About five years ago, another one of my favourite clients Mike Manisty that I’d recruited part-time into my team (ex-CIO HM Prison Service) decided after a year or so to retire full-time.  As a parting thank you he offered Debbie and I lunch on his small electric powered open boat he kept at his home on the Thames on the outskirts of Windsor.

“Mad” Mike & his lovely wife Hilary hosted us on a beautiful hot sunny day with prosecco and some lovely snacks while tied up to a riverside tree not too far from Bray studios.  This reignited my passion for boating – despite my previous experience of owning Jaslee all those years before – she had sank after all!

The following weekend after deciding that we both wanted to own a boat going forward, Debbie and I investigated a number of abandoned wrecks along the various Thames boatyards before finally settling on Nutbrown.  She was a 21 foot fibreglass Sealine Senator 210 with an inboard 3 litre Mercruiser petrol engine capable of 30 knots.  I should have smelt a rat, the speed limit on the non-tidal Thames is 5 knots..

Before joining the civil service Mike had been in the Royal Navy (in submarines rather ominously) and offered to help crew Nutbrown from the marina in Bray down to Penton Hook marina which is about three minutes drive from our house in Thorpe.

Along the way we had a torrential downpour of rain and I remember Debbie and Emma hunkering down in the front cabin while Mike and I took turns to hold an umbrella over the exposed hatch as we had taken the canopy down for better visibility.

I can’t remember at which lock I nearly rammed several other boats at high speed when the throttle got stuck, or the one where Debs tripped on getting out to moor, but in the end we got to our destination relatively safely with our enthusiasm only slightly dampened.

What followed was 5 years of ownership, Lots of prosecco and picnics onboard (often while on our mooring) and about ten circular trips out to Chertsey lock on tick over before returning to Penton Hook.

Mad? Yes, of course but great fun nonetheless despite as is usual in my experience of selling her Just after a full service, new canopy & boat safety certificate. In the end she sold very quickly and we were both sad she had to go, but pleased she went to what seemed a very nice family.

Back from the boatyard
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Guess what I’m doing?
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Emma and Debs watching…
Heading towards Chertsey lock
TV aerial not radar above me
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Emma or Jackie Onassis?
Welsh flag….

On the retirement front I got a call from John at work this morning telling me that my attendance at the July team day to say my farewells had been modified to an informal team dinner for both Debbie and I at my favourite Egham restaurant “Bar 163”.  To say I was thrilled at this suggestion was an understatement & I’m really looking forward to it!  

On the moving front all houses in the chain seem to have been taken off the market or labelled sold subject to contract on the web which is a huge relief. 😀


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