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

7th November 2015
Slough Uxbridge Boxmoor.

ariel 14 ... sunset 4.20pm ... Slough Arm with Sarah ... on a #PogueAwayDay. ... on returning to Pentargon, the Hampshire was fired up.

The ship's log for 7thNov2015 goes thus ... "It pissed all morning so 1o/c start. Also S.winds gusting. Sarah's boat was inside another 'longboat' so over an hour was spent uncoupling and roping around before getting under way ... 1420 ... Towards Slough and the terminal winding hole ... Turn boat with wind assistance, return to berth and tie up, including restoring shore power ... 16.30 ... (before sunset! so as to be fully sorted and back on board pentargon before dark)   Back to Pentargon to warm up the boat and the dinner ... Do some house-keeping + farceburk ... 2200 ish to bed ...  cabin too hot" ...  "Fire made up with 25 walnut sized nuggets, followed by 25 oranges and lemons ...  flame thrower used while charging the meth crucible (10min) and left on for a further 20mins. by which time the fluttering was finished and the fire was under way ... The air regulator was brought down to 4mm until the chimney pipe was really hot. Regulator was closed and the air vent stopped off. 7am it was possible to restart it on the remnant coals ... assisted by the flame thrower" ...

The diary is not intentionally written in code but in patois Hiberno-English which may eventually be translated into decipherable Ingerlish.

I had to deal with sustained "leaf-mugging" recently and googled "leaf mugging", as you do. " Leaf mugging occurs when the propeller picks up and retains sodden and partly submerged or suspended leaves on the blades, reducing the ability of the prop to move the boat forward. Provided it is anticipated, stopping the prop for a moment will cause the water-flow over the blades to clear the prop. Sometimes a momentary selection of reverse, speeds up the process and when forward is re-engaged it is possible to see the leaves been churned away from the stern.

WIP Weybridge Library 11oc Fri 8th Dec 2017


West Drayton to Slough

The diary for Thursday 5th Nov. 2015 shows I over-nighted in Essex! From 8am was "gardening" and from 9am to 11am writing, while waiting for a dental appointment at 12oc. By 1pm I was on a bus bus to Upminster to transfer to a train at 1.20pm and a tube at Barking 1.40pm for Ealing arriving there at 3.20pm to find a bus at 4pm  to Uxbridge where a 222 bus brought me into West Drayton station. I was on-board outside the new Tesco preparing the Hampshire at 5pm as dusk gathered. The diary further declares that by 6pm I was making dinner and at 7pm I was updating the ship's log. 

The log keeps an account of almost every receipt passing through my hands while on-board and including on that day a chitty from the TescoATM timed 1649z showing the £sterling costing me 1.45euros that day and later confirming I checked out of the store at 5.37pm (£4) and again at 8.43pm (£6.21) with "groceries". It also notes that my GPS recorded my position as "Co-Ord4" ... code for the 4th place the boat overnighted since Thames Sea-lock.  

Fri 6th Nov 2015 made interesting diary information.

8am records syphoning the sump and dumping the contents into the fuel tank for some "experiment" or other. 11am, away from Co-Ord4 towards Slough, within 15mins heavy black smoke from the exhaust and an [intentional] engine shutdown. There was no lubricant whatever in the sump because some numpty had siphoned off all the lubricant and failed to replace it. The black smoke is an indication, inter alia, that the engine has overheated and is trying to seize.   5litres was added and a jury tank rigged up to feed the engine from clean diesel. 12oc motored off, down to "Jacob" to remind him of unfinished business (nicking red diesel for mois I believe?) The fuel probe was put back in the tank and at 12.35pm lunch was "on, in and carried on" The engine ran fine on the mixture of lubricant and diesel and by 13.20 the boat was tied up opposite High Line. 14.51z shows me in The Basin and on my way via bus 58 to Slough where I joined the library as you do. By 4.30pm I was back on-board, preparing dinner in a stainless steel bowl found on an adjacent dump. 7pm, I am noted walking to Slough station to get my bearings sorted and by 9.20pm, I was back on-board and writing up the log. The diary tersely notes that a spotlight in an adjacent yard was blinding me so I moved the boat to the other side of Bridge 7 (Co-Ord5) to overnight away from the glare.

Stopped by [Morrisons at Yiewsley] to fettle and to locate a Grand Union Milestone at which a daffodil bulb was planted just to show someone had been through. then I've gone down the Slough Arm on what turns out to be an interesting mini voyage of discovery  CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY

Two days from Hanwell to Morrisons for milk

Three Bridges to sleep on and probably Co-Ord04!

Lengthsman Chris gets us to the E5 bus.

Buses always lead to hinterland exploration.

Hanwell (nowadays Ealing General Hospital) was a madhouse back in the day but later was upgraded to lunatic asylum. One might cynically describe Westminster as a 21stC equivalent which has not YET become a hospital.  


Hanwell and a Bottle of Wine
Sometimes our past comes back to haunt us. In the nicest and most expected way. Bringing with it a bottle of wine! They call it "Serendipity". You'll recall yesterday we moored for the night at GlaxoSmithKline by the A40 and before bed had set the first lock (Clitheroe) for the morrow. On Sunday then, it was away at 'first light', shortening days mean dawn is about 7am. The passage from Brentford to Bull's Bridge is about three miles but contains the infamous Hanwell Flight. Ten locks in all requiring much prior knowledge and pre-planning if you don't want to take all day. It takes me about six hours on my own. The Hanwell Flight itself runs behind Ealing Hospital and is, I believe, a listed monument and was originally a lunatic asylum.

This story involved a small fleet of Dutch Belgian motor launches and a gang of lovely Dutch Walloons who trailed their boats over the Channel, dropped them into the Paddington arm at Highline or something, did a London ring down the Paddo and Regents to Limehouse, going out on the same tide as Pentargon but vanishing upriver within minutes of getting out of the traps. They overnighted somewhere in Brentford and caught up with Pentargon while I was labouring solo up to the Hanwell Flight on Sunday morning. I set the bottom lock for them and talked them up the flight, but just before they departed the bottom lock they passed a bottle of excellent white to me as a "thank you". They had told me they had to be back at Highline by midday! 

Clitheroe is the first lock out of Brentford and from there to Osterley the canal runs very close to the M4. There's a weir and the whole area is covered with trees which causes leaf-mugging and fills the cut with vegetation which becomes silt and impedes progress. C&RT have lost the plot in canal maintenance and in few places does this show as clearly as the vicinity of Hanwell. 

Between the two locks, a small flotilla of tupperware pots sporting Dutch Flags which we'd last seen in Limehouse lock on Saturday were tied up. Smiles and waves were traded and it occurred to me to wonder what exactly they were up to. Arriving at Hanwell bottom, setting the lock took a few minutes when out of the gloom appeared the flotilla. Realising they could all go up together and get on with their day, I waved them through. Not only that but helped them work their way up the first part of the flight and showed them how to plan forward. More smiles and chat. They were Dutch Walloons chuffed to find a Paddy on a narrowboat they had last seen in in Limehouse.

Out of nowhere appeared a bottle of wine, which was accepted with good grace for Pentargon's meagre wine cellar. They had trailed their boats over by ferry from Belgium to Highline on the Paddington Arm, slipped them and did a London Ring before the Vicky Park Closures. All that remained for them now was to complete the loop back to their cars, hitch up and head home. They were pleased to be 'let through' and shown how to work Hanwell! It was not lost to me that about that time the London Boatery was in total confusion over the Old Ford Closyres, yet this fine continentals had it nailed.

For me nothing changes by being nice. The flight had been against me anyway. But there was one more pleasant surprise. Coming opposite was a dark fat-boat of Pedro Fernandez. Pedro is an old farceburk friend, but apart from meeting him very briefly on the Lee Navigation, I'd not 'met' him in the real sense. Pleasantries were swapped and we proceeded, he with a big smile knowing the locks to Brentford were in his favour.  Pentargon got just one lock, so I slogged away slowly, to "Three Bridges" ... Arriving around midday and having done a day's 'lock-miles' it made sense in the warm sunshine to moor up. There was plenty house-keeping to do and Three Bridges is quiet and pleasant.

Welcome Facebook Friends All Over from Pentargon

.. xxx ... ships carpenter ... xxx ...

An ongoing project inside the main cabin is somewhat disruptive, designing and making massive amounts of storage space in what will later become the spare bed. The area designated  The Mess came originally as more than a mess, having been lashed together with all sorts of mis-matching timber and marine ply sheets, completely unsuited to the needs of a constantly moving boat where it needs to alternate between office, dining area, map table, electronics work bench, rest area and a usable double bed. I've worked with ship's carpenters and found them highly skilled, meticulous, inventive, lateral thinkers who can always produce a tasty solution to any challenge. I'm happy to advise that I have never seen a ship's carpenter's work on a canal boat, apart from Pentargon. Most of the mucking I've seen on canal boats is copying someone else's bodging and I was determined not to perpetuate that nonsense. Some time ago I had a large number of wooden drawer/trays made (By a ship's carpenter!) and these were to mount in [aluminium] rails to provide sliding storage trays. and the complete units would act as a base for seating or sleeping. This work has been ongoing whenever it has been possible to moor up and advance the work. Today at the top of Hanwell was to be such a day.


2015 brings a new project and a new challenge. Check farceburk for a group:-  Friends of Dartford and Crayford Creek, aka Steam Crane Wharf ... So much work was done between late May and Mid-October it would take a book ... which hasn't a hope of being written unless some one else does it!

It took four months of spare home time between mid January and mid April 2013 to sort out last year's photos! I'd been using two Fuji Finepix digitals and was not quite careful about ensuring that the reference date was correctly set until I realised sometime in October that a lot of 2011 shots should actually be 2012. Also GMT becomes BST in late March in Engerland and the camera has to be TOLD.

ESPECIALLY you need some sort of flag to tell you which camera an actual shot might be in. And VERY especially you need to be sure your 0700 is not really 1900, because the camera clock is 12hrs out when you misrepresent am for pm or v v. Now this might seem like a rather lame excuse but if I tell you I now have 'em sorted out to YESTERDAY and the count is well over 2200 shots.

NOW and only NOW can I upload them to the Cloud. And THEN I can start linking back to the site. Oh! And I got a bedroom to rebuild in the front cabin and a boat to get to ALdershot by the end of the month.

2014 River licence for three months please

Click  for hot link ... After all the blundering and messing in November and December 2013, Pentargon arrived back in the Lea at 23.49 on 31st December 2013 with 11 minutes remaining on his all-singing all-dancing £825 2013 Gold License. Pogue had originally planned to have Pentargon heaved out at Stansted Abbotts before Crimbo, but late 2013 reality will make an even better story than the strategic plan.The 2013 Gold Licence cost over £825 for the year and was 'useful' to enable almost the whole of the C&RT SE region to be visited. 2014 was to be spent up the Lea so a 3mt licence can be bought for about £125, before pulling the boat for the following three months to do some relaxed painting and TLC. 

Here I want to comment on the Environmental Agency which administers the non tidal Thames. Not impressed. Maybe the Thames should be given to C&RT. I thought when buying the Gold Licence I was buying a years access to the non-tidal Thames.  

Pentargon's Crazy 2013 New Year

Pentargon's Crazy 2013 New Year

 Click  ... for a hot link to another place in the cloud where all will be revealed

"Pogue Muhone"  is skipper of a 36' narrowboat "Pentargon" and Pentargon is a Springer cruising on the cut 365 days a year but is treated like a well-used country cottage. The only reason it is not permanently occupied is because of Pogue's family situation. However, in a given year the boat is manned for about 180 days on average.

 "The Cut" is an affectionate name for the Canal Network which meshes much of England,  parts of Wales and also includes certain rivers which have been 'canalised'. "The cut" has been beautifully and accurately described for me as "England's longest, friendliest village".

Oxford to Braunston in as long as it takes

Kidlington Green Lock was due to open 13Dec.and there were no other closures posted for the South Oxford Canal before New Year. Once the lock opened the massive return trek would commence. Hopefully no more mechanical problems would occur and it would only be the un-ending tedium of lock after lock and bridge after bridge we'd have to contend with. Meanwhile, Pentargon was resting in a sunny, safe and protected place near Wolvercote while Pogue was resting ashore, allowing nature to restore his hands particularly. They take terrible punishment in cold weather at the helm. Braunston was noted as the first place on the back route where a boat could be lifted and lorried. That decision would be made over a Gongoozler's Rest breakfast if Avril and Jacqui were open when (and if) Pentargon got there.

The above was written while on shore leave and in low spirits.

In the event Pentargon went up  Kidlington with a workboat 1300/Thu12thDec during the clearing up operations and before the lock re-opened for business on the Friday. Ship's Log records mooring up at the Rock of Gibralter in Enslow 12th/1645 about a mile beyond Bakers Lock, having made 4.25mls in 3.75hrs, including a delay at Thrupp lifting bridge sorting out the Black Smoke Syndrome.


Cropredy to Oxford Isis in as long as it takes

Well! The Grand Tour has terminated at Isis lock. The Environmental Agency by whose licence Pentargon would have floated downstream, closed the river in early Nov. til the end of March. Apparently they do this every year. Locks are closed for periods of up to four months. I can't even get the boat hoisted out of the water and wafted to Stansted Abbotts. The nearest places a crane and lorry can get to are on the other side of locks closed both to the west AND the east of Oxford. The Gold licence then is an over-expensive sham. In effect the gold part of of the C&RT licence is only usable for seven months of the year. I used it in May to access the Wey and then the Basingstoke canal but was on EA water for less than a month. I had "saved" the remainder of the gold til the end of the year expecting to sail down the Thames from Oxford to Teddington in November. Mechanical delays on the way up the GU pushed everything into late running and I ended up south-bound on the Oxford in mid November about a month later than originally pencilled in. I was fully aware of C&RT closures of selected locks along the Oxford in November and must commend C&RT for very organised planning which permitted me to thread my way through the closures by forward thinking. I'm now lying near Wolvercote awaiting the re-opening of the Kidlington Green lock on 13thDec. when I will have a clear run to Braunston and a calculated risk or two to factor in: ice!, possible leaf-mugging and, heaven forbid, catching weeds and or briars which calls for a most unpleasant visit down the weed hatch in freezing water ... Leaf mugging occurs when the propellor picks up and retains sodden and partly submerged or suspended leaves on the blades reducing the ability of the prop to move the boat forward. Generally, provided it is anticipated!, simply by stopping the prop for a moment the forward way will cause the waterflow over the blades to clear the prop. Sometimes a momentary selection of reverse speeds up the clearing and when forward is re-engaged it should be possible top see the leaves been churned away from the stern. Experience teaches to avoid or minimize these hazards and makes one aware of where to look. If bankside contractors have been chopping up rose briars and dropping them in the cut, they can hang about for days just under water level slowly either sinking as they rot or accumulating at the headrace above the top gate of locks. Top ;pck gate is a favourite hang-out for ice too, where the water flow is least.

Marston Top to Cropredy in a day... The mere thought of it almost five years later is making me tired ... Just THINKING about it ... But the boat had to be there when Lock25 re-opened so we didn't get snookered enroute to the Thames
 Norton Junction to Marston Doles... IN ONE DAY.  I kid you not. The tunnel, the descent, Gongoozler's Rest Breakfast (Jackie, Avril you are masters of the art of feeding hungry boaters and the HONEY is divine) The run to Napton, the climb and eventually mooring up in pitch black of night. Wait for the hot link to the detailed journal ...
Three Locks to Stoke Breurne ... in a day ..
Berko to Three Locks ... Gimme time I have to get the feckin boat to the Thames
Up the Grand Union

As of 30th Oct. Pentargon is at Berko and may not be going further for a while. The water heater has still not been seen by Buster Gasman and on checking the sump last weekend we found she is making her own lubricant. The injectors inside are possibly loose and spraying diesel. The storm meant we could not open her up to have a look until Wednesday which we are now about in glorious sunshine. We were eventually got going by John Carpenter after a long bus trip to and from Chris Bennett and Uxbridge. Check back later for the link to the full story

Stort Lea Thames Brent

It had been Pogue's intention to escape from the Lee navigation by the BowLocks and take the tidal River Lea (Bow Creek on London's A-Z) to Leamouth on a dropping tide. We would wait at Leamouth til the turn and then ride the Autumn Spring all the way to Brentford. Pentargon commuted between Three Mills and Limehouse for many days while tides and moorings were examined and the possibility of mooring over winter at Three Mills was looked at. Time or Tide wait for no man though so, when an opportunity arose to depart via Limehouse early one September morning, Pentargon entered the Thames on a rising Spring at 1150hrs and went in at Brentford at 1520. The trip up-river was entirely uneventful and as a result rather forgettable. Are we becoming so blasé that a solo transit of the Thames from Limehouse to Brentford in a 36' narrowboat is so easily dismissed?

Pentargon remained in the tidal Brent at our favourite mooring for some days before moving north through the gauging lock at Milestone 93 and mooring overnight by the A40. Rising on the morrow morn and seeing a boat heading north we very quickly got underway, knowing the next few miles might be completed in company. And so it was that we negotiated Clitheroe, Osterley and the interminable Hanwell flight in the company of the Aussie crew of a Black Prince hire boat who made the passage extremely enjoyable.Some people have problems with 'hire boats'. We tend to test the mettle of the actual people and this works for us. We have met dickheads and arseholes on all types of boats even workboats but have yet to encounter either category in a hire boat. Sometimes they can be lacking in know-how but it is usually counter-balanced by a humility and an eagerness to add to their skills and store of knowledge

Our current quest (as part of a bigger overall plan to take us to the end of the year) was to locate Buster Gasman to have him dismantle the on board Vaillant heater and put it together working. We stopped off to spend a very convivial evening at the Grand Junction Pub near Hayes with Robert Beard, a canal colleague and veritable mine of knowledge and lore and know-how who confirmed Buster was "The Man".

Onwards to Uxbridge, where our first overnight was between the asbstos bridges. Here we were close to canal facilities such as a Lister specialist and a chandlers but a long way from a useful bus-stop. At the end of September we went for 14day mooring by the Oxford Road and see how we could reel in Buster to do the hot water.It did not happen and so the next chapter was opened.

Stand by for the next Hot Link

Lea and Stort surveyed stem to stern Summer 2013

Pentargon entered the Lee Navigation System on 15th June 2013 via Bow Lock and remained there until 15th September 2013, during which time she found her way to Top of Navigation at Hertford (River Lea) and Bishop's Stortford (River Stort).  Pogue discovered (and now understands) the anomoly of "Lee" and "Lea". He already knows (being Oirish) that the River Lee is in Ireland and its mouth is the mighty Cork Harbour, the largest enclosed harbour in Europe. The variant "Lee" was introduced to Essex and East London at some stage during the development of the Lee and Stort Navigation to differientiate between the man-made watercourses while "Lea" was reserved for the original river. While at Bow we met a strapping young cyclist (well he could have been in his mid 30's) enquiring as to how he might best get to the end of the River Lea or even where was the end. It is perhaps a story for another day but he had come on his bicycle from the very source of the river near Luton and wished to complete the trek before cycling to Kings Cross to take a train home.

and Pogue cracked how to transfer from Brentford Thames Lock to Bow Lock in 8hrs rather than the three or four days it might take overland. By harnessing the tides, a motley crew which included Danny Creedon and Tony Buckland locked out of Brentford at 0750 on 15th June 2013 and locked in at Bow Lock at 1550 on the same day. Below will eventually be a picture of Bow Locks when I can find a suitable one.
       Meanwhile enjoy a careened sailing brig near Dover in the early part of the 19th Century

Kingston Upon Thames endured early May ...

Pentargon had a horrific week by Lower Ham Road after an engine failure. It turned out to be a loose olive union on the tap on top of the port tank. Hindsight is wonderful. After waiting a whole week for a Lister specialist who, eventually, could not attend, Pogue located and fixed the problem hisself. The horror was provided by a combination of speeding boats and howling gales causing Pentargon to be repeatedly bashed off an adjacent tree while Pogue was away, arranging for repairs and over-nighting at the land house. Serious damage was done to the cruiser deck railings, which were finally 'repaired' (well actually bodged up) at Ponders End in late August. It is well nigh impossible to keep Pentargon off a weather shore in even a moderate  breeze; the windage is considerable on narrowboats. Lesson learned

Pentargon made it to the Bayzo and got as far as Brookwood on 12th May. Shay, Brenda, Patricia, Jacqui, Karl boarded for a short trip from Brookwood to St.John's. Time precluded the passage of the 20 or so locks between there and Mychett which had been the original destination. But Hey! That's life!


I don't yet know what story is fully told by the number. The SR series was built by Lister between 1969 and 1976, within which window the boat is known to have been built. 1973 is a provisional stab due to rudder features on the boat which relate to that year and no other. SR2M series: diesel fuelled, air-cooled 2cyl, 1103cc Bore/Stroke 3.5"x3.5" [email protected] Weight 635 lb. ... The engine has NEVER EVER been revved above 1250rpm.