Showing posts from September, 2016

Incroyable! A taste of France ... in Cookham

When we packed our bags and headed to the Burgundy Canal earlier this year (read my post), we were dreaming of patisseries, boulangeries, charcuteries and all the other ‘ries’. But we found rie-n. And when we did come across a charming bistro it was usually ferme for lunch.So imagine my surprise when we found the ‘Deliciously French’ delicatessen in Cookham. It’s stocked with French wines, cheeses and pates. It sells croissants, pastries, salads and sandwiches.  And the man who served us was French. I accept there’s something undeniably romantique about France. But when it comes to boating, I’m beginning to think Britain is better.  Take Cookham for example. It's on a lovely stretch of the Thames, it has all the basics including a small supermarket, a DIY shop and a train station, and you're spoilt for choice when it comes to eateries: regular pubs and posh pubs, a tea shop, a coffee shop, a Chinese restaurant, a charming Thai restaurant with a lovely outdoor garden, two India…

The UK's last self hammering mooring stake

I've spent the last few months looking for one of these: a self hammering mooring stake.  Because when we're mooring along the bank and Mr J wants me to secure the bow rope as quickly as possible, the stake and mallet option sometimes takes too long. Plus it's hard work. So when some friends showed me their self hammering stakes, I decided to get one. But first I had to find them.  My friends couldn't remember where they'd got theirs from and our local chandleries had never heard of them. So it was over to google. After hours searching the internet and cross referencing different key words, I came across a few forums that mentioned automatic mooring stakes. The good news was that the descriptions matched what I had in mind. The bad news was that apparently they didn't exist any more. Undeterred I kept looking and discovered that Viking Marine in Goole used to stock them. So I picked up the phone and spoke to a lovely lady called Sue. There was more good news an…

Tight mooring? No problem!

A very tight mooring. But believe it or not, we got in without touching the other boats, shouting or gesticulating wildly (and ineffectively) at each other.  Oh how things have changed! When we started boating on the Thames in 2009 we thought we had it sussed because Mr J had sailed yachts in Greece, I’d done a bit of sailing in Brazil and we’d spent a week on the Canal du Midi together. And we did have it sussed to a certain extent. But we didn’t have it completely sussed, which meant that when our mooring attempts didn’t quite go to plan - in the lock lay-by, in the locks themselves, along the river and in the marina – our blood pressure went up, followed swiftly by our voices. So when we upgraded from a 3 ton plastic cruiser to a 27 ton steel barge, the first thing we did was sign up for the Bisham Abbey Sailing School’s practical boat handling course. Because if you get things wrong in a 27 ton steel barge, you can do a lot of damage. And I have to say it was the best thing we did…