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.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Wet locking

Last Thursday I had a phone call from a single handing friend who was in Braunston. I had offered to help him through a flight. He was calling in my offer. But this week I was not available Sunday, Monday or Tuesday until a rearrangement enabled me to offer him today. I had not looked at the weather forcast. On rising this morning to a skyful of rain I called him expecting him to call it off. I hadn't reckoned on the fact that his boat is fitted with a canopy and he could stay dry all along the top level from Marston Doles to Claydon Top Lock.

I met him there in teeming rain. He took a little longer to get from Fenny Compton marina than I expected and I had the pleasure of helping  nb Sarah Louise down. These were first time boaters, on a borrowed boat and this was the first lock they had gone down. They had got themselves stuck, with fenders down, in the second Napton Lock (No 9) known to be the narrowest lock on the system. Their boat's owners had told them to use the fenders in the locks! Oops. They had to be washed out shortly after being stuck half in! After they left I helped nb Pepper up the top lock and waited with the gate was open and lock full.

We went down without problem and then found the second lock with bottom gates open and paddles up! Maybe my tuition was not good enough! At lock three (Middle Lock) we encountered a Viking invasion. Coming toward us. Heading for the gates was the first of six Willow Wren hire craft with Danish crews. The boat went across the canal as they reversed thrust realising there was a boat in the lock after they had passed the lock landing!  (I had met them in Banbury this morning when I was turning Sonflower to return her to the mooring.The Danish crew had to wait!) They had to wait longer here as the canopy would not fit under the bridge at teh foot of teh lock and had to be furled back.  It didn't seem that they were used to this.  I spoke to a couple of the adults as I did not know the Danish for 'dangerous' 'stop running' and 'keep off the gunwhale in the rain while throwing the centre rope".

Many of the crew were quite young, slight and inexperienced.They emptied the bottom lock as we approached in spite of my hollaring and waving. No harm done and in this torrential downpour no-one would be thinking of saving water!  I waved my friend goodbye at the Bottom Lock and went back to the middle lock where two little Danish lasses were trying their hardest to open the gate paddles to drain the lock. (They were just too small and slight to make any impact.) They made up for this in enthusiasm and the teeming rain did not stop them or dampen their joy at being able to open the gates by themselves. They ran off to try the same with the top gate! I returned to my car: very wet and tired.

The joys of boating.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Jubilee Washout

You all know it's been raining.

We have the boat close to where some friends are camping for the Jubilee weekend. We went to a BBQ yesterday and then decided to go and watch England play football against the Belgians.

Last night was so wet that they have decamped to a large country house on the other side of town. The boat is no longer near our friends!

We had lunch with My Mother today. And we watched the pageant of 1000 boats on the tele this afternoon.  The narrowboats didn't really centre on the proceedings. The BBC seemed surprised that 'people even live on them'! We spotted a couple of narrrowboats we know. Steaming "President" was always going to be a camera magnet and we noticed Quercus and Fulborne (I think) but I didn't recognise any others. I did think that I saw a friend at the tiller but if it was him he was not on a boat I recognised!

All in all it was good to see Her Majesty enjoying herself with the boating fraternity.

A great pity the British Weather didn't match the occasion.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Boating today

But first stop the water point. The tank is full but we haven't been off the home mooring since 7 April. The boat is filthy and needed a good wash. Whatever the news on the "wettest drought in history", water shortages and hose pipe nabs, I have it on good authority, i.e I heard it on the towpath, that boat cleaning by hose pipe is exempt from any hose pipe ban because of the danger of spreading invasive species if boats are not washed regularly!

By lunchtime SONFLOWER was presentable and the crew set off down Banbury lock and on to Nell Bridge where they winded and moored four hours later.

An enjoyable afternoon. We are moored behind Moor2life and I met Ann and her rescue Parson Jack Russel (original long legged variety).

So once again we are boaters and not just boat owners!