Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Internet switch!

OK, I have changed my internet provider! By popular recommendation from many boaters and due to reasons I will divulge at a later date, (that's got you going hasn't it!) I have changed to a more 'roaming' based internet provider. The service I used to have was great for the marina but only based in the marina. By using 3G from T-mobile I can now get very fast broadband speed connections out on the cut as well which is a huge advantage. Where 3G is not available it will automatically switch down to a GPRS service which still allows email and basic browsing functionality. This should mean that I can update my blog more frequently, and even when out cruising, with more immediate and 'live' pictures being posted.
Took a while to set up as the card was conflicting with a modem on the laptop but as soon as we discovered this and disabled that modem, the system was fine and is now working a treat. Watch this space.....

Monday, November 27, 2006

Concern over Ashby restoration!

I note with interest on the Narrowboat World site the following report:

Restoration News
Concern for Ashby restoration
THE Defra cuts to British Waterways will undoubtedly have an effect on future canal restoration, with that of the Ashby Canal causing concern.
Photo: Ian Reid
Recent rally on the Ashby Canal
Brian Waring, Chairman of the Ashby Canal Trust, explained:
"We have a good working relationship with British Waterways, indeed we have a member on the Ashby Canal Trust, but we are very concerned at the effect this will have on the national system, tourism, leisure and regeneration—and also on the local effects on the Ashby Canal.
"We urge your readers to write to their MPs—it will make a difference."
The restoration needs new bridges and two aqueducts, one of which will span Measham High Street.

Trinity Marina - now tell me you don't want to support the protests! It's easy to bury our heads in the sand and understandable how non boaters might shrug their shoulders and say 'it doesn't affect me' but those involved in the boating world should know better than to wait until it's too late when it really does affect them!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Just returned home from an exhausting 2 days at the Hawkesbury Junction protest. Well, it feels like 2 days! A flotilla of 6 boats from Trinity left the marina on Friday evening at 4.30 and cruised the 3 hours to Hawkesbury, battling everything from wind and rain to dive-bombing ducks attempting to roost in the trees! Great fun and a lovely night time cruise - it's amazing how different the canals look lit up only by headlights and the interior cabin lights. Arrived in time for a quick shower and then we all 'hit' The Greyhound for the rest of the night!

Saturday morning and we began to move into position in the basin. By 12.00, no fewer than 20 boats including 6 working boats were completely blocking the basin, making history, and the press were assembled for the photocall. Approximately 100-150 people were also assembled with an excellent turn-out from the local village of 'non boaters' who wanted to support. Much placade waving later and the press left leaving the boaters to retire to the pub! A while later and some of the boats began to drift off home, zig-zagging up the cut into the sunset and so the Hinckley flotilla made the decision to return home as well. As we cruised further away from the protest, the sun slowly set, the temperature rapidly dropped and the wind considerably increased! We finally arrived back to the marina in a howling gale at about 6.00 this evening. All in all, a fantastic day where we, along with hundreds of others at venues right around the country and abroad made a clear stand. Look out in the press for pictures and reports.

My father was involved with the Kingston protest where David Suchet was in attendance. Apparently this also went well and he phoned me at one point with the conversation becoming extremely difficult over the honking of horns from his assembled mass of paddle steamers, GRP cruisers etc etc. He did manage to catch a brief conversation with David Suchet and to pass him a picture I sent him via mobile phone of the Hawkesbury protest to which David scribbled a note of 'well done' and signed it for me - I have attached a picture of that, above, along with a picture of my boat at the Hawkesbury protest and a photo of our Australian friends who also supported the cause on our behalf.

Watch the BBC news reports here.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Banner booked!

Not only have Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council had the foresight to support the Save Our Waterways Campaign but I have also recieved support from The Ashby Trip. The final amount of money needed for the first fo the banners has now been raised and I have confirmed the order with Recognition Express in Hinckley - a company owned by a boater from Trinity Marina!

It is now full steam ahead towards next weekend with at least 6 or 7 boats attending the rally from the marina here.

It would be great to meet any readers of this blog at the protest event on Saturday at Hawkesbury Junction if you were able to attend and support us.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Didn't go out this weekend. Had to do the school discos last night which meant I was very late home so didn't get up early this morning! Then spent the morning cutting up a bed and a box of fence panels donated to me by colleagues for the stove, washed, hoovered and cleaned the car, hoovered the boat, did some washing, etc etc.

Next weekend is the big weekend with the Save Our Waterways protest cruise so I will be out then! Watch this space to see how it goes when I return. The plan is that a groupof us are going out on Friday evening to the bottom of the Ashby for the night so that we can then trot down to Hawkesbury Junction, (Sutton's Stop) for the Saturday mid-day photo shoot and protest rally. I am in the middle of trying to get the banners sorted to varying degrees of sucess as my previous post indicates!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Disappointing and encouraging!

Hats off to Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council who have agreed to sponsor a one off payment of eighty pounds towards a banner for the Save Our Waterways campaign. I think that shows the high level of interest and support from the council towards the waterways in recognising them as a genuine leisure amenity. The email recieved from them reads as follows:

Dear Andy
Thank you for the funding request.
I consider canals to be of a significant importance to our Borough. They provide excellent tourism opportunities, economic advantages and well being and are places where local residents can go to relax etc. The Council will be launching its new Cultural Strategy in January 2007, where we mention supporting canals.

My budgets are limited and I would not normally support such requests, however on this 'one off' occasion I would be willing to contribute £80 towards your campaign.
I will require an address and name of whom the cheque needs to be made payable to.

I wish you good luck in your quest and hope the local boating community can assist in ascertaining external funding to improve the waterways.

By contrast, Trinity Marina have clearly demonstrated, once again, their lack of interest towards the boating community. Take a look at the general standards of many boats in the marina and in particular, on a sunny day when most boaters are out, and you will see how the marina is clearly primarily a 'housing estate'. The final nail in the coffin was my request for any sort of financial support and help towards the campaign, only to recieve the following email:

Andrew hi
We are in receipt of your e-mail. We do not feel it is appropriate for Trinity Marinas to sponsor your banner
Yours Trinity Marinas

Very professional! No explanation or reasons given. I can only guess that those who were antagonistic towards the campaign and have little interest in the affairs or heritage of the canal system have unduely influenced them. I have requested an explanation and will, of course post a reply shoud I get one! I wait with baited breath but in the mean time, I have to fund myself or find fifty pounds to cover the cost of the banner - Ah well, I guess if BW end up having to close the Ashby Canal due to lack of funding, Trinity and their residents won't mind so long as there is a small isolated puddle left to float a few boats!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Not out this weekend

Weather forecast was lousy for the weekend and as I had a lot of work to do for school, I decided not to go out in the boat this week. Saturday was cloudy with increasing wind and rain so spent the day getting work done. Went to bed Saturday night with a howling gale rocking the boat very hard and banging everything that wasn't bolted down. Spent Sunday working again but did allow a little walk with Simba up the towpath at the end of the afternoon. A lot of work planned for next weekend already so probably won't go out then either!
Still, the weekend after, I have to go out come what may - it's the Save Our Waterways protest weekend - keep your eyes and ears glued to the media!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Weekend away

Just returned this afternoon from a lovely weekend away in the boat. Saturday and the weather was glorious so I set off up to Battlefield again. Blue sky, trees turning gold with the autumn colours and absolutely no wind whatsoever. Double bonus was to get Simba away from Hinckley for the fireworks!

Returned today with a gusting wind which, obligingly, subsided by the time I got to the marina. Much cooler and much more cloud this evening but with just as many fireworks unfortunately. A beautiful sunset as I was cooking my evening meal as the photograph above shows.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Many of my readers will, no doubt be aware of the website This has been created in response to the huge cuts in funding towards British Waterways as a result of fines and inept management by DEFRA. Phase one of a national campaign involves a weekend of protests around the country at key canal locations, bringing together all users of the waterway system from anglers, walkers and cyclists to boaters. Our local protest meet is at Hawkesbury Junction, (Sutton's Stop) and, like the rest, will be held over the weekend of 25th and 26th November. I, along with a number of other boats from the marina will join forces with members of the Coventry Canal Society, Ashby Canal Society and Hinckley Boat Club to demonstrate our strong and united support against these cuts. If we don't get a re-think on this situation, boat licence fees will rise drastically and canals will fall into dis-repair or worse, be closed completely.
Please join us if at all possible for this rally either by foot, bike, car or boat to show your support.