The Home Brew Boat’s first and last festivals of 2014

Before our initial six-month narrow boating adventure in April 2009, Barry spent months voraciously reading waterways related blogs. One of the main ones he relished was Andrew Denny’s ‘Granny Buttons’. We were understandably thrilled to meet him in person on our second venture from NZ to UK, in May 2010, when we fortuitously moored next to his boat one evening, and, after phoning him, despite not being on board, he got in his car and drove to see us.

Andrew hasn’t written his intriguing and incredibly popular blog for over two years now, mainly due to time constraints since he became Assistant Editor at Waterways World. His snippets of on-line wisdom are missed, but his contribution to the publication are many fold, and we enjoy hearing his tales of the latest news ‘on the cut’.

You’ll have gathered that we hold him in high esteem, and have been fortunate enough to meet up with him a few times since returning ‘indefinitely’ in 2013.

Last week we were delighted to discover him in Birmingham at the same time as us, and we enjoyed a couple of evenings together.


Enjoying a drink and a catch up on board Areandare with Andrew


An autumnal evening in Birmingham, snuggled up next to nb Granny Buttons

On Thursday evening we met Andrew at a ‘Wine Merchant and Tasting House’ in Birmingham, called Loki’s. With over 900 fine wines available to purchase, all way out of our price range, we got to sample one of their 24 in-house ‘tasting’ wines. I had a rather delicious Pinot Noir from New Zealand, my favourite.

I may be biased, but the wine Barry makes on the boat comes a very close second to it, and for a fraction of the price, but it was lovely to be out drinking fine wine—thank you Andrew.


Andrew and Barry walking through Great Western Arcade after our little tipple at Loki’s (the arms around each other was for the camera—I think!

The Bond – first and last festivals of 2014

Shortly after we had set up The Home Brew Boat earlier this year, we received an unexpected email from Jenny, one the organisers of The Bond, Digbeth’s ‘Seasonal Markets’, inviting us to come in April 2014 to The Bond Spring Market. We were honoured to be one of only two boats at the event, our companion being Sarah Henshaw on The Book Barge, during her book launch tour for the laugh-out-loud funny and extremely well-written ‘The Book Shop that Floated Away‘.

The Spring Markey was my first foray into Facepainting, and The Home Brew Boat’s inaugural event.

What a long way we’ve travelled since then!

We didn’t get to their summer market, but as we were going to be in the area we contacted Jenny to see if they had a space for us at their autumn market. Fortunately they had. It’s quite a different atmosphere to a canal festival with only two boats visiting and trading.


The sun shone intermittently to keep the crowds coming

And guess who showed up for a chat?

Yes, Richard Parry, CEO or CaRT! We are incredulous that he’s been at every single festival we’ve traded at this year. Whatever some people may think about CaRT, and what’s going well or needs improvement, I challenge anyone who doesn’t believe in Richard’s commitment to the waterways of the UK. We love him, thank you for your support and we hope to chat again soon.


Richard Parry chats with Alison Tuck, from Da Vinci Crafts


A great location, Barry was kept busy talking about his favourite subject all day!

Yesterday we travelled back up the 19 locks to Birmingham, and today Barry will be heading to Wolverhampton where he’ll be descending the 21 locks alone, and heading to Oxley Marina. I’m off to Malpas on grandma duty until Saturday.

My hope is that by the time I return, there will have been a multi-fuel stove fitted in our living area, as well as a part of the wall dividing that area and the kitchen cut away so I’m not so cut off from guests when they’re on board.

I suspect the most likely scenario will be a boat full of work-in-progress, we shall see!

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