Saturday, 30 May 2009


Well here we are at the Packet Boat Marina. It's 14.00, the sun is shining, we are moored up where we will perform tonight, there are showers, toilets, power, we are fed, watered and rested. How have we got here when thousands of years ago (yesterday) we were exhausted, broken down (poor Tyseley) and the best part of 20 hours boating from where we needed to be. The answer is the fabulous Friends of Mikron who have come to our rescue yet again. Thanks to the marvellous Morleys for moving our van, feeding us and doing our washing. Thanks to the beneficent Beryl Hunter for feeding us (twice), making a birthday cake for Gemma (happy birthday Gemma), doing our washing (what was left) and advertising the show up and down the canal in the Bulbourne/Marsworth area ensuring two excellent shows.
We left Bulbourne immediately after the show and watered up and then boated in the dark risking the fact that the engine had overheated and cut out twice in the day. Having met Ian Tuplin - down South on business - at one of the Tring locks he realised that someone (hem hem) had turned off the sea cock in checking the mud box and not put it on again so she had run dry. About 1 am she stopped again so we pulled in and moored up until morning. Getting up four hours later she went for less than an hour and cut out again near Cow Roast Marina. At the limit of my technical knowledge, despite many phone calls to Ian (who knows Tyseley very well from moving her over the years but was now home in Cumbria) we got an engineer from the marina who changed the impeller and fished the broken bits out of the thermostat housing. Now many hours late we set off again, running quite smoothly and Ian and Ruth kindly drove all the way from Cumbria to help us with the boating. We made good progress the rest of the day despite being well behind schedule but by the time the Tuplins found us we were on our last legs. They took over and boated on for 3 hours and then got up at 6am and boated on while we slept. We finally made it here early! So thanks to the Terrific Tuplins as well. What would we do without you all. Thanks and thanks again!

Monday, 25 May 2009


A perfect evening at Badsey’s with Ian and Lesley and friends. The sun shone, we had a great crowd including a party of South Africans we met going into Braunston locks and an American couple on their 25th wedding anniversary trip. Ian cooked us a lovely meal after the show and we enjoyed a few pints of Vicar’s Peril (or Ruin or something). Thanks Ian and Lesley.
An epic journey from Napton Bridge to Stoke Bruerne starting at 5 am, winding through the bends we got stuck firmly on the bank after half an hour and in poling off managed to drop the lovely brass hooter into the water (which wasn’t tied on as it should have been) but not realise it until we were on our way. This sacrifice to the river gods got us into Braunston before any one was about and we managed to buy a new one for seven quid which looks like a plastic surgical appliance but makes a noise like an aircraft carrier. We ran out of water just after Braunston and dared to stop for 20 minutes just to replenish and then onward to our tight schedule. George and Rachel getting very good at the boating now, bending in and out of the turns with ease and keeping impact navigation to a minimum. Speeding down the Buckby flight we met Steve and Mandy at Weedon to give them the keys to move the van from Welford to Milton Keynes and then onward. We made tea coming through Blisworth tunnel, gobbled it down at Stoke Bruerne and then set up and did the show by the museum. As we got up to set off again the next day at 8 o’clock George remarked somewhat wistfully – “wouldn’t it have been easier to come by van?”

Thursday, 21 May 2009


Well here we are finally on our way. Tyseley looks beautiful in her new paint and we have two shows under our belts – Fair Trade at the Wharf Inn Welford and Tales of the Thames at Foxton Locks Inn. Welford is very much the old style Mikron, with great support from Neil at the Welford Marina and Alex at the Wharf Inn that is very much geared to the local boating community. We have equally great support from Stephanie and Bob at Foxton Locks Inn who are catering for a much more touristy and ‘fair weather’ crowd.
A great day’s boating today. George and Rachel are natural boaters and have no trouble in bending Tyseley into (and out) of the many beautiful curves the canal makes on our journey from Foxton up to Badsey’s . Some of the canal is very shallow and there is plenty of poling off, reversing off mud banks and a useful tow from a couple from Yorkshire who come to the rescue of their fellow countrymen when they see we are from Marsden.
We have decided on key roles in the company already – George is Music Captain (as he has to whisper the chords to me during the show as I invariably forget them), Rachel is Cleaning Captain, Gemma is Bosun, food and fire captain and I am boat captain and general dogsbody. Apologies to our friend the lock keeper at Watford locks for knocking the metal top off the lock gates AGAIN this year. He was still fuming about it from last year. Sincere apologies (and humble advice to re drill them and put some carriage bolts in instead of gluing them on with shower sealant before the next 72 foot coal boat comes along and sits on top of them ;-).

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Opened Tales of the Thames at the Syngenta Cellar in the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield last night. Lovely to have a capacity crowd of over 100 people and a very warm response from the audience. Sight lines are always difficult with the very wide staging but good practice for some of the other strange places we will be playing in over the coming months. George's family was there in force to support their boy and most of the Mikron team who had worked on the show. Big thanks to Rosie, daughter of Paul Lorenz (who looks after Tyseley) and Steph, who helped Katy with the costumes and props for both shows. Weather still very cold and wet. Where is the heat wave we have been promised ? Tomorrow we will be driving down to meet Tyseley and our first show is on Monday at the Wharf Inn, Welford. Sunshine has been requested!

Saturday, 2 May 2009


Doesn't seem like a week already since we opened the new improved Fair Trade at the Mechanics Hall in Marsden. It went down very well and we received many favourable comments from the host of Friends, Well wishers and ordinary sensation seekers out for a good time on a Saturday evening in Marsden. Particularly nice to see Erica, coming back to see what we had done to the show since she was in it. Congratulations to her and Andrew as they are having a baby in August! Clever them! Since then a busy week of rehearsals for Tales of the Thames - really enjoying the excellent songs and the strong story with great characters. Only two weeks now till we will be meeting Tyseley in Wellford in her brand new overcoat.