Wednesday 29 August 2012


There are a few scary things on the cut. Stag parties already half-cut by 11 a.m. The combination of strong wind and shallow water. For the claustrophobic newbie, the first time you negotiate a lock with a 10 foot drop. Up there with the best is coming out of a bridge on a narrow left-hand bend with a boat tied up on the right hand side 20 yards on, and Chertsey coming at you round the corner.

Chertsey is no mean boat – one of the darlings of traditional boat devotees, since her purchase and transformation by Sarah Hale, chronicled on her blog.

What strikes you under the conditions described above, however, is not the wonderful restoration job, or how good the paintwork is looking, or the potted history that flips through your mind, but how incredibly big the front end is – looked as tall as Erin Mae's roof. I've been reading a new set of novels about Roman times and warfare – for a moment I felt like one of those boats that was destined to be rammed and cut in half.

No hassle. Sarah, of course, was in perfect control, and I played my own part in avoiding any unwelcome scenario. We passed with a cheery wave, though she was left a little too near the moored boat, and having to operate the tiller with some force to squeeze round the corner without contact.

In the morning we got soaked. After lunch the sun came out and we made it back to Great Haywood, as intended. All very satisfactory. Sarah, I hope your day was as good as ours.

Photographs from Sarah's blog, and from Halfie, if they'll forgive me.


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