Monday 31 August 2020

Up river

Or to be more precise down river, I got Mrs BB to drop me and my kayak off at Botley wharf which is almost as far as you can get upstream at high water.


The river is narrow and peaceful, paddling slowly didn't seem to disturb the wildlife much or the tranquility.

At the approach to the fork, the river splits left on it's way to Curdridge past the Horse & Jockey pub and the main river to the right down to Bursledon, Hamble and the sea.

I asked this kayaker if she was doing doggy paddle, apparently he hates water but will sit still for a ride.

The main river opens up, thanks fully preserved from development it's much as it has been for the past few hundred years. The day was almost perfect, not a breath of wind, I set off just after the first high water after which there is a stand for about 2 hours so virtually no current either.

I need a waterproof camera with a longer lens as there was a lot to see along the river banks, the nice thing about kayaking is you face forward unlike rowing where you only get to see what you have gone past.

Friday 28 August 2020


Twenty five  years ago Erica and I used to sail out of Portsmouth, but despite being only 15 miles or so distant we don't get over there nearly enough.

So the offer of day sailing with friends out of the Premier marina in Gosport was a great opportunity to revisit some old familiar sights and a few new ones.

 Victory class day boats out for a Sunday morning race, based on an earlier Bembridge One Design of Alfred Westmacott, whose portfolio included such popular classics as the Solent Sunbeam and the X One Design, the class association was formed in the 1930's and is based in old Portsmouth. 

The sail insignia is curiously a Z , the letter V having been assigned to the Sunbeam class.

The Royal Navy's newest and finest Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Sailing past some old haunts The Spice Island and the Still and West in Old Portsmouth to the open Solent.

Restored harbour defense launch built in Poole in 1943 and the last of her class of which over 450 were built.

QHM harbour Patrol on station to help visiting yachts and politely marshal any boats which had strayed from the small boat channel.

Really nice to see a fleet of Squibs out racing, in total there were around 6 in the fleet sailing a course between Portsmouth entrance, Ryde and Gilkicker

 The Southsea/Ryde hoover speeding past on.

Monday 24 August 2020

On the beach

While the press and government were expressing concerns over crowded beaches on the south coast we were strolling along miles of deserted beaches on the Durham coast.

If you look closely you can see a dog walker in the distance on the left side of this picture.

Admittedly we did need take our coats, but frankly it was a small price to pay and the rain held off while we made Geordie sand castles.

Friday 21 August 2020

Re decking the Herb Dinghy

 A friend was tearing up some garden decking and with not much else going on during the lock down I took the opportunity to dig out the herb dinghy and create a deck to hold plant pots for Mrs BB's summer flowers.

I manged to find some left over Creosote and gave all the cut ends a good soaking so hopefully it'll last a few years.t

All in all it seems to have come out pretty well, I even fixed the rubbing strake while I was at it.

Mrs BB is an occasional gardener, she occasionally does weeding and other heavy work but mostly leaves that to me. So hopefully come winter all she has to do is empty the pots and replant next year.

Monday 17 August 2020


The old city stands on high ground surrounded on three sides by the river giving the famous cathedral and castle an imposing majesty.

So as we wandered around this lovely and rather peaceful city I decided to look for the unfamiliar.

And only one letterbox?

But in the end no pictures of Durhan would be complete without this.

Friday 14 August 2020


We could hardly visit the north east without stopping by at the seaside town of Whitby at the mouth of the river Esk, one time home of Captain Cook and famous for the ruined gothic abbey and association with Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Above the protected entrance and twin lights jutting out into the often time inhospitable North Sea.

The ruins of Whitby Abbey, where Cædmon, the earliest recognised English poet, lived, stand high above the town on the south cliffs, next to St Mary's chuch at the top of the 199 stone steps.

Tourism started in Whitby during the Georgian period and developed with the arrival of the railway in 1839, which presumably gave a boost to the town's wealth beyond that generated through fishing.

Its attraction as a tourist destination is enhanced by the proximity of the high ground of the North York Moors national park and fascination with the horror novel Dracula which continues to the present with the annual Goth weekend, a a twice-yearly music festival for the gothic subculture 

Above a yacht safely inside the entrance and making way towards the swing bridge which cuts off the inner harbour/river.

No visit to a northern seaside town would be complete without eating fish and chips while sat on the sea wall and as expected they were very good.

Monday 10 August 2020

Kayak trip

With the relaxation in lock down measures we arranged a socially distanced kayak trip with one of Joseph's school friends.

Seen above Joseph past the famous cutter Jolie Brise. Below Erica in the front of the double Malibu II looking ahead as Genevieve and her mum pull ahead in their inflatable kayak.

After a trip down to Hamble and an ice cream from the recently reopened Beach Cafe doing take away, it was a hard slog back upriver with the wind behind.

Friday 7 August 2020

Load of old Cobbles

Excuse the pun, we've been in the north east and spotted a few of these fine regional working craft.

The Coble is a type of open traditional fishing boat from the North East coast of England. The distinctive shape of the boat — flat-bottomed and high-bowed — arose to cope with the particular conditions prevalent in the area.

Top pic SD-35 and below WY-14 suggest both are working boats with fishing registry.

All of the above are motorised as compared traditional boats which would have been sailed or rowed, but retain the characteristic hull shape. Jane Elizabeth is by far the largest example I've seen. I'm guessing around 35 feet LOA.

Monday 3 August 2020

Western Solent Morning

Saturday morning Keyhaven, the western Solent was fantastic.

The wind was light, slightly hazy sky signalling a hot day.

Keyhaven YC were out in force, sadly Hurst Castle SC sailing committee haven't started organised sailing yet but the dinghy park and club grounds are open for those who want to sail.