Wednesday, 27 March 2013


We headed out to do one of our CRT patrols this morning between the tunnels.  We were fully kitted as it was bitterly cold. We knew there was snow on the ground, but we were not expecting the drifts we came across!  There was a good 100 yards of really deep snow, then a gap, then some more - they were hard going.  Monty thought it was great fun.  Thankfully someone had been along before us, so we had foot holes to follow.  We both made it safely on the outward leg, but I came a cropper on the way back and ended up flat on my back in deep snow with my feet perilously close to the canal!   Getting back on my feet presented me with somewhat of a challenge.  When wearing a double layer fleece, a waterproof and a life jacket I did not stand much chance of achieving it with any degree of elegance!  It took me a while, but I did eventually make it back to a vertical position without falling in the canal. There were times that I really thought I was in for a dunking!  Just as I was saying - "at least there is no one around to witness my antics" a boat came steaming round the corner.  Thankfully I was pretty much back on my feet by then.  I am also delighted to say that there is no photographic evidence!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Seventh Viewing

It was back to see Bob and the boat again this morning.  She is still in the work shed and work is still cracking on.  She might have moved by next week as most of the steel work will be done by then and they have a new boat to start, so will need the work shed for that. 

We have a front door - well half of one!
The handrail is in place and most of the welding done on that.
This is the access point to the bow thruster - apparently to access some of them you have to take half the boat apart (well slight exageration, but it is a big job), so Bob has ensured we don't have that problem.

Locker at the stern that the gas bottles will live in.  There is a storage locker the other side that will be lockable

This locker is at the stern - it will have shelves for storage for maps, binoculars etc

This picture was taken from the back deck - yes we actually climbed aboard for the first time!  Note - no internal struts any more.

It appears that we are definitely to star in Waterways World at some point and Bob also mentioned today that he might be taking over the moorings at Tardebigge from the Canal & River Trust and we might be able to get a mooring up there.  It is not quite as well serviced as the marina at Droitwich Spa, but it would be secure and would save us over 40 locks every time we wanted to go north (which will be most of the time), so it is very tempting.  We truly would be Tentatrice from Tardebigge.  Tardebigge is a Canal and River Trust boatyard with moorings on the non towpath side of the canal.  There are toilets, showers, water point and rubbish facilities and Bob has said they will put in electricity points, so we will have all we will need.  He is also talking of secure car parking and in any case it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so quite safe.  He and his colleagues will be working up there most days Mon - Fri and there are usually some Canal & River Trust people around, plus several live aboard boats, so all in all quite secure.  Long term he wants to add diesel services - another bonus.  Next time we walk along there I will take some photos.  It is also about 7 minutes by car from home whereas Droitwich is at least twice as far. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Sixth Viewing

A much brighter warmer day for our viewing today and the progress continues as will be seen by the photos.  Nearly all the external welding has been done and the lockers in the stern (to include a cupboard on the starboard side) have been built.  They are still planning on doing more work with her in the shed and the date is still mid May.  We are discussing internal colour schemes and hope to have either somewhere to go to view upholstery samples or some to samples to look at when we visit next Monday.  The washing machine has been decided upon and we have also decided to do without a tumble dryer and to use that space for a fridge freezer as we feel a freezer will be of more value.  I hope we do not live to regret that decision! 

As we were leaving Bob told us that it is Pinders' 60th Anniversary this year and that Waterways World have asked to do a review on a boat he has built and he asked if we would be willing to let them review Tentatrice.  We have said yes - we reckon he is not going to let a magazine review a boat that he is not 100% happy with!  We have no idea when it will be, but watch this space.


 Bow to Stern

Space for the bow thruster

Bow to stern

Port Stern locker/benches

Starboard Stern locker.benches


Monday, 11 March 2013

Fifth Viewing

Today Tentatrice really does look like a boat!  All very exciting. The pictures say it all. Bob has pictures under the bow and they will follow in due course. They are keeping her inside for a while longer - it was a really cold wind today with the odd flurry of snow, so staying inside to work on her is definitely preferable.  Apparently we are still looking at the middle of May.  We shall see.

It is a boat!
Front Door

Bow Deck

On the boat this time

Bow to Stern

Less we forget!

Stern to Bow

Still working hard

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Isle of Wight_1-8 March 2013

 Friday 1 March

We left from Surrey and made it to Portsmouth via a walk with the dog along the Basingstoke Canal on Friday 1 March and arrived in plenty of time for Monty to have a romp on Southsea Common before we caught the ferry at 13:00.  We met up with our friends (The Captain and Boatwif from Cleddau) on the ferry.  

Monty was a very good boy on his first ever ferry trip. 

We made our way to the house we had rented in Seaview and arrived an hour before we could go in, so went to the seafront to walk with Monty. 

Back at 3pm as arranged, accessed the key via the key safe and entered our holiday home to find it was freezing.  The boiler was faulty, the double bed was stripped and just the last occupants bedding neatly folded and left on it and used towels were on the radiator. It had the feeling of the Marie Celeste - cold, empty and unwelcoming.  Phone calls to the caretaker, the owner and Cottages 4 U were first on the agenda.  The owner and caretaker of the property said they did not know about the booking and Cottages 4 U said they did!  The latter asked us to find a cafe for tea and cakes (we are to send them the bill) whilst they sorted it out.  We went back to Seaview to the Old Forthouse - a cafe bar who had hot drinks, but no cake, but they could offer us hot chocolate brownies and ice cream at £4.70 each!  £27 later we were all fed and watered and considerably warmer.  Just glad we are not footing the bill! Cottages 4 U came up trumps and found another property that could take four of us and a dog.  By 7pm we were ensconed in a smaller property inland at St Helens.   A letter will be written when we return home!

Carpenters Cottage on the far left - looks idyllic and it
 is apart from the busy road  just outsdide the front door.

The new cottage is warm and the beds are good. The downsides are that it only has one bathroom and toilet (we have all shared a narrowboat on many occasions, so this is not unsurmountable), but worst of all no shower, no tumble dryer (we will have been away from home for 11 days and were relying on a wash and dry or two) and no dishwasher (not a major issue) and it is on a very busy road, but the thought of packing up and moving again was too much for all of us and we managed nicely.

Saturday 2 March

The men folk went to Tescos (hunter / gatherers) whilst Boatwif and I took Monty for a walk along the footpath across the road from our cottage.  It was a good, but very muddy (thick, sticky clay mud) walk. Great views, albeit wet ones across the valley.  Monty was definitely a 'bucket job' when we got back to the cottage.

I'm waiting


Look at those feet

 At lunchtime we met up with our nephew, his wife and two small daughters in the Boathouse Inn, Puckpool.

There is evidence of WWII all over the island

Then we all went for a walk along the beach enjoyed by all, but it did give poor Monty a problem as we split into three groups (pushchair on the prom and two groups on the beach) and he spent the entire time trying to round us up.

Setting off

Not too sure about this stuff under my feet
The beach at Puckpool
There were a lot of these

This was followed by a trip back to the cottage for tea, cake and biscuits.  The Captain and Boatwif are honourary extended family, so it was a wonderful catch up for us all. 

Sunday 3 March 

I was suffering badly with an asthma cough and the plan was to go for a walk around Carrisbrooke Castle which involved a lot of up.  So no details from me. They may be provided, but if not and you are interested do please go and look HERE. 

Monday 4 March
The four of us headed for Bembridge armed with a book of walks (Short Walks Isle of Wight (Crimson Short Walks) provided by the Captain and one I can thoroughly recommend. The plan was (according to one member of the party) to do a gentle 2.5 mile stroll.  It turned out to be a 4.5 mile walk with parts of the coast path closed, so in reality nearer 5 miles.  It was cold, but dry which is more than could be said for the pathways! 

We started at Bembridge life boat station

This was spotted near the start for lunch later on

Carved from a fallen tree

Are you coming?

Check out that mud!

Bembridge Windmill

We lunched here as it was too late to go on to the Crab & Lobster

Prawn melt_very good and very welcome

Once back at the car we went for a drive to Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor where I took this picture:
Monty on the Isle of Wight on the Isle of Wight!

I am surrounded by that wet noisy stuff

He spent most evenings doing this!    
  Tuesday 5 March

A day to do our own thing.  The Captain and Boatwif headed for the Needles and we went to Yarmouth and followed another walk in the Crimson walking book.  What a wonderful day - dry, bright, sunny and warm.  The walk was one of contrasts and good views and included a picnic lunch sat on a sea wall - bliss.

We started at Fort Victoria - I am not sure what I expected it to be like, but not like this

It was a good job we took a picnic

But it must be lovely in the summer

 The sun shone through the trees into the woodland

Along the coast path

The view to Yarmouth from our picnic spot

Across farmland

Good paths and little mud today

View of Hurst Castle across the Solent

Our next stop was at Alum Bay just to take a look at the Needles

This part is not for us

I am not sure where this is - somewhere along the south coast on the drive back from the Needles on our way back to St Helens - neither of us has ever seen a thatched church before and how kind of the horse riders to be in the right place at he right time!

A view point along the Milary Road along the south of the island, but watch out where you park your car

Wednesday 6 March

A day free of mud! Again dry, but cold and we stuck to sight seeing.  First stop The Garlic Farm where a little retail therapy took place.

A local resident - somewhat noisy.

Ladies & Gentlemen

 Next stop was Ryde station at the end of the pierThis was my suggestion - we went there in June 2005 and we were enchanted by it's 1950's charm.  However I was very disappointed.


Maybe they tidy it up for the summer - I would like to think so. We were all impressed

Finally from Ryde Pier - spot the error!

From Ryde we headed to West Cowes via East Cowes to take a trip on the chain link ferry.

 School bus with a difference

 It was a flying visit to West Cowes.  Landing for the few.

 Two rather interesting plaques

Thursday 7th March

The Captain and Boatwif were always due to go home today, however we were not due to leave until the 8th.  Having checked the weather forecast (rain all day) we called the ferry company and were able to bring out sailing forward a day.  Considering it was the beginning of March we all felt very blessed to have had 6 dry days that were not too cold. 
 I think I can declare young Monty's first holiday as a resounding success.