Friday 12 February 2016


  It is a fact of life that we cannot predict the future, even the near future. The things we take for granted today could all be different tomorrow. It’s the same for narrowboats as it is for humans. We have a particular person in in our lives for a time, but it cannot, no matter how much we may think or want it, be forever. I’m saying this because, as it turns out, this will be the last of my occasional ramblings. It was originally the Skipper doing most of the writing, as any long-time reader of this blog will know. I just put my tuppence-worth in on the odd occasion, really because I thought it only fair that you heard my side of the story. And yes, I admit I got a bit of a thrill going behind his back, and let him carry on thinking that he was the boss!

When I say that this will be the last time I write, I actually mean it will be the last time either of us writes. There’s no other way I can say it – you see, the Skipper has gone for good. I know he didn’t plan it this way – who does, when the time comes for them to meet their Maker? But I know that he would have accepted with good grace the fact that the whistle had been blown, and full-time announced… My “hunch” that there was something going on turned out to be correct. I finally got Roots and Wings to explain everything to me. I have to say, I did feel irked – and still do, a bit – that I wasn’t told sooner. But I suppose I can understand that everyone was feeling so sad and shocked about the news; and Roots and Wings, bless her, said that she didn’t know how to tell me, and was just “waiting for the right moment”, which, she said, “never seemed to come.”

…When the Skipper left in early December, it was, apparently, to go to the hospital. Although he didn’t say anything to me (I think he didn’t want to worry me), he had not been feeling in the best of health for a while. Anyway, the long and the short of it was that the doctors discovered it was cancer, and a type that was “quite aggressive” at that. According to all accounts, he was cared for magnificently in Warwick Hospital by the team of nurses and doctors, in fact all of the staff; and of course Janis was by his side day and night. He had a fine coterie of visitors, who did a splendid job of keeping his spirits up – though knowing the Old Man, I’m sure he would have been doing the same for them as well. He passed away on the 20th December, and a memorial gathering was held at Tooley’s Boatyard in Banbury on the 5th January.

As you can imagine, I’ve been feeling a bit bereft since I heard the news. I can’t help thinking of all the voyages we still had to make. I know, of course, that a narrowboat will inevitably have more than one owner in its lifetime, often several. But there was something in the way me and the Skipper worked together that felt just that bit more special. We never said anything to each other about it; but I think we both knew.

…So now I have an unknown future ahead of me. I’m quite happy for the time being resting here at Kate Boats; but I suppose I will eventually be moved and sold to a new owner, with who-knows-what plans for me. It seems right to finish the blog now, and I know the Skipper would want me to say thank you and goodbye to all of his readers and friends over the past several years. While Old Salt has now truly found his “Future-Rest”, I, his original Futurest, will go on to waters uncharted, to places undiscovered, to people unmet. And who knows? Perhaps we will meet. Not in this form, not with this name, but in an entirely different life. For now, though, I bid you farewell. And I salute my Boss, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of travelling over the past eighty-two months. I have loved every minute of it.


Naughty-Cal said...

Fairwell Futurest and Fairwell Skipper.

We will miss you both.

KevinTOO said...

Farewell to you both, you will be missed by many.

Anonymous said...

Farewell Futerest,. There will be another fabulous owner who will realise just how special you are and hopefullly care for you in the way the skipper did. Take care. Paula X

Sue said...

Oh so sad. Vic and I wish you all the best for the future Janis.

Your blogs will be missed.

Blue on Blue said...

Words can't express how saddened we are to hear of your loss.
Mike and Ethel

Bermitraveller said...

I was saddened to read of Pete's death. Commiserations to you. We met you and Pete on the Oxford Canal last year - the two Aussies who had been influenced by Nb Futerest's blog to try narrowboating. It was a pleasure meeting you both, even though I mistook your NZ flag for an Aussie one! We enjoyed nb'ing so much we have booked again for Autumn this year. All the best for the future.

Roger Distill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MortimerBones said...

Fair well dear Peter and fair well Futurest - a good team. You will be and are missed.

Unknown said...

Last week I sadly saw Futurest and the new owner turn up in the Braunston marina. For a minute I thought Peter wad driving.

Paul said...

It was very sad news about Peter. I met him and Janis a few brief times along the K&A during a boat move to Caen Hill Marina in June 2015. Funny how the internet can bring people so close through today's communication technology.

I thought of Peter as part of my internetworked family. I will miss knowing that he is in this dimension and the blog updates and thanks to Futurest for the last posts.

Farewell x

Unknown said...

Farewell Peter - I enjoyed your company on so may occasions. Starting with the trip on the Colorado Star to N America in 1960. We enjoyed your hospitality in Banbury on several occasions.Your perseverance with Mandy's illness must be admired by all. We enjoyed meeting you and Janis in Hobart at the Blue Star reunion in 2015 was enjoyed by all. Our best wishes to Janis and hope we can be in contact again.
My email

winofch said...

23,05.2016. I've brought NB. Futurest. Yesterday I had 2 Russell Newbery Engineers, giving heart, a good and full health check. Some minor repairs are need to fabric of ship, for safety nothing major. And have asked for her to be blacked, before she comes home to her berth. Norton Cannes boat services. Glascote Basin. Where on time she will he brought back to her former glory.