Tag Archives: boating

Boat Show

I was a bit bummed when I realised that I was missing  The London Boat Show this month. I have such fond memories of it, you see, like the time I turned up in a faux fur coat with my friend, Kate, and we pretended to be a southern oil heiress and her PA, thus gaining entry to the super yachts, where we drank free champagne all afternoon with attentive, suntanned and much younger sales reps with names like ‘Guy’ and ‘Bertrand’. Good times…

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Aunt B told me that the Nashville Boat Show was scheduled for this very same weekend. Needless to say, I rushed on over there yesterday morning to check it out.

Now, to some extent, a boat show is a boat show is a boat show. Crowds of people wandering around looking at boats, and exhibitors trying to sell you things that relate even vaguely to nauticalia. Back in London, for example, my friends Tanya and Salty told me on Skype yesterday that they had gotten a really good deal there on a yacht rental in the Northern Aegean for their holiday this summer.

Meanwhile, back here in Nashville, I had a good chat with Gary Bachman and his lady wife, of the Hillbilly Delux guide service to striper fishing on Lake Cumberland, near Jamestown, Kentucky. [Settle down, Junior: it’s striper fishing, not stripper fishing.] I am definitely planning a girls’ day out on Lake Cumberland with these nice folks. Who needs the Mediterranean? It’s all fished out anyway.

But the biggest contrast between Nashville and London this weekend was in their respective star attractions. In London, the Show was opened by the notoriously spoilt heiress, Tamara Ecclestone. If you don’t know much about Tamara, just ask her beloved chihuaha, Duke.

In Nashville, on the other hand, our Boat Show featured Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel:

Actually, it turns out that there were two Twiggys at the Show, ‘Twiggy7’ and ‘Twiggy8’:

Followers of this blog in the UK are unlikely to know about Twiggy, who has been a celebrity since ‘Twiggy1’ got blown out of his nest during a hurricane in 1978, when he was just a baby. He had the good fortune to be rescued by Chuck and Lou Ann Best. I guess Chuck was kind of bored, because he decided to teach little Twiggy how to waterski. And the rest is history.

Back in England, of course, it is almost definitely illegal to teach a squirrel how to waterski and entertain thousands of delighted children:

Au contraire, mes amis Anglaise, you would apparently prefer to EAT poor little Twiggy and his little furry friends.

So with respect, I have come to the conclusion that at next year’s London Boat Show, they should fly Twiggy over to do the entertaining, and put Tamara Ecclestone in a pie.

© Copyright 2012, Southern Dysfunction



Filed under Sports

Dry Dock

It is not easy to explain to those of you who have never experienced the joys of a dry docking just how tedious it can be. Let me put it this way; I had a pedicure less than a week ago, but after three days in the boatyard, my feet look like this:

Trust me, I am doing my best to hurry the process along. The first and most important thing in my experience is to dig out the Joy of Cooking and make baked goods for the boys with the big tools, to keep energy up and spirits high.

I am due out at the end of the week and it is critically important to stick to that deadline, because my friend Steve is flying in from Nashville on Sunday for a cruise. Those of you who follow this blog will remember that he is the one who spent last winter trying to turn a country ham into prosciutto. ‘Oh darling,’ he gushed when I asked him how he wanted to spend the week. ‘I just want to see fabulous gardens and country houses. Show me your England!’


I am thinking that he is picturing something like like this:

Or, to be perfectly honest, something like this:

So I need to get out of here, because he’s definitely not prepared for Brentford:

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction


Filed under Thames


What is it about spiders and boats, anyway? My guess is that they get on board, find plenty to eat, no one to eat them in return, reproduce, and then can’t easily disembark. Before you know it there are thousands and thousands of spiders — and spider webs — to deal with.

My friend, the Wizard Geoff Mellor, who takes care of all of my electrickery when he is not lost in an unknown parallel universe, says that ‘spiders are very good luck. You should never get rid of spiders. If they’re on board, it means that nothing dire is going to happen to your boat. Especially when they are in the bilges.’

‘A bit like rats,’ adds Poppy, the Pirate Queen. ‘Also, spiders are the symbol of the Goddess on earth in the realms of  old Pagan beliefs.’

Great. I will explain all that to the guests who are arriving on Saturday.

I know alot of boat people in England who claim that a few conkers (aka buckeyes) will repel spiders because chestnuts emit a chemical odour that they dislike. For that reason, I have scattered a few of them on the windowsill next to Jesus, because, as you can see, he is scared of spiders. However, this method simply does not work.

My normal spider elimination technique involves the vacuum cleaner and a magazine. Poppy was absolutely horrified by this when she joined the cruise last week. ‘Harriet,’ she explained, ‘the collective consciousness of the spiders is going to give you really bad karma.’

I have to admit that when I come back, I would prefer not to be a fly, and that is where she thinks I am heading. So we have reached a compromise: the tupperware catch and release method. I have to admit, it works pretty well, and I feel better already.

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction


Filed under Thames

Calamity Jane

I am writing this in the bathtub, because the tornado alarms are going off and the weather is a bit frightening. But I thought I should report that I got some stick for that last post, especially from Junior, who told me that if I thought English food was bad, I needed to go to the local supermarket here and look at what Americans eat. He’s right, of course, and my intention was not to condemn English food so much as to poke a little fun at what my Publix supermarket thinks English people eat. To be fair, they have stock control people who must be on top of what gets ordered, which means that someone in Nashville is buying Bird’s instant custard powder and Bisto Gravy Granules. I figure there are a lot of down-at-heel musicians around town from places like Newcastle and Dundee, who are too young or too busy or too broke to cook from scratch, but homesick for the Mother Country, nevertheless. God bless you, one and all. If you get in touch, I will make you the real thing and that’s a promise.

Trusty and Reliable Crew

It was when my friend Roger got in touch though, that a chill went down my spine. He suggested that the customs officials at Heathrow might not let me back in on the grounds that I was undermining the Special Relationship. Hell, they can throw you into the Tower of London and chop off your head for lesser crimes. As I am heading back to London in a week, I am getting kind of worried about it. Besides, Roger is my trusty and reliable crew. I had better explain, and for those of you who have innocently wandered into this blog, well, brace yourselves.

I had a mid-life crisis about eight years ago and resigned from my  academic career. Junior, who was 14 at the time, found a Dutch Barge for sale on the internet and so, in a fit of madness, I sold my house in London, cashed in my chips, and moved onto the river Thames.

Owning a boat is like having a love affair, except that the boat is always the woman. And I say this as a self-confessed communist feminist kind of person. I admit it, I have been having an eight-year long relationship with my barge, Calamity Jane. And she is quite a lady:

Like all great love affairs, it is hard to stay away. It is also the time of year to get painting and scrubbing, so now that Mother and Big Daddy are doing alright, and Junior and Miss Pearl are around to look after things, I am heading back across the pond for awhile. There will be alot to blog about — I will be reporting from the Royal Wedding, of course, but seeing as how I am the only southern woman with a cowgirl barge in England, it tends to get just as interesting over there as it does here in Nashville. Besides, they don’t get tornadoes in England, and I am kind of a weenie.

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction


Filed under Thames