... ... ... Seven years in an unassuming narrowboat on the waters of the "longest, friendliest village in England"  


Staff and Worcs Stage Two. Watling Street Goodbye

Posted on June 2, 2017 at 6:55 AM

Thursday 1st June 2017, 10oc to 2pm was given over to Jamie Ferguson at Gailey boatyard (alongside the by now inevitable Watling Street) to have him weld 3mm plate all round the cruiser deck to bring the freeboard up to 760mm. Pentargon had lain over for a week for this date and boy, was it worthwhile.  The job was done with great good will and skill "on time and on budget" and Jamie shared with me that a majority of the gang in the yard are dyslexic. Well let's hear it for dyslexia then ...  

The staff work individually and together as a coordinated team, with great good humour, a sincere welcome for everybody and a TOTAL lack of horse-manure. 'Little Dave' gave me an idea which would provide the raw materials for remaking the throttle cable, of which more later. "Other Dave" had shown me how to fabricate a complete silencer system using gunmetal and how to apply fibreglass bandage using a bucket of water. "Big Dave" had shared tricks for painting (a job I hate) and the in-house carpenter (whose name naturally is Dave) added to my carpentry tricks. All of this dove-tailed into the four hour slot and costing nothing but worth priceless ...

It is essential to declare that the boatyard at Gailey (home base to Viking Narrowboat Hire) is far and away the most impressive yard I've come across in my time on the cut. The team has a breath-taking range of diverse skills and backgrounds, considerably more than the sum of the parts, as befits an area which was the cradle of the industrial revolution and is now home to Jaguar/Land Rover.

By 2.30pm, Pentargon was ready to move forward and onward. The throttle is still held at a fast tickover with a shock cord, the boat is in a shambles after having to clear the decks but we are away and a major conversion which had been niggling all year is now 'fait accompli'.  "SSR 191018" now complies with" target="_blank">MCA Class D inland waters. The stretch of the Bristol Channel between Sharpness Dock and Bristol Port is defined as Class C. All's well that ends well and in this life you make your own luck and the harder you work at it the luckier you get.

Two hours after slipping Gailey, (16.30hrs) the boat was tied up at Coven, Fox'n'Anchor, on a convenient ring, having advanced four miles closer to Wolverhampton. A toddle down to the Co-op in the village of less tha 800yds took three minutes on the Strida and back on board by 5oc, dinner was going on for 6.30.

The tedious job of logging all the receipts I collect into the ship's log was completed and up to date before retiring to bed with my favourite Idle Woman, Susan Woolfit. I am now on my third reading and know that an idle woman's breakfast is coffee, toast and marmalade at 5.45 with porridge at 9am. My cardamon seed laced coffee is ground in a mortar with a pestle although I keep a jar of laced Douwe Egberts on the side for emergency. Tomorrow morning will be an emergency as my store of doctored ground has been depleted to nothingness and I really am too tired at 9pm to start that little job.

So! I sew a couple of auxilary buttons onto the pockets of my shirt to hold two phones safely and prevent them going to have a look at the bottom of the canal.

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