Friday, August 20, 2021


1. Written on Thursday evening:

Here we sit, on the back of Herbie at our new Ventnor berth, gazing out across the still water to the reeds beyond.

The only sound is the gentle plop of our neighbour Bob's car keys as he drops them in the water, followed by the inevitable clunk of his Sea Searcher magnet as it clamps to the side of his boat’s hull instead of lowering to the lost keys below. This is the life.

Miraculously, he did retrieve them and despite being the electronic variety, they still worked.  Ventnor is indeed a magical place.

When we pulled into the marina this afternoon, Karen the marina manager was waiting to greet us on our pontoon and swiftly offered a lift in her car back to Wigrams Turn to collect our car. How nice was that? We've been made to feel very welcome.

The boat next to us is called Tranquility, when we pulled in I had to restrain myself from shouting "Tranquility base - the Herbie has landed".

Before dinner we took a walk to view the other basin. Ours is called Sunset, the other being Sunrise . Sunrise is nice enough, but I'm happy to say that there's hardly a spot in the whole marina that I would swap for the one we have. How lucky are we?

In other news, yesterday I managed without difficulty to climb the steep footpath from Braunston marina up to the village. This photo doesn't do it justice.

Those familiar with that path will testify to the fact that it takes a bit of puff at the best of times. A month ago I could never have managed even a half of it. Thank you NHS.

Down at the marina entrance the dear old Gongoozlers Rest cafe was doing a brisk trade.

At the moment service is outside and people eat in the adjacent little tea garden. Miraculously we resisted temptation and passed by opting instead to visit the Aladdins Cave of Tradline Fenders to buy some shiny stainless steel shackles for our fender ropes and some nice whipping cord to tidy up the ends of our mooring ropes. I love doing whipping - a skill I learned in my youth when I used to build my own fishing rods.

I must be feeling better because I've made a start on some badly needed jobs on Herbie. The wooden hand rails are in a terrible state, presumably because I did poor prep last time I painted them. Now paint is peeling everywhere.  This time I'm being more thorough and have discovered that an abrasive flap wheel on my drill gets the old paint off nicely. It won't be quick but I'll get there.

I've been giving Herbie a wash and polish too and that's only half done as you can easily see in this next photo. Eighteen months of lockdown neglect has taken its toll on the paintwork.

My magnetic letters have been a hit with passers by this week. I've had lots of comments of approval and amusement. Everybody should get some.

2. Friday:

Now back home for a bit. What a joy it was not to have to trek half way round the marina to pack the car.

We hope to be back to Herbie very soon, those jobs won't finish themselves.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Transfer news shock!

 As the excitement of Lionel Messi’s transfer to PSG dies down in the world’s press, news is coming in of an even more dramatic and unexpected transfer, this time suprising all parties involved.

“Only a week ago we had no thoughts of such a move,” explained bewildered elderly couple Neil and Kath Corbett,  “and now it’s practically done and dusted. Job’s a good ‘un as they say”

The Story unfolds - as told by the aged couple

It all started when we had a couple of days to kill while we waited for our daughter Claire to join us on the boat for a short cruise  Where could we go to keep young Grace amused without straying too far from our base at Wigrams Turn? Grace wanted to do some locks, so no good heading up to Braunston and back.  No good either going up and down Napton because that’s what was planned for when Claire joined us.  OK, we thought, that just leaves Calcutt locks.  But they’re only ten minutes away, what do we do after that?  Hmm well we could go and turn round at Ventnor marina, but that’s only another ten minutes.

“Ah haa”, quoth the skipper, “ Ventnor is a Castle Marinas marina, same as Wigrams.  We have the right to moor there free for a short period.  Let’s stay the night there and have a look around.”

A quick phone call set it up and we duly pulled in to Ventnor to be greeted by harbour master Chris who gave us a super warm welcome and a tour round.  It’s a lovely marina, well landscaped, tranquil, plenty of wild life, car parking near your boat, easy to get in and out, excellent facilities.  What’s not to like? “Blimey, this is much nicer than Wigrams”, we said, “ In fact it’s probably better than any marina we’ve been in until now. We ought to come here after our contract with Wigrams runs out They need three months notice.”

“Why wait?” said Chris, “I’m pretty sure you could transfer now and we can sort out the arrangements with Wigrams. We’re all the same company after all.”

And that dear reader is what seems to have happened. 



Just like that. I think we'll be just to the left or the red and blue boat in this picture. So instead of returning to Wigrams later this week, we’ll be pulling into our new berth in this sheltered corner of  Ventnor where we’ll sign on for twelve months.

Wigrams is not a bad marina, not at all. It’s well run by good people, but it’s more of a bustling boatyard.  Lots of boats packed into a small space, a busy hire fleet on site, lots of liveaboard boaters and a long haul from the car park to your boat with all your gear. Well located, yes, but tranquil it ain’t.

So virtually by accident Herbie suddenly has a new home in spacious green calm surroundings and only a mile or so away from her previous berth.  We’re in shock!

Monday, August 02, 2021

Watch my stats

 Well it's nearly a week since they fitted my pacemaker, so I'm beginning to get an idea of how I'm doing.  The dressings are all off and I'm left with a neat two and a half inch scar just below my collar bone.  Still a bit tender and I'm supposed to be going carefully for a while.

Thanks to my trusty smart watch I'm getting loads of stats to ponder over. Just over a week ago my average pulse rate was 38 bpm and my ECG trace was an intermittent scramble of random squiggles.  Here's how it looks today after a short walk down"Dingly Dell" near our house.


So that's amazingly regular and a lot quicker.  I must be getting double the blood flow to my muscles and brain.

I get lots of exercise stats from the watch  too.  Here are a few from our short walk.

This first one shows pulse rate and walking speed over the walk.  You can see from the blue line see we stopped frequently to look at butterflies and (as it happens) wild raspberries. I don't think this app has a feature showing gps elevation so you can't see that there is a steep path towards the end.

So as you can see here we only did 15 minutes of aerobic exercise in a 20 odd minutes walk.  Enough for me just now, I'm not supposed to stress the wound while the pacemaker and the wires settle in.

Here are overall figures.  The watch keeps a record on my phone so I can watch my progress.  Good innit?

In general I'm feeling quite a bit better.  Of course I'm outrageously unfit because for the last few months my condition has prevented me from doing much exercise beyond very gentle strolls and no hills. So  for now, so far, so good.

On the downside, if you would like me to umpire your next cricket match, I can only oblige if you promise not to hit a six because for the time being I am forbidden to lift my left arm above my head so I couldn't signal the six to the scorer.
 Furthermore, anyone planning to exploit the long odds on me getting the taekwondo gold at the Paris Olympics had better put their money elsewhere as I am advised to give up contact sports.  As for my cage fighting career, that has been cruelly snatched away before I ever got going.  Well, you can't have everything.

Talking about contact sports, isn't that what people call boating when the bump into your boat? I'm not giving that up (I mean the boating not the bashing). We seem to be getting an alarming number of email alerts from CRT about damage to locks and gates lately.  There must be some right idiots bashing about out there. I see yesterday someone managed to sink a boat in Cassiobridge lock.  I hope it didn't belong to some unfortunate hire boat co.  The lost deposit wouldn't cover much of the cost would it?

Toodle pip.