going to attend, were on the following Tuesday.  

We explored so much of the "system" together that I am sure I will always associate Edward with certain locations  - the Upper Thames, Grand Union summit, Leicester Arm, River Nene, Middle Level; the list goes on. We had wonderful times together - some were exciting like the Tideway in choppy conditions where Edward helped navigate, but others were just plain fun.

I will not dwell on all our exploits but quote from an early blog  - not ours but NB Balmaha. It epitomises the fun we had together. You have to picture us mooring up at a crowded Rushden and Diamonds on the River Nene back in July 2006. It is a warm summer evening and NB Balmaha were already moored up.  Mo reported:

"Again, we heard them before we saw them as nb Albert pulled up behind us and squeezed onto the last mooring bollard. With two families and a couple of comics onboard they were enjoying themselves and their chuckling kept us amused. "

Happy times!

There are many on-line tributes to Edward from his scientific colleagues and, in particular, the squash community. I shared his interest in science and his love of interesting cars, but boating with Albert will not be the same without the prospect of Edward coming on board, grabbing a windless and then asking if he can set the locks. I will even miss his long water-consuming on-board showers!