About Me

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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.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Coal: Come rain or shine!

On Monday I headed for the boat  and met Dusty, the coal boat, at Samuelson Bridge 168 where they were loading coal and gas. Or should I say they were drinking tea during a break in loading coal and gas. Dusty is trapped on the north section of his patch at the moment by re-building of a lift bridge between Aynho and Somerton Deep Lock. The fact that his boat was pointing south, but he usually comes from the south threw us. His timing is all wrong too. He shouldn't be here again til after Christmas.  I was told that as soon as he was loaded he would be along to my boat in five minutes.

I waited and checked out a little sealing job I need to do. But the drizzle started and silicon sealant will not stick properly in the wet. So I cut up some old slats for kindling and stacked them neatly in the wood box.

Then I played the harmonica for a bit.  I looked out if the cratch back down the canal. Trade was brisk. Dusty had been hailed by King of Clubs who wanted four bags of coal to supplement the whole willow tree that is stacked on his roof in one foot lengths. Then another boat crew returned from shopping and quickly hailed him to top up their diesel tank. It took more like 45 minutes to get to me, 200 yards down the cut!

"Nice to be serenaded" I heard Kati say as they arrived. Dusty always engages in cheery conversation and it was great to catch up. We have been away so long and the last fill we had from them was before we left our mooring on March 3rd. With no mooring to stack coal beside we can only accommodate 4 bags of coal at a time now and topping up the tanks took 153 litres.

That should keep us warm through rain or shine. Dusty comes rain shine or snow too! Here is some historical footage of the effort that these coal boats put in to getting the warmth to us.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016


Temperatures continue to soar into double figures and a quick look over the Castle Quay foot bridge on or way to General Foods Club for lunch confirmed that we have no excuse for not moving today.

Blue sky overhead, a head full of great boating conversation with the crews of nb The King of Clubs and nb Black Pig, a tummy full of good food and beer and we were off again.

Not too fat though. We spotted a gap in the line of boats just before Tramway long term moorings. We turned at Calthorpe Winding Hole (why is nobody watching when we get it perfect?) and returned to moor in the said gap. Ready for our next period of 14 days in the town.

                            1.3/4 miles,1 Lift Bridge, 1 lock,  1hr 20 mins

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


 Ice to the front of her,

ice to the rear of her,

ice to the side of her: our boating was postponed this afternoon because of ice.

Although there was a change in the outside temperature which was soaring toward 10 degC the water was still at zero, the temperature of melting ice, and it was impossible to move. It may look like there is clear water around the boat but the rudder was locked in until we moved it, and not without a bit of force.

I recollect the chapter in Tom Rolt's book "Narrow Boat" where he describes ice in Banbury and the joy that the arrival of the ice breaker brought to the locked in crews. We await the ice breaker because to try to break this ourselves would damage other people's vessels at the waterline and could put fibre glass boats in jeopardy.

We spoke to a fisherman who told us the score along the canal: the only ice free spots were under the bridges and even there he got no bites.