She’s back on an even keel

Some loving TLC as we restore a little wheel power to beloved Terra Nova

Casting off off for pastures new – Mort’s on the move

What a beautiful weekend we’ve just enjoyed. Temperatures up into the high teens, wall-to-wall sunshine and memories of that abysmal winter rapidly vanishing into a distant haze.

Don’t bank on pontoons

Mort Smith and his brother, Alan, stand beside Terra Nova - are they all too old for another adventure?

Sometimes people come up with brilliant ideas out of the blue – an innovative way of attacking a problem that suddenly reveals the obvious solution from a fog of uncertainty.

Headway for the Medway

The paddle steamer Medway Queen is towed out of Bristol Docks on her way back to the Medway

I was absolutely delighted to receive an email from Alan and Jean Barrett of Walton following on from my piece about the restoration of the old paddle steamer, the Medway Queen, in last week’s Herald and News.

Brother, this was great

Double trouble: Alan, left, and Mort Smith.

It was well worth the wait. My brother Alan and I finally took Terra Nova out for a run two weekends ago and it was wonderful to be back out on the water.

The captain of clean-up

My brother Alan, and I have been working on our old Seamaster Admiral cabin cruiser, Terra Nova, to get her ready to go back into the water.

I’ve neglected the old girl for too long

Terra Nova looking a little the worse for wear at the back of the boatyard – but work on refurbishment will get under way soon, says Mort

I took a wander down to the Bridge Marine boatyard on Sunday – just to check that Terra Nova, the old Seamaster Admiral cabin cruiser that Julie and I own along with my brother, was still where I left her when she came out of the water back in October.

A reminder of the unsung heroes of our waterways

Teddington Lock

£60,000 refit to keep lock gates in pride of place for years to come

‘Wonder’ product that is just that

Mort Smith stands beside the bow of Terra Nova

I usually ignore all television advertising – I haven’t believed a single claim manufacturers make about their ‘wonder’ products – commercials are simply an annoying interruption to whichever programme I happen to be watching as far as I’m concerned.

The signs of autumn


There are some sights that really bring home to me that autumn has arrived and winter can’t be far behind it – and one of those is seeing the huge flocks of rooks that wheel in acrobatic formations over the Thames mornings and evenings.