And so the reminiscing begins...

I threatened in my last post that I'd start reviewing our life aboard this boat and thought I better honour that promise. This post comes from a blog I wrote before this one was created specifically for our boat life. We were on our way back from having our hull blackened at Tooley's Boatyard in Banbury, July 24th 2006.

The Storm.

We collected the tin can on Saturday morning. It now has a lovely shiny black hull. My parents came with us to help crew for our journey back. They are gluttons for punishment.
We had not long left Banbury when the sky began to darken:

We made it as far as Grant's Lock (only 2 miles from Tooley's) before the Gods decided to scare the living daylights out of us all.
First, came the odd rumble of thunder and a flash or so of lightning. We were safe, it was far in the distance. Then the odd spot of rain fell. Before we got into the lock the world looked a little dark around the edges:

As soon as we entered the lock, and before we knew what was happening, the storm was upon us. I had to cover my ears with my hands because the thunder was so loud. Fork lighning grounded in the fields and trees around us and my mum ran around informing us that when it strikes the windlass whoever was holding it would die. A game of Hot Potato anyone?
The more cowardly sensible among us took shelter (already sodden) whilst those braver worked hard to get us out of the lock alive. Rob, who loves a good storm, was up for the challenge.

And scared the bejeebees out of me when he ran off with the windlass just as lightning struck somewhere a little too close by. Whilst mum and dad were discussing how bright and near it must have been, I was running around like a headless chicken shouting "WHERE'S ROB? WHERE'S ROB? OHMYGOD, THE WINDLASS KILLED HIM" just as he calmly walked in and declared that the lock was open and we were ready to go.
There was nothing that we could except find a place to moor and wait for the storm to pass.

Coming to an end.

I know my posts have been sporadic for a long while now but it's time to start to wind this blog and boat down. We are moving on. And we're getting fatter.

It's been years in the planning - a home that's just a teeny-weeny bit wider than a corridor... And so...


We're building a new boat. A fat boat. I've heard rumours how unacceptable a wide beam narrowboat can be - our neighbours are often blanked by their narrower counterparts as they traverse the river - but why? A boat is a boat is a boat and the river is big enough for all of us. And we don't fit in our boat anymore - there's just too much of us and our lives crammed in and overflowing. I want floor space, I want to not have to store out-of-season clothes at my mum and dad's house, I want a room that I can study in in peace and Rob wants a room he can play music in without me telling him off for scaring the cat away...

So, wide beam it is. We were offered a choice of just how wide to go and suddenly we found ourselves greedy for space. There's wide and there's wide. 12ft then, it seems. I'm actually terrified of this thought, the fear of feeling lost in a space that I don't take up the majority of, but Rob promised me I'd be able to have all my books onboard (oh, to liberate them from garages and attics!) and how could I refuse?

But it means saying good bye to The Green Man and that will hurt. This was our first real home together, built by Rob and dad (some of us attempted to help and just caused more work...) but we're not ready to leave just yet. We'll be here until work is complete on our new boat and that's looking like it'll be the end of the summer. This blog will remain open until The Green Man is in the kind hands of new owners. But until then, there is a real danger that I'll spam the blog with photos of our eight years of life onboard. Just thought I'd warn you...

If you'd like to join us and see our new boat and life unfolding then pop over to here and join in the fun (and d.i.y. disasters). This will be the home of our new boat blog, The Gabble Ratchet (I'll explain the name in a future post over there) and when I've figured out the new Blogger style - what have they done to the layout widget? - I'll add you all to my new blogroll. You can do blogrolls on the new style, yes? I've not found it yet...

I hope to see you over there.



I'm not known for my common sense. I know, I know, that's a major revelation. But I'm chuffed to announce that I have far more sense than the bloke who tried to drive down the lane to the marina this afternoon. It didn't end well for his car. And I suspect that he might be feeling a little embarrassed too, especially since I sent this photo to the local radio station who put it on their Facebook page for everyone to comment on. And they have, most of it involved insults and swearing though so it's probably best not repeated here...

Thankfully, no one was hurt (if you don't include pride) in the events of this afternoon but, sadly, a Rover did die.

He'll have fun explaining this to the missus when he gets home.



The cat has an uncanny ability to tell us when it's going to flood. She went a bit frenetic a few days prior to the 2007 flooding when she obsessed over a puddle in the car park and "eergh"ed at it. My response was to say "yes, puddle. Pud-dle. Well done, kitty." The next day, however, the puddle had engulfed the marina and cut us off from land.
On Thursday Lolly started behaving oddly again. I think she wanted to evacuate the marina. I jokingly told the manager that she knew we were in for some bad flooding. And lo, it flooded and the water is still rising.

Rescuing cars from the car park.
Rob cycling down the lane.

Me, in the lane. Or the Thames depending on how you choose to look at it.
Bye, bye garden.
Having a read in the park.
Rob cycling through the park.
At least it's stopped raining.
Abingdon Marina Park. I remember when all that used to be land...
A braver man than me. It doesn't take much, mind.
This guy didn't tempt fate on the main flow of the Thames.
The bench I sat on to read is now underwater. Rob is having fun.
Moorings on Wilsham Road.
Below Abingdon Lock at Abbey Meadows.
Moorings in Abbey Meadows. They're going to need a reeeealllly long gangplank.


This is always a special time for us. The last few years have seen a muted observance of the occasion due to my poor health but since I am on the mend we decided it was about time to return to our old ways of marking Samhain.

We decorated the inside of the boat with foliage of Autumnal hues:

And carved pumpkins:

Baby pumpkin.
Can you see the outline of a horse in there?

 Rob made a pumpkin scarecrow to scare our guests:

Rob loves Pumpkin Man.
Scary, eh?
 And he made a stew and I baked gingerbread cats, enough to feed ten people (as that's as many as we can cram into the boat):
We didn't really make everyone sit in the dark *cough*.
We also set aside a bowl of stew for those that couldn't be with us. Later, when all was dark and still and everyone had gone home to their beds, we took the time to think of those we miss.