Brand new baby boat ‘Barcarolle’ bobs about buoyantly before braving maiden voyage #narrowboat #boating #hire

The Venetian Open Day this past weekend was a hoot.

One of the things that made it so was hitching a ride on Venetian Hire Boats‘ new baby ‘Barcarolle’ – and copping a steer of the wee beastie too.

Ideal for up to eight for day-hire, Barcarolle’s unique trick is having also been designed to be ridiculously ideal for two for overnight and weekend jaunts. All of the pros and the only cons are the all mod cons included. For happy couples the bed is a double, while catering for those who have perhaps been “together” slightly longer; two singles.


If requested ankle-chain securing points can be fitted to the kitchen sink, although please note that under current legislation these must be regarded as “unisex”. Their use is deprecated however since, if you think about it, if the “significant other” is chained to the galley sink how can they also help out at locks or act as anchor for the centre-rope when mooring?

Here’s a spot of video of Barcarolle mooching around, giving trips to trippers. The weather was a tad on the dull side of French-kissing a llama, so the video colour and contrast and brightismness had seen better days before it was even taken.

It must be said, little Barcarolle steers like a sports car. A sports boat. The phrase “turns on a sixpence” comes to mind, but in truth – as you will see in the video – tis more that he can turn on a politician’s dinner plate.

There is a peculiar phenomenon (no, not my utter animal gorgeousness)… a peculiar phenomenon that occurs while turning the wee beastie, as I found out for myself a couple of days later. Keep a little bit of speed on him and part-way into a turn the “going around a corner” effect turns into “spinning on his own axis”.

When I say “spinning on his own Axis” I am not, of course, referring to Messrs Germany and Madmoiselles la belle (and burning) France spreading themselves over Europe, that is a matter entirely separate and hardly worthy of the term “Axis”, given the players.

Nope, I am referring to a point where, in my beloved Cardinal, I would be ringing on the Chadburn for “half-astern you shovel-fumbling layabouts in the engine room” in anticipation of a two or three-point turn, while in wee Barcarolle you just keep your nerve (any that you have left, anyway) and the spinning around begins.

On the second trip just a couple of days ago I attempted to get some fresh video, only to have my Chinese GoPro-Substitute record everything of the first two minutes and then retire with ill-grace, citing “memory full”. This is a shame, since the footage would have included not only me, myself and yours truly putting Barcarolle through his turning paces, but also clonking the poor beastie on putting him back into Cholmondeston Lock – and clonking him with half of the two proprietors of Venetian Hire Boats aboard

That is to say, two halves of the same proprietor, comprising one whole half of the two proprietors, not Sue’s legs and BJ’s torso or vice versa.

Nanny? I need more coffee, and mayhap a couple of my little green pills, the ones marked “For Dire Off-On-A-Tangent Emergencies Only, to be taken with alcohol”.

The proprietors calming Barcarolle down again and assuring him that “the nasty man will never be allowed aboard again, and certainly never at the tiller, there, there, there…” (No, but seriously, of all of the damned times to [male hen]-up a simple locking!).
After a bit of a bottom-lip tremble Barcarolle recovered sufficiently to be out as I type on his first commercial cruise all alone, all alone with the customer that is, not… although… no, that would be too spooky.


Anyway, in short, to wit and not to put too fine a point on it (unless you’re making arrows or something for the Army), I had great fun playing with the new baby boat.

Barcarolle; perfect for those romantic weekends à deux afloat.

Provided that you have someone deux.


No, silly! I mean that you could just hide away on the Shropshire Union or the Middlewich branch or even the Llangollen if you’re speedy, with a stash of comestibles and a good book (something serious and deep by Barbara Cartland perhaps).

You can even book Barcarolle (and his larger siblings) online…

Venetian Hire Boats & Chandlery.

By ‘eck, it’s amazing what fun a chap can have just by turning up at an open day and standing around looking as though he’s escaped from the care-in-the-community minibus. I do it all of the time. It’s a bit like getting lots of post by filling in coupons for free samples, or getting visitors by ringing up double-glazing companies or builders and asking them to quote on spurious works.

Anyway, that was a couple of my recent days.

And that’s one hell of a good title for my autobiography: The Spurious Works of Hutson.

[Ten perforated volumes, published by Izal.] 🙂

Next post will be a little about the other business that I visited during the open day, Narrowboat Glass… yep, stained and leaded glass with all kinds of themes, including boaty ones.


Ian H.


  1. It sounds suspiciously like the Cardinal is going to get fancy glass to make up for your fling with a mini boat. Which is well and proper. Its a crying shame when boat owners get their heads turned by fancy young ones.


  2. Ah, wonderful! A full turn at a ‘turning hole’ thank you, they make it look easy with the wee boats, I expect the Cardinal huffs and puffs a bit. Looked a lovely day though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once I clear the memory in the damned GoPro Substitute thingy I’ll video a few turnings and mayhap put the better ones on here – it’s all a matter of judging the speed, the wind direction and how deep the edges of some of the winding holes are! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You had me at “steers like a sports car”. A lovely boat, but being used to sailboats in more open water, the canals always look tricky and requiring skill ( or a great deal of boat repair capacity if it was us) This one looks a possibility.
    Fun day. (always fun to terrify the boat companies demonstrating at a boat show HAHA)

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