Finally the Sun put its hat on and continues to Shine for September. We had a leisurely flask of tea on Sunday as we headed through Hambleden lock enjoying the autumnal rays: It was great to see so many fellow boaters doing likewise.
Southampton Boat Show
S is also for Southampton where one or other of the smiling HSC sales team has been enthusing the punters with the joys of silent electric boating. We teamed up with our supplier Ruban Bleu from Nantes. They have been spreading their products ever further south (I spotted several recently on the Canal du Midi), and we are delighted to have this opportunity to offer a smart efficient electric boat to both individuals and fleet owners.
Our ‘Scoop’, named Mudlark*, has had an excellent first season in Wallingford, having run trouble free for eight weeks.
*Mudlark was the Victorian name for impoverished children and adults who scavenged washed up river debris for items to sell.
Bountiful boating on the Canal du Midi
On a recent holiday in France we met up with some old Swiss friends of mine who spend every summer cruising the French canals in a 30 year old Norfolk built 30ft Bounty. Their boat is called ‘L’Autre’ and Claude writes a really excellent blog taking the reader on a meandering journey along tree lined backwaters of France. This year they tackled the amazing Canal du Midi, which celebrates its 350th anniversary in 2016.
We caught up with ‘L’Autre’ and its crew in Castelnaudary where we ate lunch, cooked in the on board kitchens of another Bounty boat!
Talking of historic sites and ancient waterways, one of our regular readers and avid Thames boater informed us that a group of heroic volunteers have reopened the beautiful Wharf Stream on the upper Thames after many years of hard work, cups of tea and surely the odd pint!
The stream runs for around 1 km from Eynsham Lock to the Talbot Pub near Oxford, and is very narrow. Not ideal for a motorised vessel, as our friends discovered as their outboard motor constantly clogged up with reeds. Clearly a kayak or some kind of unpowered vessel would be more suitable for exploring this ancient route which was used by barges carrying stone for the Oxford colleges. (Thanks to Richard Bossons for the photographs.)
Charter in France
While southern France is very well known for its boating opportunities, a chap I met at Southampton Boat Show has just bought a charming 1938 Dutch classic with which to offer guests day charter from Amiens on the Canal de la Somme. Imagine visiting the WWI memorial sites by boat? To find out more visit www.clickandboat.com
Where are they now …
As everyone knows to be a member of the association of Dunkirk Little Ships a boat obviously has to have been built prior to 1940. One such sold a couple of years ago to Kilcamb Lodge hotel on Loch Sunart in Scotland. HSC sold Ferry Nymph in Suffolk and she will soon be ready to receive guests for dinner on board.
So if you fancy a trip to the wilds of Scotland in the near future, grab your kilt and bagpipes, then give Sally Fox a call and head north for a gastro-nautical treat.
It gives me enormous satisfaction to hear from HSC customers. Thank you to everyone who sends stories, photographs and generally keeps us updated on the whereabouts and wellbeing of boats that we have found for them.
Recently for example, Mazarine Blue, which had been sitting unloved at Beale Park Boat Store, found an enthusiastic new owner in Dean Minter. In the photo below you can see Dean looking triumphant as he motors into the sunset, with a huge smile on his face.
Equally thanks to Graham for the lovely photo of a newlywed couple on board Jobelle, sheltering under an appropriately coloured umbrella. They were certainly not going to let a few drops of rain spoil their special day. On this occasion Graham had chosen to skipper his own boat, although she is available through HSC for regular skippered charter.
About 5 years ago I sold a rather sorry looking Broom Admiral to merchant seaman Steve Morgan. On his regular trips ashore, when he is missing the sea, he takes refuge on board Admiral VII. She is now a brightly painted homely vessel and a credit to all his hard work. Another wooden boat saved for posterity!
Last week one of our recent boat buyers dropped in to Boatique with a copy of her latest book, aptly named Riverside Lane. To quote from the book jacket, this riverside tale is “tautly paced and sumptuously set, peeling back the genteel façade of a picture-postcard hamlet while gently satirising middle-class English manners”.
If you’d like a signed copy of Riverside Lane, give us a ring to reserve your copy, or come along and meet the authors over a cup of tea October 20th, from 18.00-20.30.