Wednesday 1 September 1971

Nomos 3 1969

Nomos 3 -1969
The Grand Union / Thames Ring

Another trip down memory lane.

Inspired by the success our Yorkanaught journey to Llangollen the previous summer, we returned to Dolphin Marine in  Nuneaton for a second helping, this time in a boat named Nomos 3.

Nomos 3

This was another two week cruise but rather than heading north as we had in 1968, the plan was to complete the Thames / Grand Union ring. We had gone up market this time, but not by much. The main advance was an inboard diesel engine rather than a petrol hungry outboard as we had last year. The outboard left us forever searching for filling stations and then a long walk back to the boat with a five gallon fuel drum dangling between the Capt Snr and Dr D on the boathook, like a pair of latter day Sherpas.

Progress indeed, and a chemical loo to boot. I even seem to remember some sort of space heater which ran off the Calor Gas supply - the sort of thing that would have the boat condemned in today's Health and Safety concious world. 

Thinking of the chemical loo - it was the most basic "porta potty" you could imagine, but with four people availing it of its services regular emptying was an essential ingredient of the daily routine. Mercifully, 'slopping out duties' were accepted by the Captain Snr who could regularly be seen scurrying furtively down the towpath, bucket in hand, looking for suitable hole in the bank into which he could make a deposit. This was a neat counterpoint to my later career which also involved holes in the Bank, but from which people  tended to make withdrawals!. Before you rush to write the Capt Snr off as an eco hooligan I should point out that the system wasn't as well supplied with waste disposal points as it is today and these DIY (Dump It Yourself) tactics were unavoidable.

My memory of this trip is a bit sketchy, but a close examination of the old photos tells me that we headed south down the Grand Union, pausing for a photo at Stoke Bruerne. The  horse boat / butty on display in the dry dock is Northwich, which later became butty to President in the pre Kildaire days.

Stoke Bruerne 1969

Stoke Bruerne with Northwich 1963 - Photo by Chris Clegg

Progress down the GU was a soggy experience as evidenced by the abundance of wet weather gear - some things never change. I do remember Stoke Bruene and it's canal museum. I have never passed this way in recent times but I still remember seeing the back cabin of a traditional working boat and being amazed at the size of it.

Boating 1960's style

The rest of the trip to Brentford passed in a blur, as did the semi tidal reach along the Thames to Richmond, but then the sun came out and with it came the start of hay fever, a complaint which plagued me for nearly two decades. I remember sneezing and sneezing with out a break, but even so I was captivated by the whole boating experience.


Halfie said...

Captain, your photo captioned Braunston 1969 looks more like Stoke Bruerne. Sounds like you had great holidays!

Dave said...

The photo labelled Braunston looks very like Stoke Bruerne with the weighing machine in the left of the picture.

Dave Edwards

Andy Tidy said...

Halfie and Dave
You are both absolutely right, it is Stoke Bruerne. Having realised my mistake I can now identify the horse boat / butty on display in th dry dock / weighing scales as Northwich, later paired with President.
I fear that my lack of familiarity with the Grand Union is showing!
Curiously, I spotted a photo of SB in February's WW, complete with Northwich moored outside.