Thursday, December 18, 2014

Herbie Awards Pub results and quiz results

As the great and the good wait breathlessly to see if it is them who has won the big Herbie Award (keep smiling at the camera, it might be you), I cruelly keep them waiting with the lesser awards.  First there are a couple of things to clear up.  a) the Best Pub for a Drink with Friends, and then b) the answer to that pesky intermission picture quiz that no–one dared answer (shame on you).  So here we go’

All the nominated pubs – see previous post- are worthy of a visit, but on these cold winter nights, I know which one I would rather sit in, and so that gets the award. Yes it’s the big sofas and the log fire of


The Cowroast Inn

(rapturous applause)

I should add that it is not only in mid winter that we have enjoyed this pub as this photo shows.  It was taken at the end of a very hot day in 2005 when we were parched and slaking our mighty thirsts and the pint we had then was just perfect.  I think that was our second pint, the first one didn’t touch the sides as I recall.The picture also features our dear departed pal Pete and a very young Jacob.  Cooh we look hot don’t we?


Now that pesky picture quiz. 

This one

 watering was at Leighton Buzzard just through the bridge by Tescos

This one

[boarder%255B4%255D.jpg] was at the entrance to Paddington basin.  For those who know the area, the aeration bubbles give it away

and the last one

bridge looks down the Slough Arm towards the only canal bridge that I know is numbered bridge 0.  I daresay someone will now tell me of others.

In our next post I’ll tell you of our favourite overnight stop and a little something about the pub nearby.  Done all your Christmas shopping yet?  We’re nearly there.  The family don’t much like the tree we bought Sad smile.

Monday, December 15, 2014

More Herbie Pub Awards and picture quiz clues

Well that was the intermission (I’ve been a little bit poorly and out of energy), but now back to one of the traditional type Herbie awards. Yes of course it’s a pub one.  This is a bit strange this year ‘cos we haven’t cruised any new waters and our old favourites remain, mostly, old favourites.  However we have made one or two discoveries and rediscoveries and that has given us some best nights out for a pint. So lets call it the Herbie Award for Best Pub for a Drink with Friends.  I’m not judging this on the beer this time, although it would have to be OK wouldn’t it, but on the ambience (or ambulance as we sometimes call it).

Let’s take these in chronological order of our visit this year

1. Prince Alfred. Formosa Street London W9

Simon and Carrie led us to this wonder when we were moored in Paddington in February.  It takes about five minutes to walk there from Little Venice, and it’s worth the trip even if you don’t want a drink.  To say this place is odd is an understatement.  Here is Simon about to move from one of the bars into a little snug.

Yes that really is the doorway.  Alright for the likes of Warwick Davies I suppose, but most people will have to bow gracefully or practice their limbo dancing to move around this pub.  It has more doors like this!  The woodcarving and etched glasswork in this pub is fantastic.  See Google images of this pub and be amazed.  The little nooks and crannies in this pub make it ideal for a quiet drink and a natter and if you run out of things to talk about you only have to gaze about to be quietly entertained.  They do a decent but not spectacular pint of ale.

2. Cowroast Inn at (funnily enough) Cowroast on the Grand Union

If you are hacking up or down the Grand Union, Cowroast is a good stopover point.  You can get a quick bus into Tring for shopping, the Marina has a chandlery and CRT has a service point.  It’s a reasonably safe place to leave a boat unattended for a few days too.  Just over the road is the Cowroast Inn, a strange mix of village pub and Thai restaurant.  It features in this shortlist because if you get there early enough to grab one of the fireside sofas you will be as comfortable as you could be anywhere.  If it’s winter and the fire is lit, you might get set on fire by the shower of sparks as the landlord heaves another mighty log on the fire, but it’s worth it.  The general chit chat in the bar area is convivial and the landlord likes his little jokes and the beer is good.  Just settle in with a very nice pint and enjoy. You won’t want to leave. Lovely.

3. Bridge 61 at Foxton Locks

If you can’t find a conversation in this quirky little pub, you’re just not trying. Once again if you are lucky you can find a sofa to relax in. Lots to look at around the walls and lots of stuff to read on the shelves.  You might even get a game of chess some nights. Here’s one of my weird panoramic shots of one of the two rooms in the pub.


If you want to know where the sofa is, I’m sitting on it.  And why is the pub empty? Can’t remember but I suspect it was early or late. This little room can get full believe me.  The beer is excellent and the locals friendly.  Here’s Kath sitting under the saw of Damocles sipping what looks dangerously like a pint of Old Rosie.


If you just want to sit and chat and sup and don’t need fancy food then this is a great little pub.  The drinks are served from a tiny hatch in the other room.

4. The Wheatsheaf at Crick



We’ve known about this pub since we took up Herbie’s Crick mooring a few years ago, but until very recently we’ve never been in there for a pint. Well that was very silly, ‘cos it turns out we like it a lot. They have a good selection of well kept interesting ales and the locals and staff are friendly and the bar which is not all that big but being extended just now, is comfy. We’ll definitely use it in future.  They have a weekly quiz too.  The more well known Crick pub is the Red Lion which gets very full of diners most of the time, but the Wheatsheaf, just fifty yards further keeps its diners and its drinkers in separate rooms. For a quiet pint in good company, it’s just what you want.

Which of these do we feel like giving the award too?  Hmm. I’ll ponder and report back.

Meanwhile what about that picture quiz last time?  I wasn’t surprised to get a text from Adam (he of Briar Rose fame) at twenty past seven in the morning with all the right answers.  Other than that no –one has sent in a guess.  That’s either because of my warning about giving away the answers or because the scenes were too hard to identify.  Either way just send in a guess and I’ll reveal all next time , and to make it easier here are some clues.  Picture one was taken on the GU near a large supermarket, picture 2  - the clue is in the bubbles, picture 3 looks down an arm of the southern GU.

Now then I’m tempted to see if I can give a really hard one for Adam. I have to beat him sometime.  Here is a handsome chap taking a nice boat out of a lock this summer.  Which lock is it? Can anyone beat Adam to it?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Surprise Award awarded plus an intermission picture quiz

So what did I decide was our Best Cruise on Someone Else’s Boat for 2014? What a tough choice. Could it be Richard and Sue yet again? I think they practically own this award in having won it a couple of times before.  Or should it go to Sarah and Jim for treating us to yet another fun Braunston parade and allowing us to busk in the process?  It almost comes down to a choice of who to disappoint. Well, in the end I’m going to be completely selfish and give the award to

Canal and River Trust

for letting me do the RYA helmsman course on board their work boat Samson

not forgetting Andrew Phasey for teaching us so well

and Clive, Samson’s everyday skipper for being so welcoming and friendly

samson lock 2_edited-1

Forgive me S&J and R&S but it was such a rare treat to spend a day practicing manoeuvres at the wheel of this quirky little vessel and to cap it all the weather was glorious. 

More awards to come, but to allow you time for a comfort break and to recharge your glasses, here’s a little intermission picture quiz about places we have been this year.

1. Herbie takes a drink at what I always think is an odd place for a water point, but where?



2. Where is this?

the clue is in the picture


and if you thought those were too easy, try this one

3. What is the number on the bridge you can see further down the canal?


Clue. If you know the number, you know why I ask. 

If you don’t then perhaps you could just try and identify whereabouts this is.

if you know the answers and want to show off by commenting, then do it cryptically so as not to give it away to others.  I suppose that might offer secondary clues to those struggling.

Answers next time as we rejoin the award ceremony for more nominees.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Best pub for an evening out awarded –and best cruise on another boat nominees

The 2014 herbie Awards continue and we had quite a toughie ranking yesterday’s nominees. In the end it all came down to a nice relaxing meal at the Great Western, Aynho or a rather more hectic bite to eat and a fun show at the Bridge House at Little Venice.

After some debate in the judging committee we have a unanimous decision to award Best Pub for an Evening Out to:

The Bridge House / Canal Cafe Theatre at Little Venice

(Loud Applause)

The combination of location, food, beer and entertainment makes for such a special evening.  Kath wishes me to add that had it just ben for the meal and service, the winner would have been the Great Western.

Well done them. In fact well done to all three shortlisted. They’re all worth a night out.

And now, as they say, for something completely different.  This year we’re able to resurrect an old favourite award – Best Cruise on Someone Else’s Boat.  It’s not every year we can award this because, well you can work that one out for yourself.  So what treats did we have this year?

1. Olympic Park cruise aboard Nb Indigo Dream

stadium 1

The wonderful  Sue and Richard have already won this award twice for taking us on the mighty tidal Thames.  Could this be their third?  Well it was indeed special for we were privileged to join them for the very first post games cruise of the Olympic Park.  It was a grey March day as we sneaked along the concrete sided  Bow back rivers where the tides had to be just right to get through some of the locks.  The redoubtable Andrew Phasey led the St Pancras Cruising Club flotilla as we crept into the Olympic park itself, dwarfed by the huge structures which seemed t be right on top of us at times. 


Indigo Dream cruises as strongly as any boat I have steered and it didn’t take us long to get to the point where we had to turn round.  Work on a bridge there prevented us from doing a circular route, but Sue took us right beneath the mirrored underside of the bridge for some great photos.


A tough one to beat.


2. Brentford boating aboard CRT working boat Samson

samson lock 1

Hardly a long cruise, but for me a special one. It was part of the RYA helmsman training I received for my CRT volunteering duties, and yet again I found myself in the company of the wonderful Andrew Phasey, this time he was the trainer.  We spent much of the day practicing manoeuvres, holding the boat against the bank at various angles to let crew on and off, reversing round corners and going through locks, all terrific sport on such a novel boat with its Archimedes screw prop and wheel steering.  To top it all, the weather was sublime – and I got a certificate too.  Absolutely brilliant.

3. Braunston Rally parade aboard NB Chertsey

Yet another treat. We are lucky bunnies. It does me good to do these awards because it reminds me of all the fun things we do. This time it was courtesy of Sarah and Jim.  Now I should say here that we did two parades at Braunston, Saturday and Sunday.  Here is a picture of us on the Saturday parade.


You might not be surprised to know that I won’t be giving a nomination to that one.  However on Sunday the sun came out and we reverted to our plan of busking aboard Chertsey while Sarah  navigated us through the chaos, unbelievable stopping en route for Jim to load a ton of coal into Chertsey (no I am not kidding)!).

It’s always a privilege to ride on a boat like Chertsey and to be given the chance to play to the crowds at the same time was brilliant.  We even got a wave from Richard Parry.  A special day indeed.

Blimey, another hard choice.  The phone lines are open if you want to vote. Well, you could send in a comment anyway.  The results show is next time, when I’ll include an intermission picture quiz. 

Friday, December 05, 2014

Best event award and nominations for a special treat.

Aah sorry I kept you waiting, I’ve been busy doing stuff.  Now, back to the Herbie award for Most Enjoyable Canal Event. Well of course we enjoyed them all.  Oakie cleverly spotted that I didn’t say the beer was good at Banbury.  That’s because there wasn’t any at the actual event, so that didn’t do much for Banbury’s chance of winning the award.  After some debate Kath and I agreed that our winner ought to be the one that surprised and delighted us the most, and that was the somewhat low key but very friendly

Historic Narrow Boat Club gathering at Foxton.

Well done HNBC

your beer was lovely!

and your quiz night was tough but good

and the auction was fun

and as for the buskers – we were alright I suppose

Now we have to move on to our next Award.  How about a pubby one? Let’s try Best Pub for a Special Evening Out. This has of course to be within walking distance of the canal, and in this case somewhere where you might feel you had a bit of a treat.  There are loads of good pubs by the canals (and we’re working hard at exploring as many of them as we can Smile), but now and again you find one that perhaps you might go to for a birthday treat.  I can think of three we visited this year, all very different.  Let’s take them in chronological order of our visit – click the names to see their websites.

1.The Bridge House, Little Venice

Just across the road from the canal, this pub gets rather too crowded really, but it’s easy to see why.  The beer is very good indeed- we drank Windsor and Eton Knight of the Garter which is a cracker of a pint if you like modern style beers.  You need to book a table to eat and don’t go there for a long quiet meal, but the food which is a bit bistro like is good. Even a simple burger is worth having.  the pub being where it is, the grub is not very cheap but you can have a nice main course for eleven or twelve quid.  What makes it special there though is that after you’ve had a very nice pint and a bite to eat, you can go upstairs (taking another pint) and enjoy the excellent little Canal Cafe Theatre.  We’ve been to a few nights there and it’s always good fun and extremely well done.  They have comedy news revues every week as well as other plays.  So you can eat, drink and be entertained. What’s not to like?

2. The Brasenose Arms at Cropredy

A very short walk from the canal brings you here where you can eat and drink good stuff and at weekends listen to super live bands - Not yer local lads who’ve just got together as a band, but proper professional bands of a high quality.  In fact this is a bit of a musicians pub, in fact I suspect it might be a bit of a musicians village.  On week nights they have recorded music paying in the bar and it always seems to be an eclectic mix of interesting stuff.  You might get Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and John Martin in a twenty minute period.   Once again you could do worse than have a burger here. They’re hand made and come in a ciabatta bun  with particularly nice trimmings.  The beer is Hook Norton.  A really good place if you are into music of their type.

3. Great Western Arms at Aynho

Unlike the other two pubs, this one does not have entertainment, but we’ve included it because eating and drinking there can be a real treat.  It’s just over the bridge from the towpath visitor moorings.  You could just have a nosh and a pint in the bar, which we did with Maffi (and Molly) and Oakie and a few others one night, or you could eat in the cosy restauranty bit where you will get very friendly and attentive service and some extremely nice food.  It’s probably 40 or 50% more expensive than a cheapo pub grub place but you get what you pay for.  The chef Rene knows his stuff and the bar and waiting staff are welcoming and professional.  We’ve eaten there a few times and it has always been a treat.  Hook Norton beer, well kept and well served. If you went there for your birthday meal, you would not be disappointed.

Who will win?  As I write, I’m not sure, but I’ll consult Kath and we’ll have an answer next time.  Now I have to go and cook dinner. It won’t be as good as these pubs provide.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Herbie Awards 2014 begin!!

Oh Yes, Oh Yes. 

Forget Strictly

Forget the X factor

Forget BBC Sports Personality thingy

This is the BIG ONE.

I am assuming you are now all seated at your round tables, a glass of Bolly in your bejewelled hands and ready for THE glittering event of the year –

the fabulous HERBIE AWARDS for 2014.

All your favourite categories will be here, Best Moorings, Best Pubs, Worst day’s cruising etc plus of course at the climax of the event, the announcement of the Winner of the coveted Herbie Special Award for 2014.

(Just a quick reminder that all these awards go to people, places and things that the Herbie crew have directly interacted with over the year.)

Well if you’re all ready, let’s get straight on for our first category.   MOST ENJOYABLE CANAL EVENT 2014

This year we attended four such events.  here they are in chronological order

1. Historic Narrow Boat Club gathering at Foxton


We should have felt like interlopers, not being historic boat owners ourselves (that is to say we might be historic, but our boat isn’t), but we were made very welcome, partly because we were invited by Sarah and Jim on Nb Chertsey and partly I suppose because we provided a musical backdrop to some of the weekend with a bit of busking and a spot in the Saturday night entertainment.  Not too many of the great British public came to view the boats because we were tucked along the Harborough Arm away from the locks, but it was primarily a gathering rather than a show. One of the highlights was the boat jumble auction which was a jolly jokey affair with people buying some useless items to give to others who didn’t want them either.  The beer was good.

2. Crick Show

crick show pano

The usual multitude of traders gave people ample chance to spend their dosh and despite some heavy rain the organisers kept us mostly dry.  The bands in the music tent were by and large excellent and there were lots of shiny new boats too.  Adrian and Adam gave Grace rides on the funfair and turned green in the process.  Crick is a good show to buy boaty things at a discount and although I can’t remember what we bought, I expect we did.  The beer was good.

3. Braunston Historic Boat rally

Famous for its chaotic parade of smartened up old boats and good times in the beer tent, this year’s do was notable for the awful rain on the Saturday. Our coats dried out by September. Kath and I were supposed to play merry tunes on board Chertsey during the parade, but as we didn’t fancy our instruments getting as wet as we ourselves did, we hid them in the dry below deck.  Sunday was much better and we did play while Sarah steered a near miraculous course through the crush of boats.

parade squash

I say near miraculous because she did manage to demolish a “don’t hit this jetty” sign.



I’m considering giving that an award all of its own!

As well as all the boating we managed to see performances by both Mikron Theatre and Daystar too with Mikron I think winning that particular duel this year.

The beer was good.

4. Banbury canal day

banbury mayor

As usual people turned out in their thousands, not so much I think to see the boats as to shop at the canal side food and craft markets or to use the kids’ attractions in Spiceball park. Nevertheless it was a good do, and the boaters entertainment evening in Tooley’s dry dock was especially good.  Banbury canal day is also good for boaters to get together and we had a number of visits from boaty friends.  We’ll certainly consider a repeat visit even though the event is a bit lacking in the good beer department.  We did however buy some really superb French cheese.

Well, there you are, that’s our shortlist.  Were you at any? If so, which gets your vote?  Decision tomorrow, then we’ll move on to Best Canalside Pub for an Evening Meal.  Yum.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Huffing and puffing.

Blimey, what a weekend.  Despite out car being bashed in a bit (see previous post), we have done rather more driving in it this weekend than we planned.

Saturday morning was spent packing up and winterising Herbie and I have at last worked out a good sequence for clearing the plumbing of water for the winter. 

  • First turn of the main water tank stopcock and switch off the pump, then open all taps to let out any pressurised water. 
  • Then(in our case) drain the Morco gas water heater from it’s little drain plug
  • Then disconnect and remove the water pump –easy with modern plastic plumbing fittings, but needs a tray slid under the pump to catch the spillage.  Drain the pump and stow it somewhere more frost proof.
  • Then close all the taps except the shower, then remove the shower head and blow into the shower hose for ages until either all the water in the system is pushed out of the open union where the pump was or you get dizzy and pass out from all that blowing (You need an accomplice with a jug to catch the water– thanks Kath).  It’s surprising how much water you get out, we had to empty the jug several times and I was pretty light headed by the finish.
  • Then open all the taps again just in case.

I think I also blew some water out of the calorifier, not emptying it but at least leaving some expansion room.

Of course one of two things will now happen

a) we will have a mild winter with no deep frosts, or

b) we will decide to go back to the boat for a few days before the winter really arrives and have to do it all again when we leave. 

Never mind, piece of mind is a good thing.

Having done all the other jobs like capping off the chimney etc. we made the two hour dash for home to get ready for a friends birthday do where like a lot of the other guests we were expected to do a short (one song) musical turn.  Having had little time for practice we opted  for our old standby Boots of Spanish Leather which we can generally remember.

Sometime around Saturday evening I realised I didn’t have my wallet, and when we got back home shortly before midnight we searched the house and couldn’t find it.  Well you might guess where I had left it – on flippin’ board Herbie.  So today I had to drive the four hour round trip to Crick and back to retrieve it.  I need it for Tuesday to show my driving licence to the courtesy car hire people.  Anyway it had my debit cards and bus pass and all that stuff.

I am now knackered, but shall press on with preparations for the Annual Herbie Awards which are now absolutely IMMINENT.  Stay tuned folks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Good day Bad day- we discover a gas trick and then have a crash.

We're spending a few days on Herbie in the marina, jut to get away from it all and before we leave to prepare her for the winter cold. This morning there was a knock on the roof and it was Trevor Whitling, our BSS examiner, back to test the gas after we had someone try to find and fix the leak which caused us to fail recently. Actually no particular leak could be found but all the fittings had been tightened up. Trevor fitted his electronic manometer to the test point, we filled the system with gas and then turned off at the bottle. The idea then is that the pressure should hold steady for five minutes. It didn't.

The problem is that the pressure drop was outside the allowed tolerance, but still very small. How the hell were we supposed to find where it might be leaking? Then Trevor had an idea. The boat had been warm and cosy when he arrived, but in going in and out to the gas locker he had left the front door open and the temperature had dropped quickly. We closed the door for a few minutes then tried again. The pressure held for six minutes and we passed! So the tiny pressure drop had been caused by the gas cooling and contracting in the pipework. Hooray, Herbie is now certificated safe for the next four years.

I would recommend Trevor to anyone who wants a survey or a BSS. He is likeable, very experienced, diligent and reasonable. Living as he does in Crick, he does a lot of pre purchase survey work at Braunston, ABNB and Whilton.

So that was our start to the day, so far, so good.

This afternoon we drove over to Milton Keynes to visit Kath's sister, then on to IKEA to get a few bits and bobs. We always seem to end up spending far more there than we planned. Not on furniture but on bits of this and that. Ooh look that's nice and only three quid. Ooh look that's useful and only four quid. By the time e get to the till it's "how the hell did we spend sixty quid?"

Anyway we set off in the murk back towards Crick and half way back on a roundabout on the A5 we had a coming together with a Stagcoach bus. I was a bit confused about which exit I needed on the roundabout, and making a dash for the required exit at the last minute we and the bus crossed paths. Nobody hurt, and the damage is resticted to a crumpled rear wheel arch on our car. I don't think the bus got more than a scratch. I'll phone our insurers in the morning. I suppose I ought to have the wheel checked for alignment too as it might have taken some of the blow. Even though we have no-claims protection I bet my premium goes up next year.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The London visitor mooring nobody visits

Yesterday we did a CRT volunteer event at Uxbridge Rd visitor moorings in Southall.  If you’ve been that way, you’ll recognise it.




This is a problem site because although there is good towpath (only recently resurfaced)  and piling suitable for tying to, and it is handy for shops and pubs, the local population is fond of feeding the swans and geese here and this is the result:


The path is slimy with bird poo and not everyone is happy to walk amongst these large birds.  I dare say it is not healthy to do so either.  I counted 52 swans not including all the geese and whatnot.

This bin is mostly full of empty bags which were presumably used to bring along bird food, often rice apparently.


Here are the signs telling people not to do it!  However we were told that many people drive out here with their kids purposely to feed the birds. 


Consequently it is the visitor mooring that no-one moors at.

Yesterday we spend a few hours there interviewing passers by and local residents about how they regard the canal frontage.  Here is our leader Dick talking to a local.


The gentleman in the picture thought the area was safe enough to moor, but with all the mess, who would want to.  There were reports of yoofs loitering under the bridge in the evenings and we found an empty vodka bottle and loads of beer cans there. Apparently the police occasionally pay visits and people have been arrested for dealing in the past.

Such a pity that as useful mooring spot like this is spoilt.  It’s not far from the centre of Southall which has loads of interesting ethnic shops and the locals seem very friendly, as does the Hamborough tavern by the bridge (although it has no real ale).  With all the pressure on London moorings, it would be good if this spot could get sorted out.  Dick is on the case and has a meeting about it next week.  If it was down to me, I think I would consider moving the mooring signs back down the bank away from the bridge and installing some rings there.  It wouldn’t solve the problem of the birds but it might make it a more attractive spot for an overnight stop.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Here is the news for April 1891–canal worker killed by steam shovel.

I was doing a bit of family genealogy today using the absolutely wonderful village history site of Badsey, the village where I was brung up in Worcestershire.  During my researches I came across this little item referring to a young man whose remains lie only yards from those of my granny and grandad.  In fact I could even be a distant relative of this Richard Knight, because there are Knights in our family in the first half of the 19th century.  Anyway I thought you might be interested because it relates to a canal incident of sorts.  Here is the text


A steam navvy is another name for a mechanical shovel or digger, and in those days they were driven by steam and pictures show them having a large boiler at the back end. Click this link to see loads of excellent pictures of steam navvies working

It’s clear from the text that the employing company accepted no responsibility for this poor chaps death  “the men being supposed to look after themselves”.  It’s also interesting that a young man from the Vale of Evesham should have been working up on the Manchester Ship Canal.  Clearly the canals weren’t only dug by the Irish.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gabions on the South Oxford


Chugging up the S Oxford recently we had to manoeuvre past these fine fellows mucking about in the water.  You can see how deep the canal isn’t in these parts. The man in the water is only up to his ankles. I presume they are widening the towpath where the bank has been eroded away.  Anyway, they are using a technique I hadn’t seen on the canal bank before, which is installing gabions, i.e. cages of rocks.

I hadn’t realised before that gabions were built on site. They had big flat sheets of the wire mesh and were cutting and bending it to make the cages which were then interlinked using helical thingys a bit like spiral notebook binding.  Once made up and places in the water they shovelled the rocks in and capped them off with more wire.  The finished thing looked like this.


If you look closely you can see the spiral binders.

What happens next I’m not sure.  Might they try to turf over the top?  Or perhaps plant other waterside vegetation that will grow through the rocks.  If anyone else has passed by since we were there ( I see my photo is dated 10 October), I would be interested to know.

I had a quick read up on gabions on Wikipedia and it reckons they might last about 50 years before the wire rusts through.  Maybe by then they will be consolidated by mud and vegetation.


PS I notice that it’ll soon be time for the Annual Herbie Awards, you’d better pop down to Sketchleys with that tuxedo.

Friday, November 07, 2014


It’s Jacob’s 17th birthday soon.  He used to look up to me, now I look up to him.  Not long after we bought Herbie he looked like this (performing his cabin boy duties)


Now look at him!!


Where did that time go?

I’m having another period where my book is free, from Sunday 9th Nov until the 13th which is all they allow.  Some people have I think had problems with putting it on an ipad.  This is how you do it.  Use the ipad’s browser to go to Amazon and find the book, just search for Herbie Neil as author.  Grab your free copy and it will ask you where you want to download to, then say Ipad (or iphone I suppose) or Android if that’s what you have.  If you have the free kindle reader on your tablet then that’s where it will arrive.  If by some miracle you haven’t heard about my book, follow the link on the top right of this blog page.