Docklands in January? ‘It’s redolent with the promise of summer…’

I love this time of year. Everybody is getting very excited in the build-up to Christmas, there are (with any luck) some of those glorious bright and crisp sunny winter days to lift the spirits and, most importantly, the London Boat Show is looming ever larger on the horizon.

Stocking-fillers for skippers, from a tenner to half a mil

For all those suffering the annual problem of what to put underneath the tree for their boat-obsessed other halves, here are some suggestions – some to be taken more seriously than others…

Kraken news for Thames

Huzzah! The river bobbies are coming back. Earlier this year, I bemoaned the loss of the very excellent PC Jim Halstead who was a regular sight aboard the launch he shared with Environment Agency officers whilst patrolling our bit of the Thames.

Why a floating house is good for the head (and toasty warm)

“Doesn't it get terribly cold in the winter?” That was my first question to Pamela and Edward Burrell aboard their beautiful old Dutch barge, Angelus, when I went to their mooring at Sunbury to talk to them about living on the river.

The life of a crossing and a terrible slur on left-handed men

Earlier this year, I took my old Seamaster cruiser Terra Nova up the Thames from her mooring at Shepperton towards Staines – and as I passed Dumsey Meadow, I was struck by how beautiful Chertsey Bridge looked in the morning sunshine.

We should have been asked!

“What's going on down by the river at Weybridge,” asked my regular contact Doug the Ancient Angler, “and just why have they chopped all the beautiful trees down?"

Barge on board the Venturer to capture scenes of river life

Charities find very diverse ways of raising money for their causes but one of the most original – and effective – has recently been demonstrated by the good people associated with the Thames Boat Project, which was set up to help make the Thames more accessible to a wide range of people.

Seal fans, look away now

So the clocks have gone back, Marks and Sparks have got all their Christmas merchandise out on display and the youngsters are letting off fireworks left right and centre ahead of Guy Fawkes’ night. The summer is officially over.

Old salt lends sea cadets a hand as they struggle to keep HQ shipshape and dry

I'm always delighted to hear about the hard work put in by volunteers aimed at helping youngsters make the most of their free time. So it was with a great deal of pleasure that I attended the official unveiling of a new roof for the premises housing Sunbury and Walton Sea Cadets on the banks of the Thames next to Shepperton Marina recently.

Kraken idea, hope it works

As regular readers of this column will know, I deplored the decision by Surrey Police to remove the only officer dedicated to patrolling our stretch of the Thames back in August.