Sunday, September 13, 2015

What a whopper–Jena goes to Slough


Blinking in the daylight, CRT wide beamer Jena emerges from the paint shop at Adelaide Dock.  Using the money earned from her being used for a very brief location shot in Tom Cruise’s last Mission Impossible movie, she has had a face lift inside and out.  The external paintwork was almost entirely done by volunteers, who took her right back to bare metal, before applying the seven coats of Craftmaster paints that now protect her cabin.  I don’t know what you think of the colours.  They certainly wouldn’t have been my choice, but they do match the colours being used in lots of CRT literature and posters.

Here she is on the inside




Originally built as a floating office for use at Little Venice, she now has a more mobile future attending events for Education, Hospitality, Publicity and the like.

Not small is she?  “How do you fancy taking her down the Slough Arm for the canal festival?” they said, and fellow volunteer Richard and I accepted the challenge.  As you all know the Slough Arm is narrow and still very shallow in places and often weedy. Thankfully CRT had been down the arm clearing the pennywort for us.  They filled three sizeable work boat holds piled high with the stuff.

Squeezing Jena through the  bridges on the GU wasn’t too bad and she handles surprisingly well for a big ‘un.  The narrow right angled turn into the Slough Arm was er, interesting, but we did it without touching the sides.  The biggest challenge was at High Line Yachting at Iver, where the three abreast boats for sale back up right to the Mansion Lane bridge.  Much to our surprise, we sort of wriggled her through with about half an inch to spare.  Of course we were well aware that being newly painted, any scratches would be unavoidably down to us, so no pressure there then!!

Once moored up at the show the good people of Slough (not all of them of course) popped in to take a look and to chat to Sam Thomas, London Director of Operations for CRT and to ask all the usual questions about canals and boating. 



Because I was in uniform, I got knobbled a few times too.  “When does a boat become a barge?” asked one elderly gent.  Answers on a post card please.

The sun shone and the people at the show had some stuff to look at beside the fifteen or so ( a record?) boats that attended.  Birds of prey, stationary engines (my favourite), arena displays and what not, and free rides on model steam vehicles.  How about this little cracker?


Even he drinks van was a joy to behold.


I think big chief Richard Parry was due to attend at some time over the weekend.  I hope he liked the show, although I expect he had his ear bent about some of the obstacles that still make the arm not the easiest of cruises.

On Monday we have to take Jena back to Adelaide dock, and I fear that the weather may not be so kind to us.  Just cross your fingers that we don’t scratch her if the wind carries us away.

1 comment:

Vallypee said...

Wow, you're brave doing that after her paint job! The show pics are great, Neil...and yes, when does a boat become a barge? Haha. I've just tried to answer that question for my publisher's marketing girl. My's complicated, especially in NL when a boat can also be a ship without any apparent reason! Good luck on Monday...