The end of the voyage

This my final Riverwatch column. After more than seven years and over 300 editions, this wonderful little newspaper is about to close and rather than cling on grimly until the last moment, I’ve decided to bow out gracefully ahead of time.

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.

Overstaying their welcome no more


Huzzah! I’m delighted to learn that the Environment Agency has signed up with a company who, for a trial period, will help to enforce the mooring regulations on parts of the Thames including Walton and Weybridge.

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.

We need to get started on those flood defences

River Thames

Time to re-energise the diversion plans that have stagnated