Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Sunday 23 March 2014

The Tale of Tacet


Hi, nb Tacet here.  I see this blog has had no postings for a while, it seems the Skipper and his First Mate have disappeared off, goodness knows where and I’ve been left sitting and reminiscing about my journeys over the past 14 years. So perhaps I’d better see if I can make sense of what’s going on.

It all started with a plan hatched out by Mr and Mrs Cole back in the 1990’s with boat builders Alexander and fitters at Riverview, resulting in the fine looking vessel I became. I was named Tacet by the musical Mr Cole, it’s an orchestral term to mark a quiet rest in an instruments performance. And that is what I hope those who spend time with me along the canals find…….a quiet, peaceful and relaxing rest.

After some nine or ten years taking the family away for holidays I was entrusted to Ian and Karen, the Skipper and First Mate, and wow, what a time we’ve had.  After a year of getting to know each other with short trips whenever work commitments would allow, they moved themselves on board, with that rascally hound, Jumble and we were off.  Leaving behind a house, their children were away at uni apparently and so they were free to go exploring. I was happy to oblige with my well fitted, homely interior, and well built, smartly painted exterior, we looked good together out on the cut.


Together we have explored canals in the north, rivers in the east, tunnels through the hills, across mighty aqueducts, up and down flights of locks. For almost 3 years we didn’t stop, I did my best to serve them well. I never let them down, and the Skipper was good to me, my engine was serviced regularly, kept clean and tidy, and any little jobs seen to as soon as possible.  Inside the First Mate would clean and polish, (especially on rainy days, I noticed) and there was often wonderful smells coming from the galley.  We would often meet up with other boats and their crew along the way and got to recognise many others as we passed along the waterways. Life was grand, we were so happy together, I so enjoyed taking them around the country, marking off the maps as we covered the navigable rivers and canals, although I did feel the Skipper took a few chances in some rather shallow and reedy places where not many other boats get to go. But I never complained and secretly rather enjoyed the challenge and I thought they were pleased with me too.

5. May,Caen Hill 11. Nov, Edstone Aqueduct (14)


So imagine my surprise when at the beginning of November, they started going off and leaving me……… amongst other boats I must admit, but sitting quietly, not feeling the flow of the water pushing past my bows.  They would return for a bit, then off they would go again, I began to wonder what or who was taking their attention away from me, I must admit to feeling a bit jealous, and a bit hurt.

Til one weekend in January, there was such a commotion, My insides were cleaned from top to bottom, cupboards were emptied, everything was moved, washed, polished and rearranged, rubbish was thrown out and boxes packed.  I felt like a new boat! I was taken along to Stowe Hill and met up with Dominic and Steve at Rugby Boats, who came out and looked me over, asking questions, and generally poking around and then I heard a tearful voice, actually, tearful voices saying ‘Good-bye and Thank you’ and realised the Skipper and First Mate were leaving me. I couldn’t understand it, what had I done wrong?

It appeared I was now ‘For Sale’, the Skipper and First Mate were returning to the world of work, houses and cars, not sure I understand why, so Dominic and Steve were given the job of finding new owners for me.  They took photos, I tried to look my best, made a video about me and before long people came to visit, wandering through and peering in and out of cupboards, lockers, under seats and into the engine hole.  I did my best to impress, some liked what they saw, some didn’t and then along came Clinton and Sharon, I could feel their excitement as they were exploring and listened to what they were saying unashamedly.  I think they liked what they saw, liked the quality  workmanship from those first plans, like my green stove inside, liked the roses painted on the doors, liked the happy, homely feel inside the cabin. They talked about money, then phone calls were made and I held my breath as I waited.  Yes! the Skipper agreed they could become my new Crew, phew it had only been two weeks since that teary good-bye and now here was a cheery hello to some new Friends.

Yesterday Ian and Karen came back, with Clinton and Sharon to hand over responsibility for my care.  We have journeyed together down to a new home for me with lots of questions answered about the way I like things to be done, and how to keep me happy.  It has been a good day, feeling the water flowing beneath me, hearing the chink of the paddles turning and the pull of the water letting me down in the locks, feeling the crew jumping on and off and the lovely happy buzz of people enjoying being ‘on the move’.


It’s going to be ok, I’ve got some new Friends, who will take good care of me and enjoy my company.  I shall do my best to take care of them too, keeping them comfortable and taking them wherever they ask me to go.  So look out for me with my new Skipper and First Mate and don’t forget to wave and say a cheery hello as you pass by.


Sunday 3 November 2013

Last Post


This season of our life is at an end.  Our time travelling on Tacet is up.  We are starting to make the arrangements for the new season of life back in the real world, returning to the bank.

Tacet will still be our home while we put into action the process of selling our old house, buying a new home and selling Tacet.

We want to say thank you to all the people we have met and shared a cup of tea or meal with over the past two and a half years.  Thank you to all you blog readers following our progress. Thank you to those new friends found on the way.  Thank you to family and friends at home who have put up with our absence. Thank you to our God and his goodness and provision for us.

That was beginning to sound like an ‘award’ speech. So lets move on.

Our travel statistics show how much ground water we have covered, practically  twice round the system. Everyone asks what or where are our favourite places.  We find that really hard to answer as we have enjoyed exploring everywhere, some for the beauty, some for the history, some for the interest, some for the people there. There’s nowhere we wouldn’t go back to, but if we had to pick out some, then it would be something like this………….





Hudd. Narr.24.7 (4)

Hudd. Narr.24.7 (13) Frosty morning (14)5. May,Caen Hill



National Space Centre (5)

Skipton 140611 (4)




Fotheringhay (5) 

Frosty morning 17.1 (4)

Foxton locks (4)    


P1000991 Burnley 24.6 (14)

nesting swan (1) P1080024

Tacet O2




Salts Mills (6)

 Todmorden, Walsden. Summit (3)


  canary wharf (1)


What a lot of memories, it was so hard to choose a selection of best bits, and then of course we remember our Jumble, who loved being a boat dog.


However, I’m not sure that even yet we qualify as proper boaters…………….as neither of us have ever fallen in!

Gosh it’s hard to close this chapter, writing the blog has been a big part of our ‘gap year’, and I’ll miss it, but will still enjoy reading our favourite boaty blogs and keeping in touch with those on the cut. Thanks for travelling along with us………..


……………….So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodbye……..


                                                                                            …………………….and safe journeys.

Friday 1 November 2013

Jephson Gardens

We enjoyed another visit to Leamington, walking up through the Regency main street known as the Parade and looking around the unique smaller shops in the side streets and visiting the exhibition at the Pump Rooms - ‘This Green and Pleasant Land’. 
Leamington takes its name from the river Leam which flows through the town and is another spa town with natural, mineral rich springs. I have blogged about the town previously, so today will focus on the Park.

Jephson Park, Leamington (3)

The Jephson Gardens are located opposite the Royal Pump Rooms and the river Leam runs alongside. The gardens were created in 1831 and were originally known as the newbold Pleasure Gardens.  In 1846 the gardens were renamed in honour of Dr Henry Jephson who lead the expansion of the town as a health spa.  There are formal bedding areas and lots of lovely trees, a lake and fountains, a tropical glasshouse and a cafe.
Today we spotted several large carved tree stumps, new pieces of art completed this year. Some just for decoration, some made into seats too, the pictures and cut faces of wood have been polished. They were quite impressive.
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And we enjoyed feeding the cheeky squirrels too.
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Once on our way, it was good to see the church at Radford Semele had emerged from it wrappings.  Over the past two years as we have passed it has been shrouded in scaffolding and plastic. Now it is sporting a very finely finished tower and new roof, with what looks like an extension on the side. You can just see it across the fields.
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The hedgerows are full of fruit and berries along here, loads of crab apples, hips, haws and sloes.



And how about this rose, blooming on the 1st of November!


Leamington Spa – Long Itchington  6 miles, 10 locks

Thursday 31 October 2013

Into Warwickshire


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We have had another lovely autumn day, not so cold today even though we barely saw the sun, but this was the view from our windows just before we set off towards Hatton.








Shrewley Tunnel was soon ahead, its not very long and you can clearly see the other end, but it is unusual with the horse tunnel at a higher level.





We have worked the Hatton flight 4 times before, so it seems familiar now.  Today we were on our own as we went down, but we met several boats coming up and for the last 4 locks were joined by another.  They were all hire boats, it has been a noticeably busier week as it’s half term.  They’ve had quite a good week.

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Trying to find some different pictures of the flight, so as not to repeat previous blogs.






We had completed the journey to Warwick by lunchtime, and we walked into the town, for a quick wander round and visit to the antique shops.  We had quite a few visits here last year when we were ‘stuck’ at Lapworth before Christmas.

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In the Medieval period Warwick was controlled by various Earls of Warwick, many from the Beauchamp family.  It became a walled town, today only the east and west gates survive.




William the Conqueror started building Warwick Castle in 1068 on his way to Yorkshire to deal with rebellion in the north.

The castle developed into a stone fortress and then a country house and today is a popular (though very expensive) tourist attraction. Which is why we have never visited it.





The Great Fire of Warwick in 1694 destroyed much of the medieval town and as a result most of the buildings post-date this period.

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And then we moved on to Leamington Spa and look forward to visiting the town here again tomorrow.

9 miles, 23 locks, 1 tunnel