An unassuming narrowboat perusing the
"Longest Friendliest Village in England".



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berko to marsworth drop

Posted by PentargonSpringer on March 29, 2017 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Berko daffodil cut

Berko Lie over

Posted by PentargonSpringer on March 21, 2017 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

14days at Waitrose while the wind drops and the house and garden are sorted back at the ranch. The forecasts are not propituous for the next indeterminate number of days or indeed for the rest of the month. So home to tend garden and tidy house and get the tyre fixed on the" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Strida.

Apsley to Berko

Posted by PentargonSpringer on March 21, 2017 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Red Lion Apsley to Waitrose with a flat tyre. It was just getting dark as I pulled in near the bottom of Red Lion lock on Sunday 19th March 2017. Greeted by an old friend Chris Thompson whose HQ was opposite and made up for the night after turning the lock and slept soundly. On the morrow I went for two for the price of one and turned Apsley1 while Red Lion was lifting Pentargon. During the day I hauled in lock after lock by Hemel. This is a flag point for me as Boxmoor Lock64 by the cricket ground is about 64 miles from Braunston. Through Fisheries in a rising breeze and out onto Boxmoor where a noble wind was blowing, (luckily right in the nose) until I got into the lee of the railway at Bourne End.

Next Winkwell lock63 and swing bridge and Lock62, 61,60, 59 (M63) and the sobering reminder that we are only 30mls out of Brentford, but sweetened by the fact that in a couple of miles one third of the leg to Braunston will have been completed.  Lock 53 was breasted in the evening in atrocious wind and the sight of rings installed in the towpath by Waitrose decided for once and all that enough was enough.

Batchworth to Red Lion

Posted by PentargonSpringer on March 21, 2017 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Batchworth to Red Lion and lotsa locks

Uxbridge to Batchworth and onwards

Posted by PentargonSpringer on March 21, 2017 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Uxbridge to Batchworth through a "closed" lock. There was rumour of a lock closed at Lots Mead and due to open on Fri17, so a decision was to make up to it and be 'first through' meant that on Thu16 we were able to sail through as the work was finished. We arrived at Two Bridges quite early in the day and rested awhile. Since there was no reason to stay and a couple of small boats had gone on we decided to chase them, passing Heidi's boat just outside Watford. We climbed through Casiobury and eventually having  breasted Hunton Bridge, my ME had had enough. 

West Drayton

Posted by PentargonSpringer on March 21, 2017 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

West Drayton to Swan and Bottle 10th March. Just one lock at Cowley with a milestone embedded into the fabric. Solo and uninspiring. I tied up by the Swan&Bottle and took the train home from Uxbridge to Upminster, leaving Mick (who had arrived earlier) to fend for himself. 

Kingston to West Drayton

Posted by PentargonSpringer on March 9, 2017 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

February switched to March in Kingston and my life was running about a month late. I was with my mate Mick showing him how to deal with a flowing river and be a ferryman on the Thames. During the few days, he learned to cross and re-cross the river, sleep on board (and stay warm!) and introduce Pentargon to his friends. I was supposed to have taken Pentargon upriver to Chertsey where I might meet Abbey Molyneux and find out how a skilled boat-wright could separately be an excellent chronicler and writer.

Find her at and I see whether you agree that her writing is pure genius and beyond hilarious. I could say the same for her boat building skills, except that she is seriously good at what she does with wood and works on boats most people may only dream of. Getting mine up-river was intended to show Abbey how the Hampshire Heater works on Pentargon.  In her blog she had complained of being very cold on board. In the event I discovered her boat elsewhere and went by Train and Bus and Strida to share a meal and chat. Abbey is the sort of gel my mother was: total competent, totally together, totally believing in herself. So we got on famously with another boater, Trevor acting as referee at a fine river-side pub close to to a lock on the Thames. 

Back at the boat later, moored at Horsefair Quay, I prepared for a 07.30am departure, locked through Teddington at 08.30am, Cleared Richmond at 9oc right on hihg tide for that day and fetched up at Thameslock bang on 10oc as booked with C&RT the previous day (Monday!)

from Diane's house where we are preparing to pull pegs. 

Later, I brought Pentargon up to the gauging lock from where I would launch into the Hanwell flight with Miro on a #PogueAwayDay   the following day. Miro wants to get afloat and I was about to drop him in the doo-daa big time. Leaving Brentford at 1030am it was 1230 when we got through Osterley just a mile out of Brentford (another story for another day) By 3pm we finally made Norwood Top and proceeded to West Drayton station where Miro departed at 4.30pm for the big smoke. In six hours we had managed seven miles.


Up at 5.15am for the shipping forecast, breakfasted and housekeeping til 8am, when I went down the engine room to pump out a lot of water and tidy up to go further. Onward to Yiewsley Morrison about 10am, saunter down to Yiewsley library to update the blog. 12.15 and I had three packets of Bread mix from Aldi to add to ship`s provisions and moved away in the direction of Cowley Lock. 

Having got through, I pulled in awhile at the "services" just beyond the [road bridge] to assemble and plan forward. Peering into the distance the cut was lined with boats to the horizon. On both sides. But! Onward, ever onward. With the days noticable lengthening, it would not be dark til well after 6pm so I made my stop (for the weekend) at the Swan and Bottle.

Welton Hythe. Goodbye and Thanks for the Fish

Posted by PentargonSpringer on September 9, 2012 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

It has been so much pleasure meeting all you guys and gals and sharing experiences. This applies equally to staff, tenants, gongoozlers and visitors. You will not be seeing me mooring at Welton Hythe any more and this is regrettable. It was my first choice of marina (even before I bought Pentargon) and with great regret I had to blow the management into the reeds last Saturday. I totally lost confidence in their ability to ensure security for my possessions when a valuable and irreplacable piece of electronic equipment (locked by me into the toilets at 10oc on Friday night with my BW key) was found to be missing at 8am on Saturday from a now UNLOCKED toilet.

Management suggested that all moorers and all staff members (even fishermen off t'cut) have access to the toilets via BW key and by implication tarred everybody as potential thieves. The much vaunted 'security' could be breached by any of my fellow moorers or any of the marina staff; this was the view of management and was TOTALLY out of step with my view of the users and staff as I knew them. There were NO moorers on-site overnight Friday, apart from myself. The only staff around arrived after 8am and assured me they had neither seen the device nor been near the toilet. I was left with no alternative but to go to the office (at 9am) and advise that I intended to proceed to Daventry Police Station to report the device as STOLEN. When it was suggested that I might delay reporting until they had a chance to 'talk to people' I gave them til 1oc to 'find' the device, while already knowing full well what had happened to it. Life is a game and if others want to play games I always have a ball ready to bounce. To while away the  hours I engaged in close-quarter manoeuvring within and outside the marina and up t'cut towards the A5.

Returning at 1230 I went to the office carrying my special AEG lamp with it's missing battery and showed them, carved into the lamp my house number and post code back in Essex. The charger was similarly identifiable and I told them so. They wanted to know why I had not sought permission to leave something in the toilet and that  was when I knew the smell I had suspected was a rodent was indeed a rat. I'd come down from Yelvertoft through Crick tunnel on the previous evening, I was by Watford Gap about 9pm letting myself down the stairs and at 10pm it was so quiet in Welton Hythe marina that no-one knew I'd returned. The thought of even considering knocking someone up to get  'permission'  to plug a lamp battery into an electric socket in a lockable toilet was beyond hilarious.

At the that point two things happened which changed the whole tone. It was suggested that 'maybe someone had removed the charger for safety because it had been placed on the water heater' and it was also suggested that there was 'some concern that I was staying on my boat for long periods'. It did not take a Sherlock Holmes to deduce that only the person who removed the charger would have known it had indeed been left in such an unusual position but I said nothing.

I was more shocked at the comment about staying 'on-board'.

I thought being able to stay on board for indeterminate periods was an integral part of having a mooring there. My home is over 120 miles away in Essex. The two reasons I was 'staying on board' was to complete internal adaptions and get the boat through it's Safety Cert without getting ripped off by bunglers and wide boys. The awful weather had slowed me down enormously in the achievement of both objectives. I was also 'accused' of plugging in devices in the toilet previously. Guilty: A rechargable toothbrush and a shaver. Did I mention that Pentargon is a 40yo Springer with no shore power or 230VAC inverter? Did I mention that it will not have either of these facilities, not ever. Not while I own it.

It's a 40 yo Springer FFS. Well it will be 40 sometime in 2013.

The toilet is a facility of the marina, which is why we all have (BW) keys. I pay £1500pa to moor and use what facilities are provided. I also pay CaRT over £750pa for a licence to float on the water. We won't mention why a standard three-pin electric socket is fitted to the wall of the toilet in the first place, but at other facilities accessable by BW key I have used what I found there to my advantage and apologise to no-one for that. At Hillmorton,  I have dried my wellies overnight on their wall heater. At Braunston, I've used the toilet and washed my hands (and some socks!). At this stage I pointed out that if they were unhappy with my tenancy I was even LESS happy and perhaps it should be terminated forthwith with an appropriate refund of mooring fees.

I went for my car to drive to Coventry to talk to the cops but just before leaving I called by the office to tell them my car was now leaving the marina premises and would not be back. The boat would be leaving later in the afternoon, as soon as I'd been to Daventry. I'm delighted to report that a white envelope was presented with a cheque and a statement. You have to give them marks for anticipation.

The cheque is -as I write- currently in the banking system and probably won't bounce. It better not bounce or the sh*t will really hit the fan. To my surprise and delight the long-planned voyage scheduled for late Autumn was able to start early and with a refund of £750 in my paw. When I returned to the boat at 1500, having left the car at Braunston and bussed it back on the good ole No.12, I started to tidy the deck for departure. To my delight, the charger had been placed under an inverted bucket on deck. The robbers had had a change of heart and returned my goods. And to this day I could never say with certainty who the robbers were.

As soon as my hands are better and I can type properly this whole matter will be subject to a blog, but meantime I'm safe at home in Essex recuperating and the boat is Finch-proofed down on the South Oxford near Napton. Don't even THINK of it Anthony Ernest Finch. If you touch even a fender I'll break every bone in your body before dumping you in t'cut.


The Principle of Archimedes

Posted by PentargonSpringer on September 9, 2012 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The surveyor had asked me to find out if possible whether Pentargon had ballast on board. At time of writing late Jan2012 I'd not yet had time to root around under the sole plates.  Pentargon had failed survey because the hull had failed the ultrasound test. Momentous decision was made. I purchased her as a 'write-off'  (at a write-off price) and decided to pay to get the hull done properly. This would involve using 6mm sheeting, pre-formed in a press to the profile of the Springer bottom, incorporating chines, tacking the sheets and stitching them together. Serious engineering. Serious money. But it would give Pentargon a 25yr. lease of life and see me off the planet. Also would make Pentargon a realisable future financial asset. In a previous life I had training or experience in, among other things, sheet metal fabrication and design. 


6mm steel weighs about 50kg per sq.m. Pentargon is 6'10" in the beam and has a v-shaped keel. Of the 36' LOA,  6' is counter and maybe 3' is bow. The "bottom" for this exercise would be about 27' long. Steel sheet comes in 2m x 1metric, although 8'x4' imperial can be found. Metric sheets, 9 of them at 100kg each would amount to the addition of 900kg to the all-up weight and both the weight of a sheet and the number of sheets is optimistically erring in our favour.  


900kg would be going on the very bottom and would substantially lower the centre of gravity which is a very good idea. The boat would become more stable, less likely to roll, less prone to wind effect and should be easier to steer and to handle. The extra 0.9 tonne should cause Pentargon to lie lower in the water (increasing her draught by about 2").


The surveyor was concerned that, if dropped low enough by the addition of large amounts of weight, the level of water in the weed-hatch would be too high and the waterline would come perilously close to certain orifices such as the sink outflow and gas overflow vents. He'd asked whether Pentargon had any ballast.  At time of writing I'd yet to root around under the sole plates and after thinking about it I decided i could not be arsed. Instead I gauged the boat by loading it with over one tonne of live-weight.




I could not believe my luck when, peering out of the hatch through the Braunston rain in the mid-morning of Wed. 22nd Feb., I espied a number of gentlemen taking tea under an adjacent tree. Having engaged them in conversation, and established they were a rambler group, I told them they could help me greatly (after tea of course) to put the Archimedes principle to the test in the most blatently obvious way. The Greek is noted for establishing the basics of flotation while soaking in his bath. If you load a ship with extra ballast it floats lower in the water.

My man in Hillmorton would cost me an arm and a leg grinding off considerable amounts of steel, before replacing it by other steel. Convert "considerable" into large wads of time and wonga and I could pay £1000s to swop weight for weight with no appliance of science whatever and no improvement in performance. If I could show that NO steel had to be removed, we could just get on with the business of cleaning up the bottom and putting on new steel. The 'problem' with both surveyor and fabricator was that neither appeared to understood the 'Principle of Archimedes' and/or the original meaning of "Eureka!"

Suffice to say that the ramblers were 12 in number and all admitted to between 80 & 90+ kg in weight. Collectively they weighed in at about 1000kg and there was little need for precise measurements. They gladly went along with my idea of standing around on the boat roughly distributed the same way as the weight of the steel would and in a jiffy I got a couple of reference photos.


Voyage down the Centre of England

Posted by PentargonSpringer on September 9, 2012 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

All Summer, Pentargon's Lone Ranger skipper has been plagued with RSIs collected during the first six months of living aboard and not realising what one was doing twos-self. By careful management the effects have been minimised though because it is hugely important at one's advanced years that RSIs be allowed to fix. One has had to cease using the Espace as the left knee was weakening progsessively to the stage where it was almost impossible to press the clutch after about 100 miles of driving. One had to resort to clutchless changes and max use of motorways (and lorry cruising speeds) and far more painkillers than is normally needed to keep the fibromyalgia quiet. Which was a bit of a pain literally and figuratively.

Being of that age where "BusPass" has considerable meaning and being in possession of a network rail discount card one attempted to adapt to continuous cruising without a support vehicle (just like proper CCers?). However the combination of possibilities for buggering up a combination of narrowboat bus and train meant that having arrived art Weedon/A5 it was not going to be possible to leave the boat on Sat15th because the D3-2-1 buses do not start early enough to get to Northampton station in time for the 0711 train to Euston. 

One had intended to move on to just a couple of miles to the Wharf at Bugbrooke and get the first bus but the bloody thing only runs MonFri. What to do.

Examine local map and discover that from Pentargon's present position to Northampton Station is ten miles BY CANAL. So the planned to go by train from London on Tues pick up a bus to the boat, set off on an unexpected detour to be fetched up, battened down at Cotton End ready to catch the 0711 to Euston on Sat. arriving at 0815. Then bus it to Victoria to catch the 0906 through Brighton for Shoreham.Then they tell me. The Northampton arm is 'closed' but Can I get onto the C&RT website?

Plan now is to drive the Espace to the boat on Tuesday and use IT to ensure I can get that bloody train.

I'll let you know what ACTUALLY transpired later.