Sunday, May 01, 2016

Through the Islington Tunnel on a Narrowboat

I decided to head out on another canal walk, after enjoying the Limehouse canal loop in January. The plan was to start at Kings Cross and head west along the Regents Canal, but it didn't work out. It was to be much better than that.

Before striding out towards Camden I thought I'd have a quick look at the entrance of the Islington Tunnel, which opened back in 1818. There were a couple of boats waiting at the entrance, presumably as the tunnel was occupied, and indeed shortly after the first of a trio of narrowboats made its appearance (above).

The waiting boats began to get ready, mostly well crewed, but one had just a single crew and maybe because he wanted company or maybe could read my mind he asked if I'd like to go through on his boat. Err.... that would be a yes.

So off we headed, heading not west as planned but east, into the dark:
The tunnel is 878m long and so it did take some time get through. It was really dark apart from two spots, literally the light at the end of the tunnel in either direction.
There was time to exchange stories, voices in the dark as nothing could be seen. My companion was a circus clown called Daniel and he was from Lisbon. He rents nights on his boat out on AirBnB if you want to stay. I told him stories of the ARC, 21 days spent sailing across the Atlantic.

Slowly the far end grew brighter until we emerged the other side of the Angel:
Daniel steered his yellow narrowboat into the next lock, which is where I said my thanks and goodbye.

I continued walking east, following the canal towards Limehouse, out in the bright sunshine.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Blog celeb advice for Tillerman

Hi Guys,

So Tillerman wants advice about how to handle celeb bloggers! Well he's come to the right place as yours truly and Buff (up next) are, like, TOTAL, experts on this topic!! I have lost count of the number of fellow social media stars I've bumped into in airports, bars and clubs!!

First up: GET A SELFIE WITH THEM!!!!

I mean, this really is social media 101. Seriously: if you don't have a selfie to post it didn't happen, its just words.

Next, VIDEO INTERVIEW!! Of course you've both got YouTube channels hungry for contents, this is, like, the ideal opportunity.

Just remember to set your phone's image stabilization on. Oh, and have a quick check with your hand mirror your hair's in place and make-up tight.

Then identify the hot topics to focus on, issues that connect your two social media brands, bring some SYNERGY to the meeting. Obv. in this case its babies - you have grandchildren, she has kids, together that means one thing:

CUTE PICS!!!!

Finally think expanding brand awareness: were you wearing your PROPER COURSE t-shirt? If not, why not? You're in an airport, could be doing social media interviews / selfies / photo-bombing MSM at any moment!! Look what Team Alison Young did at the Olympics (above).

MESSAGE RECEIVED!!

So there you go. Sassi shows she still knows her media studies course notes!

Go out there and make connections, fellow bloggers!!

Luv ya!

Sassi   ...... oops, here's Buff:




G'day all! This is Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and Buff by nature!!

Doh! Go and have a beer with them, obviously!

This is Buff Staysail, journo and media star extrordinaire, over and out!!!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dangerous Navigation on the Thames

Obviously all of you observe the navigation rules when out on the water, all of the time.

But it appears there are some that sometimes don't, such as these two stories of RIBs on the Thames which were recently fined for dangerous navigation:

  • One was found "navigating on the wrong side of the river near Canary Wharf and caused another vessel to take avoiding action"
  • Another was coming "round a bend near North Greenwich Pier and collided with a cabin cruiser which had two people on board"

I'm pretty sure the police (or maybe PLA) response and language wasn't as graphic as in the image above (actually from the Boat Race, go Kevin!), but hopefully the message was clear.

Lets be safe out there.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Picture Puzzle

The America's Cup in Bermuda being advertised in London over the weekend.

But what TWO events in London this weekend are linked to this image? Extra points for having been involved in either or describing in a word what was to be seen underneath this banner.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Shakespeare 400 years on

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, here's a repost from 2010:

Master
        Boatswain!
Boatswain
        Here, master: what cheer?
Master
        Good, speak to the mariners: fall to't, yarely,
        or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir.
Exit
Enter Mariners
Boatswain
        Heigh, my hearts! cheerly, cheerly, my hearts!
        yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to the
        master's whistle. Blow, till thou burst thy wind,
        if room enough!

Of course I might have been dreaming......

....we are such stuff as dreams are made on....

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Buff spots water nymph riding a sea horse on Lake Geneva!!

G'day all! Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and Buff by nature!!

Well o'l Buff has had a bit of a shock. I've been out in Geneva to see if Alinghi have been foiling on the lake (to be honest I have absolutely no idea) and was admiring the view of the mountains when I saw this water nymph riding a sea horse:

OMG!!! Buff Scoops again!!!

I can tell you Buff was much impressed by this sight but moments later she had vanished:
I needed witnesses so went back to the bar to drag my new chums out but in the end decided it would be better to stay and tell them my story.

What a day!

This is yours truly, water nymph spotter, Buff Staysail, over and out riding on a sea horse!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Britain's sinking maritime heritage


This video shows the moment that the historic tug Deepwater, moored in Brentford, London, starts to sink.

Built back in 1910, it was one of the last remaining riveted steel harbour tugs that gradually fell into neglect, as described in this news post.

The article blames the council that took over the Deepwater at the start of this month, but it is hard to accept this disrepair happened so quickly.

Historic old boats are wonderful, but equally expensive. There are other examples of boats on the creeks, rivers and canals around Britain slowly rotting away. I know of another tug which is rumoured to be concreted into a flooded dry dock to keep it upright.

How is their maintenance all to be funded? Some can get grants from organisations like Historic England (and the equivalent for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) while others could enter the National Maritime Museum's collections.

But some, like this, will fall between the gaps, which is huge shame.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Book Review: How to Read Water by Tristan Gooley

I can't remember not living close to water. I grew up by the little Nailbourne river, that flows and dries as the chalk hills fill and empty. I've sailed the Atlantic, learnt (and mostly forgotten) the sailing light codes and bathed in a natural hot spring in Greenland while watching icebergs glide by.

But I still learnt masses and masses from this brilliant book.

For anyone who has any connection with water - and that definitely includes all sailors and kayakers - this is a must-have book.

Learn how to navigate like a Polynesian in a pond, use the reflection of Jupiter to spot bats, discover the best beaches on the Scilly Isles, where to look for gold in a beach and much, much more - this book is packed with fascinating information.

Worth having on a boat for those "I wonder what?" moments or taken on a walk along the coastline to understand the topography of a beach, the differences between ripples, waves and swell, how to read sand ripples and avoid those deadly rip currents.

Sure to be a classic - strongly recommended.



Two other reviews here and here.

Full disclosure: Tristan is a good friend of mine and this book mentions events that happened while we were sailing together plus I got a review copy.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

How Cambridge waters hurry by


Oh, is the water sweet and cool,
Gentle and brown, above the pool?
And laughs the immortal river still
Under the mill, under the mill?
Say, is there Beauty yet to find?
And Certainty? and Quiet kind?
Deep meadows yet, for to forget
The lies, and truths, and pain?… oh! yet
Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey a chelsea bun still for tea?


Monday, April 04, 2016

Standing up on the Cam

Yes I know that on the Cam you're meant to do it standing up (calm down Buff, I mean of course punting) but this isn't the craft I had in mind.

Those wishing to test their Cambridge expertise can answer the simple question: what subject is this:

Friday, April 01, 2016

HMS Victory to be re-named!!

The huge PR success of the public naming of the polar research vessel has inspired the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to repeat the project.

"It opened our eyes" said a PR flunky. "What coverage!! We could, like, totally do with that!!"

Given the restoration will cost an estimated £ 45m and take up to 20 years, public engagement was decided to be key.

"This is a unique opportunity. We are rebuilding Nelson's flagship - so why not rename it at the same time?"

Currently the top three names on the public poll are:

  1. HMS Boaty McBoatface the Second
  2. HMS Lady Hamilton's Love Boat
  3. HMS Waterloo

"Clearly we had to ensure a certain level of quality in the naming process" said the PR flunky. "Not any name will do for this historic boat. So we employed the Microsoft Twitter AI to filter out the bad ideas - in particular anything to do with frog's legs. Maybe it needs a bit of historical context too - I mean, Waterloo indeed!"

Rumour has it that HMS Belfast and the SS Great Britain are also considering name changes - so watch this space!!



Update: alas, last time I checked the web site to submit names was down... will post an update when there's more information as to what's going on



Update 2: it appears that someone submitted the name "HMS Trump" to the web site, at which point the AI built its own firewall and submitted a bill to Mexico for its development. After that it began to make racist comments and had to be switched off



Updated update: and its a winner for Boaty McBoatface!!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Kevin wins the boat race!!

So it was a draw.

Oxford won the women's race and Cambridge won the men's race, honour all round on a day when choppy wind against tide almost resulted in the Cambridge women's boat sinking under Barnes Bridge.

For some reason the Cambridge men's boat was called Kevin (above).

In both cases the winning boat had the Surrey bank, important as the southerly side of the river had the best shelter from strong gusts from the SW.
In between the main races we caught a glimpse of Claire Balding as she zipped from the start to the end on her speed-boat:
Before the race started there was heavy rain, thunder and lightening, so crowds were a little down on normal:
But Kevin powered through to the win: go Kevin!!