Thursday, 30 October 2008


original post 15/06/08

I think we eventually got to bed about 2am. So this morning when the church bells of Abingdon rang out it was a bit of a shock. They wont continue for long thought I, just calling the faithful to worship, but no, It was obviously a campanology convention calling the faithful who had quaffed a skinfull the night before to clamber out of bed and put the kettle on.
Maffi and Bones where already up and about and after the first brew we were ready for the last haul to Oxford. So we waved farewell and passed on our thanks again for such an excellent evening and cast off.
Nothing of real note for the four hours it took to reach Osney Lock except that again the going was slow in places but the sun kept playing on us and making the criuse very enjoyable.
The public moorings above Osney lock had a number of free spaces so we slotted in just past the pub and took a walk into town to get some lunch.
We stopped at the castle and took a table outside one of those grill type places, this one was called Tootsies. They brought the menu's to the table and that was the last we saw of them for 20 mins, So enough was enough and we went elsewhere. Gordon Ramsey wouldve been outraged.
Back on LE sleep overtook us both and our afternoon nap ended at about 7pm !!!!! so its now 12.20am and we are still awake. Tomorrow we'll have a wander round town and also a visit to Halfords to try and get the part for the engine then set off for the canal. if we wake up in time that is

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Slug Speed

Original Post 15/06/08

What is the differece between slug speed and snail speed? Are slugs faster because they dont carry a shell on their backs?
Today saw us awake at just before midday thanks to our evening with Kath and Neil in Goring......mmmmmmm sleeeeep. So when Nora got up and asked the time and she said quarter to 12. I said...."no its not" she said " yes it is" I said "no its not" and so we continued for a couple of mins but yes it was indeed nearly midday and we had 8 hours cruising ahead of us if we were to meet Bones and Maffi at Abingdon for our BBQ.
Within 20 mins we were ready to cast off but a quick visit to the loo was required, just as I entered the Big Boys Room, Nora informed me that she had flushed a Wasp down into the cassette.......Great thinks I, Im gonna sit on the throne and suddenly feel a stinging sensation in regions best left to the imagination. As it happens all was well and no trace of a pooh wasp.
Again the flow of the river was decidedly strong causing us, at times to struggle to maintain 2mph on the narrow bits. We were also delayed at one lock thanks to two narroboats tying up opposite each other instead of indian file thereby filling the lock with their presence, Admitadly I thought the lockie wouldve shepherded them better but he didnt, so,.....that lock took 50 mins by the time we exited.......
Time on boats is only ever important if your running to meet a deadline.....the knock on effect of that lock however, was that we arrived at the next lock 2 mins after the lockie had knocked off for the day. So, anyone who has ever worked a Thames lock on their own without any Power assistance will know that by you have have turned the Wheel 3 million times to raise the paddles, then another 3 million to open the gate and another 3 milion the close the paddles ect ect ect, its no longer that lock took us half an hour.
We finally arrived alongside the infamous 'Milli M' at 8pm. Maffi had already let us know that the barbi was lit. I find it quite bizarre that folk who have never met before and only seen each others writen words can sit down together and enjoy an evening as if they had been chums for years.
We have both enjoyed our evening with Bones and Maffi very much and I thank them for providing us with an excellent meal in the excellent surroundings of abingdon.To Bones and Maffi I say you have converted us to Waitrose Burgers, and I just wish our time to get to know each other had been longer.

Nosy Visitor
Lady Elgar alongside Millie M

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Snail Speed

original post 13/06/08

No photo's tonight as we only have snail speed connection which kinda matches our snail speed while under way.

We had probably the quietest ever night at Henley, you know, its so quiet that you cant hear anything at all except the noise from your ears.
We woke to spanking sunshine and clear blue sky, By 8am the Henley rowers where out and about practising for next week's ladies Regatta and the Cox's were being rather vociferous....Typical small person syndrome lol.

We Cast off and got under way by 9.30 am hoping to make Goring for the evening stop. River flow's were still causing us problems, sometimes managing 3mph other times dropping right down to 1.8 on the narrows. The river was quiet again untill we approached Shiplake lock and two boats hove into view behind us who were obviously stemming the flow better than ourselves...One was a Thames widebeam cruiser and the other a narrowboat, I presume the Narrowboats are either giving it full wellie on the engines (which im not prepared to do) or they have larger props suitable for river cruising.

We enterd Shiplake lock first and were joined alongside by a Nb (Mention no names). No drama in the lock, and we intended to pull over on the left to take on water and empty the toilet cassette.
Due to our starter problem I said to the chap on the Nb that he may like to go first, He said that there were stopping for the pump out in any case....I went below on the opening of the gates and Lady Elgar kicked into life with the magic wire on the first go. I returned topside to see the Nb already out of the lock. We followed them to the Pump out and Water point mooring. The Nb promptly pulled in alongside the Pump out and I expected them to pull back to allow us to use the water such luck. He secured his tail rope and she secured her rope at the front.....she then walked upto the water hose and fed it back the 30' to their they obviously intended to pump out and fill up at the smae time, knowing full well that we also required water and couldve done this while they pumped out. Never mind, we plodded on as there was insufficient room in front of them for us....I wasnt overly bothered but it did seem to annoy Nora......Its just uncivil thats all......
By comparison......we approached the Tesco mooring at Reading and every space was full apart from a very tight gap I thought i might be able to slide into on the very end....Full marks to the Chap and lady inboard NB Cygent who came outside and pulled their boat back to give us full length on the mooring. Civil an decent...dont take much does it.

We eventually spent a couple of hours at Reading, While shopping at Tesco I put the Genny on and we did some washing while wandering round the store. Upon our return the wash cycle was just finishing and we turned round and took on 54.5 litres of Diesel at Reading marina also water and empty the elsen.

We then made all haste for Goring which should only have been 3 hours away.We texted Neil and Kath our neighbours at Iver on Herbie that our ETA at Goring was appx 7pm, well, 7pm came and went and we eventually ariived and were met on the tow path at 8pm.....Neil and Kath had already done a recce on the moorings and found all the ones below the lock taken but he guided us into a nice little spot a little way back with two trees placed perfectly for our bow and strn lines.

The four of us then wandered into Goring and plonked ourselves in the first pub where 3 ales on pump attracted our attention.
We had a really smashing evening and were really pleased that they met us but as always the evening went too quick.
Tomorrow will hopefully see us in Abingdon and a rendevous with Bones and Maffi, Ill pm then after this to make sure all is as planned.

As an aside, we shared a lock with some young folk on a Thames hireboat...The two chaps were dressed up in naval getout. The chap in the admiral hat told me that he lived in a little village alongside the kennet and Avon Canal, he said that LE was the best looking canal boat he had ever seen......Makes ya kinda proud of your home.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Its a Contact Sport Pt2

Original Post 12/06/08

9.30am saw us under way from Windsor and within minutes the rain was pelting down. In fact it had been raining most of the night and now I was concerned that river levels were going to rise again and see us stranded waiting for them to fall.

I was seriously considering turning round and heading back to Brentford, However just after Boveney lock the rain dried up and we had a mixture of sun and cloud, and the very occaisional light shower.

The river was still flowing rather fast and again on the narrow sections our speed dropped to less than 2 mph making progress very slow indeed. Eventually we reached Marlow lock and On speaking with the lockie he stated the levels were still dropping despite the rain and we should find the going much easier now.

We had seen very little other traffic and most of it going down stream so it was nice for the majority of the locks we encountered we were able to keep the engine running (with permission of the lockie) as we still have starting problems.

Just after Marlow bridge we encountered a couple of sailing dinghy's spanking along 'close hauled' tacking one side of the river to the other. The first one passed by with no probs at all but the second, Tacked from our starboard side, shot across the river and then tacked again and crossed our bows from the port side.

At the end of that leg he was now parrallel to our starboard bow. I fully expected him to spill his wind and let us clear but instead he tacked again and shot forward hitting our starboard bow just behind the stem.

He shook his head, I said nothing, We disengaged, I saw he was ok and off he went again. We parted company turning our backs to each other without any spoken word....I think we both learned a lesson there.

Nora managed a School girl error when throwing a rope onto a bollard in lock, she caught the bollard perfectly and then proceeded to pull the line tight.....the look on her face was probably priceless as the bowline end also followed the rest of the line through the bollard and then back on board after having jumpped off the T-stud when she intially threw the rope.......I gave her much words of wisdom about making sure all was secure when catching a bollard......three locks later I managed to do exactly the same for my own school boy error.

We eventually arrived at Henley and found a mooring (the first we have paid for so far) just before the town bridge. Nora managed to feed a large flotilla of goslings and 1 duck the majority of a loaf of bread while I toddled off for a walk into town to find an Offie and or a bread shop......I found a Circus, a cinema down a small alley and and offie but no bread shop.

As I approached the boat on my return laden with Rum and coke and 2 packets of Pork scratchings I saw the flotilla of goslings now behaving like sheep and doing their best to keep the grass short surrounded on all sides by adult Geese who honked noisily at my approach.

I then noticed lots of little mounds on the grass opposite the boat and thought, strange, I didnt remember those mole hills before.....they turned out to be Rabbits all enjoying the evening sun.

We finished the evening with a couple of episode of Fawlty Towers and a smashing Spaghetti Bolognaise....Also some custard and midget gems.
other pics.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

A Slopey Start

Original post 11/06/08

Day Five
We were up by half eight for an early start to give us a full day in Windsor stocking up the larder and visiting the Castle.
We were at an alarming angle despite leaving slack ropes and it appears we had settled on some mud. No real problem coz when I pushed at the bank, both the stern and bow began to slip away from the edge.
Following the first coffee and cough and a drag of the day I did the usual engine checks and prep ready for the off. With some trepidation I turned the key and .....'click'....I attached the wire and ....'click'......I bumped the power by connecting the Domestic Batts and .....'click'.....I started the gennie and at 14v's ......'click'.....Nothing.....I spent half an hour faffing and messing and changing the starter battery for one i had with more cranking power and still nothing.
I returned to the galley for another brew and to get ready to call RCR. Not being happy with giving in, I returned to the engine room again and remembered that Trevor had mentioned that he had replaced the .....its either a relay or a solenoid. I found the old item and took off the current one and replaced it with the old one.......'click'.......I attached the wire and this time the starter turned and we were off.......I must try and get hold of a new thingy asap.
The plod to Windsor was still slow due to the flow of the river but the sun kept popping out and making it a very pleasant morning cruise....
We arrived and moored at the Island just past the railway bridge by about 1pm. We locked up and walked over to Waitrose to stock up on essential fluids.....its also Fajitas for tonight.
Once the stocks were back on board we then headed off to the castle.
Now back on board and a quick twiddle of the Sky Dish sees us ready to settle down later and watch the final of the Apprentice....Hoping the river flow decreases tomorrow to aid our passage but there are rain clouds gathering......wonder if I should water the plants?
Some pics of the day

The Sound of Silence

Original post 11/06/08

Day four
Our evening with Phil alongside Hampton Court turned into a very early morning. I think we eventually retired about 5am.
By the time we woke up and set off it was 1pm. Phill decamped at Moseley lock for his return home by train from Hampton Station.
We have still been having trouble with the starter and having to resort to the magic wire which engages the solenoid prior to turning the starter. Our progress was very slow as there was still a tremendous amount of water coming down the river, Mostly just managing to make 2.5mph and in some narrow sections even down to 1.9mph for the same revs.
We got to Penton Hook Lock and duly switched off. Once ready the lock was full I returned to the engine room and turned the key and got the usual 'click'....I attached the wire and this time still got a 'click'. I engaged the switch for the domestic batts for a bit of extra power and still 'click'.... nothing would induce the starter to turn.
We hauled Lady Elgar out of the lock by rope and were passed by 'Magnetman' on his way through into the lock...... A nice old boat he has there and his Dog standing on the top Boards enjoying the view.
Once clear of the lock I hummed and arred for a while and tweeked wires and tightened connections but still no movement from the starter motor. I was about to resort to calling RCR but then for some reason I turned on the gennie. As the 240v kicked in, the Inverter/charger bumped up the power to the batts from 12.5v to 14v, I quickly connected the wire, turned the key and starter turned as it should and the Perkins kicked into life..... Gennie off and we were on our way again.
By the time we got to Bell Weir Lock the lockies had gone home so we didnt need to switch off. It was slow progress all the way and our goal of Windsor for the night wouldve taken at least another 3 hours at those speeds, so, as we approached Magna Carta Island I remembered a mooring I had used previously. It is a fiver a night but a nice spot. It was clear of boats and we tied up and shut down by 8.40pm. Laura had by now recovered from her hangover and we settled down to watch Deadliest Catch and a Fray bentos steak pie each......mmmmmmm Fray Bentos. We were fast asleep by midnight.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Its a contact sport

Original post 09/06/08

Day three.
Teddington took most of our day. I went over to the lock at 10am and enquired about the state of the river prior to handing over my £115 for the 15 day visitor license.
They expected to be on yellow boards by some time in the after noon. We also where holding position as we were waiting for our friend and guest Phil, bless he had finished nights this morning and was obviously sleeping, so we tootled around the boat, reading, relaxing and Nora nursing her sunburn.....I also managed a couple of cross words.
The day was again perfect.
Sometime in the afternoon most of the narrowboats that had been at tedders moved off en masse and headed upstream. By about 5pm, we wandered down to teddington station and met phil after his journey from Plumstead via waterloo.
We set off and hit the flow which was still very fast, I kept the revs to give us 3mph, as I felt anymore would just be a waste of fuel. As we rounded Ravens Ait we slowed down by .5 mph. Phil came to the rear and took over the tiller. We chatted as you do, the time being now about 6pm. I suddenly heard a slap of water behind us and I turned just intime to see a Long Oar right by the rudder and before i could call out, the oar and skull collided with our rear counter.
The rower suddenly called out to the next rower behind him.....turn turn turn. and he set off again as if nothing had happend.
We were already very close to the bank as the flow of the water was at its least there. Blow me, if we were then approached again very close to the stern by another rower, this time being coached by a rupert in a launch with a megaphone.........he was calling out orders which i couldnt understand......what I DID UNDERSTAND WAS THE WORDS....SKIPPER WATCH YOUR COURSE......feckin cheek........
As far as im concerned, even though the skull was under oars, they were the overtaking vessel and as such had a duty to keep clear of us.......bloody cheek and after we'd paid £115 squid for the privilege.
I made sure Phil was reminded that our only collision so far has been while he had the con. We arrived at Hampton court and ive never seen those moorings so quiet. So came alongside, BBQ out and lit and enjoyed a very pleasant evening in lovely sunshine chatting and supping.Windsor tomorrow....after Phill and Nora have wandered around Hampton Court.

Monday, 20 October 2008


Original post 08/06/08

Set off from our mooring at Hanwell by about 11.30am and finished off the flight in Blazing sunshine. Nora steered us into the first lock....a first, and she intended to do the next few as part of her helm training but then a boat hove into view behind us and we held the lock for them.

Not wishing to have to try to many odd maneuvers she decided to hand back to least she is getting there and proving very good at the attempts she makes.

We enjoyed the flight in company with our fellow boaters who decided to stop at the fox PH at the bottom of the flight while we carried on to Brentford managing to pick up something on the prop just after Osterly lock. Nora, However had retaken the tiller and managed the last two locks to Brentford with apparant ease, although she states she was a bag of nerves.

Arrival at Brentford and topped up with water and gave the roof garden a good dousing as they were looking rather dry.

I then noticed Nora run to the stern and have a look inside and then come back all forlorn......"my hat has blown into the water" my laughter was soon brought to an end by the look on her face and her declaring, "I love that hat"

I looked over the Bow and sure enough there was the hat enjoying a marvelous adventure on the water making its way across the dock with the aid of the breeze towards the residential moorings. I handed her the extending boat hook and suggested she toddle off over the other side to await the hats arrival. I meanwhile dived down into the weed hatch to clear another copious amount of clinging weed and a large plastic taybrite coal sack.....only a boater couldve let that get in the water...tut!

I then planned to get the Video camera out and film Nora's search and rescue attempt, but, a knight in shining armour had already been to the rescue in the form of our friendly BW Lock keeper who recovered the wayward head gear with minimum of fuss and she was all ready heading back towards Lady Elgar Looking very chuffed. She asked him if he fancied a cold beer and he gracefully declined as he was 'on duty' so, come 1715hrs we promptly arrived at Thames lock and handed him the said beer for when he booked off at 1800hrs.

Turned right, onto the Thames and plodded on towards tedders as we approached Richmond bridge the GPS showed we had lost a full MPH. The tide was at its max and the obvious flow from the river was pushing against us, But, the Perkins did us proud and battled with the flow to see us safely at Teddington.

We are now moored for free in the lock cut and the Lockie fully expects yellow boards to be displayed on the river by tomorrow morning, so I am off outside to loosen our lines in anticipation of some drop in the level.

We went for an Indian down Tedders High st......Nora is as red as red can be and my forehead is hot. We now have to cover our bodies up for the rest of the week to let the sunburn go down.

Our mooring tonight by the weir.......whats the point in a pic like this???????

Sunday, 19 October 2008


Original post 07/06/08

Day one of our Grand June Cruise.

Cast off from Iver just before midday having spent the last couple of days revising and reviewing routes, due to the Thames being on Red Boards for the last week,

But after a drive down to Chertsy last night to view the river conditions I decided we would have a slow run to Brentford and hit the Thames sunday eve rather than today to give the river further opotunity to calm itself.

Glourious sunshine was the order of the day and a Big thanks to Kath and Neil of Herbie fame who came down last night to ease our departure from the moorings.
Herbie is Moored outside of us which involves some manouverings to allow us to slip the moorings but they had some measuring and faffing to do so they came down and moved Herbie under her own steam which meant we could slipout in one go rather than moving boats back and forth. They also get a good three weeks now alongside the bank which is usefull for doing odd jobs on the outside without dangling over the water.
Thanks again folks, always a pleasure to see you.

So, 15 mins into the trip and Nora suddenly appears at the stern and demands to steer!!!!!!! Righto says I. She took control at tickover and after a few moments of getting used used to correcting the swing she was asking for more revs. She did her best yet, Steered through all three aquaducts and bridgeholes with no problem at all.
Passed the con back to yours truly for the junction but then on the main line was pushing me out of the way to take command again, only reliquishing the task in order to dash forward armed with bread for the waterfowl lining our path.

We fully intended to stop at Norwood Top Lock for the day but upon our arrival, It wasnt as I remembered it and the Youths on mopeds with no helmets by the houses alongside made our minds up to plod on to a location by a field I had used before.
While entering the Top Lock Nora was asked by a lady and her 3 sprogs " Do you give trips?" Nora replied "no, sorry, were on holiday" the lady then said to the children " do you want to go and have a look at the kitchen!!!!!" Nora, taken by surprise said, " its the second hatch along if you want to look" The lady said, " Yes, we know, we saw it as you passed"

The next pound we picked up something on the prop which was obviously large and poohy as i lost forward drive. A few kicks in reverse gave me back some forward thrust but I could feel the stern 'bouncing' as we inched forward.
Once through the 2nd lock we came alongside the field I remembered and tied up. Time was 3.45pm and once all was shut down and secured I delved into the Weed Hatch which is quite awkward as you have to reach deep, under the counter from the BMC to access it. Once open, the water was lovely and clear and i could see at least 3 different colours of plastic and masses and masses of weed...... In fact, it was weed of Biblical proportions.
Must remember in the morning to give the stern a good push out before engaging gear to try and avoid the weed.

All in all a good afternoon cruise and both our faces are now glowing thanks to the sun and breeze. I was just settling down for my first bacardi and coke when Nora said......."Is that a winding hole?".......yep, sure enough, our back end is well into the arc of the winding please, Any one reading this who needed to use the Hole I can only only appologise for the Ignorant crew of Lady Elgar who have failed on their canal etiquette on their very first day.

Pics of our spot for tonight in Hanwell:-

Friday, 17 October 2008

Summer Cruise

Original post 03/06/08

Its currently 4.30am and its been lashing it down since i retired to my berth at 1am.
Not looking good for the Thames circle if this rain continues. We have the option of turning left at The junction and heading north on the Grand Onion and then making a descision to do the circle when we get to braunston, The down side to that is, if we do head down to oxford and the rain returns we will be hard pushed to get back to base using the long route.

There are other circles such as the leicester ring but again the river Soar could be in flood.Am I just paniking for no reason.....still 6 days before we cast off!!

managed to get a new TV from Comet yesterday so that was one job off the list, however, I also went armed with my battery for my video camera and upon showing it to each shop assistant it was met with a sucking of teeth and a definate NO, not one that old.......The camera was bought in 2003!!!!!!They did at least suggest I try maplins or Jessups so they are on the list tomorrow......when i eventually get up that is if I manage to get any sleep!

Please stop raining.......Nora wants to visit Hampton Court

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Summer Cruise 2008

The following entries were originally posted on the Canal World Forum Blog and rather than do it all again and miss out on important bits due to memory loss i thought id try and copy them here for the benefit of those of you that missed the original tale and also because this is now the official site for our travel stories.
Ill put em on here one by one to simulate the original postings

If the pics dont come out ill have to try and find them and re post them but Im sure the text will speak for itself......apologies if you have read all this before


Original post......02/06/08

Only six days to go before we cast off and head down to Brentford for our grand cruise of the Thames ring.
We finished work Saturday morning and that was my last day at work till 3rd July...yippee, Unless of course you count my long service ceremony next Friday. (its only a year late)I wasnt initially going to bother going but then i read the small print and noticed that it was treated as a 'tour of duty' so I emailed em and let em know Salty, Nora and mumsie would be attending and to make sure there were sufficient supplies of sandwiches and cups of tea to mark our attendance.

So I have the best part of a week to get Lady Elgar ready for the cruise. The outside is ready for a good wash again following all the rain and wind weve had however the Brasses are still shiney thanks to the lacquer i sprayed them with a couple of weeks previously.
One thing that is still of concern is the starter motor problem which trevor mentioned previously. Steve at Iver asked me the other week if the starter still gave problems and he suggested maybe it was a power problem? so ill pop over to the office on Tuesday and discuss getting a heftier cranking battery to see if that makes a difference, A couple of times last week even the magic wire didnt work and seeing how your required to switch off in every lock id like to know at least shes going to turn over even with using the magic wire.

We took LE out for an overnighter last week upto harefield and had a very enjoyable BBQ moored on the offside by one of the large mere's along there. On the return We filled up the fuel tank ready for our holiday. 50 odd litres at 86ppl......dont think it will be long before it reaches the £pl mark.
I added a quantity of fuel additive but had to guess the tank volume as i have no idea what her capacity is. Hopefully it will ease some of the some smoke from the exhaust which has got a bit better since cleaning the air filter and changing the fuel filters but maybe the dear Perkins is ready for the injectors being looked at.

So, Ive dug out the Video camera and will pop into town tomorrow and get a small tripod so we can shoot while cruising hands free, Also on the list is a visit to currys or comet. Our TV decided it was going to give up the ghost this week and Nora wont survive without it......well, only for a few of her programs The good news is for the last couple of years ive been saving £2 coins in a 'Piggy' so we counted em last night and have just over 400 squid which will buy the new tv and pay for our intended fuel use on the grand cruise with some pennies left over to treat Nora to a chippy supper one night

More pics

In response to Val's (whose excellent blog can be read here) request to see some more pics of Emblem, I have dug into the files and found a few.

She was built in Scotland by Forbes of Sandhaven in 1934 as a Seine Net Drifter. She was and is Larch Planks on Oak Frames.
In 1940 she was Requisitioned by the British Admiralty for war duty as a harbour duties boat and she was rumoured to have taken part in the Shetland Bus run although myself and previous owners were never able to confirm that fact.

She did survive an attack from the Luftwaffe however and in 1945 she was decommissioned by the admiralty and returned to fishing complete with a new Gardner 4L3 engine which is still in use today.

She eventually moved south following several changes of ownership and eventually she found herself laid up in Cowes on the Ilse of Wight were she was purchased and restored and converted into a cruising pleasure boat.

Emblem in her original design

'Laid up' awaiting rebuild

Note the original Fish Hatches which were retained on her conversion and used as skylights

This is how she looked following her conversion in the Mid 1970's

Looking from the saloon into the galley showing her heavy Oak deck beams

The Trusty Gardner 4L3

She was 'Dry docked' every year for Anti fouling on her hull and repainting the topsides

Particular attention was paid to the Seams to make sure they were watertight, The Black patches are the Bare Wood of the Larch Planks where the Primer and Anti foul had peeled away.

We, the previous owners and myself did all the work ourselves.....with help from friends of course and following 2 weeks in Dry dock she looked splendid when finally the spring tides returned and she was re floated
And finally Emblem on display as an exhibition at the famous Oostend Voor Anker Festival which she has attended under her own steam for the past 7 years of which I was proud to be a Crew member for 4 visits and the Skipper for 2 Visits
Not bad for an old Tub is she.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

More Emblem

Its 7 am and ive been trolling through old DVD's of our trips on EMBLEM.
These pics date back to pre 2000 , I cant quite remember the exact date and I apologise for the poor qualtity as I have taken them from video .
Even though I dont remember the exact date I do remember we were following the Thames Barge Match

Steve was the owner skipper of Emblem and I was enlisted as crew along with a chap called simon. My old mukka Gary was also enlisted but due to his work committments he couldnt join us untill day 2 when we arrived at Gravesend.

mixing it with the heavies in the Thames Estuary

The following STILLS show filmed by Gary approaching Gravesend Pier where we collected Gary....Gary you may remember from previous posts owned Disponibel which may feature again in future DVD finds.

Gary was an important part of our crew as we could always rely on him to film evrything and anything....the downside with taking stills from the DVD is that there is no commentary...maybe oneday ill work out how to download a portion of the dvd disc

Anyway, i digress, we had set off from chatham and berthed overnight at Queenborough, Isle of sheppy. day 2 saw us at Gravesend awaiting Gary who, due to work committments couldnt make the first day. We had a rough time he would meet us at Gravesend pier but we arrived early and in an effort to bide time we moored onto one of the ships Bouys opposite the pier. Within minutes of us securing our lines, Simon, one of our crew had his fishing line over the side with a bait of Ragworm and Squid......Suddenly, a roar of twin diesels approached and the PLA Pilot boat pulled alongside our starboard quarter......Steve, being the skipper was pushed towards them and they asked "do you have permission to moor here?".......gulp....luckily while Steve was making sorry noises my mobile rang and gary announced his arrival at the pier.

Steve duly conveyed the info to the Pilot Boat that we would vacate the Ships Bouy forthwith and they, having done their duty, put both engines into full ahead and sped off......Simons fishing rod suddenly bent alarmingly and his fishing line began to 'Run Out' very rapidly
A swift attack of the knife soon put paid to the Gravesend pilot boat taking the majority of simons line.

We manouvered alongside the Pier and picked up Gary and then set off and followed the barge race as it approached Gravesend.

It was a fantastic day with good winds and hot sun.......this however didnt help us one bit....Steve had just had Emblem re-rigged and bought some new heavy canvas sails........We spent hours faffing with them, rigging and re-rigging and eventually we had foresail and mizzen full an bye.......steve put the Gardner into neutral and.........we started to go Backwards.

Eventually the Race was won...dont ask me who by as it was a few years ago now and we repaired to Queenborough
A short Dinghy ride took us to our evenings entertainment.
Ill let the Pics do the Talking
Trying to sort out the sails

Just a few suitable knots and turns

A few Heave O's on the haliards and we're away

Next on the list was the foresail.......Im not overly happy with how young I look on these next stills :/

In awe of sailing backwards with mizzern and foresail full an bye

And finally a couple of stills of the reason we were out there in the first place....The annual Thames barge Match

Is it just me or do splitters behave like this the world over?

So, a very happy event indeed, Thames barge owners enjoyed their race and the crew of Emblem enjoyed their cruise

Skipper steve saw us safely back to Queenborough and a few jars were quaffed before hitting the sack.