It’s almost here, the sparkly fresh new #New Year and we name it 2018 – which seems appropriate in the digital #technologicalindustrialrevolution we find ourselves in. But, being human, we add the human warm and welcoming hip, hip, hooray accompanied by champagne, or anything fizzy and we remember family, friends and things we did right, and not so right in dear old 2017 and resolve to do better – and that’s the point, we probably won’t, but the trying is the important thing…to quote #Samuel Beckett Try again. Fail again. Fail better. We’re human, so don’t beat yourself up!

So in the spirit of calm reflection I chose the sculpture of #Patrick Kavanagh sitting beside the #Grand #Canal in #Dublin, watching the boats go by. You see, you narrowboat owners have no idea of the pleasure you give to  the many people walking the towpaths in towns, countryside and cities as you glide by so s-l-o-w-l-y; you’re the drug that should be on #prescription, a treatment for those experiencing anxiety, stress, depression – cruising at max 4 MPH, you leave a trail of tranquillity in your wake, that is until you reach #Grindley Brook locks at the height of the season and there’s 30 boats in front of you!!

But I’ve resolved to be up-beat in this New Year blog entry, nary a churlish thought will cross the page on this eve, when the slate can be wiped clean at the stroke of midnight and all good intentions seem possible…at least for the next few hours! And I hope one of #DonaldTrump’s resolutions will be to give up tweeting for 2018. I seriously think he would benefit from a week’s NHS prescription of therapy at Swanley Bridge Marian, enjoying the scenery, meeting our great Moorers, integrating with Michael’s cows, and improving Anglo-American-World relationships with all those he meets – we may even encourage him to swap the #tweet for the #Instagram and get him to take some great photos, like some of our Moorers have done following my call to send in photos of and around the marina and #Llangollen Canal – here are a few from Sheila Gregory, Alf Wright and Mike Savage, and Carol many thanks.


And in the ever-present spirit of #Harry Potter I decided to put a spell on Eric and dwarf him…this is the result!


It’s an improvement on the Halloween transformation!


So, to reflect…what have we been up to in 2017? In terms of World Peace we may have a way to go, but in the smaller scheme of things Brokerage Andy has been doing his bit to promote goodwill and dialogue between us all by initiating the Monthly Quiz Night and, more recently, his ‘Open Mic Night’ which, in spite of our inherently British nervousness and reserved natures went down very well and we all enjoyed an evening of relaxed home grown music and fun! Check out his downloads of the evening on the Swanley Bridge Marina facebook page. We hope to see more shy violets at the next Open Night on Wednesday January 24th; and the regular end of month quiz night will be Tuesday 30th January – 7.30pm for both.

You’ll all be thrilled to learn that Andy will receive an honour in the Queen’s Swanley Honours List this year – OBE no less (aka: Other Bugger’s Efforts).

Ann Cragg and Doughund Mac Thor (our beloved Doug of the lawn mower, frozen taps and blocked sewage pipes) have also received the award KSB (Keeping Swanley Beautiful…and fragrant). And Michael and Carol get the BB Award (Best Bosses – they really are, especially when they have to put up with all out BKSB’s (best kept secret cock-up’s!). Moorers and Bosses make Swanley a fun place to work.

And following on from that last comment, and for those not present at the Open Mic Night, here is my (Liz’s) Ode To Swanley & Its Moorers that I’ve been asked to post.


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 café,

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 a computer & dvd’s,

But could BT or O2

Provide reliable connection 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 bugger,


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 effing 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,

There-in 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, upbeat 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,

Oh 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

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 or 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!!

Now, on to more serious stuff…In the frenzy of new Year Fever don’t forget to:

  • Regularly check your boat – if you can’t get to the marina, phone the office and we can put electricity on your meter and make sure all is well in the bad weather.
  • The Llangollen canal has closures from the 8th January. Please check the CRT website for updates. The good news is that Hurleston locks are now open so you can cruise that way.
  • The biggest January event in Nantwich is #Holly Holy Day 27 January which celebrates the Battle of Nantwich – if you fancy dressing up in sack cloth skirts and armour, or just mixing with the strange ones in helmets roaming the town, then get yourself down there, they’ll be glad of the support and will welcome you with open arms…no pun intended.

So, goodbye 2017, we’ll miss you and remember all those who can’t be with us. Michael, Carol and all the staff at Swanley Bridge Marina wish our Moorers and Visitors the very best health and happiness for 2018.