Monday, May 13, 2024

Characters of the Cut - at last!

 At last my "Characters of the Cut" article is available to read in the online Towpath Talk paper. Clicking on this link opens the paper on your screen, and my interview is to be found on page 9. It can be enlarged by a slider at the top of the page, and the whole page can be moved around with your pointer (or finger). I hope you enjoy the read.

Friday, May 03, 2024

Photos of London not to be missed!

Eight years ago, Grace and I journeyed down the Grand Union Canal through London, ultimately to visit Hertford and Bishops Stortford on the rivers Lee and Stort. It was a great experience, one of our favourite cruises, the detail of which can be found in this blog. What I apparently forgot was that Grace created a huge collection of photos on that trip, which really shouldn't be missed.

It's to be found at, with a commentary on the right of the screen - click on one of the photos to make it appear. It's fine on my laptop computer, but hasn't been tested on smaller screens. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Fame at last??

Well, hardly fame, but the Towpath Talk feature about our boating experiences has now been published. It's online at and in the monthly newspaper, available all over the place on the canals.

I'm sorry it's so small. It's the best I can do. 😠 Rubbish, innit?? Use magnifying glasses!!

Ah, the online version hasn't been updated. It still has other "Characters". 

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Characters of the Cut

I was more than  little chuffed when I received an email a while back from a lady working for the very popular monthly newspaper, "Towpath Talk", asking if I would like to be featured as a character in her regular column "Characters of the Cut". Of course, I said yes please!

It felt odd, being interviewed by email, but it seems to work well. I've just received another batch of questions to reply to, and some photos have been requested, too.

If you're a boater in the UK, or just interested in boats and the canals, then I highly recommend "Towpath talk" to you. 

The UK's Number ONE read for all waterways users

We came back to Kantara a few days ago, this time to spend some quality time with her. It's been too long since we did that. It's blowing a hoolie today, sending waves across the marina pond, and throwing the boat around quite violently - Storm Kathleen, I'm told - so it's been very much a stay in day. But that's just fine. It's good to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet, and the comfort and character of Kantara.

There have been a few little jobs to do, too, as always; checking the diesel for bacterial infections (negative), doing engine checks (positive), and identifying those places on the hull where paint needs attention(sighs). That goes onto the to-do list for the next time we're here. Along with washing the paintwork yet again!

Cruising? I wish, but my arthritic hip isn't yet up to the heavy work involved in cruising, though I do believe it's getting better, and it shouldn't be too long before we're back out there on the cut.

There are very few other moorers here at Yelvertoft at the moment, and few of the boats are out. I suspect that they're waiting for better, settled weather, and, of course, many of them do only cruise when they're on holiday. It's a real privilege to be retired and able to travel whenever we wish. 

We came back to the house today. Even if my hip had been up to it, Storm Kathleen was making leaving the marina impossible. We know that because we watched some brave moorer give it a try! We tried not to laugh! We failed. So did he.

We're very fortunate to know Colin Rowe, a guy who has done a range of technical jobs for us over the past decades. It's also good to know that he's entirely trustworthy, so that he can do work on Kantara when we won't be there. The job this time is the replacement of our domestic water pump, which runs on for far too long after the taps have been closed. A simple enough job, but I'd much rather he did it than me!

Okay, I'm off now to do my hip exercises!

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Something of a setback

I've had little to write about for ages. I can't imagine that you'd be very interested about our family Christmas day gathering (it was fabulous), or the Boxing day walk (very enjoyable), or our New Year's Eve celebration (we watched the fireworks on TV, and toasted 2024 in), so I come to this post with very little to report.

The big thing on my mind is that I have Osteoarthritis in my left hip. It's predominantly a female condition, and it can be passed down genetically. My mum suffered from it and had to have a hip replacement because of it.  It didn't come on slowly, it just got me very painfully one morning when I got out of bed.

I'm glad to say that it's not too bad. It seems to come and go, which is weird, isn't it? I went to the doctor, and he poked and prodded, ummed and ahhhed, told me it's mild and isn't likely to get worse, congratulated me for not being overweight, and referred me to the physiotherapist, who told me much the same thing and gave me exercises to do. 

(Bang goes the Pilates I was going to start - my daughters swear by it.) I'm determined to get the better of this. If it doesn't improve enough, bang goes our boating, too! Jumping on and off the boat and doing the locks and heavy carrying would be quite out of the question at the moment.

Ho hum...

I have a lot to be thankful for, though. I'm 72 and have been very fit and healthy since birth. The same is true of Grace and the kids. I'm not going to be down about this. I'll beat it, you'll see!

See also "Enough of being negative!"

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

A short break for a special occasion

Last Friday was our Golden Wedding Anniversary - fifty years married!  We'd been feeling the need of a break, and this seemed like the best time to take it, but it wasn't going to be a break on Kantara. We wanted to go somewhere, but if we went by slow boat, the somewheres we passed through or stopped at would be places we'd seen many times before. No, we wanted to go somewhere new to us, and we didn't want to have to travel for days to get there. So we went to the ancient Shropshire town of Ludlow. Take a look at it here.

It's a beautiful, fascinating little place, with nearly 500 listed buildings, including lots of examples of medieval and Tudor-style half-timbered buildings. The town was described by Sir John Betjeman as "Probably the loveliest town in England". Ludlow Castle is a ruined medieval fortification that stands on a promontory overlooking the town and the River Teme. It was probably founded after the Norman conquest, and was one of the first stone castles to be built in England.

There's a lot of walking to be done in and around the town, and through the hilly woodland that overlooks it. Unfortunately, the river was far too close to flooding to allow us to walk alongside it, but the rest of the strolling gave us the exercise we needed... and more!

Needless to say, we had a great time.

We left the Cliffe Hotel after breakfast on Saturday, and made our way towards Yelvertoft Marina. We'd be passing the turn-off on the M1 anyway, so it made good sense to drop in and see the poor old boat. It was but a brief visit; just the routine running of the Webasto, and another firing up of the Bubble stove, in which the oil again refused to run until the hair-dryer had adequately heated up the feed pipe - just like the last time. "Kantankerous" was her first nick-name!

Then we carried on home, with Christmas preparations looming over our heads just a week before the day. No pressure there then!

Picture gallery...

A Happy Christmas to you all,
and a very much better new year!