Not all ‘inlanding’ days are actual boating days… but they’re none the worse for that. Today was one of those practical, getting-things-done days.

The Boys and I headed off first thing (this being the first full day of their Summer holidays) and set about preparing the boat for the Summer holidays ahead. It’s always a bit of a saga.

  1. By 7.30 they were dressed, breakfasted, teeth-brushed and readied, each carried a small shoulder bag of essential items for the coming day – snuggy-teddy and plastic bus in one bag, tin bus and Lego figures in the other…
  2. Duvets and sleeping bags were bagged up in black plastic sacks, the current hot weather today being no guarantee of hot weather in 48 hours time we’d decided to pack both warm and cool weather bedding (mmm, are we being a little too ‘English’ in our planning???
  3. The big enamel kettle and long-handled saucepan (sourced over the Winter) clattered down the stairs, the Boys playing ‘shields’ with the lids…

With the car loaded, we set off to Banbury, via school in W. London, where we collected a fire bowl, tripod and BBQ kit. Up the M40 with an essential ‘second breakfast’ at one of the motorway cafes en route. (Boys being at their happiest with constant exercise and regular feeding, or is that constant feeding and regular exercise?)

We parked in the car park of a well-known DIY superstore. And, having collected the old railway trolley from the mooring, with Boys aboard and pretending it was a train, we unloaded the car in two (almost) efficient loads.

I was so engrossed in the process of minimising the hassle when we finally come to the boat en masse as a family I totally forgot to get the camera out of the bag And so I’ve no record of the latest part of the boat’s exterior paintwork, the frankly disappointing painting of the ‘Long Cabin’. To my eyes, albeit on first viewing, the matt black finish is ‘too dead’ there’s no sheen, no animation, it doesn’t work.

The first photo therefore comes at lunchtime…


When we headed down to Sovereign Wharf and bought 50 litres of diesel.
That’ll be Joe overseeing the operation, making sure not a drop was spilled…
And here, in the aftermath of one of the less salubrious activities of boating life, emptying the ‘portaloo’. This is Fin and Joe beneath a stunning horse chestnut tree, collect early spiny ‘conker’ cases from beneath the tree, and enjoying a cola lolly in the cool shade of the tree…

All round we had a really productive day, and now have a boat with an empty loo (vital!), a full fuel tank (pretty vital) and bedding for any eventuality (quite important) – all we need now is to turn the engine, ease out of the wharf and head inland. Oh, and pick up mum and Big Sis from London.

We drove back to London cross-country, via Aylesbury and Watford listening to an audio tape of ‘Danny, Champion of the World’ by Roald Dahl. One and a half hours of brilliant story-telling and engrossed, silent five year olds – utter bliss!

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