top of page

New Moon

New Moon is a smart-looking boat,  and it’s owners are a lovely couple.
It’s kept moored at a tidy circular creek near Bottisham Lock,  and brought upriver to The Plough for hirers to board.

At The Plough it shares a mooring with Rosie,  Princess Charlotte and a couple more of Peter’s boats.   Not always a comfortable association but it works most of the time.

A year or so ago the old man had given Gary his card.   They’d chatted amicably for a few minutes and the old man thought no more of it.

Then,  a week or two ago,  Gary had ‘phoned to talk about handing over the boat and training the hirers.

Owning a boat which you hire out starts out exciting,  but,  like all jobs,  it can become tedious.
The old man went on board at 1000 and was shown ‘the ropes’.   The multi fuel stove in the lounge and the diesel-powered heater are very promising for chilly evenings on the fens.
The dining area seats four cozily around the table,  where the old man settled himself with a book from the well-stocked shelf.
The galley is a dream,  even for a culinary dunce like the old man.   An electric fridge,  a gas hob and oven,  pumped hot and cold water at the sink.
The heads are definitely not a perforated plank across the bowsprit;   Instead,  a sparkling electric macerated system.   The shower is pumped and,  as always,  the sump is pumped over side.
Right aft is a big double bed.

The hirers were late;  very late.   They’d come a long way,  and the dog had needed several comfort stops.

But,  at last,  the old man came into his own.   With the boat under way,  and the crew capable,  his job was delightful and easy.   Even the gongoozlers at the lock had no complaints.

The old man loves narrow boats.
They are perfectly designed for their original job of carrying goods along the canals and through the narrows.
When the rivers,  and then the canals,  were the highways of England boats up to 70ft long (but only 7ft wide) could be drawn by two galloping horses and carry 30 or 40 passengers,  or several tons of goods at  over 10mph from city to city across the country.
Forrester wrote vividly of a dash from Gloucester to London in less than 2 days,  horses changed every 20miles or so.
Now,  passengers travel as tourists,  not traders,  and the flyboats no longer carry sharp scythes to cut the tow ropes of slower boats.
Staunches were replaced by locks which,  especially the long staircase flights,  are marvels of 18th century engineering.   So easy to use if the boatman is patient.

Now of course,  the boats are powered by diesel (even electric) engines.   On the Cam even the locks are electric.

bottom of page