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The name describes my demeanour and voice! I love narrowboating and that is why this blog is mainly about the boat and our interaction with it. I have been keeping a log for Sonflower ever since we bought her and moved onto her as our main residence. Some incidents in our boating life have been hilarious, some scary and some down right dangerous. I cannot tell what will come in the future but you can now share them! The crew are an 'ordinary' couple. The Best Mate and I.

Monday, 16 July 2007

How do you know it's a Hire Boat?

As I approached one of those bridge narrows where a factory lift bridge used to be (about 50 years ago before the demise of real industry that made things) I noticed a boat heading for the same narrow gap. As it was a hire boat I pulled over and waited, waving the oncoming craft forward. I was about level with a live-aboard who was moored on the tow path side. Seeing me stationary, he popped his head above the trad stern hatch and asked if I was OK.
"Yes, just giving way to a hire boat", I said.
He nodded knowingly and ducked down below again.
The First Mate then popped her head up. Having been very well engaged in conversation with a friend who was aboard for a short cruise, she wondered whether all was OK.
"Why have we stopped?"
"I'm just giving way to a hire boat", I said.
"How do you know it's a Hire Boat?" the friend chipped in.
"I just do", I said as the Anglo Welsh craft went between us and the live-aboard.

One just gets to know how other boaters behave. Whether it is because they hug the middle of the canal like a Sunday driver in the middle lane of the M25 or whether they have a determined look that can be spotted half a mile away or what I do not know but somehow, I knew that I HAD to give way to this one or there would have been much reverse thrusting and someone, probably me, would have landed up aground and bramble bound!

Today I was in town and looked about. "Busy today" our friend said. I looked up and down the moorings and saw that there were four boats from Napton Boats moored in the centre. I pointed this out. "How do you know they are hire boats?", she asked. "One just gets to know" It's the livery, the individual designs on the bows, the line of the boats, the number of people surrounding the tiller.... .I don't know. I just know!

I noticed that, since we had moored and gone into the GF Club a boat had moved on and given us more room to move away from the deceptive narrows under the museum bridge and opposite Tooley's dock entrance. I roped Sonflower forward two bollards to give someone else a chance to moor behind me. I went below and put the kettle on to be disturbed very soon afterwards by reverse thrusting next to us. It was my turn to pop up and enquire of the well being of another boater. He pointed me in the direction he had been going and I saw the reason for the reversing engine...... a hire boat coming toward him. His first mate threw me her bow rope and I assisted them to shelter behind my stern in the gap I had so recently vacated. How did I know it was a hire boat?

Of course, many of us started boating that way didn't we? And I enjoyed every minute
of it!

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