Monday, 30 September 2013


Down through Hungerford on our own this morning. Alistair stopped for water but LJ and I walked on. We wound the second lock but QISMA wasn't the first boat to arrive. In fact she wasn't even in sight. So in went a charity trip boat on the move back to Newbury with a volunteer crew and a 10 hour day!  Despite this when QISMA rounded the corner they rewound the lock and  wouldn't let me help. I felt like a lady lunching! We went on for 3 locks with them when they stopped for lunch. The crew had their eyes on the Dundas Arms. The skipper has his on sandwiches onboard!

On we went to Kintbury. A boat just leaving the lock. A wide beam hire boat with a NZ crew tried to hurry off the water point but they just couldn't make it. In fairness, Alistair offered to let them past but they declined. More help. We didn't hold them up too much as I wound the top paddle for them on the way down. All locks against us but with the help .... We were flying - in relative terms!  We caught the boat ahead just as they stopped for lunch and they came back to help with the gates as they had found it really difficult to manage as the top gates would NOT stay closed.  All in all a day full of  the best boaters you could imagine.

This section is just lovely and best of all our favourite K&A mooring which was occupied when we came up was empty  YES!

Only downside was passing a moored boat that  had dreadful list and was losing fuel. I reported it to CRT providing the registration number.

On the non-travelling side of life I have had  some amazing Tweet chats over the  weekend and today.
Thank you. #boatsthattweet and others!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Is that Jan's boat?

A day off yesterday at Great Bedwyn. To be honest, the Cross Keys was OK but nothing special. Last time we were there we hadn't discovered the Red House and ......

Back to yesterday. I caught the bus into Marlborough. I do love Marlborough. A quintessential English market town.

Our neighbour for the weekend. Not sure I have seen quite so much on the roof of a boat that moves.

 Doesn't really do justice to an Autumn evening on the canal

LJ on a lovely non towpath walk. I never tire of taking his photo!

A rare visitor to the tow path on the way back to Hungerford today.

Young James who gave the best assistance at the dreaded Hungerford Marsh Lock and a trip on QISMA as a reward. His Dad had said they weren't staying to help with the lock but ...... A future sailor?

And whilst James and I were busy a couple arrived at the lock and asked Alistair if this was 'Jan's boat' yeah! A Tweet follower and wife who are hoping to be living onboard a boat next year.  So nice to meet them and as they live just 10 minutes from our winter mooring we hope to see them again for a 'proper' boaters chat.

It's a hard day the Hungerford to Great Bedwyn trip - or back. Today every local against us and some strange happenings - winders left up everywhere and only one lock with a sign asking you to do that. BUT, it's also a lovely trip and with brilliant sunshine all day today I'm saying it was worth it. 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Canal still ahead of us but .....QISMA is facing in the direction opposite to the direction we were facing before

It doesn't happen very often and I can't just think of the last time it did but today, with miles and miles of the K&A still in front of us we reached Great Bedwyn and turned the boat. We have to be back in Newbury by Thursday so that I can go off to collect the car. We can then start to move, via Midhurst, where LJ is lodging, to Michael and Jay's wedding which is two weeks away.  We do have the chance of getting out for a few days when we get back but start our caretaking duty at the end of October. So we really are near the end of what has been a fantastic year's cruising. More of that later.

Today, as we left Hungerford we went through Hungerford Marsh Lock which is on my most hated list. Why? I'm going to tell you. First off, the lock is in between two fields with cows in. Then, there is a swing bridge over the lock. Finally, when going up, the far gates will not stay closed so with two on the boat you are disadvantaged. Alistair had to make an appearance on top, which is very rare.

That complete, you reach Cobbler's Lock, where this poor cottage stands almost derelict. I expect 80% of boaters look at it and plan the renovation. Or do you think that's a conservative estimate?

So on to Great Bedwyn. Almost always hard to find a mooring but our River Nene training came into play. In front of us we have an almost derelict cruiser with a chap and three dogs on. Behind us a mock spanish galleon wide beam in slightly better condition though the roof is completely covered in rubbish to a depth of almost a foot. Gas bottles and other worldly goods lying on the towpath Neither displaying a licence. The tow path was, until I scooped, full of dog poo. The owners of said boats stood and watched us struggle to get near enough to jump to the bank - that didn't happen but we did get close enough to get the trusty Nene gangway into play.  

I know this all sounds very unappealing but Great Bedwyn is such a lovely village! And we're off to our third pub this week!!,

Thursday, 26 September 2013

How much did I say that glass of wine cost?

Yes I did say £8.50. Not a typo.

I cheated a bit/lot on precious blog but I had a bunch of not related snap I wanted to share. I think it IS allowed every now and then?

QISMA is now in Hungerford. This is a bit of a pub diary as Hungerford for us means lunch at The Plume of Feathers. I know there are other nice and even dog friendly pubs here but the Plume won us over the first time we went in and we haven't felt the need to look elsewhere for our victuals and pints.Have  I got that the wrong way round?

I'm a bit slow today. Had an email from Tom and Jan on NB Wairou to say they'd found the spot for their winter mooring. I just didn't connect it to my last blog!! Duh! In my defence, I know when they and their problems over the build of their lovely boat they were stuck at Aldermarston for something like 18 months so I doubt they'll ever appear on the K&A again!

I haven't run out of photos but these are taken today. First two from LJ's walk this afternoon. No comment on three, except to say I'm going to stop now and as for four, well I can't resist him.

A picture paints ....

Will a photograph work? 

The Dundas Arms at Kintbury. Last year I discovered after it was poured that my large glass of
Shiraz cost £8.50. We haven't been back. To be honest, I may never get over it.

For all the groaning about vegetation it is pretty

When the tow path visitors complain they can't see the K&A something might be done!  Sadly, LJ won't count

I'm amazed there isn't a commune .....


There are Some river sections of K&A where riparian owners of the bank are responsible for craft which moor up against it. Boats still require a CRT license in the majority if cases.

There are some cases – Ham Basin, where the basin is just off the river, so the land that
the basin sits on, and the bank which gave the connection to the waterway are not owned by CRT, boats within the basin do not have to be licensed – but should they venture out on the waterway will immediately require a license.   Frouds Bridge marina is another such location on the eastern section of the K&A.

Marinas on the canal, where a connection is made to the waterway through our land, mean that boats within the marina require a license and this is enforced with a “Connection Agreement”  being put in place.

The EA have no responsibility on the K&A for licensing or the moving/cruising of boats.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

One out of two of our favourites

We've been so lucky with favourite moorings being empty but our luck ran out today as we approached Marsh Benham. The alternatives aren't very appetising

But the Red House is so we has to rough it.

Still it was worth it

This is one of my favourite pubs - probably knocked into second place by the Cholmondeley Arms  but it is close. The Cholmondelely  has a gin menu of over 30 brands and introduced me to Tanquary 10 so will forever have a place in my heart. The Red House has the benefit of being 10 minutes drive from QISMA's winter mooring.

Monday, 23 September 2013

If only I'd placed that bet ........

We arrived in Newbury today. It will be our home for the winter but not just yet. We're off to Great Bedwyn where we will turn - not something we do very often when there is still canal or river ahead of us.

Derek and O'Neil were hard at work - actually doing some gardening on our mooring. Managed to have a word with Emma as we went past and are looking forward to seeing them at the end of next week.

 Now here is where I could have made my fortune. Last July, when we first came through Newbury, this boat was moored here. When we got back in November for the winter, it had moved - to the other bank where it stayed all winter. I said to Alistair yesterday that I'd bet my pension on it still begin there and .. Et voila ... here it is. It's been joined by a boat moored all winter two locks on. What is it with the K&A? and yes, I have abandoned my usual 'live and let live' attitude and asked the enforcement team that question.
 I calmed down briefly, just enough to take a couple of  shots of the narrows up to Newbury Lock.

Then it was moor up and get shopping!  

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Nice people but bad neighbours

Our peace and quiet last night disturbed by neighbours. They had been working on the boat up at the service point all afternoon. We'd been over with rubbish and it's fair to say, their two dogs did not take to LJ. Sadly, about 1800' they came down and, not without some drama and assistance, moored in front of us. Then they let the dogs off and made not the slightest effort to control them from that point until we left this morning. I couldn't count the number of times they were on our well deck. Every time they apologised and got them off and five minutes later back they came.

We were moving on anyway!

And on we came to Woolhampton. Not the best place to get through as, within 100 yards, you've got an electric swing bridge, a section of water where the river joins and has a strong current and a lock. Some of you will know it well. Both times we've done it there has been a strong stream. Today there wasn't. It's still tricky if you're going downstream as the angle to the bridge is awkward. The  instruction on the lock is quite clear

 But not one of the six hire boats that went came down whilst we were at the pub for lunch paid any attention and were lucky the flow wasn't strong. All of them started to open the bridge after the boats had left the lock. All had a second boat hot on their tail. Just stupid.

We're moored just beyond the lock and had a quick outing to The Row Barge. Part of a small but very good chain of pubs.  Speaking of which. I've just been able to breathe a huge sigh of relief. NB EPIPHANY had taken my recommendation for The Bridge at Branston. An Italian family own it and their pizzas are just excellent. I don't know what they ate but I know it got top marks. phew!

Lovely, lovely walk with LJ for me round the lakes.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Saturday - who cares - en y va!

On this section of the K&A, it really doesn't matter if it's the weekend. There is so little traffic about you may just as well move and we wanted to get away from the Lycra Brigade using the tow path as a cycling racetrack.  We've already had an incident. Last night a cyclist went past. He had two dogs running ahead. One stuck it's nose in the well deck where LJ was lying. LJ didn't appreciate it and leapt off the boat, coliding with said cyclist. Both crashed to the ground. Fortunately, LJ was fine. Oh, so was the cyclist and his bike! No loss of temper either which was pretty amazing.

So, on we went. Through the first of the unlined locks and the start of a few swing bridges.  The plan was to stop at Theale but, it's another cycle path/towpath, so we went on for just a bit longer and onto a meadow mooring. Much, much better.

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Prius of the system

The K&A is an odd mix of canal and river and we found it took time to get used to when we were first went on in July 2012. When we came down in March we were the first boat off and it was running very fast. Today, we went through the Reading section in lovely sunshine. CRT have been out this month and cut back overhanging branches AND we had the most considerate single hander with us that I've met in 13 years of boating!

Now moored above Fobney Lock. With only two boats up after us today. I can't declare it as boating heaven because the Lycra Brigade are out in force. The tow path is in excellent nick so it's like a race track for cyclists.  I walked LJ this afternoon and had to warn a very elderly chap walking with two sticks that a boy racer was coming up behind him. He moved to one side, I moved to the side and Lycra man flew past without so much as a Thank You. My blood was boiling.  It's the total lack of manners that really gets to me.

Hmmm.  Calmed down now and it's a quiet end of the day. I've reassured Emma and Derek that we have arrived on the K&A

 Our own traffic light
 How continental!

The centre of Reading

And on to Fobney with an escort