No longer a canal boat virgin (by Gemma)

The only bit of boating I had done before my baptism of fire was a summer job cleaning gin palaces and the odd cup of coffee aboard Daniel Oakley. So when Karen asked if we fancied moving a boat for Anglo Welsh I jumped at the chance with my partner Nik (he has prior experience!). So full to the brim with excitement we met Karen and Paul and jumped aboard “Faith”. She is a wide beam, not very long but very tall with a cruiser back. The first night felt a little like camping as we opted to sleep on the twin beds and our dog Tye hopped up for a cuddle, a tad confused about why we seemed to be bumping about ( and not in the way you may think).

In all the weather was not on our side as we had 80mph winds, driving rain, and the Thames in flood! It took a few hairy moments and  a bit of shouting to get the hang of the steering (Paul and Nik would argue that I never really got the hang of it but I think with more of a run on the Thames I would have got there). We found some fantastic watering holes and a pint of 6X costing £1.35 per pint. Some top eateries were also found and I can recommend the Tuesday night £9.95 curry in Devises. My very un-boat like nail extension’s saved my fingers from getting ripped off but did result in the need for an emergency trip to a nail bar in Reading. The others kept talking about the peace and tranquility of boating but after 90 odd locks gone through twice (we had to have two boats that wouldn’t fit in together didn’t we) in 4 days I was wondering where this peace was found! Paul had us up and on the go by 7.30 and we rarely stopped before 6 but all that said and I find myself sitting at my desk wishing I was doing all over again. I had a blast. Nik and I are already waiting for another boat move to come up and are putting together a plan for a boat of our own! Although the Thames in flood put pay to our relaxing jaunt on the waterway I am sure the day will come when I get to explore that side to boating. I am ready, I have my captains hat, chief cook bobble hat and my own windless with wizzy handle (shame its not pink but a re-spray can be arranged). Next on my list is a proper narrow boat with a real stove to try so Barry, what have you got that needs moving?????????????????


A big thanks to Karen, Paul and Pip for showing me how its done and their encouraging words of wisdom and thanks to Barry at Anglo for the opportunity that could change our lives forever!

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