Thoughts, quirky insights and experiences in my meandering life.

Tea for the Tillerman

How many times have I listened to that album by Cat Stevens and never given a thought to the title. I don’t know what he meant by it, but it has new meaning for me. When you are at the tiller you can not make a cup of tea! Someone else has to make it for you or you have to stop and make one. Tea and diesel are how narrowboats run.

Note the weights on the gates, 3004 kg each!

I left Bath a couple of days ago, and that is another story for later in the post, and I am single handing. Helming Little Star by myself. After two months of experience I finally feel ready for this challenge. It does take a little more preparation, or should I say thought, in the morning to get ready to go. There is no second person to ask to bring the maps to the back because you forgot, or to get the windlass out, or make you a cup of tea.

I was ready to leave Bath in the morning, was psyched for singlehanding. Got everything ready and went to start the boat. It wouldn’t start. Tried a few times but no go. Called Cheshire Cat Narrowboats and had to arrange a call out from RCR (River Craft Rescue?) Brendon arrived at 2.30 pm and began checking things out. Eventually it was revealed that it was the solenoid. Now I own a car, but I don’t particularly want to know how it runs or how to fix it, I just want it to safely get me from A to B. The same applies to boats, but I have been picking things up along the ways. So, from my understanding, a solenoid helps with either turning on or turning off the boat. A replacement is going to be a challenge, so until then a work around was figured out which is not quite as easy as turning off the engine with the key but it works.

Visual interlude, Bath from above. Went to climb a tower but it was closed. This is from a cemetery which will make some people smile.

So I finally got away at 4 pm. Went til 7 ish and had dinner with my nephew Lucien which was lovely.

When you single had you are on the look out for other boats to buddy up with, and the Canal and River Trust do prefer that you go through wide locks two at a time. As I approached the Caen flight at Devizes that is what happened, and we went through 31 locks together, in the rain.

Looking up the main flight. Quite different weather from the way down
Two boats decreases the tossing around that can happen when the water comes in, and the need for a steadying rope.

Now, after I finish this post it is a long pound, the distance between locks. Maybe a swing bridge or two. Been sitting in Cafe Nero, charging up, backing up. That is another post. Time to get going.


Attics and Basements


A potted history of Georgian Architecture in Bath


  1. sandra rennie

    Maggie you are truly amazing!!! I would not have the courage to even contemplate this and here you are, personning a boat all by yourself—-dealing with %$%#& mechanical issues. You are my hero!!!

    • Maggie

      I really did enjoy the single handing. Life certainly slows down because everything takes time. But I did meet up with other boats going in the same direction and more volunteers at locks that eased me along. At the half way mark today. Can’t believe it.

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