Recently one of our clients made me chuckle when he mentioned that in his next life, he wants to come back as me! He said: "When I am stuck in traffic on the M25 I think of you, swanning along the river bank, enjoying the best job in the world!"
It is true that when the sun is shining and the river is sparkling, there can be no better way to earn a living. Although admittedly conditions have been quite challenging this month, and we are struggling to catch up with a three week delay caused by rain, rain and more rain.
Last Tuesday saw me greeting our Dutch manufacturers Statement Marine on a murky day by the river Dee for the delivery of "Amie" (a PTS 26) to one of our clients in Chester.
The following day the sun finally appeared and I went inland to the Macclesfield canal near Bollington, Cheshire, to take a look at "Piccolo". Even for a Mancunian this was a voyage of discovery.
The landscape was very different from our Thames river scene. The towpath was extremely busy. Delightfully so in fact as everyone had a smile on their face and seemed to be enjoying a slower pace of life as brightly painted coloured boats meandered along at a leisurely pace.
"Piccolo" is going to be the starting lot in our Thames Traditional Boat Festival Transport Auction on Sunday evening (July 22nd, 2018), which will be managed by Special Auction Services with whom we worked in 2014.
Later that week … "Sashes" returned home. She is a traditional punt built some 20 years ago by Peter Freebody and Co. Her owner sent her to us for a pre-season refresher.
Ellie had got to work with the sandpaper and the varnish brush, while Tim the signwriter had come along to apply the gold leaf as a finishing touch. After which we delivered her back safely.
"Cera" was built in the late 1950’s by Richmond Slipways and has had a couple of famous owners including “Bomber” Harris, who owned her in the 1960’s. The boat is now actively for sale through Henley Sales and Charter. Although only 28ft in length she has great head room throughout and a lovely opening centre cockpit.
If you would like something that you can park in a corner of your garage for occasional outings you could consider our little “Pebbles” complete with outboard trailer and cover. This smart boat with a wooden twist can easily be launched from a basic trailer whenever the sun shines. No mooring needed.
A recent addition to the boating social calendar is the picturesque Chelsea Fringe event in Henley on Thames. Organised by a former boat owner and keen horticulturalist on Sunday May 20th (2pm - 4pm), this floral flotilla makes a splendid sight as it processes along the Henley reach.
Flowers and weddings seem to go together like strawberries and clotted cream. Thanks to our rapport with the Great House at Sonning and the adjacent Coppa Club, we have a record number of weddings for our Frolic 31 “Midsomer Maiden” this season.
She is just such a great boat for outings with groups of friends thanks to her seating arrangements and the practical loo.
After three attempts at cleaning the frontage at the Boat House at Wallingford and watching our kiosk become an ark, we finally opened Pure Boating in glorious sunshine last weekend.
Wallingford really is an undiscovered gem. It’s only 15 mins drive from Henley. It benefits from cheap and easy parking, an open air swimming pool, some charming independent shops, a decent market and a superior Waitrose. So whether you are a boat owner or a day boater, we highly recommend coming by road or river to Wallingford on a voyage of discovery.
A half a day on one of our new electric boats, starting from our Wallingford base, can take you down to Day's Lock for a walk up to Wittenham Clumps.
Adrian Desmond led a lively legal practice in Reading for many years until the lure of a less pressured life as a river rat became overwhelming. He sailed away from the daily commute to become a volunteer lock keeper in 2017.
I espied him on duty at Hambleden Lock and after a few hours of gentle persuasion he agreed to come and manage Pure Boating for us. We are delighted to have Adrian on board. If you are passing through Hambleden lock on a Monday don’t forget to give him a wave.
Our website www.pureboating.co.uk is taking live bookings again and is offering a 10% discount for the next couple of weeks as a good way to start the season.
A few years ago I discovered the idyllic location of Henley Sailing club (in Willow Lane, Wargrave, Berkshire) and made a whole bunch of new friends among the small but welcoming group of members. I would urge anyone with even a passing interest in dinghy sailing to come along to an open day and get involved in this charming “slightly eccentric” club.
This coming Saturday is one of the club's open days when you can join a member for a trial sail and see what the club has to offer.
If you have a boat currently on brokerage with us, either through HSC or E-Boatique, you will be reassured to know that my diary is fully committed at least 5 days ahead with viewings, and that our sales hotline is buzzing. If on the other hand you are a prospective purchaser please keep an eye on the websites as new listings are coming in quite frequently.
It is always so nice to see boats that I have been able to find new owners for in the past, pop up on the horizon at random. Last Friday I spotted "MB278" by chance as she was navigating upstream on her way back to her home mooring at Pangbourne college where she is the flagship of this prestigious institution.
If you are looking to purchase a specific boat, please log your requirements with me as we have recently sold a couple of boats without them ever appearing on the website.
You might be interested to know that we have subscribed to Rightboat.com in order to spread the net a little wider. Print advertising has become less crucial and in order to better serve our clients, both buyers and sellers, we are continuously innovating.
Also I continue to write this newsletter each month encouraged by your feedback and by the growing number of subscribers. Thank you for reading and thank you for your lovely comments - please keep them coming.