Early January proved too cold and/or wet for painting, but we eventually had a day’s window of fine weather at the end of February to remedy the ravages on the hull from last season. So watch the paintwork when you are on the helm, you might get handed a paintbrush if its more than a kiss!
The team continued by repainting the drinks shelf under the windows, and providing extra facilities to tidy away those items that passengers don’t need to see. There will be a few items to finish during March, but we are happy to hand JP back to the training crews for March. Give a thought to Duncan Paine, Chris Hunter, George Rhoades, Dave Foster and Jem Scott who have worked really hard through the winter to keep the boat ship-shape. They work even better on my coffee!
The annual reunion with Rob for the MCA running trial / audit is set for 10th April.
The training sheet on the JP spreadsheet appears well populated from nearly everyone we would expect to want to crew this year. If you have not booked a slot, please do so now, as otherwise you may not be permitted to crew. The MCA requirement is for all crew to attend at least a refresher session each year.
The EPoS system has had a makeover, and internet now comes (where signal permits on the Canal) via a mobile router. A few prices have changed; some lines have been dropped, others added. There is a re-published version of the EPoS Manual on the Crew Pages, plus a hard-copy on the boat. Following on from last year’s successful introduction, we are now in a position to take full advantage of the stock control facility offered. This will form part of the training sessions.
Annual General Meeting
Notice is Hereby Given that
The Thirty-Eighth Annual General Meeting of Surrey & Hampshire Canal Cruises Ltd.
The Fourth Annual General Meeting of the John Pinkerton Canal Cruises Ltd.
Will be held on Friday 10th March 2017
At The Canal Centre, Mytchett at 7.30pm.
Tea, Coffee, Nibbles available
1) Apologies for Absence
2) To approve the minutes of the 37th AGM of S&HCC Ltd
3) To approve the minutes of the 3rd AGM of JPCC Ltd
4) Matters Arising
5) Directors’ Report
6) Presentation of Accounts
7) Composition of the JP Boat Co’s Directors and Committee
8) Any other notified business
Short break for Tea, Coffee, Nibbles
9) Presentations – short information introductions, leading to –
11) 2017 Brochures available
Barrier code will be emailed to all crew in the preceding week.
(Contributed by Tim Cadle)
How it came to be!
As some of you will be aware, myself and Penny have sold our narrowboat and currently have a Dutch barge in build. Below is an account of my / our boating history and how we’ve got this far. Pictures of the build can be seen at deepthoughtthoughts.blogspot.com
So, its 1977, I’m 19 and in the venture scouts. Off we go on a 2 week narrowboat trip from Stenson on the Trent & Mersey canal to Llangollen & return. I fell in love with canal boating there and then!
One of the guys on the trip brought along some tapes of the ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ radio series; they were great, but little did I know then where this was all going to go.
So, years pass, I go on many narrowboat holidays with family and or friends, for weekends, weeks and fortnights, whatever and whenever I could. It gets to the late 90’s and I take the first step towards ownership and buy a share in the then ‘Challenger Norfolk’ syndicate, a Norton Canes 70ft traditional narrowboat, Lister engine and all. This is great, but I can’t get enough time on the boat, so a couple or so years later I buy a second share to give a lot more time and flexibility. This works.
After a while, it dawns on me that the running costs for my 1/6 share are quite high and pretty much in the ballpark of the running costs to own my boat. This, coupled with becoming a little disappointed at the attitude of one or two of the other owners, leads me to sell the shares, use some of the equity in the house, and nb Life, the Universe and Everything comes into being.
A 60ft trad style narrowboat, Price Fallows shell, fitted out by Northern Marine Services in Lymm on the Bridgewater canal. Great guys to work with, built me what I wanted and only argued when I came up with something ridiculous!
Life was handed over to me in April 2005 and of we went on many great canal adventures, one or two are blogged here: Tim’s Boating Adventures
Ok, we’re getting close now.
In 2010 my canal adventures extended to attending 2010 IWA rally at Beale Park on the River Thames near Pangbourne. Me being me, I volunteered to help out at the rally as one of the harbour masters, gives one a reason to be there. Anyway, on one of the days, the good lady (now my wife), Penny, goes wandering up to the rally site (I was on harbour master duties), upon her return she tells me that we have an appointment to see a boat. I didn’t think too much of this, she likes looking at boats, actually, so do I! So, that afternoon (I think) we both go up to the rally site and she leads me to one of the most fantastic looking boats I’ve ever seen. Yes, you’ve guessed, it was a Piper replica Dutch barge, in fact, it wasn’t just one, there we’re two of them. It being six plus years ago I can’t remember their names. I also think it was this year that I joined the crew of the ‘John Pinkerton’ on the Basingstoke canal.
Just to briefly change the subject, this was the first time we’d adventured this far South on Life and we both fell in love with the Thames, it took a bit of getting used to, but we kept coming back. I grew up in Maidenhead, my Father took me fishing there, I’ve taken my own children fishing there. It was really great to see the river from the other side, so to speak.
Right, where were we?
Ah, admiring my first Piper. Well, we duly took a look at both of them, and WOW! It was a different world, stunning from the outside and equally stunning on the inside. I wanted one.
So, there came plan number one, Penny humoured me and initially went along with the idea to sell up (the house and Life) and live on a Piper. Fuelled with much enthusiasm for this idea I / we started looking into the realities of such a plan, and to my extreme disappointment, it fairly soon became obvious that to do this, and continue working, was not practical.
So there you may think the story ends. Well, I thought that too, but, five years later while we were on a trip back from Odiham to Cropredy having attended the Magna Carta 800 years boat rally there, (we both volunteer as crew on the John Pinkerton trip boat there too, so it had been an ambition to take our own boat there) there was a moment!
I can’t remember exactly where, but we were on Life somewhere on the Thames, Windsor maybe, but I can’t be certain. I’ve no idea what put it into my head, but it suddenly occurred to me that we might be able to retire, and of course do what everyone does and downsize in house and upsize in boat!
So I verbalised this thought to Penny; although the cautious one of the team, she didn’t dismiss the plan, just made sure that when we got home (we still had a week of the trip to go) we investigated everything fully, pensions, costs, all sorts of stuff, must be the project manager in her!
So, I worked on all sorts of costing spreadsheets and a project plan, she did her best to find any shortfalls, but there didn’t seem to be any!! What was there to stop us? Well, nothing.
So, I’m not one to beat about the bush, in a matter of days we were in touch with Piper and were off to view some of their barges who’s owners were happy to show them off to us, all fairly local on the Thames. Many thanks to Calliope, Providence and Eadlin, all who took their time to let us crawl over their pride & joys. Piper hold an ‘event’ at Henley each year, we were unable to attend as we were off to Dubrovnik for a break, but there was always next year!
We also attended the Dutch Barge Association rally at Bisham Abbey (on foot). We saw more Piper’s and other barges, attended some presentations on barge type stuff and got to meet many barge owners, a pretty friendly bunch, how on Earth will I fit in?
At the end of August, we went up to Biddulph to the Piper factory, to look at what they had in production and to meet with Simon Piper to discuss what we wanted. An interesting experience, we drove up wanting a Piper 60M; we drove home not knowing what we wanted!! Simon really made us think about our reasons for wanting what we did, and made us consider other options. He introduced us to Happy Chance, a piper 49M with a guest cabin option, we decided to humour him and go take a look. After a second visit to Happy Chance, we’d decided that this was the one for us, for a whole lot of reasons and within a few days we’d sent Piper a deposit on a build slot for delivery in February 2017.
I suddenly realise that I’m learning the wrong language (I’ve been learning Spanish for 4 years and am just starting to get to grips with it). I need to learn French, so I’m booked onto the next term’s ‘French for beginners’ at college; with luck I can get 3 or 4 years in and be where I was with Spanish!!
Something that I never ever thought would happen, then happened! My pride and joy of some ten and a half years Life, the Universe and Everything was put on the market with ABNB at Crick and subsequently sold to the first people to see it. A lovely couple, Sue and Lyndon. I was pleased that the boat was going to people who would continue to appreciate and look after it.
I would also like to have a ‘coastal ICC’ This is a sort of qualification to skipper barges in Europe, I don’t really need this level, but I’m going to get it anyway. So, I pass my RYA day skipper, this is all about collision regulations, navigation, safety and all sorts of interesting boaty stuff. I will also need to pass a ‘CEVNI’ test, I’ll do this next year. And a boat handling test. I can do this at Bisham Abbey (an RYA training centre) and I’ll wait until we have Deep Thought as it will be best to learn on the boat that I’ll be in control of. We have this booked in at the end of April this year.
So we were now pretty committed to the plan and I was now boatless!
Barge Deep Thought
Barge Deep Thought is born, and should you be interested we intend to spend out first 2 cruising seasons on the Thames, with maybe, excursions to the Medway and, or, the Norfolk Broads. After this (and our retirement) we will cross the channel (yes, the English one) and take a look at what the European inland waterways have to offer (quite a lot it seems). Lets hope the exit from the EU doesn’t present us with too many additional challenges.
We’re also looking forward to our first DBA rally (with a boat) The rally is at the end of May and is in the docks at Chatham.
We’ve both really enjoyed our involvement with the Canal Society (we’re both life members) and the John Pinkerton. We will continue to skipper & crew when we can during this year and next, but the current plan is to take Deep Thought to Europe in 2019 so that will curtail this involvement. We’ve both made many friends during our time with the JP operation and will always treasure this part of our lives. We wish both the Society and JP our best wishes for continued success in the coming years.
Of course, having a new toy to play with is going to divert a large amount of both my and Penny’s time away from the JP organisation. We want to go boating with Deep Thought at all available opportunities and this will severely limit our crewing on JP. In addition to this we will both be giving up our committee duties (me as training manager and Penny as advertising & PR). I have just organised my last set of pre-season training sessions and will, should there be any candidates, train one final round of skippers during the winter season of 2017 / 2018. Penny has already resigned from her committee responsibilities.
So, the Boat Company is in need of two replacements. Please consider whether you feel you may be able to help out with either (or maybe know somebody). I’ve put a job description for each of the roles below. Remember they are kind of management roles so you don’t necessarily have to do everything yourself, just try your best to make sure it gets done!
Training Manager (Could be shared)
Organise pre-season refresher training
Assist ‘new-volunteers officer’ with training of new volunteers
Arrange specialist training (eg first aid) as required
Arrange training of new skippers for BML
Liaise with committee and skippers to assess standard of crew training
Maintain records of training for MCA inspection
Advertising & Publicity Officer
Update display boards for the libraries
Organise library displays, deliver / collect and set up, Aldershot, Fleet, Basingstoke, Farnborough etc
Updating and monitoring JP Facebook page, adding events
Responding to social media queries
Website – adding new pages to the JP website
Being members of local Facebook groups and advertising weekly or fortnightly as required, Responding to requests for venues and gifts, and things to do.
Look for and use other free advertising opportunities, where to go etc
Booking bands and fish and chips for the music trips
Deliver brochures to uncovered libraries and other locations.
Waterwitch – Crew and Passenger Discounts
(Contributed by Mark Griffiths)
The Waterwitch is under new management, and have offered all JP crew members a discount card which entitles them to a generous discount on drinks and food. Cards will be left on the boat for you to pick up at your leisure, but please remember these are for JP crew members only and are non-transferrable. The Waterwitch will be carrying out random spot checks from a list of current crew members.
The pub is also offering a 10% discount on drinks for our passengers. This will be by either presenting a stamped piece of paper (rubber stamp, ink and memo paper appearing shortly onboard) OR by stating the discount code BOAT6256. Skippers please remember to incorporate this into one of your PAs.
New Curry Trips
As part of our new partnership with the Waterwitch we are also hoping to begin some curry cruises. The pub will be supplying the food which will be kept simple with 3 curry options along with rice and a poppadom. Once passengers have boarded as usual at the Colt Hill Wharf, we will then move JP back to the barn mooring where the food will be delivered by the pub.
As per the fish’n chip trips, crew will receive a complimentary curry and we will also be limiting passenger numbers to 35. All rubbish will be removed by the pub on our return.
As you can no doubt imagine, there are bound to be some teething problems with this new concept. We are proposing a trial run for crew members and their families in April (date to be announced). A separate email will be sent in early March detailing the date, menu choices and a discounted price for the trial run. With a maximum of 35 passengers we are expecting this will sell out quickly, so be sure to look out for that email!
If anyone has any questions or suggestions please don’t hesitate to email Mark. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Let’s look forward to another great season enjoying boating, ensuring our passengers have a fabulous time, and all the while supporting the aims of The Basingstoke Canal Society.