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


A convivial Cornish break

I treasure an abundance of magical memories from time spent in the spectacular landscapes of the south-west of England. Family camping holidays as a child, numerous trips with my daughters, a week with Barry and my girls and grandsons in 2015, and a precious few days with my dear friend Therese, who came from Gisborne to tour UK with me in the summer of 2004.

My youngest sister, moved from Sutton Coldfield to Exeter over thirty years ago. Consequently a visit to see her and her husband, often includes the opportunity to experience more of Kernow‘s (the Cornish name for the area) extensive delights.

Viv and Ray had invited us to spend a long weekend with them in Porthleven – towards the end of our Calendar Club season. The thought of it was one of the things that kept us motivated.

Areandare seemed safe enough moored cosily opposite the Boatyard in Shardlow, as we set off on the long Motorway journey last Thursday. Continue reading

Brilliant service and memories of Brighton

After my Boxing Day flat tyre fright, I’m delighted to report the car is back on the road – for now. We were recommended by both Darren the breakdown man, and my sister, to call Shenstone Tyres (Trade Tyre Services Midlands Ltd), who they informed me would come out to replace the tyre. I called them on Wednesday lunchtime, and they arrived first thing Thursday morning. I’d left Barry to be available for the car (in case any technical talk was necessary!), and I went to the shop. He said they were absolutely brilliant. Replaced the tyre (as well as cleaning some rust off from around the rim which he said may’ve been preventing the tyre from sealing well), pumped up the spare, and only charged £48. We were expecting a lot more. Continue reading