Gently down the stream

Today’s post was supposed to be about our first two attempts at moving the boat by ourselves (one awful evening scramble in the dark to find a mooring and one very enjoyable journey — in case you’re interested). However, everything has been eclipsed by the fact that we had a boatcident last night.

I would set the scene for you but if you live in London you’ll already know that the weather last night was bloody awful. We had just taken a really nice (if a bit soggy) trip down the Regent’s Canal when the wind picked up and we decided we should probably stop for the evening.

We were using mooring pins for the first time but the wind was so strong that we could barely pull the boat over to the towpath, let alone secure her to the pins.

StormArtist’s impression.

    Eventually we managed to hammer the pins into the ground, tie the boat up and retire to the kitchen to warm ourselves up with Nando’s extra hot sauce (chicken boast).

The wind and rain were getting worse and the boat was moving around a lot so we went to bed feeling a bit uneasy. I ended up not really sleeping, waking up every ten to twenty minutes to look out of the window and check the pins.

Eventually at about 2 a.m., I drifted off.

Sadly, not much later, so did the boat.

I’m not sure what woke me up but I sat up and looked out the window as I had been doing on and off all night. This time however, all was not shipshape.

“Uuuummmm… Ed?” I said, poking Ed in the face.

“Blrgghh.” said Ed.

“Uuummmmm… Ed…?”


“… What side of the boat was the canal on when we went to sleep?”

“The left side. ”

“Oh.” I looked out of the window again. “Well… it’s not anymore…”

IMG_5799“I’m sure this used to be towpath…”

    We shot out of bed and rushed over to the other side of the boat like a Buster Keaton sketch.

IMG_5800“I’m suuuure there didn’t used to be a wall here…”

    Eventually we woke up enough to realise we had come loose from our mooring and drifted down the canal. As you can imagine, at two in the morning, this was quite terrifying.

narrowboat mist

There go, go, goes your boat
Gently down the stream
Scarily, scarily, scarily, scarily
Life is but a dream nightmare.

    After a mad rush to put on coats and boots over pyjamas, we quickly started up the engine and fought against the wind to get back to the other side of the canal.

1979.79.16Actual photograph.

    Stood there on the towpath at 2 a.m., struggling to hold the boat in the wind and rain while Ed ran round frantically hammering mooring pins into the ground, I couldn’t decide whether the whole situation was absolutely hilarious or just absolutely awful.

    I decided it was a mixture of both.


    Eventually we felt secure enough to take our soggy, muddy selves back to bed but I don’t think either of us got any sleep for the rest of the night.

gdo_nsg_11_0“Are we still moored up??”

empty porthole



“… Are we still moored up??”

Safe to say, we moved her somewhere much more secure this morning.

giant knotThat oughta do it.


7 thoughts on “Gently down the stream

      • really you just hammer the pins in at 45* angles opposite to the way that the boat will pull – if you put them in straight down, or in the direction that the boat will pull, they’ll slip out. If you’re feeling incredibly paranoid, have at least four mooring pins, and are one of those distressing people who’s Really Freaking Good at Doing Her Hairpins, you can cross two pins (just like hairpins) and then dance around flipping off the river gods.

      • Ahaa, I see. I think we did the angled pins thing but we don’t have enough pins to do the crosspins trick. Must buy more pins and try this out, thanks!

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