Category Archives: Boats for sale

Free The Paddington One! 2nd July

Ballot Box Bridge to River Colne Aqueducts, Slough Arm, Grand Union Canal

The diesel tank hasn’t been filled since Pyrford Marina, the gauge showing quarter full. Mick doesn’t like the tank to be so low, in fact it may only have been so low once and that was when we picked her up from Finesse in Sheffield, just enough diesel put in her tank for test cruises. The question was, how accurate is the tank gauge? Did we need to seek out diesel today or could it wait for another day or two. The tank was dipped, 10 inches, plenty to keep us going.

Serious clearing up by Ealing volunteers

We made our way back to Bulls Bridge, the moorings by Tesco empty today, well apart from the sunken boat! We pulled in, had lunch, made a shopping list, moved the Larry banner to the cratch for it to be seen better and then went shopping.

A better position for Larry

With everything stowed it was time to get Mick away from chatting to a chap doing his best to avoid polishing his boat, leaving it to his wife. We winded at the junction and started to head northwards. In the last two years quite a lot has changed. Today numerous cranes sat to the east, the start of some buildings. Tower blocks that were going up are now full of people and the landscaping we saw being put in is now tall with plants.

Three miles or so on is Murderers Bridge (Colham Bridge) where in 2015 we said our final goodbye to our first second mate Houdini. Today Tilly was shouting on the top step Free the Paddington One! Tree filled outsides for boat cats!! Friendly cover for all!!! This election has really gone to her head!

Cowley Peachy Junction

At Cowley Peachy Junction we turned westwards onto the Slough Arm. We only cruised the first stretch back in 2015 when we couldn’t get further due to ice. I’m not sure where we moored for the night back then, today we tried pulling in just after the entrance into Packet Boat Marina, Mick managed to get off with a rope, but that was it, Oleanna wasn’t going to come in any more.

The moorings further along looked busy, we chanced it, hoping for a space. Several boats moored up, most looked like they were busy doing jobs. One space between boats might have been long enough, we carried on, a space at the end, better for Tilly. A chap chatted and helped with ropes. A fellow came over from his campsite on the offside for a cuppa. Akeem, I think that was his name, was very chatty, he was busy doing up a boat ready for sale, a coat of red oxide going on the exterior today.


When asked where we’d come from he said, ‘Oh you can’t moor in Paddington anymore!’ We explained that we’d paid and were quite grateful to know we had a mooring waiting for us. Through the years we’ve taken our chances in London like everyone else, reserved moorings when they were free, squeezed onto the Eco moorings when people have overstayed and paid to tie up in Paddington. I suspect we’d still visit London no matter what the mooring situation was, as we’ve both lived there and have friends and family we want to see. But now it’s reassuring to know we’ll have somewhere to tie up on arrival. Time will tell if there are now too many bookable moorings. Many visiting boaters won’t flock to London until they know the system is working, hearing tales of booked moorings being occupied on arrival doesn’t help the situation. London boaters choose to look when the moorings are empty. Yes they are not as full as they were when they were cheaper and the locations fewer. Only C&RT will know the true figures as they can see the bookings and get feed back from their mooring rangers.

A very vocal Tilly today

We settled in and Tilly was given a hours shore leave, at least it stopped her charging back and forth shouting about her rights and how once Larry was PM things would change, Salmon and real real chicken for dingding every day!

0 locks, 9.9 miles, 2 lefts, 1 wind, 2 boxes wine, 1 hour shore leave, 26.5 pairs knitted, 1 very political cat, 1 card returned, 1 knee improving, not much walking being done though.

Three Months. 10th January

Viking Marina, Goole

They don’t normally get up in the dark! What’s going on?!

It’s been just over three months since we moved off Oleanna back to the house. Mick has had several visits to check on her, turn the engine over etc, but I’ve not stepped onboard in three months. Northern Railways had a flash sale of train tickets for three days a week ago, some single fares down to £1. So we booked ourselves a trip to Goole, slightly slower than normal, a half hour wait in Hull for a slower train to Goole, but not bad for £12 for the two of us, I think it’s normally around £17 for Mick with his Old Git’s Card.

Tides out on the Humber

The 9:01am train took us to Hull stopping at all the familiar towns, but they always seem to be in the wrong order to me, surely Driffield is nearer to Scarborough than Brid! We had a chilly half hour wait for the slow train to arrive and take us to Goole. We’d brought a Brompton with us incase the puddle of doom near the marina entrance was still there, Mick could ride through get a pair of wellies and return for me. Thankfully the road was just about dry, no puddle of any concern. Apparently a ditch behind the road has been cleared, the puddle had become so deep that even 4 x 4’s were nervous about going through it, far deeper than any wellies would allow!

Hello! It’s been too long!

There she was behind the mesh fence of the marina. More splashes up the cabin side from the nearest puddle in the parking area. Would it be worth washing her down? It’ll only happen again and anyway we’d more important things that needed doing today and a limited time before our train back.

Poor Oleanna

Three months with minimum heating means things tend to stick a little. The front door being the first thing that needed some brute force. The side hatch was the next thing, the swivels that hold the glazed doors closed were very stiff, we may need to add a washer to them until she’s dried out.

She needs a good tidy and clean

I was pleased to see no sign of water coming in through the bathroom mushroom vent, there’s still a coat of paint to go on the outside when the temperature improves. However, somehow water has got in through our double skinned flue! Tracing the faint water marks up the flue brought me to the elbow joint, there were no marks above it and it looks like the joint has moved by maybe a couple of millimeters! Hmm. Mick likes to leave the chimney on for extra ventilation whilst we’re not on board, has this been the cause with all the heavy rain that’s happened in the last month? One thing it does mean is that the top of the stove will want cleaning and a coat of stove paint applying, an extra job before we’re back on board.

Not so good!

Mick lifted the engine boards. I stuck my head in ‘The Shed’ cupboard. This is on the port side, the same side as where the leisure batteries are in the engine bay. Our new batteries will have a bigger footprint than the existing ones, the battery tray was made to fit these and won’t be big enough for the two new ones.

I got the tape measure out to see how much room we had in the bottom of ‘The Shed’. The swim of Oleanna comes round in this cupboard so the bottom is narrower. Only one battery would fit. Above the swim there would be enough space for two side by side. But this would leave us with a funny gap below, only accessible when you take the stern steps out and would eat into the useful space above for life jackets, hats scarves, tool kit and hanging rail that is only actually used to store coat hangers!

Wonder how much they want for it?

A spare cable was passed through from the engine bay into the cupboard, there’s an inch gap behind a panel of wood where I could just feel cables wiggling around. This will be the route in from the engine bay. 3m cables will be required to connect the new batteries.

Curtains down

Decision is to have one battery in the engine bay, the other in the bottom of ‘The Shed’. These would both need battens adding around them so they can’t move more than 10mm to meet BSS requirements. We also need to add a shelf above the one in ‘The Shed’. There will be a gap above the battery so we can fix battens to the sides of the cupboard to rest the shelf on. Then the rest of the cupboard can be used as storage again. We may swap out the full width hanging rail for two hanging rods, meaning we’d be able to hang our life jackets up and have somewhere to store hangers (these only get used to hang washing in the pram cover). We will also need to find means of hanging the handheld and window vacuums, then the tool kit and other bits can sit on the shelf.

Lint rolling time

I got busy removing all the curtains, so that they could be washed. It’s been a few years now since they last came down, having a rod at both top and bottom of them makes them a slightly time consuming job. Last time they were down I relined them. I know the curtain fabric is okay to wash, but was the thermal lining? The place I got it from recommends dry cleaning, but we’re going to risk a hand wash and then rehang them whilst they are wet. Back at the house they have been de spider pooed, de Tilly furred with a lint roller. They’ll head back to the boat for a wash and rehanging.


Time for a bowl of Heinz Tomato and a cuppa. Not in front of the hatch today as the dinette is currently without cushions, so we didn’t have such a good view from the sofa. With the heating on Oleanna, had warmed up quite well. We’d aimed to fill the water tank just enough to do some washing up, but forgot the hose was connected and ended up with a three quarter full tank. I suspect we’ll be able to use much of this for cleaning, so that we can disinfect the water tank before moving back on board.

We plan on a week of visits once we have the batteries. Hopefully with the heating on each day, possibly the stove lit we can get Oleanna warm and dry enough for me to re-oil the floor and window surrounds. This job needs to be done when Tilly isn’t in residence. It’s also quite smelly, so we’d rather not be around either.

Amy our neighbour

I checked to see how the corner galley cupboard had been put together, a couple of screws hold the pull out pan drawer in position and then I believe the cupboard is mounted on a couple of rails which will just need removing from the back of the dinette. I’m wanting to give the wheels of the cupboard a good clean and oil the floor beneath it.

Quite a few jobs to be done on board. Then there’s the dinette cushions to recover too along with a bit of painting in the house before lodgers arrive again!

Ship in bound

With our train due to leave at 15:31, I needed a while to get to the station, I have a hobbly leg at the moment. Thankfully the chap from NB Bruce was just leaving in his car and he offered me a lift into town, Mick would close up Oleanna and cycle to meet me. Mr NB Bruce plans on heading off on his travels soon, he’d checked for stoppages over the Pennines, I mentioned about Goole Caison being closed for works for a few weeks. In my head they’d already started the work, but it doesn’t start until Monday, so I hope his planned departure was going to be this weekend.

Yummy donated yarn arrived in the post, thank you Naomi!

The journey back was uneventful, one ship heading upstream on the Humber to Goole in the fading light. Another change of train in Hull but thankfully not a long wait as it was chilly. The knitting needles came out and I managed to get up to a heel of a sock before we arrived back in Scarborough.

About time too! I’ve been shouting at nobody since I woke up at 3, it’s way past my DingDing!

Hang on, She smells of BOAT!!!

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 trains, 1 bike, 1 hobbly leg, 4m cables, 9 curtains, 2 blinds, 1 shelf measured, 2 bowls Heinz finest, 2 cuppas, 3.5 hours on board.

1.25 Pairs knitted

18 Pairs spoken for

50.75 Pairs to go

£455 raised

Much Loved Boat For Sale

Friends we’ve never met, Marilyn and David, (now are quite unlikely to meet) are selling up their boat NB Waka Huia.

I hope you don’t mind me borrowing your photo Marilyn

After years of spending summers on the UK Waterways they are going to spend more time closer to home in New Zealand exploring in their camper van.

Details of Waka Huia can be found here

We wish them many more happy adventures.

The Gates Of Goole. 8th February

Bramwith Junction to Viking Marina, Goole, Aire and Calder Navigation

Good Morning

Sunrise on this mooring is wonderful, the windows needed a touch of decondensationing before we could really appreciate it with a cuppa in bed. It was another chilly morning, a breeze had got going which would help with winding when we set off.

Mick’s Christmas present

The VHF radio was turned on in case we could hear Exol Pride or one of the gravel barges radioing the bridges. It crackled a few times, but nothing was audible we decided that we were unlikely to meet a big barge mid channel today, anyway we’d likely see them miles off as most of the canal we’d cover today have very very long straight stretches.

Left straight on not right straight on

Sadly my back hadn’t improved overnight, so Mick was on duty for anything low down, but I’d see how I did operating the bridges along the New Junction. We winded and headed left. The Don doors open and waiting to let us across the aqueduct.

Don Doors

The step up from Oleanna to work the first bridge was a touch high, but I managed it without too much of a problem. Key of Power in and the bridge turned.

Next Top Lane Lift Bridge nobody held up here. The road surface had big chunks out of it waiting to be resurfaced. Then Kirkhouse Lift Bridge where I managed to hold up two cars, one a C&RT van.

Now the long long length with little to break it up. A zoom in with the camera wasn’t clear enough to make out what colour light there was at Sykehouse Lock. The house that had been for sale last year now has two big barges moored outside it, both in need of a bit of money spending on them, wonderful shapes though.

Sykehouse Lock with Sykehouse Lift Bridge partially open in the background

As we got closer to the lock we could see that the volunteer who must just about live in the control tower had spotted us, the light was green, but the swing bridge was still closed. We pootled on up closer.

A Great Egret

On one of the banks was what looked like a Heron, but it was far too white. When it took off we agreed that it was the size of a heron, held it’s legs and neck like a heron. So it must be a heron. Now I’ve been able to look at the photo closer I believe it to be Great Egret. According to the RSPB website they believe there to be 8 to 12 breading pairs in the country and around 72 birds that winter in the UK.

Lock open but not the swing bridge

The chap came out from the tower with his dogs, crossed the bridge to close the barriers and then pushed the bridge clear for us. Another C&RT chap walked past, a number checker, and asked if we’d seen a big barge moored by the house. We had, along with a second boat. He set off to walk the near 2 km to take down their numbers, then walk back again. That job must keep him fit around these parts.

Thank you

Down the lock we went. We spied people at the next swing bridge who looked like they would operate it for us, which they did. The chap in high-vis was taking photos of the bridge, it was having an inspection.

Up ahead at Sykehouse Lift Bridge there were three C&RT vans and four chaps. The hut by the bridge suddenly sprang into life as we arrived a cloud of black smoke coming from an exhaust in the wall. There must be a generator in there for emergency power. They left us to work the bridge, taking notes of things as it raised and lowered. It’s apparently the time of year when all the bridges are inspected. They all headed over to check a barrier after I closed the bridge and didn’t seem too phased by the huge biff the bridge made when it finally made contact with the ground! It certainly made both Mick and myself jump.

Norf ahead

Straight on to the junction with the Aire and Calder where we turned back towards the east. This stretch, well all of today’s waters are so very familiar, yet things have changed since last March. Drax was churning out power and the breach site still looks in good order.

The giant log cabin by the Alpacas has windows now and an almost completed roof. Then the building nearer to Rawcliffe has new windows and it’s roof is finished, it also has some new render and looks quite smart.

Goole ahead

The last slight bend and we were on the three mile straight to Goole.

Back through the gates of Goole we were back where we’d spent so much of 2020 and 2021, stuck due to the breach and lockdowns. Hopefully the gates won’t close on us this time! The visitor moorings were full, but across on the 14 day moorings there was plenty of space. The big grey boat that has been moored outside the Auction place is now for sale, if you’ve got £350,000!

Left by the black and white boat please

Mick swung Oleanna to the left into Viking Marina and we made our way into the corner where we’d moored before. On our pontoon a big cruiser, but to the other side of it a new pontoon. We pulled in, meeting our new neighbour, tied up and headed to the office to check in.

Hello Viking, Hello Lisa!

It was good to see Laird again and Alastair who did some work for us last year. Mick has a short jobs list for Alasdair whilst we’re at Viking. Once we’d paid our mooring fees and got a fob it was time for lunch, do the chores and pack our bags. Due to my bad back we actually left with less than we’d arrived with, Mick carrying everything.

Goole Station

There was just under half an hour before the next train, so we power walked it along Albert Street, through the docks to the station. We had five minutes to spare, unfortunately not enough for us to get Advance tickets. The ticket machine wanted us to pay for the route to Scarborough via York! Thankfully the train guard would allow us to buy tickets from her instead at half the price.

Dusk over the Humber

It was a pleasant journey back to Scarborough, no need to change trains, just sides so that we’d get a view of the Humber Bridge followed by the sea at Bridlington.

As we walked up the steps to the house the new security light was triggered. This also triggered a reaction from Tilly. As soon as she realised it was us there was SO much shouting, the whole street could hear her! Many cuddles and chin rubs later things calmed down to a very loud purr.

About time!

Claire She had been nice, kept offering me Dreamies, but she hadn’t let me out so I wasn’t entitled to any! I felt I had to turn my nose up at them. That’s the longest She and Tom have deserted me for. They should have been back soon after the second flap on the magic food bowl opened! And when they did come back they smelt of Bramwith Junction outside. How dare they!

At least it meant I got lots of head nudges and cuddles.

With our mission accomplished and Oleanna now tucked up in Goole we have our own winter maintenance to do in the house. So blog posts will be as and when we visit Oleanna for the next few weeks. We have cruising plans, but not a definite date to set off yet. So the blog will be tucked up for a while too. See you soon.

1 lock, 11.8 miles, 5 bridges, 4 held up, 2 bridge inspections, 1 volunteer, 2 woofers, 1 mooring, 0 Joan’s Chinese! 1 boat plugged in, 1 train, 1 very VERY pleased cat, 1 hour of cuddles, 1 feline shadow.

Is That Hair Real? 10th September

Manor Farm to Lock 17 Grand Union, Northampton Arm

Another early start, well we’d had a boat come past us last night and we didn’t want to loose out on the lock, maybe more than one being in our favour. We pushed off just before 8am, our neighbour showing no signs of rising.

Approaching Doddington Lock

Doddington Lock was in our favour, at the end of the lock landing on the top side a weasel frolicked in the grass, it’s white tummy giving away it’s location. For the last few days every now and again we’ve heard clouds of geese coming over head and wished them all to continue onwards with their journey.

Heavy picnic benches

New benches have arrived on four of the FOTRN moorings. These heavy duty benches came about from a legacy that was given to the IWA with the proviso that it went towards improving the River Nene and a great addition they are.

Earls Barton Lock sat empty for us, followed by White Mills. Does anyone know what the two large springs were for in the lock chamber, close to the guillotine gate? Was this the other lock that used to have a radial gate?

Finesse built

The Crick widebeam winner from 2019 sat on it’s mooring, a Kingfisher using it as a perch. Rumour has it that it will be having a refit and going on the market in the not too distant future. So if you fancy a 70ft boat with hydraulic wheelhouse this could be for you.

Whiston Lock

Whiston Lock, the last of those that have had problems in the last few weeks. This is where the duck weed started and what would be the weekend traffic coming towards us. First a small cruiser, recently bought and being moved down to Titchmarsh Cruising Club, the chaps on board were hoping they’d make it today!

At Cogenhoe Lock there was a narrowboat sat in the lock, two people stood around chatting. Was something wrong? One of the fellas had been to ask at the caravan park and was telling the chap with the boat that the lock was broken, ALL the locks were broken! Well that we knew was untrue. Apparently the mooring a short distance upstream was full of boats waiting for the locks to reopen! There was no power to the panel, that bit was true.

Putting the doom-laden news to one side, I started to look at the immediate problem. The chap with the boat was new to the River Nene, was everything closed as it needs to be for the power to be on. Simple answer was, NO! One of the paddles was just an inch or so raised. Once this was down the panel worked a treat. I offered for the old chap to be on his boat and I’d lift the gate, but he’d rather do it himself and keep an eye on his ropes. His boat, his lock, his way.

Harry in amongst the berries

As the lock emptied the chap who’d been full of miss information introduced himself, Alex. Was it one o’clock yet? ‘No just gone ten’, I said. ‘I’ve got to last till midday! It’ not easy you know.’ ‘Is that hair real?’ What an odd question, what an odd man. Eventually he headed off having supposedly seen his wife.

Attention came back to the matter in hand, the lock was now empty, just a simple matter of raising the gate to let the boat out and Oleanna to come in. But hang on the gate wouldn’t do anything. The lights were on?! What was going on! Oh blimey were we going to need to call the EA out? I tried, the chap with the boat tried pressing the button, still nothing. Today had been going really well up to now.

Then all of a sudden the chap with the boat twisted the emergency stop button. He presses it to stop the gate from lifting, which it does anyway! Now the gate could be raised and everyone could be on their way again.

As we passed the weir cut we looked down it. Yes there were boats, but they were all the normal moorers there. The chap with the hair comment hadn’t said one word of truth, I suspect he wasn’t even called Alex!

Passing Billings Aquadrome there were numerous supped up cars, this weekend was a gathering of such cars, many painted bright vibrant colours with their engines out on display above their bonnets.

Nearly went the wrong way!

At nearly every lock now towards Northampton we’d meet a downstream boat just as I was about to close the top gates. One boat was heading back to March from a summer on the canal network. Another recently bought and heading to its new mooring at Ditchford, we met at the first electric guillotine gate. They’d got this far last weekend then realised they didn’t have a key to operate the lock.


We followed and were chased by rowers across the wide water before turning off the river and passing through Weston Barrage. Back to manual locks now, windlass operated at both ends. Mick made the mistake of not tying the bow up whilst waiting for the lock to empty at one of them which necessitated dropping the paddle as Oleanna’s bow stretched across the cut and listed alarmingly. However this turned out to be the first major test for our drawers that Frank had added magnets to earlier this year. One and a bit draws, not what would have been a five drawer moment last year!

The narrow section of river with all the duck weed felt like we were going through swamps. Soon back out onto the river properly, we followed the directions left on a bridge and reached the last of the River Nene locks.

Northampton Lock

A weedhatch check was needed which was done on the lock landing. As I stood with the lock empty awaiting Oleanna a chap came along muttering to himself.

Alcohol induced confidence

He then proceeded to climb up on the top gates where there is no walk way as there is a perfectly good bridge at the other end. Once stood on the gates he balanced himself to where the two vee gates meet in the middle and then proceeded to throw slices of white bread for the geese, thank goodness the gates are quite chunky as his balance was being assisted by drink! Thankfully he continued to cross the gates without any incident and then was encouraging a goose to take a slice of bread from his baseball cap, all too close to his face for me to watch.

Last lock on the Nene

Last lock done, we pootled through Northampton. Many people book themselves into the marina here, or hope to get a mooring on the embankment. We turned to meet the bottom lock of the Northampton Arm, a narrow C&RT lock, armco, small gates. Could we remember how to work these after all we came down this lock almost 19 weeks ago!

We were soon up the lock and the last space by the pipe bridge was free, phew! Lunch then a visit to Asda for some milk, bread and a new computer mouse. Then a walk a bit further to pick up a couple of parcels. 80 meters of fairy lights and a magnetic pole.

One half of the lights

Tilly was now given shore leave for a couple of hours. Not that she was that impressed with the outside, too many woofers, zero friendly cover just a bank that needed peering over and calculations to see if she’d be able to climb up some pipes. Thankfully she didn’t try!

Look out!

12 locks, 9.53 miles, 1 not broken lock, 1 head of real hair! 80m, 45cm, 1 fabric shop not open, 0 art shops, 2 hours shore leave, 2 many woofers, 1 cartoon cat, 0 decision.

Goodbye Old Father Thames. 11th August

Sandford Lock to College Cruisers, Oxford Canal

Only a few hours cruising left on the Thames and the last day of our licence, although I think we could have got an extra day because of the hold up at Boveney.

NB Snowy Owl

Today our trip would be a relaxed one unlike Mick’s two years ago. The river then was going up and down, not by much, but that much made a lot of difference to cruising. He first made his way up the pretty Iffley Lock stopping for a night or two near a rowing club.


He walked up to Osney Bridge where boats were starting to cling onto the moorings, then on to see what the turn into Sheepwash Channel was like. He did his homework and made his decision to go for it before the next band of rain had chance to rise the river any further. Thankfully it paid off and he made it to the safety of the Canal.

Iffley such a pretty lock

Today we pootled up the river with no fears of levels rising. The lavender at Iffley Lock looked wonderful as ever, a Lock Keeper arrived as we did and worked us up. A chalked sign announced that Osney Bridge would be closed between 10 and 12 today, but there was plenty of space on the East Street moorings where we could wait.


The rowing clubs looked all gleaming in the sunshine and the dreaming spires were all very well tucked up behind the leaves of the trees.

No spires in sight

We went round Folly Bridge to the right a trip boat preparing to show the sights to it’s passengers.

Folly Bridge

Osney Lock was on self service, our last on the Thames for this trip. The bow rope was all ready on the roof ready to be picked up with the boat hook. We’d just closed the gates behind us when a keeper arrived, he’d been to see how things were progressing at the bridge ahead. He reiterated that there was plenty of space on East Street for us to wait.

Where is everyone?

Space, blimey! Only three boats moored up along the whole stretch, we’ve never seen it look so empty. We pulled up almost to the far end to wait for the work boat to finish.

No space to get through

An EA work boat a while ago had collided with a water main that runs under the bridge. Today they were putting in a bypass pipe so that the original one could be mended without interruption to the supply. The work boat sat plum in the centre of the bridge, we had a cuppa and waited for midday.

House being clad in copper

Another two boats arrived behind us, the workmen would be another half hour, maybe an hour.

Waiting impatiently

Then a trip boat arrived, it hovered mid channel next to us waiting for the work boat to move, but move it did not, not until about 12:45. We were out, ropes untied and on our way.


I managed to get a photo of a hole in a pipe, but the proper hole was in a much bigger pipe a little further on, only a quick glance upwards and it looked like bits of wood had been strapped to the hole to stem it’s flow. I didn’t notice a bypass pipe, but then we were through the bridge very quickly.

Goodbye to the Thames

The right turn into Sheepwash was easy, not much flow to make it a worrying manoeuvre. We turned and waved goodbye to Old Father Thames and headed back towards C&RT waters.

All under wraps

Work is happening at the Swing Bridge to restore it, most of the structure encapsulated in white tarpaulin, so nothing to see.

A boat was pulled up on the pontoon below Isis Lock, waiting for the bridge to open. They kindly asked if we wanted the lock gate opening for us, but we actually wanted the pontoon so that we could fill with water from a handy tap alongside the permanent moorings on the canal. We swapped over and they headed out onto the river.

Just by Isis Lock

The water pressure was pretty good and by the time the next boat appeared our tank had just filled. They were wanting to do the same as us so were happy to wait for our hose to be stowed.

Back onto dinky waters

A narrow lock! And a pretty one. No heaving or having to bump the gates to get them moving, just a gentle little sigh to let you know it’s ready to move. I know that won’t be the case by the time we reach Somerton Deep Lock, but for now I’ll enjoy the ease of the locks.

We’ve heard the stories of so many boats on the Oxford Canal at the moment. Sadly the canal into Oxford seems to have a bit of a reputation, fortunately for us it meant we had the choice of moorings.

Final bit of model painted, a portrait

Having spent quite a bit of time here over two winters whilst I’ve been doing panto we know the advantages of where to moor. Nearer Isis Lock you are slightly sheltered from the noise of trains, but the outlook is of the hoardings for the development that may one day actually happen across the canal in Jericho. But this mooring now has a lot of over hanging branches, not so good for solar. Further along you get the view of College Cruisers and the house where the first murder in Inspector Morse happened. Here you get a lot of sunlight, but increased train noises. We chose sun and being nearer to the footbridge.

Tilly was quite happy to be back in this outside, she knows it very well, except someone’s changed it’s colour to green!

3 locks, 2 river, 1 narrow, 4.51 miles, 5o much space at East Street, 1 copper house, 1 hour wait, 1 right, 1 full water tank, 1 washing machine running again, 1 meeting confirmed, 1 get together postponed, 1 menu written, 1 shopping list, 1 Gothel portrait, 1 Dame painted, 1 model totally and utterly complete, 1 cat back in the Oxford outside.

Ping! 1st August

Ballot Box Bridge to Uxbridge Lock, Grand Union

As it was Sunday we enjoyed having a read of our Saturday newspaper with a cuppa before we got up, so we didn’t push off until almost 10am. Our aim today was to fill the diesel tank as the last time was a top up at St Pancras Cruising Club nearly a month ago. Also getting ourselves out west will hopefully help in getting an engineer back out to look at the washing machine.

Sticky buds

Last weekend (I think) there was a big litter pick along the Paddington Arm, masses of rubbish was collected by volunteers and their efforts showed today, the arm looking much cleaner. Occasionally there was a sign attached to fencing asking people to please use the bins provided, here’s hoping!

A clean slate

The boat of fame we’d seen on our way in, decorated with graffiti looks like it is getting ready for it’s next makeover, the port side greyed out, maybe the starboard side is already repainted!

A lighthouse?

With intermittent showers I retired below. An email from the Production Manager for panto had just arrived, so I was able to give it a bit of attention. Checking felt samples and fabrics. Hopefully we may actually get to meet up at the theatre in the near future, which would be excellent to look at various things that are very much dependant on the structures back stage.

What looked like a lighthouse towards Bulls Bridge Junction turned out to be a tower on a self storage place. Then a very neatly painted NB Orpheus came into view, a very proud owner at the stern. This boat reminded us of the boat that pulled in alongside us in Llangollen Christmas 2017, both have slipper sterns and classical features.

Bulls Bridge

At the junction I went to stand on the bow to give a thumbs up for a clear way ahead.

NB Driftwood was sat on the Tesco moorings, we wondered if they’d still be there when we come back. We turned right and headed northwards. Past a bus depot. Bindweed taking over the world. Under Murderer’s Bridge. Past NB Anglewood whom we’d shared locks with up towards Marsworth weeks ago.

At Cowley, two yellow eyed white cats sat on the roof of their boat. Below the lock we spotted a big sign advertising the sale of a house boat on it’s mooring. Even with a mooring and conservatory I think I’d have still tried to tidy up the outside a touch! Anyway if we had the money the lock cottage is still for sale and much more appealing.

Signs instructed to leave the top lock gate as we found it, water spilling over the bottom gates. C&RT were sending water down to somewhere. The Malt Shovel has new extra tables along the towpath, but considering it was a Sunday lunchtime there weren’t many takers.

We held back for them to come thorugh

Getting closer to Uxbridge it looked like our way ahead was blocked. A zoom in with the camera and I could see there was a very new widebeam coming past the pontoons alongside where the towpath is being upgraded. A lady stood at the bow, walkie talkie in hand. At the stern a chap at the wheel a lady looking down the starboard side. We wondered if it had been dropped in at Bridgewater Basin as No Problem XL had, it was certainly a new Collingwood boat.

In training

Approaching Denham Marina a boat was just winding at the entrance. L plates on the side of NB Willum, there were three ladies on the stern. Blasts of forwards and reverse got them round then they headed back up into the lock for some more training.

We turned into the empty service mooring. Hang on the chain was across! But it’s not a Wednesday and it was just gone 2pm, they don’t close until 3!

A laminated sign on the chain announced that they were closed until 9th August, they had been pinged. Mick had tried calling this morning, but got no answer, I suspect they had just found out and were busy laminating the signs before self isolating. Hope everyone stays well.

Oh Butter!

We winded and found ourselves a space on the visitor moorings. With a quarter of a tank of diesel we need to find some soon, especially as we’ll be heading out onto the Thames. The afternoon was spent ringing several places, yes we can fill up at Packet Boat, but they reportedly only do a split of 60/40. Messages were sent to coal boats but none replied.

At least our mooring should be good for an engineer to visit, even if we have to put up with a very vocal cat in the meantime, shore leave is not deemed safe here.

1 lock, 11.74miles, 1 right, £215k, £580k, 1 mooring sorted, 1 campsite sorted, 1 plan coming together, 1 marina pinged, 0 diesel, 0.25 of a tank, 1 vocal cat, 1 green felt missing.

Avoiding Wet Pants. 19th June

Wheelock to Thurlwood Winding Hole (but not in it, we’re not red!)

More wettness this morning, but the sort that only gets you wet when you’re not looking. We have a schedule to keep to at the moment so today we had to move, which for the most part was dry, just one part that really really wasn’t!

By 11am we were ready, at least one boat had already passed us this morning, maybe our luck would be in that at the paired locks there would be one in our favour. Sadly that wasn’t to be.

New concrete

The landing has new concrete below Wheelock Bottom Lock dividing the traffic to the paired locks. Up above, the cottage looked as picturesque as ever, sitting alongside the pound, the sun just about out. We soon got into our rhythm, me emptying the locks, opening the gates, closing them behind Oleanna, lifting the paddles and then waiting for the bow of Oleanna to have raised over the top cil. A thumbs up and wave between Mick and myself confirming he’s happy for me to walk on ahead to start setting the next chamber, leaving him to open the gate, drop paddles, bring Oleanna out and close the gate behind.

Wheelock Bottom Lock

As Mick brought Oleanna into the second lock of the morning it had started to rain. I picked up my coat from him as he entered the lock, removed a layer so as not to overheat under my waterproof and worked Oleanna up.

He had a brolly I had a tree

A little bit of a walk to the next lock and by the time I got close it was heaving it down! I took refuge under a tree, sorted out my pockets and when Mick came alongside I handed him my bumbag with camera in it so that it could go inside. It took sometime for the rain to calm down to a steadier fall, we could stop and wait longer or carry on, carrying on got my vote.

As I wound the paddles up I could see the steam coming off the backs of cows in a nearby field after the rain. I wonder how long it would be before I started to steam.

Once a lock now a bywash

Every lock was against us, but the paddles were easy having recently been greased and the narrow lock gates light to move once the levels equalised. Some of the lock beams reach past the small lock bridges, I always push them open rather than pull using the bridge, just so I don’t get pushed over the edge or get squashed by the bridge railings. So on these locks I do what I call the Trent and Mersey hurdles, sit on the beam and swing my legs over onto the bridge to get to the other side. But right now all the beams were awash with water.

Shorts and muddy legs

Today I’d opted not to wear waterproof trousers and gone for shorts. This would mean getting a soggy bum and getting wet pants if I did the hurdles. So instead I opted to take more time and walk round the locks using the top gates, keeping safe and my underwear dry.

Mick following behind

At Malkins Bank Golf Club I could smell burgers being cooked and a sign advertised their chilled medication. We still had some more locks to do before we could have a break though, so we continued up the hill.

Woosnam not Wuhan chilled medication

Above Longcroft Lock was a boat that had passed us yesterday, most probably the reason for the locks being set against us all the way this morning. The crew appeared just as I reached the lock and busied themselves pushing off from the lock landing. Here sweat peas filled the offside hedge, what a pretty sight.


At Maddocks Lock they pulled away as I emptied the second chamber for us, they’d not seen a boat approaching from above so I walked round and pushed the gate back open.

Vaporised Pip

Then came Mick’s favourite lock along here Hassall Green Bottom Lock. You duck under the M6 and then rise not quite to the same height where you can watch the speeding traffic as you wait slowly to rise in the lock. The south bound traffic was slow and chaps wearing high-vis walked along the hard shoulder.


I prefer the single lock above, Hassall Green Top Lock 57. In years gone by there used to be a shop and maybe cafe here. On the side of the building a Heinz sign boasting 57 varieties. Sadly the sign went some time ago.

As the boat in front of us pulled out of the lock I enquired as to how much further they were heading today, just far enough to escape the noise from the M6. I hoped we’d pass them in that case. Coming towards us was NB Tad A Drift who had spent much of lockdown around Hurleston, I think they must have been moored above the locks and come past us to go shopping in Nantwich periodically.

Pierpoint Lock

A lunch stop was needed before carrying on so we made use of the rings above the lock for a short break before carrying on to Pierpoint locks 55 and 56. The on line moorings by Hill Farm Winding hole are now empty, maybe the new cow sheds don’t mix with boaters. We soon passed the boat ahead and then had a boat coming towards us, at last some empty locks.

So sunny on a grey day

The cottages above Thurlwood Lock always look pretty. The flowers in their gardens today despite being damp looked wonderful, a slightly yellower than normal daisy stood out and had to have it’s photo taken.

Rode Heath
Malkins Bank

One of the cottages on the towpath had a for sale sign. There had also been a cottage for sale at Malkins Bank. Interesting how much more an extra bedroom and pretty brickwork will cost you!

A lovely boat

Up one more lock into the long pound at Rode Heath where we moored up for the day. The soggy covers done back up and Tilly allowed to venture across into the trees away from all the woofer walkers.

Time for me to do my sign and take a photo for the #freelancersmaketheatrework campaign. Yesterday when I’d first come across this there had been 500 posts on Instagram, today it was over 1000. Actors, Directors, Wig Makers, Fight Directors, Writers, Costume Makers, Stage Managers, Riggers all sorts of people just wanting to be recognised as part of the industry and not be forgotten. Around about 200,000 people make up 70% of the UK theatre workforce.


People Powered was set up early on in Lockdown. A collective of freelancers from across the entertainment and live event industries came together to help the NHS and other frontline services after their work was stopped. They have been helping with deliveries, over 300 radios going into ITU’s, Wobble Rooms for NHS staff to relax in, structures have been erected creating more space for triage at hospitals.

Then there have been actors returning to medicine to help. We’ve all seen the costume makers busy making scrubs for the NHS, now making masks for one and all, I actually know a lighting designer who has dusted off his sewing machine to help too.

Theatre and event people are all good at solving problems, it’s part of why we do the jobs we do. So many have been turning their hands to where extra help has been needed. Others have been doing their best to keep their creative juices flowing, producing footage, radio dramas to keep people entertained when we all need it most. The entertainment industry has been working from behind closed doors for the last three months. As I say we’re good at solving problems, but right now there is one that we haven’t as yet got a solution for and that is a way to reopen theatres and venues and be able to do what we all do best, live entertainment, sharing the experience with others in one room.

14 locks, 3.63 miles, 1 down pour, 2 dry sets of pants, 17 steaming cows and 1 bull, 1 boat ahead, 3 empty locks, 2 hours shore leave, 2 many woofers, 1 soap box still, 1 of the 70%, 1 lovely widebeam still for sale.

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It really is a lovely boat

Boats For Sale.

Over the last couple of days we’ve heard of two more friends who have made the decision to sell their boats.

NB Valerie is up for sale. Jaq has made the very hard decision to move back to the States after living onboard Valerie for seven years, the last two without her best beloved Les. We finally got to meet Jaq in Nantwich earlier this year as the Beast from the East hit the country. Valerie was built for Les twelve years ago and has been a fulltime live aboard, she is being sold with everything you would need. A lovely very much loved boat.

NB Valerie

Our friends boat NB Blackbird is still up for sale with ABNB. When we had NB Lillyanne (Lillian) we travelled as the Wasp with Blackbird on several occasions. Last year we joined together to cruise the Lancaster Canal. Bridget and Storm lived on board for several years cruising the network. They decided to move back to bricks and mortar earlier this year after finding their forever home back in East Yorkshire.

The Wasp

Tilly’s number one fan, Joa has put her boat up for sale, NB Beatrix. More of a holiday/weekend boat, able to sleep 6. Work is taking up too much time for them to be able to use her enough. A shame that we won’t be able to meet up somewhere on the cut, but I’m sure our paths will cross at some point.


NB Rock and Roll is also for sale with ABNB. Two careful previous owners. First and Second

Rock 'n Roll