In spite of our monthly Quizzes and Open-mic Nights, which are great fun, the general consensus seems to be that we’re all feeling a little damp and gloomy after the wet Winter and the canal and lock closures – as well as all the political mayhem of the past…how long has it been? Seems like forever. So a dose of medicinal humour is required to cheer us all up and point us optimistically towards Spring and all it’s colour and light. So here’s a sample from an Open-Mic Night to flavour the Blog and, hopefully, raise a smile…


There is a place in Cheshire,

a separate universe,

we call it Planet Swanley,

its people are diverse.

Now this place is like an island,

a watery paradise,

where people bring their boats to moor

and enjoy our rare delights.

We do not have a cafe,

a restaurant, club or bar,

but what we lack in social scenes

we make up for by far,

with fields and cows and nature

and sylvan groves of peace,

tranquillity and beauty;

we celebrate all this;

and we even have a library

with computer and dvd’s,

jigsaws, games and lots of books,

our variety aims to please.

We’re known for our diversity

in all its glorious colour,

it matters not where you come from,

the staff don’t give a b*gg*r,

as long as you appreciate

the trees, the bees, the pollen

and the fact that you are moored upon

the BEST canal – Llangollen.

From musicians to accountants,

retired chefs and teachers too,

they come to moor at Swanley,

they are a motley crew.

From every walk of life they share

a passion, which is their boat,

they part with lots of money

to keep the flipping thing afloat:

There’s licence fees and mooring fees,

there’s blacking and engine service;

Winterising, Summerising,

BSC’s that make you nervous,

for the rules are ever-changing

regarding electrics, fires, or gas,

many sleepless nights are spent

worrying if your boat will pass.

But you boaters are a stoic breed,

welded to your tiller,

all you crave is 4 miles per hour

on your steel hull diesel thriller.

But I’ve developed a theory –

not all of you may agree –

regarding style of boat that’s picked

by the prospective Male bargee.

It’s all about the style of boat

that said Man-buyer buys;

Cruiser; Semi-Trad, or Trad,

therein the character lies.

For it seems to me the narrowboat

exerts a powerful force

and moulds its owner to its shape

and psychological course.

The Semi-Trad is moody man,

The Cruiser man likes to party

And as for Trad man, well, let’s say

he’s not often hail or hearty;

he’s gruffly independent,

standing solitary at the tiller,

he grunts, he glares, remains aloof,

a conversation killer.

Now Semi-Trad is mercurial,

his tiller swings both ways,

he’ll invite you up to join him

on those happy, up-beat days,

but when the dark clouds gather

and he’s feeling dour and low,

he’ll banish wife, or partner

to the cratch, or worse, below!

And so to happy Cruiser man

and a-carousing we will go,

not a care be-devils him,

he’s rarely glum, or low.

His stern’s decked out with table

and bottles of wine and beer,

music, song and candles

enhance the atmosphere.

Now I’m sure you men are angry

with my misandristic verse,

but before you disembowel me,

this theory can be reversed,

for it also applies to women

in their choice of boat, you see,

it’s an egalitarian premise,

an all encompassing theory;

for men and women are a type,

either extrovert, solitary, or moody,

but never fear, Swanley Brokerage is here

to find the boat that suits Ye.

And I’m sure you’ve realised by now

that this ode is penned in jest,

but one thing is true, beyond all doubt,

our Moorers are the BEST.

Whatever your persuasion,

your foibles, tics and traits,

we enjoy your personalities,

your stories and your ways.

So Michael, Carol and the staff

salute you, every one,

you Moorers bring Swanley Bridge alive

and make working here SUCH FUN!

And it’s true, it’s a great place, with great people. We hope you all have a wonderful Spring season of cruising the prettiest canal in the country – the Llangollen. If any of you would like to come along to the Open-Mic Night to watch, or participate, we hold them  on the second Wednesday of each month (however, April’s will be held on Wednesday 17th); and the Quiz night is held on the last Tuesday of the month, next one 26th March.