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Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Yes, as you can see in the picture below my Princess is still smiling and completely confident weather doing locks or taking a turn on the tiller. I`ll tell you all something about this happy go lucky lady that has become such a big part of my life, no matter what boaty task i ask her to do there`s no protest just a couple of quick questions and off she goes.  Moving off from  the towpath into a lock, being aware of the cill, using reverse gently to avoid ramming the gate etc., yes in just a few days of cruising Jaq has listened and got on with it. Yes of course as happens to us all things have gone wrong for Jaq but never has she refused to carry on.

First visitors from the boating community were Ken & Sue Nb Cleddau who travelled down by car to Apsley for what was a very enjoyable time to chat and talk of plans for the summer ahead.
Very soon after Sue & Ken departed the lock queue ahead of us lengthened with boats making their way to the Boxmoor Canal festival and i offered a boat trying to stay mid channel to come alongside only to be told "Thanks but your friends are coming up behind me and will want to breast up to you". Ok i thought that`s fine but why does this complete stranger seem to have more information about my social life than i do. Who are these friends?  Well it turns out he had been sharing some water with Mo and V on Nb Balmaha who were soon tied alongside and having lunch on board Nb Valerie.

The picture above was one i posted on my trip down to meet Jaq and shows the demolished Bridgewater boats yard at Berko and the construction of  3 houses.
The picture below shows building materials being loaded at Winkwell for transporting to Berko for the construction of these houses.
The original developers wanted to put flats on the site but opposition was so great they sold up and the new development has been scaled down to include a small boatyard in the plans.

The picture below is rare because i am holding the camera not the tiller. What a partnership eh! Jaq confidently taking NB Valerie between locks while i`m enjoying locking and treading the towpath.

So we are on our way to Napton before flying off to marry in the U S. We have got as far as Marsworth which as some might know has good access for a delivery by road. Now just ordering a mattress, and you can all stop right there it hasn`t worn out in the last week or so, to replace the original one after 6yrs would be easy enough. Next day delivery would not cause to much delay. Five hours after placing the order the manufacturer phoned to say they will have to make our order as they have no stock to match our specification. Friday is delivery day now so some extra long cruising days next week will be needed to bring us back on schedule.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

American loose on the canal is NOT causing any problems.

We set off from Cassio bridge this morning and have reached Apsley. All i can say is that Jaq is a born boater, give her the tiller and within 5 mins her steering is spot on and entering/exiting locks needs the minimum of  reminders after  my showing her how it`s done at an earlier lock.
The Jet Lag  has kicked in but a daily pm nap is slowly eroding the tiredness.

 Now on day 3 of my non smoking and it`s hard and a big effort to resist the call of nicotine is  being helped by Jaq`s presence.

OK off to the shower now as being collected by friends for dinner.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Jaq has arrived safely but very tired. I collected Jaq from Heathrow at 11pm Sunday but she is a bit Jet lagged. Many thanks for your good wishes we will blog soon.

Monday, May 16, 2011


At the moment i`m just spending my time getting the boat ready for Jaq`s arrival in 6 days time. The biggest job has been cleaning the ceiling in readiness for my giving up smoking this coming Sat night.
As you can see in the picture a clean up with the sugar soap has revealed the original grain of the Oak panels and the same has happened upon cleaning the walls. All the curtains came down over the last few days and the Dinette covers will be next on the list. As one of the kids said i`m cleaning the nest.

My  first sighting of  Cygnets as i passed Apsley

Above is a picture of lock 65 where the original route of this section went. It went through those buildings until John Dickinson re-routed the canal in 1818 to pass his paper mills at Apsley. Double click the map to view it better.

The original route had one lock less than the present route which means Kings Langley lock is numbered 69A.

The canal passes through Cassiobury Park which provides a very nice tree lined walk into the town centre of Watford.
Sunset at Apsley

Jaq has brought her blog `So this is love ` as far as Feb 2011 and will be making her  blog bang up to date later in the week before arriving in England on Sunday.
If any one would like to meet Jaq e mail me and i can give you our plans for the next 3 weeks which include a little get together of friends and family.

Monday, May 09, 2011


Left Berko on Friday lunchtime in search of somewhere, not strictly true i knew my destination, quiet for the weekend. Fri/Sat nights can as in any town be busy and the local beer saturated residents noisily making their way home via the towpath sometimes using a line of moored boats as objects of fun can be annoying. Being set adrift or having them banging on the roof as they pass is not for me.

As i left i passed this Aluminium (A loom num to you Jaq) boat. having spent some time talking to the owner it transpired it, the hull that is, started life as a ships lifeboat. He has added the cabin with the intention of bringing another craft to the canal in the form of Stained glass windows and intends to have people aboard on one day tuition sessions.

This old canal building is the most interesting canalside structure in Berko. That open door is the security guards office, close up in the picture below.

A before and after now in the next 2 pics. Above is a picture i took in Dec. 2008 and below the Bridgewater Hire base has gone. There has been a big battle to save this site but it seems the builders are having their way although i`m sure i`ve read that they didn`t get their original big planning application approved, must have a google and see what the story is.

So below is where i spent the weekend in company with 6 horses, 14 geese, 2 swans, some Coots,  
5 ducklings and a Heron that spent a lot of time patrolling the field. Old Mac Les had a farm e i e i  Ok   i`ll shut up. Peaceful and sunny sitting on the front deck with a book or walking the fields and lanes, oh how i miss work, oh how i miss the hustle and bustle, oh how i lie.

Thursday, May 05, 2011


Time to move on and following my stay in Marsworth i went up through the flight of 6 locks to spend some time at Cowroast on the summit level, now it`s downhill through 34 locks to Cassio Bridge where i shall meet Jaq in just 2weeks and 3 days.
It`s been a slow journey down with plenty of longer than usual stops which makes finding something to blog difficult but no doubt when Jaq comes aboard her new home before we fly back to the States to marry there might be a lot more blogs.

This boat on the Wendover Arm has ended up on the bottom. Once somebody`s home it`s now i would guess a removal problem for BW.

My daughter in law Ozlem looking very relaxed on her visit

because son Steve is keeping an eye on Teo and Batu.

The water tank has taken a beating with so many visitors so top up before leaving Cowroast.

Into Berkhamsted for a few days gives me a chance to stock up the galley and find a laundrette to give the Duvet a wash as for sure it won`t fit my machine on board.

The old Town hall in Berko is now a coffee bar/restaurant.

Friday will probably be my moving on day as i know of a quiet little spot just before Winkwell that will be good for the w`end.
Next week i will start the spring clean of the boat before Jaq arrives which includes washing the ceiling and walls, drastic?  No the reason is i`ve decided that Jaq`s arrival will signify the start of my being a non smoker as the confines of a narrow boat will not be a healthy environment for the two of us. I have done a test wipe over on the ceiling and although the stove contributes to the muck up above my smoking must be the main cause. So it`s a case of will power or patches but i think will power and the the love of my life being on board that will win.
I must say i enjoyed smoking, but now have to consider Jaq`s health, and when flying out to the states have gone without  a smoke for 20+ hours so i think it will be easy. Of the 2 drugs (love & nicotine) my money is on love.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs