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I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. There are a limited number of trade stand spaces available at our Historic Boat Rally on Saturday & Sunday 27th & 28th June 2020. If you [...]
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Finch-The Remorseful Day

The events recorded here relating to Anthony Ernest Finch are accurate ‘to the best of my knowledge and belief.’ I have not sought to add or embellish this strange story in any way, much of which is known to me at first or very close second-hand. I have used Finch’s correct name, but otherwise changed […]

EvelynsWar

Evelyn’s War

The newly discovered canal diary of Evelyn Hunt, an ‘Idle Woman’, edited by Tim Coghlan and serialised exclusively in Canals Rivers + Boats. During the summer of 1942 the 28-year-old Evelyn Hunt, who had trained as an artist at the Royal College of Art, was working at in the Camouflage Department of the War Ministry, […]

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Olga’s Boat Song – Part 1

Tim Coghlan looks at the truly remarkable life of the former ‘Idle Woman’ Olga Kevelos, who recently died. She began her working life as an astronomer, became a working boatwoman during the war, then went on to become an international motor cycle racing champion, a publican, and finally a Mastermind challenger, and serial TV quiz […]

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Olga’s Boat Song – Part 2

Tim Coghlan looks at the truly remarkable life of the former ‘Idle Woman’ Olga Kevelos, who recently died. She began her working life as an astronomer, became a working boatwoman during the war, then went on to become an international motor cycle racing champion, a publican, and finally a Mastermind challenger, and serial TV quiz […]

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Joe Safe’s Secret – Part 1

Tim Coghlan looks at the fascinating life and times of Joe Safe, a man who spent most of his working life on and around the canals, and who sadly died recently. Read part 1 of the article here…

Mainjoe Safe Secret

Joe Safe’s Secret – Part 2

Tim Coghlan looks at the fascinating life and times of Joe Safe, a man who spent most of his working life on and around the canals, and who sadly died recently. Read part 2 of the article here…

Mainjoe Safe Secret

Joe Safe’s Secret – Part 3

Tim Coghlan looks at the fascinating life and times of Joe Safe, a man who spent most of his working life on and around the canals, and who sadly died recently. Read part 3 of the article here…

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Waters Under The Bridge

Alan Firth, Canal Artist – 1933 – 2012. Alan Firth – the ‘odd lock’ artist. Tim Coghlan recalls the life and works, and his own personal memories, of canal artist Alan Firth who died recently after a long illness. There is one signature painting by Alan Firth that really has most of the elements of […]

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Bearing Gifts

Tim Coghlan relates the story of an old narrow boat named Balthazar, and its fascinating connections to the famous author Lawrence Durrell and the 1930s Bloomsbury Set. After twenty years and more of selling narrow boats on brokerage, I am still surprised from time to time by what comes along, and the fascinating stories that […]

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Das Narrow Boot

Tim Coghlan tells a tale of how two old friends from the German Merchant Navy, both qualified marine engineers and surveyors, came to have an English narrow boat built. A boat which became the star of the 2010 Crick Boat Show. So just what brought Germans Gunter “John” Magiera and his friend Harald to the […]

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Dover and out!

Tim Coghlan says a sad goodbye to retiring boat builder, Dave Thomas who has been a welcome fixture at Braunston for over twenty years. The collapse in narrow boat building has taken its toll on some established boat builders and, it is with much personal sadness that I record the recent closure of the Braunston […]

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Farewell to ’Diesel Dave’

Tim Coghlan recalls the life of Dave Odell, Braunston Marina’s charismatic marine engineer, who recently died in tragic circumstances. Dave Odell, known to one and all as Diesel Dave, was a great canal character. He is perhaps best remembered for his winter barbieon-ice in the great freeze-up of January 2010. There he sat in the […]

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Running Scared – back on the big screen

In the autumn of  2011, almost exactly forty years after its release in 1971, and after an extensive search with many people involved,  possibly the last surviving copy of this long-lost canal-thriller was finally found somewhere in America. The movie was then shown by the Braunston Cinema Club in early December to two packed houses […]

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Bringing the dead wench to life

Part 1 – Tim Coghlan takes a lighter look at his chance involvement in the filming at Braunston of the Inspector Morse canalthemed episode The Wench is Dead – and its unforeseen consequences. My first encounter with the Morse circus – for circus it was indeed to prove – was on the morning of Tuesday […]

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Bringing the dead wench to life

Part 2 – Tim Coghlan recalls the two days location on the canals at Braunston for the filming, in June 1998, of the Inspector Morse episode, The Wench is Dead. It was a long day, with much progress backwards, as the canal at Braunston returned to the mid-Victorian era. From early morning the travelling circus […]

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Bringing the dead wench to life

Part 3 – David Blagrove recalls his role in the filming of the Victorian canal scenes in June 1998, converting three old working butties into four even older ones, and moving them to far-flung locations, for the Inspector Morse episode The Wench is Dead. Back in 1998 I was running South Midland Water Transport Ltd […]

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Bringing the dead wench to life

Part 4 – Tim Coghlan completes his series on the filming of Inspector Morse at Braunston with a look at some real life crime mysteries on the canal as well as saying goodbye to Morse himself, the much-loved actor, John Thaw. There is an old saying, that the only thing certain about life is its […]

Canal Boat in Braunston Marina

A Friend of President

Part 1 – Tim Coghlan looks back on his twenty years of involvement with the last surviving steam narrow boat President, now in its centenary year. When I acquired Braunston Marina in October, 1988, I knew very little about the canals and even less about their history, despite now being the owner of one of […]

'President' canal boat

A Friend of President

Part 2 – Tim Coghlan continues his look back on twenty years of involvement with the last surviving steam narrow boat President, now in its centenary year. The year 1991 had been something of a spectacular year for President, with the successful reenactment of a fly run from London to the first Braunston Boat Show […]

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A Friend of President

Part 3 – In steam narrow boat President’s centenary year, Tim Coghlan continues his personal memories – now returning to August, 1998, when he joined fellow Friends of President for a voyage down. I have mixed views on Manchester. Brazen, brutish, and bleak – I have visited it many times over the years on a […]

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A Friend of President

Part 4 – In steam narrow boat President’s centenary year, Tim Coghlan continues his personal memories – concluding his voyage in August, 1998, when he joined fellow Friends of President for a run down Britain’s last-ditch attempt at canal building. We soon arrived at Mode Wheel Locks, the first proper Manchester Ship Canal locks which […]

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Working boats galore!

A look back at the June 2010 Braunston Historic Narrow boat Rally which broke all records…again! We seem to have come a long way since our first Rally in 2003, when we were very pleased and indeed relieved to welcome 19 former working boats, mostly from the Fellows Morton & Clayton (FMC) fleet, to celebrate […]

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The Canal Adonis The Idle Woman

Part 1: The water road to love Tim Coghlan looks back on the life of the former working boatman George Smith, who died recently aged 97. He is best remembered for his short post-war marriage to the wartime Idle Woman Sonia South, which, in 1946, brought the pair of them to the forefront of the […]

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Nene better!

After twenty-three years of trying to get to the IWA Northampton Spring Rally – always frustrated by the day-job – Tim Coghlan finally got there this year. But only because he had been invited to open it! Here he takes a lighter look at his first impressions of this very enjoyable cameo canal-festival. There is […]

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The OwnerShips Ice Boat Show – with added Blue Shoots!

Tim Coghlan tells the story of this year’s remarkable event – which, like so many previous OwnerShips Boat Shows, seems to survive all known winter perils For the last three years in a row, it looked like Lady Luck had gone on holiday to somewhere warmer, leaving the OwnerShips Boat Show to face the full […]

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Tom Rolt – narrow boat man

At the invitation of Tom Rolt’s widow Sonia, Tim Coghlan joined actor and canal and train enthusiast Timothy West at the recent Cheltenham Literary Festival to discuss what was billed as ‘a celebration of Tom Rolt’s extraordinary life and remarkable achievements – engineer, prolific author and the man whose elegiac work Narrow Boat sparked the […]

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“Apart from that, how did you enjoy the play?”

Tim Coghlan recently met George Smith, the now 96-year old former working boatman and briefly the first husband of Sonia Rolt. Sometime in 1946, and with the war well behind her, the former Idle Woman and working boat-woman Sonia Smith received some exciting news when she collected her mail at Hawkesbury Junction, a focal point […]

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War on the grand union

Tim Coghlan takes a lighter look at this remarkable, now possibly annual reenactment, in which he survived an air raid, met Idle Women, ate Spam-a-lot and kept smiling through…

War Weekend Stoke Breurne

Weekend at war

Tim Coghlan takes a lighter look at a remarkable re-enactment in which he survived an air raid, met the idle women, ate spam-a-lot, and kept smiling through…