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Peter X

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Everything posted by Peter X

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  3. OldGoat: Help, I'm confused! So this Napton boat you hired came with a cross bed, which when extended had its own food supply and a radiator to keep the food warm? Wouldn't you just heat the food in the galley and consume it there? But I can see the attraction of having warm food available during the night...
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  5. I'm 6'0" but not overweight, and have often slept on a cross bed (in Brighton, the NBT butty, 7 feet wide) without problems. Except there was one night moored part way up the Wolverhampton 21 when the pound dried up making the boat slope sideways a bit, and I woke to find my weight pushing my head against the hull! In general, I think if I were 6'4" I could cope on a cross bed by lying a bit diagonally, but sharing it would only work with a shorter friend. If I were fat too I suppose it would get awkward.
  6. I agree too but here's a bit more detail... Not just west of Oxford, EA "registration" rules apply on all their water i.e. from the PLA boundary just below Teddington, all the way up to Lechlade, plus the last little bit of the Kennet at Reading including Blakes Lock. You pay at the first EA lock you come to where someone's on duty. I think any powered leisure boat counts as a launch, and charges vary according to whether you buy a "day", week, month or year. Within that you pay by area in square metres, defined as length x beam, and the charge gets bigger according to what bracket your "area" falls into. You get two window stickers showing the expiry date, one for each side of your boat. No extra charge for air draught, but taller boats, or anyone who hasn't taken their chimney down, will have a real problem at Osney bridge in Oxford. Get that wrong and you'll feel "it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year"! If you are a commercial vessel carrying cargo (e.g. the NBT), very different rules apply (toll tickets based on weight of cargo and miles), and many of the lockkeepers don't fully understand how to issue them because there is not a lot of cargo carrying on the non tidal river. I have no idea what happens for the commercial passenger vessels, e.g. the big trip boats which operate at Windsor, but no doubt they have their own separate scale of charges.
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  8. I've seen Gyles Brandreth on TV (on Countdown some years ago) and I wasn't upset by the experience at all. Seemed like a decent bloke to me, not irritating but fun. If they're doing the Thames then the GU in separate episodes, do we get a chunk about the Teddington to Brentford transit too? There would be interesting things to show and say there.
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  10. Further entertainment is to be had from that ad for Pooley Hall farmhouse. It states that: The present Hall was built in 1509 by Sir Thomas Cockayne "The Magnificent" who was knighted at the Battle of Tournai by King Henry VII. Feeling interested, and doubting that Henry VII got around to a foreign war like that while he was busy spending his reign consolidating his hold on the throne after his victory over Richard III at Bosworth, I just looked up the history.I think the estate agent has got details wrong, lifting an error from the Wikipedia article on Pooley Hall! The 1509 date of construction may be correct, but the battle and monarch look wrong. For example, see https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Cokayne-41 I didn't want to get too bogged down in research, but it seems that Sir Thomas Cockayne "The Magnificent" was knighted after the Seige of Tournai (itself part of the aftermath of "The Battle of the Spurs") in 1513 by Henry VIII... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Spurs The Battle of Tournai was much later, in 1794.
  11. I'd feel haunted if I were passing by on the canal when the new owner decides to try out that cannon shown in the estate agent's photos.
  12. My tips: 1. Turn left at Reading, because the route up the Oxford canal then on to Fradley Junction is probably easier than going right down river, doing the tidal bit from Teddington to Brentford then up the GU joining the Oxford canal at Braunston (or the alternative route via Leicester). Also cheaper, because it's possible and legal to do the Reading to Oxford transit (a lovely stretch of river) on a "one day" EA "registration" if you're quick. But a week would be plenty if you want to do another nice bit of river instead, i.e. Reading to Teddington, in order to go via Brentford. 2. Have a crew member on the trip if your boat has the space, it's easier two handed. Ideally someone with local knowledge, handy in places like Woolhampton, Reading and Oxford. But there are topics you can read on the forum about these places, or about navigating the K&A, Thames, etc. in general. It's wise to do some research. Definitely read up about the Thames and Trent, they're big rivers but not too tough; just keep a good lookout for the signs and other craft. If you don't have a crew member with local knowledge, a guide book would be a good idea. 3. Try to choose nice weather; life on an unheated GRP boat will be more comfortable in the sunny south on a good day than on the Trent in winter. But actually, when I once went on the Trent in winter I was allocated the motor cabin of a pair, someone built up its stove fire before we went to the pub for the evening, and the cabin was so toasty hot overnight that I slept with the back doors open to cool me down!
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  16. Leaves are the least bad thing to have on your prop, "chuck back" (a quick burst of reverse) soon sorts them out. Lurching rather off topic... But I've been on boats which experienced wire, a backpack, a sofa cover, and several times the tow rope (my fault once!); all more problematic. My top tips for not being responsible for getting stuff round a prop are: 1. Avoid the BCN; the wire, backpack and sofa cover all happened there. Hard for the steerer to see them coming, it wasn't me steering anyway on each occasion, and I doubt I'd have spotted them, probably lurking below the surface. 2. If steering the motor when towing on a line, understand the technique of pulling the tow rope in promptly when stopping and get it right. The NBT has various people who are much better at that than me. Hence: 3. Be the butty steerer!
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  18. This week the flow on the Thames was steadily coming down to normal, and the NBT pair (with me on the crew doing the easy jobs) set off downstream from Osney on the morning of Sun 11th. By today we'd done our K&A deliveries and got back down to Reading. Fresh people joined the crew and I traveled home from there; County Lock is handy for the station, just a short walk through the city centre. The latest on the EA website is that the whole river is back to normal and navigable.
  19. Yes, I expect we're both right and the river is invading the canal. There's a similar notice about the Nell's Lock to Aynho Weir Lock section where the Cherwell runs in and out.
  20. We've gone from too little to too much water in the south Oxford! CRT notices issued a few days ago are now advising against navigating Isis Lock (4 Oct) OR Dukes Cut Lock (5 Oct)!
  21. A footnote: I see the Kennet through Reading "Upstream of Blake's lock" has now gone from red board to yellow "caution stream decreasing", which makes it safer to get through in either direction. But Caversham to Sonning on the Thames is still on red, so if anyone's planning at the moment to go through Reading whichever way, be patient, wait and see.
  22. Looking at the EA site and the weather forecast, I estimate that things are slowly getting better. Some time in the next few days I'm hopeful that more red boards will be replaced by yellow and the NBT may be able to leave Oxford going down river then into the K&A. Dave123, if you see a loaded breasted up pair coming down the Thames that would be us. If I'm not too busy in the galley, as we pass you I'll try to wave. Fear not, someone else will be steering!
  23. Wasn't the long school summer holiday introduced so that children could be out of school for harvest time? Me being in IT, my calendar varied and agriculture was not involved, so the one time I took a child out of school during term was to enable my children including my daughter, then 15, to escape their mother and stepfather. Her teachers were helpful because they knew it was good for her welfare. She and my son, who was off school for a teacher training day, waited for their mother to go out to work, finished their packing and left; we returned later for their two cats. Perhaps the moral of this odd story is that teachers know best and should have a certain discretion? My boating season should start within the next few days as the Thames appears to be slowly coming off red boards.
  24. Google translate is the easy way; they cater for Romans too: facile defricatus urina I don't think I've ever been down the 21, but 3 hours single handed sounds quick, especially as the locks are rather spread out.
  25. The first time I set foot on a narrow boat was on a cold day in January 2012. My brother needed crew for the day, we covered a few miles and locks, and I was hooked. What season? I'm 65 and the two surgeons who've operated on me in recent years, Feb 2018 and Jan 2020, were both quite a lot younger than me. But they did well ... because both operations were quite drastic and I've reached 65. I don't think I met the first surgeon who operated on me. Someone took my appendix out in Ludwigshafen, West Germany as it then was, in 1973. They did OK.
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