What is this site all about? It's about The Booze Cruise, an eight-day holiday on an English canal circuit: the Stourport Ring. Just me and my camera and a lot of film. And six friends. And a sixty-eight foot canal narrowboat.
Here you'll find my 30,000+ word account of the week, of seven people and a canal. It's a guide to being obnoxious and rude to people you've never met before; a diary of the towns, events and emotions that the gallant narrowboat Canterbury coursed through; an intimate and revealing account of myself and the six hapless fools that dared set off around the Stourport Canal Ring.
Basically this site is just an excuse to write lots and show off some of the 520 photographs I took during the week. Seeing as few people will want to plough through a 30,000 word document (pretty pictures or not) you'll also find a picture-book version of the account. This picture-book version consists of captions and pictures that form a brief illustrated diary of each day. If you want more detail on a certain event, just click the caption that sounds interesting, and you'll be taken to the appropriate section of the full account. If you like the look of one of the small pictures (a thumbnail image, as they're often referred to) just click the little version and you'll be taken to a page with a considerably larger version of that photograph, as well as information about what the photo shows, how it was taken, and so on.
Being a rowdy, seven-strong group of 18-year-olds, we did find it difficult to find a boat-hire company that would sell us a narrowboat for the week. In fact, the only company to give us the green light was Anglo-Welsh Waterway Holidays, whose boat-hire base is located in Tardebigge, not too far from Birmingham. If, after reading the entirety of this account, you decide that a holiday on the British canals is what you need, you can contact Anglo-Welsh on 0117 304 1122. Based on our experience, the service is excellent. The staff were welcoming and friendly; they had our shopping collected and delivered to the reception for the morning that we arrived to collect our boat; they gave us a better boat when the one we ordered had a problem. Also, they didn't seem to get too annoyed when we presented them with a list of losses and damages.
I recommend planning your holiday on the canals, because boat hire companies demand that you return their boats at a certain time ready for the next holiday-makers, and if you don't follow a carefully planned schedule you'll end up returning late. For this purpose you should get hold of the relevant Canal Companion guide by J. M. Pearson & Son LTD. They produce a range of these guides that covers most of the canal networks in England. The Pearson's Canal Companions are usually on sale at boat hire bases, and Anglo-Welsh recommended the Stourport Ring Canal Companion when we booked our boat. Using this guide (£7.95 at the time we purchased it) Ben was able to draw up a detailed schedule that we managed to adhere to (most of the week) and return the boat at the right time. You really need one of these guides unless you already intimately know your canal route. And we didn't have a clue.
Am I going too fast? If you've no idea what I'm talking about, maybe you need to read this (blatantly patronizing) section.
First off, what is this England I mentioned? Well, England is one of the three regions of Great Britain, which makes up a big part of the country The United Kingdom (a mildly ironic name for it), which is a member country of the European Union—though the UK is not really sure if it wants to join the EU whole-heartedly, or divorce from it altogether.
Next, what is a canal? An English canal is an inland, man-made waterway probably created in the nineteenth century to allow easy transport of industrial materials between important factories and cities. Nowadays they are used mostly for casual transport, and you'll find plenty of holiday-makers on rented boats, and probably a few people who own their own boats, even live on the things. A British canal boat is called a narrowboat, and they vary in length and colour. They're usually made of steel.
Why did I make this site? Because I wanted to justify spending so much of the week with a camera held to my eye. A camera is a device that focuses light onto silver-halide film to allow colour images of the scene to be recorded. Why not share the best few with the world?
Finally, who on Earth is going to read a 30,000 word account? Well, there's always hope.