As some of you know, The Barge was moored behind the water treatment works of Topsham for 2 years in which she has suffered three break-ins. The roof garden that is visible in this shot of her, has been removed.
And it was a frustrating process owing to chainsaws not working and an awkward area to get too and from. But Mark and his friend, along with me, had a good first day at the job; then after two further attempts it was done.
The above shot shows my daughters Jessica and Shannon with Adrian, Jessica’s future husband this year.
With the roof garden gone, The Barge was ready to move.
And she got as far as Topsham because the Exeter Council canal workers refused to open the gates, although it had been ordered by their superiors. So after only 15 minutes she rested again.
The Barge at rest at Topsham lock with Mark Tam, co-owner of Catch22.
This is a shot of The Barge and the Marine Engineer checking her before leaving her tied up for the night. Fifty shades of blue. There she rested before being moved today to Turf Locks where she will escape the canal and be allowed into the Exe Estuary.
Turf Locks with the hotel behind.
Tomorrow at 6am this fine ship with her equally fine crew will sail down the estuary to be moored up awaiting a weather-window, which may appear on Thursday. Good luck and God speed to these worthy British souls as they do only what most of us can dream about. Adventure on the high seas displaying true grit and determination inherent in those of creative idealism and bravery beyond the call. They fear nothing from the deep, only the bureaucratic would-be-gods of this supressing country. Their victory will be our victory in which we can all rejoice by eating at Catch22, soon to become familiar on every lip in the land.
I am sad to see her go but happy at the same time. She looked after me for 15 years and I am sure she will look after Mark and Sam with the same dogged, unbeatable determination the ship has always presented. Mark sent me a photo tonight of the log burner warming the insides. Just one sea journey awaits, something The Barge has never done before, and then the welcome of Plymouth will resound with cheers and calls at Tor Point. Exeter had her and lost her and abused her; let Plymouth rejoice in this fine catch.