May 5, 2020

While the story of Liberty and our time aboard her has now slipped into maritime history (!), I am still writing. If you enjoyed reading or listening to Against The Current, you'll almost certainly like my blog called The Tightly-Furled Umbrella.

I post approximately two or three times a month and take a poke at anything and everything. Sometimes the articles are light and fluffy, other times more serious, but always (I hope anyway) informative and entertaining.

You can visit the Tightly-Furled si...

July 8, 2019

Yes it's true: Against The Current is no longer in print, and now the only physical copies you're likely to find are from the library (where I'm just in front of Bill Bryson, phnar, phnar...) or second-hand on eBay, Amazon or similar. Or - and here's the good news - you can still buy a sparkling new paperback copy direct from me as I have a few left. Check out the 'Buy' page on this website. Only while stocks last, as they say!

A recent Guardian newspaper article indicated that sales of physical...

December 19, 2018

It's that time of year again. For boaters it's a time of hibernation, at least in this part of the world (the UK) with boats tucked up and in some cases covered with tarpaulins. Thoughts of lazy days afloat on rivers or canals are equally squirrelled away.

For some perhaps it's a time to look forward to next spring and summer, and the prospect of buying a boat, maybe for the first time. This was exactly the mode we were in back in 2013 - looking forward to selling up and moving to France to live...

Close-up Lady Fotheringay: 'I hope it's not a boat. I hate boats. I get seasick if I step over a puddle'.

October 9, 2018

No sooner has Liberty sold than a new boat has arrived, but this time almost literally on our doorstep. Or moorstep, if you will.

Liz and I always knew that when Liberty went to a new owner we'd want (read 'need') something to replace her; if the year living afloat in France taught us nothing else, it was that we both enjoy messing about in boats.

However, dear readers and blog followers, you will almost certainly know by now that we were finding the long drive(s) to Liberty, moored in various par...

October 1, 2018

Liberty is sold.

Five years to the week after we set off on our liveaboard adventure, our lovely boat has gone to a new owner. Pleasingly, for us anyway, that person is French, and we wish him bonne chance and bon courage. I say 'pleasingly' for two reasons; one is that during our year travelling around the inland waterways of France we didn't meet many French people with boats at all, so for the new owner to be 'a native' is welcome.

Secondly, it's highly likely that many British potential buyers...

Over the past three weeks Liz and I - and later with help from friend Shaun - have been taking Liberty on her last voyage. It's not been without drama.

After wintering over at the small port of Sillery 10kms south of Reims, where in February and March the boat was subjected to ice and snow, it was great to arrive in early April to find her in such good condition. It's almost as though the boat fairies had been on deck and done some cleaning, but maybe the snow did that.

Anyway, we did all the usua...

March 28, 2018

If you're going boating this summer on those French rivers or canals run by the VNF (Voies Navigables de France) you'll need a vignette (label). It's like the old tax disc on a car, or a windshield regsitration sticker, and shows that you've paid for the privilege of cruising.

They're available for one day, seven days, a month or a year, and - as an economy of scale - are 'cheaper' the longer the period you select. They're also priced according to the length of your boat.

We just got ours for the...

March 5, 2018

While Liberty is still for sale, Liz and I have decided to move her back to where we bought her from, the central-eastern inland port of Saint-Jean-de-Losne.

As you'll know if you've been following the updates, she has been wintering-over (hivernage in French) in Sillery in Champagne, but it's a very small marina and not frequented much by boat-buyers, whereas St-J-de-L has two big boat brokerages, a large marina, and is on the confluence of the Bourgogne canal and the Saône River. It has good ra...

February 20, 2018

I write a monthly column for Motor Boat and Yachting Magazine here in the UK, essentially serialising the story of our year living on board 'Liberty'.

I've just finished writing the latest episode about the time four years ago that Liz and I tackled the famed Fonserannes Staircase locks in Languedoc-Rousillon.

The pic here was our first view from the bottom - a scary sight, and yes, a tough climb!!

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