Monthly Archives: August 2011

Open Barge

I know, I know: it’s been too long! But after a couple of months’ cruising, you sort of forget about the rest of the world.

Besides, last weekend was the annual rally of the Dutch Barge Association, which is always a superb opportunity to catch up with old friends and to meet new ones, all of us bound by the fact that we are clinically insane enough to enjoy life aboard a big steel boat designed to lug potatoes around Holland. Take my friends Bill and Sue Cozens here, for example. Whenever they move their barge, Izambard, she insists that he impersonates a hood ornament on the stern while she gets on and does all the hard work.

What do  people do at a barge rally, you might well ask? In fact many of you who are asking were actually there, but have come away with only a vague impression of the weekend, especially after the hog roast on Sunday night.

I am reliably informed that one of the highlights of the weekend is always the barge handling competition, in which — and this is entirely serious — judges award points for how efficiently you can retrieve a bottle of beer without killing anybody:

I spent a few days getting ready for the rally, because Calamity Jane was open to the public during the weekend. Fortunately, my friend Chris came to join us for the week beforehand, and as an escapee from the Reservation, she knows all about how to stage a house effectively for a charity tour of homes. So I put her in charge of interior decorating while Poppy and I concentrated on the outside of the barge:

Which reminds me; in case you haven’t noticed, I have posted some interior shots of Calamity Jane on this site, so you can have a snoop around, just as though you were at the rally in person. Tempted to visit? I would love to have you here.

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction

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Up in Flames

Many thanks to those of you who have emailed me in the past few days to make sure I am doing alright. I’ve got to admit, it’s been a tough few days out here in Berkshire, where I am tied up next to Cookham Lock waiting for a mechanic to fix my prop shaft.

Poppy, the faithful deckhand and pirate queen, went to get some petrol for my little dinghy this morning only to be told that they’re not allowed to sell gasoline in cans because we might make Molotov cocktails with it. So you will be relieved to know that the local constabulary here in the sleepy village of Cookham have this whole rioting thing under control and are taking sensible precautions. After all, Poppy does look a bit like a rampaging youth first thing in the morning, and it’s no secret that yours truly is forever mixing cocktails.

Actually, we do have serious gang problems out here on the Thames and it is important not to look a member in the eye directly in case they think you are disrespecting them:

The 'Cookham Massive'

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction

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