Thursday, 15 November 2012


The time is here again when the thin dawn light of winter begins to seep into the day at around seven every morning, with a persistent damp and dismal lethargy. Then later, as soon as all has arrived, it immediately starts to creep out again and is gone by five o’clock never to return for another long fourteen hours.

In fact I am reminded at this time of the year of a poem that I learned while at school many years ago. It’s called:-



By Thomas Hood

No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -


On these dark mornings one is encouraged to remain within the cocoon of one’s bed indefinitely. But eventually, having finally shaken off the shackles of sleep, it is wonderful to rise and still be able to remain somewhat self indulgent by just  sitting within the cosy confines of the boat luxuriating in the warmth of the Squirrel fire, whilst reading a good book.

Let the rest of the World carry on with its busy hectic life outside. I have happily maintained my alternative here for a number of days now.



However we do get the occasional morning without the cloud


I have just finished reading Terry Pratchett’s novel ‘Nation’. It was recommended to me by Janis before she left and I must admit that I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I have done. I’ve not read any of his books before and since the author’s note announced that the plot was set in a parallel universe to ours, I was expecting some kind of fantasy genre, which I have never enjoyed when I have tried to read them before; I must be the only person in the world for example who hasn’t enjoyed a Harry Potter book (yes I have tried one) or seen a Harry Potter film. But I did thoroughly enjoy ‘Nation’ with its simple profound  logic and witty prose that I found almost poetic in nature.



‘Roots and Wings’ at her safe berth for the winter



‘Futurest’ with that certain lived aboard look


Apart from a couple of visits to my brother in Stratford-upon-Avon and to the funeral of my friend Lyn in Banbury recently, after which, friend’s John and Maggie kindly put me up for the night, I have led a quiet life.

I’ve been for a number of walks around the district, for interest's sake trying to vary them as much as possible, and these have been very enjoyable. On Saturday 3rd September I was out in the evening for a stroll, watching the numerous and colourful firework displays around Warwick.

In turn briefly each would impress and flourish brightly and loudly for about twenty minutes before the normal traffic noise and the orange glow of the town took over once more. Furthermore on the following morning all over, like discarded skeletons was the anti-climactic debris of spent sky rockets, wet, soggy and forlorn in the morning dew.

The local pubs were hoping to be busy on that Saturday night too. Loud music from some and/or massive television screens blazed a bright path across the dark pavements, while outside the ‘Old Railway Tavern’, a board announced ecstatically the usual football matches ‘LIVE’ between teams I hadn’t even heard of.

Though damp and misty, recently the air temperature has been very mild and in conditions like this it is tempting to take ‘Futurest’ out for a cruise. But of course one cannot trust the weather and at any moment, within hours, icy conditions might descend leaving us stuck miles from anywhere without any sustenance.

We shall remain here safe and sound till the end of February as planned.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Back Safely at Our Home Port

Eight months ago ‘Futurest’ and I set off in excellent spirits from Kate Boats in Warwick for another exciting season of cruising, never quite knowing what adventure lay ahead for us. Now we’ve arrived safely back having travelled a total of 650.5 miles, through 408 locks and 10 tunnels since we left.

I know this is a modest amount to what some people manage to cover in the same period but then ‘Futurest’ and I were never designed for getting there-and-back-as-quickly-as-we-can and neither of us intended to go for any speed records. Having managed an average speed of 1.53 mph overall, which includes all locking time and other stoppages, I am certainly most happy with the result.

Our pattern has been slightly different this year in that we managed to join up with Janis and ‘Roots and Wings’ in Newark at the beginning of May. We’ve remained happily in tandem ever since and arrived at Kate Boats on Monday afternoon. Everything seems the same here; we are at our old berth, just beneath the bridge and the smiles of welcome we found unchanged.

I winterised ‘Roots and Wings this morning and she is moored snugly a little further away, adjacent to the paint shed. She should be fine for the coming winter months.

Her skipper Janis, far from relaxing after arrival, had to prepare herself for her forthcoming travels abroad and for a lot of the time was arranging flights, insurance, packing etc. that she would need for the next four months in Cambodia and New Zealand. She is looking forward to seeing home again particularly as she has not been back there for eight years or so.

However we did have some time to relax together and appreciate the wonderful atmosphere of Warwick.



My little Shipmate



Caesar’s Tower from Mill Street


007  Golden Glory

Golden Glory in St Nicholas Park



Golden Sunset across the Avon


At this time of the year, forgetting the traffic and its noise, the town is an absolute delight with its medieval castle, its collegiate church and tall tower designed by Sir Christopher Wren and so many oak framed houses built during the Tudor period. They are all a pleasure to both eye and intellect. The park land too is wonderful with a myriad of golds and browns and carpeted with so many fallen leaves that in passing, one cannot help, like a child, swishing one’s feet noisily through them.

We managed to fit in a couple of urban walks, which took in both the castle and the nearby River Avon, high with rainwater and magnificent as usual but not currently in flood. The quaint little tearooms as well, where we shared a cream tea (or two), were full of their usual magical charm.

On one of these walks, which was taking us between the railway embankment and some allotments, behind which was an ordinary housing estate, we came upon a wonderful sight. We were walking along a narrow tarmac-ed path when suddenly from the hedge on the right, about ten yards ahead of us, jumped a brown animal which from its size, at first we thought was a dog. It looked at us briefly and decided to trot along the path in the direction away from us and it was then that we noticed that our dog had horns! We had spotted a Muntjac deer. I fumbled in my pocket quickly for my camera but in the excitement was not quick enough before the animal, spotting a man coming from the other direction towards us, skipped back nimbly through the hedge and into the allotment. Though Janis and I searched hard we never saw our little friend again. How brave wild animals are becoming these days, venturing so close to human habitation.

Janis left on Thursday to begin her World journey and I went with her as far as the railway station. The train was on time; I find generally that they are these days and at 6.41 pm she climbed aboard and disappeared from my life just as quickly as she had arrived.

The change will be nice but I shall miss her.

She has been a brilliant shipmate but very capable on her own anyway. Though we’ve remained in close convoy, she hasn’t needed my boating assistance in any way. She has been a good chum and I shall miss her laughter as well as her fine company and her advice.

Bon voyage Janis. I shall be thinking of you.