Boating on the Thames

Pangbourne Meadows by the RIver Thames

Image via Wikipedia

IMG_2626henelylads2Henley edBoat tapperHenleyallhenleyannaBoat alaskaBoat girlHenleyboysBoat SarahNot much time to get on the river this year but it was lovely to be out in Minivet withKat and Chris last night. After the trauma of her being stolen at the end of last season, she is back running well though she’s a little noisier than she should be. The photo is of Kat in the sailor’s hat she gace us at our Christmas party.

Hopefully the first of many outings this season with my friends and colleagues from First Actuarial!

Richard Freebody phoned this morning. Peter died suddenly on Saturday morning. He died,as he lived – full on.

The BBC have produced a great tribute to Peter as part of their Countryfile program- it’s towards the back of this link. You can see Lady Lucy in the background- with her winter cover on.

Peter was the father of all the Thames boatmen and a very great spirit indeed. He will be sadly missed by me and all who met him on Lady Lucy.

We send our condolences to Elizabeth and his children.

 For those interested on boating on Lady Lucy- press here

My God daughter Sophie



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At last we’re off for 2009. Lady Lucy has had her rudder bent back (cold press) following its close encounter with  weir last October (thank you Mr Bewes for your helpful direction). Ok it was midnight and we were somewhat inebriated but you do need to tell your left from right.

Great day in Pangbourne, Goring and Moulsey. Good swimming from all but scary cat  Stella and a blissful supper of good cheeses and fine burgundy (thanks Rodney)

Today we have Karen, Steve and the kids in the afternoon for Lady Lucy’s maiden voyage. tomorrow, Dick, Matthew, Jo and Rodney join me and Karen W for a classic cruise up to Henley.

Just got back from the boat. So beautiful this morning in the millpond. Bravo Thames, bravo Peter and Dick for your efforts and here’s to a magnificent summer!

I own a wonderful wooden boat- mahogany to be exact. She sits on the MillPond at Hurley and she’s called Lady Lucy.

Her sister boat is Cera, owned by Rodney Bewes, that likely lad.

Cera and Lady Lucy are friends and spend their days dreaming of journeys to Oxford or London.

Anyone with an interest in wooden boats is welcome to come and join us for a day. Neither Lady Lucy or Cera is shy.

Click here to see Lady Lucy’s great triumph


When I’m not in Eton, I.m in Brentford. Brentford sits like a coldsore on the lip of Kew, it is an old fashioned working town that has resisted gentrification though it has a yuppy ghetto where I live.

It has a lot of pubs because Brentford people drink, a lot, they smoke on the street and do lots of other non-desirable things that no one does in Chiswick or Kew.

However it is proud not to be Hounslow.

It is historical though it doesn’t care much about that.

It doesn’t have clubs and is not a place to go to at night, it is a place to get a bus from.

It is the place where the people of the canals, emptied themselves into the Thames and so to the sea.

Evidence of its industrial heritage is to be found on the rivers Brent, Thames and the Grand Union Canal.

Nobody much values these rivers in Brentford- except me.

Brentford is supposed to be a media haven because Kate Adie lives here- it isn’t- only the estate agents believe that lie.

It’s about half as cheap to live in as Kew or Richmond and it shows.

I like Brentford

 April 2010- captains log

Lady Lucy made her way upstream against a strong current and immediately found danger in the shape of a little lamb, stuck in a tree overhanging the water.

Tapper ran her aground in his attempts to rescue the beast and succeeded in creating considerable muck from the riverbed before seeing the lamb fall into the water and drown. This was distressing to all parties (including Sophie- Henry’s able seaman -rivergirl)

On passing Hambledon we were set upon by a number of novice VIIIs one of which managed to row into LL’s back board.

On reaching Marsh, LL was buffetted by stong weir currents and had difficulty entering the lock.

Happiness was restored at Walgrave where LL was re-united with CERA who had wintered at Reading and was skippered by Rodney (Bewes).

We went up to Sonning together and spent the night outside Uri Gellar’s mansion. Tapper had to run to the Texaco on the A4 and back to get provisions.

Rodney told many stories including one that Henry had not heard before relating to Gloria Hunniford and Peter Sellars.

Lady Lucy returned to Hurley on the following day with a greatly improved look thanks to some assiduous polishing be her crew.

April 22nd- big day

Minivet is back on the water -now as an electric slipper- goine is the Stuart turner 3.5hp disaster waiting to happen. In is a spanking new electric motor.

Off on my bike to stanley’s boatyard with a gathering sense of excitement.

April 23rd

Stella and I took Minivet up to Boveney. Stella points out that she still needs a bit of steering up river and she’s anxious to get the new windows in- I think she may be slightly under powered and we may need to put a better suited prop on her- but she’s 100 times more manageable than in the old days.

We are hoping to pop up to Windsor races tonight, anybody fancy a lift?


May Bank Holiday.

Friday; Tony Earnshaw joined us for a great day sailing up to Sonning with Sophie M and myself. The weather was kind and we had a fine lunch at the George and Dragon.  Lady Lucy was full of water when we arrived at Hurley- a result of a leaking prop shaft and a turned off bilge pump. Thanks to Jon we were able to set off within an hour with no discernible recurrence (fingers crossed)

Saturday; Having fixed the leak yesterday, we encountered a faulty oil pressure warning signal as we exited the mill-pond this morning. Jon was again on hand and fitted a new trigger mechanism which again resulted in a delayed start. Sophie and Henry sailed down river to Windsor where we moored outside Chantry Place meeting some drunken canoeists and many friends on the way.

Sophie’s cats dissapeared into the bilges and we had thought cottontail had escaped the boat altogether only for th mad thing to appear at about 10pm after a full twelve hour doze.

Sunday; A third delayed start resulting from a deluge on the river which required me to refix Minivet that had been left open and was pretty drenched. We braved a strong gale and appalling weather to get to Staines and then beat back aaginst a strong current, lunching at the over-rated Rive House at Windsor before enjoying a smooth and relatively dry run back to Hurley.

Monday; a fourth delayed start due to delayed arrivaal of Jenny and Leandro. We sailed smoothly up to Wargrace, disturbed only by a hailstorm at Marsh Lock. At the G and D we met with Pete, Babs, Sophie and Lucy Voisey with who we sailed back up to Sonning. Lady Lucy carried her full mast and flags and looked particualry fine.

We returned back to Harley and got drunk in Ye Ole Bell.

Back to London early on Tuesday morning after a hairy catfight with two out of three cats who had little wish to return.


     Great day on the river, Stell had found an errant Gavin Henson in Windsor and there’s plenty of eye candy for girls and boys in this weeks’s post! Hoiwever the dog in the hat wins top prize…

All the slippers from the cack of Lady Lucy

Alaska under steam

The yard ready for Mail on Sunday photoshoot


12 Responses to Boating on the Thames

  1. Richard Bradford says:


    I visited the boat show on Friday and met with Peter Freebody on the classic boat stand

    ‘Do you remember a boat named Lady Lucy’ I asked

    ‘Yes’ he said ‘I know her well’

    I know Lady Lucy from the early seventies when it was owned by my Father in law, who I believe exchanged it for another boat Princess Ida.

    I am extremely pleased to see that someone has lavished the attention she so deserves. Thanks and good Luck

  2. henry tapper says:

    Well I didn’t start it but it exists so if anyone wants to press this link and enjoy more of the same- please feel free

    It seems to be constructed of bits of Lady Lucy!

  3. henry tapper says:

    Probably the best boatbuilder in the world

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