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Monday, January 22, 2007


Following the opening of Batchworth lock we have moved on to Cassio Bridge just a half hour walk from the mooring into Watford and practically within Cassiobury Park with it`s many walks.
Sitting here on the laptop i used a canal route planner to set a route to Llangollen. After setting in a few options ie cruising speed, time needed to navigate a lock etc it came up with the following.
246 miles
164 locks
13 moveable bridges
21 small aqueducts
6 tunnels
2 major aqueducts
Now having set the options of:
8hrs cruising per day (as if) Pheeew
15 mins per lock
It came up as 13 days to get to Llangollen!!!!!
Stuff that, it would be like working again. I expect we will get there late April early May PERHAPS
Anyway if you fancy planning a route for fun just google CANALPLAN AC

British Waterways head office in Watford. This certainly is quite something. From where i took the picture i was just half way across the car park and if you imagine this distance ALL round the building it gives some idea of the size of the plot of land involved.
This building and land has i am told been sold and BW are seeking a new site for it`s HQ. The building will become flats and housing will fill the car park. I hate to think what price the developer will want for each house/flat as just 8 mins walk is Watford Jct. stn. with a link to Euston, also the Watford town centre is 10mins walk.

And this is the view from the reception area, as you can see the offices surround a large pond that contains many koi carp. Bet some of you would like to work with a nice view like that rather than maybe just traffic passing your window.

As happens to all boaters at some time during the year it was time to re-new my licence and as i am at Watford it`s so much easier to take a walk to BW head office and collect my new licence discs in person.
The fee for my 58` narrowboat was £572.37, this figure being the prompt payment amount. To gain this prompt payment discount, in my case £63.60, the licence must be obtained before expiry date of the old licence. Be nice if the government done this with car tax.
Last year i paid £547.20 so this years figure represented a 4.6% increase.


Anonymous said...

Hi, we noticed your article on obtaining a licence and to be honest at one stage we too were going to buy a narrowboat but with the ever increasing price hikes on all things we have decided against it.With the price of your yearley licence,mooring fee's,boat purchase,and now fuel which is likely to be more expensive then your average forecourt we had to ask ourselves is it worth it ? the answer now is no as its cheaper and safer to be within your solid walls.If your young and fit no problem but imagine if you become ill and could not manage locks etc,you would have to find a permanant mooring costing more then a fixed abode.good luck to you all but when you price it all up with the problems that can arise you have to ask is it all worth it.

Anonymous said...

Hello, well firstly i have to agree with Pat on this as since we have joined the EU this country not only has started to decline it is also getting more expensive to live daily.



Les Biggs said...

Hello Pat/Glyn
Yes things do go up both in the water world i and many others live in and in the world i left behind.
£572 per annum equates to £28ish a week not to bad a rent to pay,Boat purchase is a fraction of house purchase.Deisel prices will rise but how much remains to be seen, at least in the price i get electricity and hot water and the ability to visit some wonderful places.
As a cont. cruiser i have no mooring fees. What if i become ill unable to carry on? What if, what if. Most people i meet have all sorts of reasons for living this life. Me just fed up with the rat race, up at 4.30am rushing here and there. At least on here i can relax and enjoy the latter years of my life a wife i loved dearly pass on at 54.
You see we all at sometime have a point in our lives when we make a decision like marriage, new baby,emigrate,move house, job.
Mine was do i work till 65 and stay in a house on my own perhaps enjoying just a short retirement, and yes like you i went through all the
"What If" thing. My decision was made after much thought and i don`t regret it.
I have much respect for your decision and wish you all the best in what you decide to do in the future.
To everyone get what you can out of life, you`re a long time dead.

Les Biggs said...

Hi Peter
Yes i do agree about the EU.
Part of my reason to live afloat was to have a lot more control of my life.
I had no control over where my money i paid in taxes and council rates went now i pay almost nothing, the most being boat fuel tax and i can live with that.Certainly no income tax thanks to the accountants advice when i was self employed.
So all in all i am i feel in control of my life.

Anonymous said...

"if the current goverment has their way it will most certainly price all the narrowboat owners out the water and back to dry land"

The joining of the EU is nothing but trouble and all about letting more people to take wahtever they can in handouts

Anonymous said...

Just to put a stop to all the rumours about fuel charges. I have worked for the british waterways for over 30 years now and have recently met with members of the goverment to discuss the increases they intend to put on the fuel used by watercraft.It has yet to be officially announced but expect to pay around £1.11 and £1.27 per gallon depending on area location, the increase is high due to overal cost of ownership compared to owning a home for example, i dont expect this to be the only change as they have also mentioned other charges to watercraft owners of which i will not go into at this present time but rest assured you will find out in due course.

All the best


Unknown said...

Just wanted to say Hi and Happy New Year. I am off sick at the moment and only have your blog as a favorite on my pc at work. Don't have net access at home.

Anonymous said...

Fully agree with the goverment, boats should pay more then road users, they cause more pollution and damage the enviroment more, perhaps they should have emmission checks also like road vehicles, something i shall bring up at our next local meeting.

Les Biggs said...

Hi Mark
Yes i do agree with what you say re the EU but as far as being forced back on dry land i for one am staying. At least here i can avoid a lot of the namby pamby things that affect land dwellers more than water folk

Les Biggs said...

Hi Robert
I read your comment.

Les Biggs said...

Oh Carol
Get well soon, and don`t let your boss catch you surfing the net.

Les Biggs said...

Do you realise that narrowboats in recent years are powered by marinised car engines and are no more polluting than cars.
My boat engine is derived from a Mitsubishi car.
Plus at average 4mph against cars 30-70mph push out a lot less pollution.

Sue said...

Cor Blimey....

" Chas (riverside Mews Birmingham) said...

Fully agree with the goverment, boats should pay more then road users, they cause more pollution and damage the enviroment more"

Ah lives in the riverside mews eh? well not opposite spagetti junction then! :P

Goverment and enviroment... surely anyone going to such an important meeting should be saying Government and environment?

Errrrrr what meeting Chas?


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NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs