Tuesday 25 June 2013

More Summer Madness from Beale Park.

More fun and frolics from Beale Park and the Cordless Canoe Challenge.

There seems to be no limit to the ingenuity of the builders and the hours they will spend in their sheds for a bit of fun.

This entrant solved all his transport problems in one elegant solution.

Great British eccentricity at its finest. 

As pointed out by Moray McPhail ace commentator and head man at Classic Marine, he seems to have brought his black pudding along in case he gets hungry on the journey. 


If you want to get ahead..............you got to get a hat. 

This guy had three drills, 
the third was operated by the string tied to his big toe. 

The CCC entrants make the HBBR look normal. 

Here's some footage of this supreme nonsense. 

Monday 17 June 2013

HBBR do the Kennet & Avon

This year, for a bit of variety the intrepid HBBR voyageurs left Beale Park to head down the Thames as far as Reading then hang a right up the Kennet & Avon Canal. 

Here are some photos of the journey. 

You'll never get all that in there! Adrian and Pete load up with Christine supervising.

Master and Commander, CW  waiting for the off.

John and Jo finish lunch.

"I see I'm rowing again"

Tom and Steve compare canoes, they joined us as far as the first lock. 

This was the camp-site at Mapledurham very picturesque. Mind the Goose Poo!

The catering on the Grey Boat looked better than everyone else. 
You can see the kettle on its stove and it always seemed to be on the boil.  

Yes well we'd come a whole four miles. Thanks to Timmo for capturing yours-truly at ease.  

Timmo looking relaxed as usual. 

The tension builds as we turn off The Thames and into the Kennet.

CW has dropped the rig, stowed the oars and converted Polly Wee to Pedyuloh Power

This stretch of the K&A is known as Brewery Gut. A charming name for a narrow twisting fast-flowing section, now controlled by Traffic Lights. 

 If two 70ft narrow boats met on a corner there could be trouble.
 We nicknamed it Dead Man's Gulch.

The traffic lights only stay green for 12 mins after you press the button. Here we are gathering for the start. 

The Gulch runs through the Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading, as you can see there is no where to tie up and no access to the facilities, could have fancied a Coffee!

Looks like it could have been half day closing for all the folk who where around. 

County Lock the end of the Gulch, which apart from a fair current in places passed pretty smoothly.

Out of Reading and into the Canal proper.

The K&A is a canalised river system,  some sections are flowing river while other sections are canal. You can certainly tell the difference by the flow. 

Must be Pimms O'clock

Strewth!, It payed to stay at the back of the locks in a wee boat. 

Low Bridge ahead !

The closer you get the lower it looks

I'm not sure Jo was entirely convinced about this.

John decided to try it stern first, Jo's still not convinced. 

Keep you head down. 

Chris Adney decides to join in the fun. 

A cheering crowd gathers to watch Timmo do the Limbo.

Whadya mean it opens!!

So did this one but shooting the bridges was more fun.  

Some of the farm bridges were manually pushed open but those on public roads had traffic lights and barriers all operated by the turn of a key and press of a button. 
Usefully the same key unlocked the toilets. 

Staying well back this time. Unlike the Thames the locks didn't have vertical chains to hang onto which was a bit of a problem. Jo is actually hanging on by her fingernails.  

The Bridge of Sighs Newbury. 

The stretch just below here is very fast flowing and was tougher than Dead Man's Gulch. 

End of the line for some. This is as far as Katie B and I got.  We set up an impromptu camp in the playing field of a Sports Centre for the night and pulled out the next day along with CW in Polly Wee and Chris & Paul in 15 Seconds.

Chris Adney made it as far as the Barge pub at Honey Street, John & Jo kept Alistair company until Pewsey, Timmo soldiered on all the way to Bath, while Adrian and Pete made it all the way to the end of the line in Bristol. 

Great fun and fantastic company  

Saturday 15 June 2013

Cordless Canoe Challenge 2013 Pagan v Fast

Once again the Cordless Canoe Challenge was a popular spectator event at Beale Park Boat Show. here's a short clip of one of the heats between Pagan and Fast. 

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Katie does some white water.

Katie B and I are just back from the HBBR's latest trip, up the Kennett & Avon Canal.  
The operative word here is "up".
 It was up-stream, which means going up through locks, and it was up-wind.  

And of course that means the lock is filling all the time rather than emptying. 

What larks, more later.......................................

Sunday 2 June 2013

Too Busy to Blog.

No posts for a little while, its been all go here at Port-Na-Storm, so here's a quick catch up.

Once the temperature finally decided to creep into double figures and the rain stopped for a wee while it was time to get out to the shed and catch up with things.

I've spent the winter on long overdue home improvements so the boats had been left to their own devices.  The Coot had overwintered inside the garage so she was nice and dry but when I pulled the cover off it wasn't pretty.  I must a have forgotten to clean her up at the end of last season and there was still a fair bit of sand and seaweed stuck to her floorboards. I knew she needed a spruce up so I set to and she's now got a fresh coat of paint inside and is now ship shape. 

Katie Beardie wasn't quite so lucky. She spent the winter down the side of the house and I'm afraid due entirely to my own neglect the elements managed to creep in.  There was some damage to the decks where the water had got under the ply and it had blown. This is what happens when you build using third rate materials then let nature do its worst. 

I stripped the deck right back, replaced all the dodgy bits then sheathed her in Epoxy and some of the good doctors bandages. She's now right as rain (!) and is gleaming in a fresh coat of paint, which is just as well as she's due at Beale Park Boat Show next Friday. 

 There are still a few jobs to do so as usual it'll be a mad rush to get there. The boys of the HBBR are planning a shortish trip down the Thames through Reading and then swinging right, up the Kennet &  Avon Canal which should be fun.

The fore-mentioned boys of the HBBR paid a visit to the Ancient & Vulnerable St Deny's Sailing and Rowing Club last Sunday and a jolly spiffing time was had by all, recorded here in a moving picture show.   

Plumbing Fans will be gasping to find out how the En-Suite re-fit went. 

You'll remember it was last seen something like this. 

Well I'm happy to report it now looks like this. 

Speaking of Re-Fits, the unsung heroin behind the power that is Port-Na-Storm has been in for a bit of a re-fit herself.  My dearly beloved, sometimes known as The Tooth Fairy, a shy self-effacing girl with nerves of steel and when needed the tongue of a Glasgow Clippie had a total knee replacement twelve weeks ago.
She has been strong, brave, and good natured throughout,  she's been swimming, walking, and yesterday we did a ten mile cycle ride which she is rightly proud of.  She is really pleased with her new joint, which is just as well as she'll be having the other one done in a few weeks time.  Seen here with our lovely granddaughter. 

And speaking of granddaughters, I'm proud to announce the arrival of Adriana Caitlin Rose.

Think we're going to need a bigger boat Grandpa!