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cribBlog is meant to complement the handwritten account of Cribbit's travels which we keep on board and rather euphemistically call 'the ship's log'. This will have a briefer narrative but will include more photographs than make their way into the paper log.

 cribBLog 2012

 Harefield to home at Northolt

29 October 2012

Jim joined me at Catslide and we drove over to Coppermill, arguing most of the way with the sat nav. A quickish lunch on board and then on to the lock and the start of the final leg of our journey home. Joined in the lock by nb Rachel and worked down with them to their home mooring at Harefield Marina. We carried on to Denham deep where we caught up with and moved down with nb John Ruskin. The owner told me that the boat had come with the name but he had clearly researched its doppel ganger as he was knowledgeable on the subject of Ruskin. We moored for the night through the A40 road bridge a short distance above Uxbridge Lock. I had enquired about diesel at the lock and was told that they were 'out of diesel' at the lock but that they had their other boat down at Bull's Bridge but that it was 'out of diesel' too. No matter says our man from JR, I work at Denham Marina, just below Uxbridge lock and you can fill up there tomorrow.

With nb Rachel

Tying up for the night

Tidying up for the night

Above Uxbridge Lock

29 October 2012

In Uxbridge Lock

Through the lock and some good helming from Jim gets us into the Denham Marina diesel berth. BUT when we came to fill up, not a lot happened, they were out of diesel too. Obviously, we all want the stuff to keep us warm over the winter.

Leaving Cowley Lock

Back home and time for a brew

31 October 2012

Time to go back to Copper Mill to get the car. Two bus rides and then a walk back up the cut from Uxbridge.

The dry dock in a barge at Denham Deep Lock

 Watford to Harefield

15 October 2012

A remarkable craft moored near to where Allie and Paul left Cribbit

This chap said he had enjoyed reading Cribbit's log

Single handing with the long warp

Out of the lock

Above Copper Mill lock. Birds at the sewer outfall then in the evening an amazing display of bats.

 Winklow to Watford

6 October 2012

Paul and Allie take her on the next stage

I abandon them at the outskirts of Hemel Hemstead

They sail off into the distance

 Berkhamstead to Winklow

5 October 2012

Moored before Sj's favourite bridge at Winklow ready for Paul and Allie

 Jess, Simon, Ambrose, Freddy and Allan move Cribbit to Berkhamstead

22 September 2012
A guest entry kindly supplied by Jess.

We found Cribbit easily enough...just beyond bridge 126 outside Cheddington, although the journey there had not been without it's drama; a road was closed and we somehow ended up in a nasty jam in Leighton Buzzard before turning around and approaching via Mentmore.

We set off about 1.30pm. I began to prepare the sandwiches, (not sure how long the pickle's been hanging around, it had a pleasant enough aroma though?) but there was no chance of eating, as we soon reached our first lock -a double lock which kept Ambrose, Freddie, Allan and Simon busy for quite a while.

I got busy drinking the cider and waited to present the luncheon platters, individually prepared according to the crews every dietary needs. By the time we came out of the 2nd lock, no. 38 at Marsworth it was 2.30pm. There is a beautiful lock keepers cottage where we watched the swallows swooping above while we waited in the leaky lock and a real lock keeper came out to help us!




After a peaceful stretch, some lunch and some more cider we were ready and raring to go for the 7 lock marathon which was before us! There was one dodgy moment when Simon thought that reverse was forward thrust but apart from that the teamwork was awesome; Allan or Simon steering and the boys moving ahead to prepare the next lock. Even Jack the dog got stuck in, running across the gates and jumping in and out of the boat. My supervisory role was particularly important in keeping the team on task!




An hour or two of expert supervision later we got to lock 45 at Bulbourne junction in time for afternoon tea so I got a brew on around 4pm and we coasted on down the lovely long peaceful stretch towards the Cow Roast. Ambrose and Freddie tested out their steering skills and me too. We passed the Cow Roast Marina went through the lock and under the next bridge and moored up between Cow Roast and Dudswell at about 5.30pm. Freddie and Ambrose pitched their tent in the adjoining field, chef Simon began to create gourmet chaos and I led an expedition to the Big House (Norcott Court). I was rather hoping that my parent's lodgers might have left some mulberries on the tree or there would be some yummy apples to scrump.

We walked up the lane and reached the Big House but no mulberries and no apples! It has been a bad year for fruit though so I wasn't so surprised. It wasn't a wasted walk though, as we did find some piles of well seasoned logs perfect for Cribbit's wood burner. On the way back we took a detour -a foot path which took us right along the side of the main line railway...very exciting...and then over a footbridge over the main line itself! We came out near the Marina and walked back to find that chef Simon had cooked up a real treat -Bolognaise with spag or mash...yum!


BIG CAT on the cut


Later we spotted some unusual wildlife -tigers of all things! We had drunk quite a bit but I'm sure we didn't imagine it? A few glasses of sloe gin and malt whiskey later and the conversation turned to unusual boat names and the origin of the name 'Cribbit', whether it was an anagram or an obscure pun? The tigers were spotted walking back along the tow path towards the Cow Roast, in order to buy things from the all night garage and returned to report it wasn't an all night garage after all!

23rd Sept 2012

It was a very peaceful spot and a good night was had by all. After a bit of a lie in (we thought it best to wait for the early morning runners to finish using the tow path), chef Simon got to work on a big cooked breakfast with lots of coffee and Allan went to the garage to get some Sunday papers.


At 10.30, engine fettled, we were off through the two Dudswell locks with Freddie at the helm. This was especially to be commended as we travelled double decker with 'Crystal' and we shared several locks right into Berkhamsted.

Rain; first drizzle then hard, cold, driving, nasty stuff put a bit of a damper on things. Even the dog had had enough and decided to stay inside the boat!

There was a very scary moment between lock 51 and 52 when Freddie shut the door with all of us outside, and the keys and the dog inside the boat...but luckily the hatch over the back bunk was open...phew! Sometimes it pays to have teenagers who like to fiddle with locks and latches when they've been told not to!

By 12.20pm everyone was very wet and cold -apart from the dog, Freddie had lit the wood burner on board and we had nearly reached lock 53 (Berkhamsted station). It was my job to catch the train back to Cheddington to pick up the car. We moored up and put on a brew. Chef made noodles and corn on the cob.

I left the crew to drying out beside the fire with the Sunday papers while I went to catch the 1.25pm train. Only a 10 minute journey from Berkhamsted to Cheddington by train but a 40 minute walk in the pouring rain from Cheddington station to the car which I found where we'd left her in the fisherman's car park at bridge 126. Thank goodness for the Evening Standard umbrella which I'd found on board Cribbit -thanks Chris we had a great time.

 Stoke Hammond to Cheddington.

17 September 2012

Moored at Cheddington car park


 Campbell Park MK to Cheddington.

12 September 2012

Moored at Campbell Park

Stoke Hammond Lock


The double bridge for not the double lock

Moored to armco just above the lock

 Our Northernmost mooring this year, Wolverton Station.

31 August 2012

As it happened, Terry and my trip on Wolf started just as Cribbit was arriving at her furthest point North, Wolverton Station. This was a convenient place for Terry to meet me before we headed up to Cheshire so we arranged to spend a night on Cribbit before we headed up to Wolf. A bonus was that we arrived in the vicinity of Cribbit just as tw and crew were running for their Birmingham train. We spent some time trying to find her though, because despite being told exactly where she was, practically under the road bridge where we met the retiring crew, it took us quite a time to actually find somewhere to moor the car and then actually get ourselves to this in-accessible part of the towpath.

Terry and I had a pleasant night moored as we were just about as close to the main London - Birmingham railway line as it is possible to get. T was convinced trains were passing through the cabin.

Before turning in, I took a short turn outside and stepped on what I thought was a solid bit of tow path and then disappeared into a great bed of nettles with my head centimetres away from the railway fence at the bottom of a ditch. Needed much help from Terry before I was extricated.

The outline of my 'journey into space'


Next day we headed for Wolf and then it was all go getting ready for our summer party. After the party, tw, pat and I returned and moved Cribbit a mile or two south, the start of our journey back to London. Dropped tw at Wolverton Station as he had a return ticket to Birmingham from there.

Furthest point North 2012, Wolverton Station

Recover the washing in my swag bag

After the party, we met up with Alex in Milton Keynes to view her contribution to the MK beach experience.

Alex's paintings as a backdrop to the MK beach

Links to others MK beach experiences:brother2brother, thecentremk, mk-news and sandycalico.

We also got to move Cribbit a bit further South.

The Death and Glorys on their home built craft

Held together with Duck tape


Lunch on board, sj would not approve


A quick whiz to 'The Beach' some car shuffling and then a bit more moving South

 A few days on nb Wolf, Nantwich to Anderton and back

17 August 2012

Terry, John and I on our annual cruise on Wolf. Started as usual at Henhull, near Nantwich and headed to Anderton and the top of the Anderton boat lift.

We joined John around mid-day on Monday and transfered our essential supplies canalside while John rowed across the cut to pick up Wolf.

Essential supplies and a few bottles of Fursty Ferret

Soon into our first lock

Moored at Anderton, no beer at theStanley Arms ..... so essential supplies essential

We wind and head back

Approaching Middlewich and the Big Lock pub

Tom and Pat join us at Middlewich's big lock

John may well smile, they brought champagne AND cake

Pat and Tom repair to their warm and dry car, the voyagers carry on up the cut

the rain gets worse

the rain becomes torrential

We finish the flight

The drying room...errr engine room...with ALL our clothes

A well deserved pint in The Badger

Next day we knock of the remaing locks and return to Henhull

These are deep locks

Journey's end and time for a pint and a pipe

 Sj's summer visit: Harry Potter and the Aylesbury Arm


Not enough rain to keep me inside so this will have to wait...probably not for very long!

 Start of the journey North to Oxford and the Thames

7 July

A summer of rain and more rain. Not a lot of incentive for moving the boat. However, went down to London for our regular Cheshire Cheese evening on Wednesday. Met up with Jason, Mike and Allan.

The summer and early autumn plan is to move North to the Oxford canal and then cruise down the Thames and home via Brentford and the Grand Union canal.

Thursday morning I helped Mike move his stuff from storage to his new flat on the Isle of Dogs and then in the afternoon we navigated the long pound from Highline Yatching at Northolt to the visitor moorings just below the
Malt Shovel and Cowley Lock.


The first visitor mooring below Cowley Lock

We sat outside on the terrace at the Malt Shovel, contemplated our London Pride, plotted Mikes return to 'civilisation' the next morning and enjoyed the balmy evening. Decided that the plotting would be easier with a map so walked the few metres to Cribbit and got the map. On the way to the boat, I saw the philosopher's bicycle.

The philosopher's bicycle

I observed this guy pushing his grey bicycle along the towpath. As I got closer, I further observed that in reality, it was a black bicycle but it had been spray painted grey on its port side. In fact, it looked as though it had been lent against a wall and then the whole of the side away from the wall, including the wheels and tyres, had been sprayed.

By the time I returned from the boat, camera in hand, neither bloke nor bike was to be found and so Western philosophy is for ever deprived of tangible evidence of bicycle dichotomy. The philosophers amongst you might like to debate this as well as the true colour of the bicycle.

For the rest, it just goes to show that, as noted elsewhere in these pages, it is much easier to paint a bicycle than to clean one.

Unusually, there was no rain so back to Cribbit for our planned BBQ on the bank.


Mike tends the BBQ


Our evening meal

Boat Radio

We hailed the passing P Wakeman boat carrying diesel and calor gas so were able to replenish our consumable supplies. He also demonstrated his handy boat radio, 'It was made by my dad' he related, 'I had been expecting something in a nice wooden box but I'm very pleased with this, the top is a plastic windowcill and the sides are made from roof soffit. The handle is off a drawer and I supplied the car radio and the speakers.


The radio


Friday's Plan 'A' was that we would go through the lock and cruise up to Uxbridge where Mike would jump on the underground for home. In the end we decided that Plan 'B' would be better which was that Mike would catch the bus from here to Uxbridge and then the tube. He left clutching one of the Cribbit umbrellas. The rain finally eased enough by noon to be tempted out by the sight of down traffic. This was probably a mistake as the rain only got worse as the day progressed. However, I was fully clad in my bright yellow, ex-motorway construction crew, oilies so stayed relatively dry except for my shoes which filled up with the water cascading off my wet weather gear.

Somehow made it to Harefield and moored just above Lock 86, Widewater and bridge 180.

 Wenlock Arms

15-18 May

After a warm March, a wet and miserable April/May with not much cruising but did manage to re-set the ventilator which looks like it is no longer leaking.

Its high time now for another three men on a boat expedition. The notional passage plan is below from my e-mail.

Now i've had a word with you both i have the making of a passage plan!!! The weather looks as though it will be changeable so if we are to avoid the rain we may not get in many hour moving so i have kept this fairly light!!!

the parameters are:
Jim arrives tue 1420 at victoria
Terry arrives King Cross wed 1015
Jim leaves thurs pm
Margaret picks up terry in time to get to Oxford for 1215

Pick Jim up at The Black Horse moorings at Greenford.

Wed: 0900 start aiming to be at Battlebridge basin by 1100
We move on to battlebridge basin and the canal museum [3miles 4locks 7 lockmiles 2hours]....we could go round the museum if you havn't done it before, i can't remember if either of you have.
Terry i'm not sure of the roads here but this is where you left us last time.

after the museum we do the 1mile and 1 lock to get us to the vicinity of wenlock basin and the wenlock arms..approx 1hour with finding a mooring etc.

we wind and head back the way we have come, jim bailing out at a central line station to suit we will be 13miles and 5locks away from highline 18lockmiles approx 6hours.

margaret picks terry up around 1030 from Highline yatching

So that was the plan, the only other thing needed was to invite the 'cheesists' as going to the Wenlock Arms is a pleasure to be shared.

On 10 May 2012 20:55, chris [] wrote:

OK cheesists our next meeting will be in another of my favourite pubs, the Wenlock Arms that will be on Wednesday 16 May at 1800. Nearest tube is OLd Street [I think] as i have only ever been there by boat,,,as indeed I will be this time too. terry and jim will be with me as well, we old blokes doing a small trip on the navigation together.

Hope you will be able to make it


15 May


A cold and wet start


It did get better


Little Venice

Moored for the night on the last visitor mooring just above Camden top lock.

16 May


Camden middle lock

Met Terry as planned at King's Cross. A good job that we had moored for the night just above Camden top lock as we arrived at the rendezvous together. After lunch we headed to the canal museum in Battlebridge Basin. This kept us entertained for some time, both the exhibits and the school children. When it was explained to them that the canals are artificial, made by and under the control of man, as contrasted to the sea which it was not possible to control. A young tyke put her hand up and said that this was not so as god could control the sea. Some evidence of geriatic humming from Hymns Ancient and Modern of "Eternal father strong to save whose arm doth quell the restless wave."

On the way back to the boat, passed the Guardian building which had a display of silver in the gallery. Jim and I deciding that we were far too rustic to show much interest in this. Not so Terry.


Terry looking over the silver on display at King's place

Back to the boat and the navigation of the Islington tunnel and City lock. Managed to moor just before the footbridge leading to the Wenlock Arms by inserting my smaller diameter pins in the cracks between the blocks making up the towpath edge. Taking heed of the admonition that "High Voltage cables below slabs in towing path" could have given us a sparky evening.

Set off in search of the Wenlock Arms and having been assured by the barmaid that we would be able to get something to eat there later as well as beer, we set off to walk to the Geffrye Museum on the Kingsland Road.

Much enjoyed the museum and then walked back to the pub, crossing Hoxton High Street near to Hoxton Hall. The high street has much to offer including an astounding promotion at the Hoxton Salon, Organic hairdressing and specialist waxing. At the salon there was a special offer of: "Buy two hair removals and get the third free. Cheapest area free." Alas, old men with either too much hair or not enough to make this a viable offer. You can follow the salon on facebook.

An enjoyable evening in the Wenlock Arms, Jason and Tom joining us. Salt beef sandwedges with mustard or horseradish hit the spot perfectly, especially when washed down with Mermaid Bitter from the tap.

17 May

Winded and headed back from whence we had come.


St Pancras cruising club lock



St Pancras cruising club lock


Gongoozlers at Camden bottom lock


Camden top lock



Lunch at Paddington before Jim leaves


Aqueduct over the North Circular road, always a pleasure to contrast and compare



Decided that we would have enough time in the morning to get back to Highline so did the one hour journey to the Uxbridge Road bridge at Southall to spend the night. This not so much an eccentric thing to do when you consider that the master plan was to go to Shahee Tandoori for our evening meal. This another of my favorites.

18 May


Reflections at Southall.

March 22 2012

Pleasant spring weather [25 degrees on the roof], and best of all re-instated the water supply. London not quite as green as Buckinghamshire but this could be that it is cooler by the canal than by the road.

All along the cut, the coot nests are getting well established with the hen sitting on my old favourite near Balzac. She had much to say to these Canada geese when they got too close for her comfort.


Coot's nest near Balzac


Managed to slot into the only free mooring space.

Will this be the year that I actually get round to painting the inside of that door?
Mooring at Greenford has become quite difficult as there are many more boats there than usual. I suspect that many of them have been displaced as the zone sanitaire tightens around the Olympic park.


Boats overflowing the moorings


Bright sun on my new moorings

  The first Cheshire Cheese of the year

After I dropped off my crew members last time, I got to thinking about what would improve my boating life. To my surprise the answer came back to see if I could get a mooring at Hi-Line and so move closer to Greenford Station and my route to the Cheshire Cheese. The short of it was that there was a mooring available so I moved Cribbit to her new spot in mid December.

This trip was my first from my new mooring. It is less than 15 minutes to the Black Horse so I can manage a quick trip there should I wish, but as it was a nice day, decided that I would carry on to my 'next station stop' at Perivale.

Decided that I could wind just before the bridge which is what I did. Moving nicely astern to give myself room for the turn, decided that that was enough so put her ahead. Nothing happened except lots of wash and then a gentle little bump as the rudder touched the cill. Then I couldn't move the rudder either. Managed to get her tied up to investigate. Sure enough, there were kevlar bands and a polythene bag wrapped round the prop, which once removed left it beautifully polished.

The rudder was more of a problem, it had been pushed right under the swim and no amount of pushing or pulling could free it. Tried levering it with my big mooring pin and pulling with a warp attached to it all to no avail. Decided that the job would have to wait for the morning.

I thought at first that I would be able to release the rudder by undoing the bolts that secure it. Then I remembered that when I had the prop shaft moved in line with the engine, the yard had had to cut a hole in the rudder to extract the shaft as they could not remove it.

Clearly, the rudder was going to have to come out the way that it had gone brute force. That meant getting into the canal, where I had better leverage, and doing the job from below. Luckily, the cill that had caused the problem in the first place meant that the water was not that deep, though still well over my knees. A good half hour of levering with the mooring pin finally freed it. The top bit of the rudder that is supposed to stop it from going under the swim, and sticks up at least 15 cm above it, is a bit bent now.