A VIF on board Areandare from Newark to Saxilby

Managing the more than 2,000 miles of Inland waterways of the United Kingdom must be a mammoth task. In 2009 and 2010, when we first ventured to live aboard a narrowboat and enjoy all these treasures, they were maintained by British Waterways (BW). In July 2012, the year before we returned, British Waterways was transformed into the Canal and River Trust (CRT); emerging as a Charity in July 2012.

Richard Parry took over the helm as Chief Executive in July 2013 (just a few months after we arrived ‘indefinitely’), to steer this new body forward. As with most things in life, you’ll never please all the people all the time. Many you’ll never please whatever you do, for whatever reason they decide. We’re all looking through our unique lens with a lifetime of differing viewpoints and perspectives.

Barry and I love Richard. From OUR experiences since that time. Hence the headline – he’s a VIP of course, in the real meaning of the word; but to us he’s a VIF – a Very Important Friend. Continue reading


Arguably one of the best views from a side hatch

It’s said if February is wet, there’s an increased chance of a fine summer. That’s reassuring as dampness pervades the air most days recently!

Yesterday’s journey from Gunthorpe to Newark was, according to our Nicholsons’ Guide (it’s an ancient edition mind you!), along one of the ‘prettiest’ stretches of the river. You could’ve fooled us!

Barry’s all wrapped up to keep the cold at bay – not sure he succeeded though, it was rather relentless, and this was before the pelting rain!

Flat and bleak – maybe we read the description incorrectly?

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Returning to the River Trent after nine years

In July 2009 we were naive, novice, live-aboard Narrowboaters, on a long-anticipated six-month sabbatical from New Zealand. Reflecting incredulously  (mostly me!), one of our first journeys was down (up country but down river, I have no concept of how that works) the River Trent. I strongly suspect if I’d known then what I do now, that particular element of our trip wouldn’t have happened. Or at least not with me on board!

Almost nine years later we’re back on the mighty river, excitedly anticipating re-visiting places, gifted with far greater experience and knowledge of the positives and pitfalls. And possibly also venturing to a few new vistas.

Thankfully Barry’s now undertaken more research, and continuing after Keadby Lock will no longer be part of the near future plan – and if it is, something will have gone horribly awry! In order to travel to Goole, unsurprisingly a VHF radio is a requirement. We don’t have one, nor wish to invest in obtaining such a thing. He described the process he’d discovered of moving down-river with the outgoing tide, then waiting for the turn, before heading round the corner to Goole (there was something about sitting on a sandbank that particularly horrified me). It sounded precarious to say the least – definitely not for the fainthearted. So I’m afraid anyone who’s been eagerly anticipating that adventurous blog tale will be sadly disappointed … Continue reading