Back to the awards and our penultimate prize. This is for the item which is most useful when you are out boating. This is a good one for you to join in on. All suggestions considered.
Note: There are some exclusions, viz:
All the fixtures within, otherwise it might have to be the toilet, and we wouldn't want that would we?
Essentials such a windlasses, mooring stakes, gangplanks etc.
Fancy fixtures like solar panels
Food and drink (otherwise Jim McBeam might win too easily)
Waterproof clothing - vital but not exciting enough
No, it has to be something simple that you are glad to have and /or something you would regret not having if you forgot to bring it.
and my suggestions (in no particular order) are:
1 A canalometer, beautifully modelled here by a scarily semi naked Simon with the mighty Tortoise in the background
This amazing device must have been invented by a genious (modesty forbids me to say who), and it tells me how long it will take to reach the pub. Clearly a vital piece of kit. Should you be unfamiliar with Canalometers (shame on you) there is a link on the right hand side of this blog.
2. A battery-less torch. Canals don't tend to have street lights, so when you are out and about after dark you often need a torch unless you like having a midnight dip in the Grand Union. However torches with batteries are a waste of time. They always run out just when you need them. We use this super little hand powered jobby which you can buy in lots of shops quite cheaply.
It works and except for high summer it gets used virtually every day.
3. A hot water bottle. Its a cold night, and the bed on the boat is up the other end from the stove. You know you'll be cosy once you have been in bed for a little while but a HWB put in the bed half an hour before bedtime makes getting into bed a real pleasure. Bliss.
4. A camera. How could I keep doing this blog without one. My main record of our boating activities is photographic, and browsing through the pics brings back so many memories. Even when you have one, you curse it not being to hand when something interesting passes or suddenly occurs. And sorry all you DSLR lovers, it has to have some point and shoot capability otherwise you'll miss too many shots fiddling about. You haven't got time to fiddle with white balance or ISO settings when your engine is on fire (believe me, I know!).
I use two cameras, a big Fuji one with knobs to twiddle and a Lumix compact. It's the compact which gets most of the work.
Any more ideas?