PENTARGON ... SPRINGER
"Pentargon" is defined by her beam(6'10") her airdraft (6'10") and her length overall (35'10"). These dimensions allows her to slip seamlessly through any lock in the British Isles. Although there are many and varied locks, the narrowest are 7' in width and have been since the beginning. [cite]. Pentargon is half the length of the standard working narrow boats pulled by draught horses in the reign of George III. The length is meaningful; she can share any lock anywhere with any narrowboat her own length or shorter. "Pentargon" plied the navigations of SE England constantly from January 2012, using a land base in Essex and in the early months a marina near Rugby which was quickly abandoned as superfluous to requirements. She cruised south to "inside the M25" towards the end of 2012 and spent 2013 cruising to and from Woking in Surrey on a whim before launching an aborted attempt to do the "London Ring" via Braunston and Oxford. 2104 was spent mostly in London and its environs
In April 2015, Pentargon left Harlow, her then base on the Lee and Stort navigation, to visit Kent via Bow Creek, the Thames Estuary and Dartford Creek. Pogue was, at that time, pursuing someone else's dream which became his by association. Pentargon became the first boat in over forty years known to stay overnight in the derelict and abandoned Dartford Port. She stayed ten nights before cruising back to Harlow. On that first descent of the tidal Thames, Pentargon carried FOUR narrowboat skippers. Pogue familiarised three others with the ways of the estuary and they entered a VERY small list of mariners who have ever sailed into the River Darent. Pogue and Pentargon stayed ten days on that visit before returning to Harlow and CanalAbility.
On her second descent in June 2015, with two more [different] spare skippers, Pogue landed Pentargon at Steam Crane Wharf for what turned out to be a three month stay. The objective was to study tides, water, flora, fauna, opportunities, challenges and all aspects of using Dartford and Crayford Creeks for waterborne and riparian activities. Pogue interacted with Dartford people to 'reclaim' their neglected and forgotten amenity from developers and from nature itself.
In April 2016, Pogue brought Pentargon back to Dartford Creek to develop the concept of the 21c"lengthsman" for possible introduction later to the canals of England. This time she stayed until October when she embarked on what turned out to be the longest continuous solo circumnavigation ever of southern England finishing up at Shepperton in West London 14months later and was pulled onto dry land on 16th December 2017 .
GRAY GREEN MUDDY
HOW ARE WE RELATED AGAIN?
Is it odd that someone could have a relationship with a boat?
Landlubbers bond with shoes, cars, houses and I-phones so why not a boater bonding with a boat? Over seven years, "Pogue" developed a very personal relationship with Sam Springer's "Pentargon", learning her foibles, eccentricities, strengths and weaknesses. "Human Relationships" depending on friendships and acquaintance mean that scores of people, real and imagined, inhabit a a dampish parallel dimension, flitting in and out of the water, on and off the land and popping up unexpectedly and often unannounced in Grey Green Muddy Water.
"The Cut Is The Longest, Friendliest Village In England"
This comment, picked up early on, is how it is! The cut is more socially diverse than any other form of English society and effectively classless. Everyone shares the same waters, locks, trials, tribulations, laughs, beverages and boaty troubles. Some of the cut's inhabitants are totally water-based and water-borne and know no other way; others live in floating accommodation without even realising their home is actually a BOAT. More manage to morph seamlessly back and forth between one and the other: today a boater, tomorrow a land-lubber. But one thing is certain anyone who thinks their shite is currant buns gets an awful let down the first time their pump-out toilet throws a wobbly or they have to carry a thetford cassette to an "Elsan" point and dispose of the contents.
Who is my Neighbour
(For purposes of Grey Green Muddy Water we need to define "boater" and compare it with "sailor".) WIP 21-11-2017
A "boater" is someone who lives on a floating device which may be used as permanent, temporary or occasional living accommodation but who does not necessarily know it is a boat.
A "boater" is someone who would be a sailor if he knew anything?
A "part time boater" is the owner of a [canal?] boat who does not use it to its optimum. In late 2017, there was a boat lying on the GU near Dodsworth, purchased a few miles upriver, by someone, believed to be from erm London, who having paid for it and taken it a few miles decided he did not really like boating after all , tied it up[entirely inappropriately] and, to all intents and purposes walked away from it, and later tried to foist it BACK on the seller.
There are hundreds of boats around the system with some similar story to tell. "boaters" who, as soon as the weather gets a little bit cold, take themselves ashore and come back at "14day intervals" to move the boat to a different "place". There are boaters who winter their boats and pay big money to the canal authority for the 'privilege' of not having to move for a few months. Finally there are those (and Pogue has been one!) who choose to park up betimes and walk away for as long as they please because they don't give a shit about petty rules and know their way around the law. ... Pogue incidentally is a "sailor" with a life's experience (including many and long intervening breaks) of boats and water. Born by the sea, grew up by the sea, lived by the sea, built and sailed boats and took to English canals as a "Canalability" volunteer in 2010. Bought a "Springer" in 2011 to taste the waters and subsequently earned a reputation as one who could test the limits of boat and crew as a lone ranger on any available stretch of water upon which the boat could be cruised.