One of the reasons we changed to WordPress from Blogspot, was to source an improved showcase for Barry’s images.

However, regular readers will know we often wait a wee while to see these.  It takes a modicum of patience, and anticipation, of him finding the right time to download his camera’s SD card onto his computer, then check and edit the chosen images. He’s a busy boy you know, keeping on top of running The Home Brew Boat, and day-to-day maintenance of our floating home.

Then there’s the moving from place-to-place which nowadays takes up a fair proportion of most days.

During our 2009 and 2010 journeys, we’d spend hours each day writing and editing images in order to post on the blog daily. That’s not a luxury we have available any more, but we do have a treasure trove of priceless history on the Northern Pride Blog, so the time, on reflection, was well-spent.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s some of Barry’s ‘work’ (I’m not sure that’s the appropriate word anymore to be honest?) from our travels along the lower section of the Shropshire Union Canal a few weeks ago …


Wheaton Aston and The Hartley Arms a very friendly and hospitable to boaters canal-side pub


Passing by Captain Ahab and Helen’s ‘Jam Butty’ for their Wild Side business – work in progress to get it ready to launch, at Stretton Wharf


Stretton Aqueduct, straddling Watling Street Roman Road (aka the A5)


A very quaint mini-narrowboat


Must be a Rastafari on board this colourful boat?


Giffards Cross Bridge, not far from Brewood (pronounced Brood). One of the local structures named after the Giffard family of Chillington Hall owned by the same family since the 12th century


The delightful Avenue Bridge, a private balustraded bridge carrying the driveway to Chillington Hall. It would have been a condition of the landowner to have such a magnificent structure built in order to give permission to use their land


The other side of Avenue Bridge


Autherley Junction, where in 1830, Thomas Telford joined his ‘Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal’ to join the much older Staffordshire and Worcester Canal (opened in 1772)

Tomorrow’s featured images will be of our recent meanderings around the Birmingham Canal Navigations.



Barry didn’t get much of a chance to take photographs at The Spring Market last Saturday. Not that we’re complaining, he had a whole heap of folks interested in his boat-full of all things home-brew related.

However, he’s promised me there will be a selection of his exceptional photos available to post in the near future – from the festivals and our travels.

In the meantime, the incredibly talented writer and photographer Andy Tidy captured the atmosphere of the day marvellously.

Click here to read all about it – additionally for us, we get a few ego stroking mentions. Thank you Andy. We love you too.

Andy's photo of my self-painted flower power face

Andy’s photo of my self-painted flower power face

Helen did confide in me that Andy had spent a disproportionate amount of time chatting amiably to people around and about the site – including Barry of course! Well he had little choice really, and was suitably forgiven. It was, after all, his birthday.

And he’d been gifted with a £25 ‘voucher’ from his brother-in-law to spend at The Home Brew Boat. He’d also been one of the two lucky winners of the banner competition we held on Facebook, so he had £20 to spend from that too.

Yes, he was the originator of the ‘Get your kit off‘ part of the banner …

Get you kit off - the home brew crew

Get you kit off – the home brew crew

We’re on our way to The Floating Market in Alvecote for easter weekend. If you’re in the area, do come and see us.

We did it!

Our first ever day of trading as ‘The Home Brew Boat‘, and ‘Funtastic Facepainting by Sandra‘.

And it was a wonderful way to begin our new journey at The Spring Market in Digbeth. We hadn’t realised until the day before that we were privileged to be one of only two ‘hand-picked’ narrowboats trading there.

Admittedly the weather could’ve been kinder; it was overcast and cool much of the day. On the bright side though, the sun poked his head out of the cloud cover intermittently, and most importantly it was dry!

We’d moored the night before below Camp Hill Locks on The Grand Union Canal. Not in a recognised mooring spot – but on the bollards which are there for boaters waiting to go into the locks we assume. But it’s ok. There was no notice saying ‘Don’t’, so we figured we could. And the delightful Sarah from The Book Barge, moored right next to us.

The only other option was ascending five locks to the facilities at Camp Hill, then descending again on the Saturday morning! A journey that would’ve taken a minimum of an hour each way, and one we wanted to avoid. We’d hoped to moor at The Bond, but sadly their security arrangements couldn’t allow it as we’d have been setting off the infra-red alarms all night.

The inspirational Sarah Henshaw - author of 'The Book Shop That Floated Away'

The inspirational Sarah Henshaw – author of  The Book Shop That Floated Away

Sarah bought her boat in 2009, and turned it into a floating book shop. Although the venture didn’t prove as successful as she’d initially hoped, she didn’t give up or give in. She left any comfort zones she may’ve previously been inhabiting, floated away on a six-month adventure, bartering her books for services she needed, and in the process wrote a book about it all.

What an inspiration to anyone with a dream to manifest. Sarah’s a living example of how dreams rarely just ‘happen’; they take visualisation, effort, commitment, fortitude – and a whole heap of passion, planning and self-belief.

So inspirational in fact, that her Book Barge has featured in The Huffington Post in an article on ‘The World’s Great Book Shops’, and on Friday and yesterday she was filmed by a cameraman from the BBC.

The BBC filming on The Book Barge

The BBC filming on board The Book Barge

Our boating buddies Helen and Andy, aka Captain Ahab and crew, were also trading at the Spring Market. It happened to be Andy’s birthday, too so we celebrated in the evening with an Indian meal.

Helen and Andy set up their stall for their Wild Side jams and chutneys – and so much more

Although we didn’t make mountains of money yesterday, we made enough to cover our expenses – and most importantly, we learnt a great deal about what worked well and those aspects needing a bit of fine tuning for future events. Life, after all, is a continual learning process …

Banner and bunting in place on the Home Brew Boat

Banner and bunting in place on the Home Brew Boat

Lots of folks interested in getting their kits off - The Home Brew Boat!

Lots of folks interested in getting their kits off – The Home Brew Boat!

I adored the facepainting, there was a couple of hours in the afternoon when I hardly glanced further than the people at the front of my table or the cute child whose face I was transforming. The hours of preparation and practice really paid off. I’ve kept my designs fairly simple to begin with, with  a vision of expanding as I gain more experience and improve my techniques.

Arm painting in action! Not everyone wants their face adorned ;-)

Arm painting in action! Not everyone wants their face adorned 😉

A huge thank you to those people who came to support us – especially our friend from NZ Gavin’s dad John, his brother and family (above), and our long-time blog reader another John, and a fellow professional photographer so he and Barry always have heaps to talk about.

I’m hoping to have more photos to publish tomorrow – from the master’s camera!

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