unassuming little narrowboat cruises the "Longest, Friendliest Village in England" for seven years   



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A Blue Peruvian Bear

Posted on August 16, 2018 at 4:05 AM

this blog started in Camden Library on Thurs 16th August 2018.

Paddington's most famous transitter is erm immortalised in a blue effigy standing about 100m from Pentargon's mooring.

Paddington and a Blue Peruvian Bear

Posted on August 13, 2018 at 4:10 PM

Never say never ... I am fetched up in the most prime mooring in London (according to me!) right outside the H+C Tube in Paddo basin and it seems I can stay for as long as I like ... or until the water level in the Paddington Arm rises by at least 6" which may be erm some time ... considering almost no rain has fallen on SE England in almost three months ... and the summit reservoirs at Tring are devoid of water ... or so they tell me ..

I left Kingston on Thames 24Jul, went out Teddington Lock at 11.30 before the tide turned, in at Brentford at 1230, up the infamous Hanwell to overnight at Hanwell Top and later Bulls Bridge, Sainsbo Alperton and Harrow Road til the last leg took me into the Basin. After a few days jockying I schnuck into my all-time favourite mooring outside the Tube station. The world is now my oyster and London is now my scallop. From this vantage, I can infiltrate the library system from my very own accomodation and roam freely by Bus Pass to Westminster and Camden's extensive network of local and central stores of written knowledge ...

Mon13 ...Porchester Road Library ... which stays open til 10pm! It's 9.15pm, outside is heavily shrouded in dusk, Waitrose is across the road, closes at 10, and outside it's exit a bus-stop to take me home as it were. I been bussing around a bit today renewing my British Library card and joining Camden Library (and incidentally a whole [bunch] of libraries including inter alia ... Slough, Brighton, Kent, Windsor 

Tues14 7.40am ...I'm in writer's heaven! got up at 7, had my cuppa, bagged up for an option on Ware and Stansted later. (see "Miro's Kingfisher" elsewhere).  A 5min walk from the boat and under Porteus Road instantly enclosed me in Bus18 towards Euston.

Tues.14 8.36am and I'm at a terminal in Camden's St.Pancras Library, only spitting distance from Kings Cross moorings and a slingshot from British Library. 8.56am, signing out to see what la monde has to offer today ... by buses to Manor House Waltham Ware Stabbitts Waltham Edmonton Seven Sisters Victoria to Warren Street, Bus18 and 27 to Bayswater but first ...

Tues14 Ware Library Herts 13.03pm just dropped in to return a book and make this statement ... My guest boat is at Stansted Abbotts and I'm going to pay it a little visit ... later ... (see "Miro's Kingfisher"). The options on train v bus came down on the side of bus and a bit of extra walking but I was able to leave some gear on "Miro's Kingfisher" which may be of use later in locating a suspected gas leak at the bottle. I picked up my multimeter and checked the boat was shipshape before scarpering at 1400 catching 310 at 14.10, 279 at 15.00 and making Seven Sisters tube at 1559. This is a significant time as I have a discount card for off-peak ...

Tues14 Porchester Road Bayswater. 17.04pm  and it has been a quidditch day ... My buspass is steaming ...  gotta update the "GOSSIP" page with the latest blog entries and finish off my day where I started ...

Wed. Camden library 8oc for early doors and BL at 10oc to spend about four hours reading the earliest copies of "Narrow Boat". It was really just an overview of the issues around Sep when IWA was protesting about plans to build a Dartford by-pass which would bridge the river and possibly cut it off for boats at higher tides ...  ... and some relaxed reading of canal ways in 1984 via original issues of Narrow Boat magazine which started off in May that year. Not much has changed in 25yrs. One issue outlined the comprehensive hoovering of a boat. So much gear was nicked that the boat gauged one and a quarter inches after the deed. ... They say an inch is a ton on a full length boat ... and this one from cleaned out by another boat! ... Then a little exploration of the KingsX area before returning to the boat at Paddington and some top up at Porchester Road (Westminster) library.

Thu.8.15am Camden a little late. I was awakened a little early this morning by a gale playing with the boat at 4am. So I made cups of tea and did some tidyinmg of the electrics are at the front of the boat. Later (5.45am) I sussed how to depart Paddo real early tomorrow and topped up my mobiles and ... things ...  before leaving the boat about 7.20am to grab Bus18 and then 390. Two hours of editing old blogs and opening a new one ("A Blue Peruvian Bear") before BL is fully operational

... date with Carly Friday 7.30ish on Pentargon ... maybe Eddy Charles (Wren) also?  

Miro Pogue & Kingfisher

Posted on August 7, 2018 at 5:20 AM

This is a story of a 32' narrowboat which found itself hoisted onto a truck somewhere in Yorkshire in the Spring of 2018, lorried down the spine of England, immersed in the Grand Union at Watford, horsed downstream to Uxbridge with a new owner at the helm on a" target="_blank">PogueAwayDay. Late May, it duck-weeded it's way across the Metropolis and oozed through the mire of the Lower Lee Navigation to Ponder's End where I next set eyes on it on 31stJul.2018. where I was given the keys and told to mind it til the owner got back after breaking a leg.  

The craft was built by MikeSivewright Btbldr  -  as recorded by Jim Shead on canalscape

... Length: 10.36m(34ft) ------- Beam: 2.07m (6ft 9in) ------ Draft: 0.45m (18"!) .

Metal hull. 10HP. Registered 69476 with Canal & River Trust as a Powered Motor Boat. 

The engine is actually a tiny but perfectly sufficient water cooled Volvo one pot deisel 

I was puzzled when I first saw "Miro's Kingfisher". She was painted all in black and the registered number was displayed in huge numerals on both sides. However, while in Ware, I met an intriguing couple Nigel and Angie who have a beautiful 60footer with a Cornish name. Nigel is a volunteer train engine fireman with a huge interest in trains and he was able to tell me that the boat's number equates with a real train. 

"Miro's Kingfisher" unwittingly became part of my life in unexpected ways over a period of nearly two years and her story seems worthy of the telling. The owner's name will be M and his mentor will be P and this will catalogue (roget this) the intertwined lives of two actors from opposite ends of the canal spectrum.

Ponders End 30Jul2018.

Rye House 31Jul

Hardmead 1Aug

Ware 2Aug

Amwell Ret. Sat4Aug

repositioning Mon6Aug

Ware Tue7Aug: the loose fanbelt is annoying me and it is time to fix it. The heatwave continues unabated so an early start grabs the morning coolness. A previous examination had discovered how the alternator was attached and what tools would be needed to tension the belt. But not that the adjusting strap was a bit guntered. All I needed eventually was an M6 bolt about an inch long and a [shakeproof] nut. 

porchester road library bayswater Mon13 Aug


Blacked boats are not crows

Posted on July 14, 2018 at 6:40 AM

During June, July and August of 2018, southern England experienced a massive heat-wave and by the day Pentargon went back in the water on 14thJul. no rain had fallen in the London area for 50days. Temperatures of 40+ had been noted on board at times and letting air through also let dust in as the siodhe ghaoi played with the zephers and laid down a film of almost molecular dust on every surface and every item inside.

The heat was oppressive but the high air temperature meant that the onboard bitumen bucket contained a less viscous tar, such that it could be stippled thickly on the soon-to-be-wetted hull after considerable cleaning of the surface. Luckily, having power meant a heat gun and rotary wire brushes were used for some of the clean-up. Plenty sweat and time was expended in what was a dirty job anyway and in some places the tar was so thick and so dry that a chipping hammer was used to break up the gunge before chipping it off with such tools as a scraper, a wire brush, a blowlamp and much ingenuity. A powerful grinder attachment provided by Trevor was used to clean up welding blobs that appeared when the tar came off and had been there since the boat was built.

The combination of power, tools, sweat/time and the latent heat also allowed much of the [very] old blacking (which had been done almost up to the gunnel) to be removed and the hull made smooth for subsequent painting ... ?? above the centre strake line ... and especially at the stern where it was almost 1/4" thick in places but only loosely attached.

The entry into the water itself was very interesting. having cleared all around the parking space over the past two days and discarding a lot of shit and stowing the rest as well as possible, the boat was loaded onto the hydraulic transporter and trtactored down the slip. Because the river is exceptionally low the boat went in at a steep angle and water backed up througn the deck drain holes which had not been corked. Also some diesel leaked out of the [disconnected] air breather on the working tank

Shepperton Library Sat14Jul2018  ...

Afloat Again

Posted on July 14, 2018 at 6:20 AM

Saturday 14th July 9.10am Pentargon was dropped into the water ... at a severe angle because the river level was very low. The diesel tank had been filled to the top before winter took a grip so as to leave no space in it for moisture to grow while it was ashore. However, the air breather tank was disconnected over the winter also and not refitted.

When the boat tipped back seriously as it entered the water backwards, you guessed it ... the tank started to spill diesel into the bilge ... ho hum ... 

At the same time the water tank which had been filled to the top yesterday after the plumbing modifications central to the [crew berth] front cabin, did something similar through the water inspection pipe. If the stop cock had been closed ... but it wasn't was it? During the operation a bottle of cough mixture in the "Utilities" dropped from the high shelf over the mirror and landed in the ceramic shower-tray ... breaking the neck off the bottle ... and leaving a very interesting niff in the facility. Various other bits and pieces rearranged their selves but without making a mess or setting up any unpleasant housework. Later I found that some of the cough syrup had landed on the Dyson! Ya ever try to clean cough syrup offa knobbly dyson with crevices everywhere?

I had spent all day Wed. and Thurs. loading stuff from under the boat or secreted around and even making prototype sole plates for the cruiser decking from, wait for it, decking planks: old ones which had been lying around the yard don't you know. It really has been a right full on week but now at last the boat was tied to the pontoon at Old Shepperton Church and I went to Shepperton library avoiding the massive heat of the day and getting the blog back on course. The pontoon is about a mile from the launch site ...

The cool library warded off the heatstupe and I used the bus to regain board and see just how bad things really were. The good news was that cleaning out the bilge earlier was a VERY good idea. The bad news was there seemed to be about 40litres of perfectly clean diesel to be retrieved. A slow walk back to the yard for two empty 20litre cans jettisoned earlier that morning for "space-saving". These were instantly located and returned to the boat after which it was time for Shepperton cool library again. 

The plan was to try to suck the diesel in the bilge using the Sealey pump and save it to the empty cans ASAP so it was not contaminated, then let it settle before returning it to the tank. Since I have all day anyway, I decided to advance towards Sunbury and schneek through after the locks were set to manual ... to avoid the lock-keeper and save a couple of days on buying an EA 7dayPermit. Lockies usually depart at 6pm and I had fetched up well after 6.40 but the lockie was still there trying to convince the gates to "Go To Manual". He got them going about 7pm and decided to get a small queue through without checking licences or permits, so by 7.30 I was nicely tied up at a favoured nook on Sunbury Wharf.

The Seeley was employed and within an hour all the bilge liquid, almost 40L, had been transferred to the cans ... when it was noticed that the deisel was mimimal. So 40L of water was strained ashore into the parched bank ... 

 ... TBC