“Your boat is on the bottom”… Happy new year!

As 2022 ends the Boy and I have left Marple and moved in with R across the other side of South Manchester. As the Boy’s mum doesn’t live far from Marple I make sure I regularly visit the boat on swap days. Being a cruiser stern, water can get in the engine bay and it can build up a fair bit of water so regular checks are really critical and over the run up to Christmas the temperatures dropped and the canal froze so I upped the number of visits. On my Christmas Eve check, I pump the little water that was present out the bilge and made doubly sure the remote heating and dehumidifier was properly working and left her to enjoy Christmas safe in the knowledge everything was usual.

Note: At home I have Home Assistant, a smart home system that enables me to control the house lights, smart plugs and all sorts of things over the internet. Following an incident of frozen pipes in 2021 I added the boat into this via a Zerotier network node so that I can remotely monitor the boat’s temperature and humidity so that I can switch on an oil filled radiator and a dehumidifier via smart plugs on the boat as the situation dictates.

Note: At home I have Home Assistant, a smart home system that enables me to control the house lights, smart plugs and all sorts of things over the internet. Following an incident of frozen pipes in 2021 I added the boat into this via a Zerotier network node so that I can remotely monitor the boat’s temperature and humidity so that I can switch on an oil filled radiator and a dehumidifier via smart plugs on the boat as the situation dictates.

Christmas was as busy as usual and we start the new year with my parents visiting and so on the 2nd January (a bank holiday in the UK) about 2:30 we sit down to have our 3rd (or even perhaps 4th) “Christmas dinner” of the season. As usual was cooking and so I missed the multiple phone calls from an unknown mobile number. However as the meal was complete and the others tidy away the mains to get space for desert I check my phone and notice the multiple calls and a voicemail… Multiple calls from the same number on a bank holiday (or indeed any day are not usual) and as there was a voicemail I decide to listen to it and I hear the words that will remain with me for some time…

“Hi Simon, it’s Colin, your boat is on the bottom”.

I think that can’t be true so I quickly check Home Assistant and confirm the boat is not reporting home and hadn’t been since about 7am that morning… fortunately I hadn’t had more than a glass of wine at that point so Dad and I jump into my car and drive to the marina and indeed the boat is sat on the bottom of the marina. The light was going so nothing we could do that night but set an alarm and ring the insurance company the next morning and work out what to do next.

A bit of background into my narrowboat project

In late 2016 my parents bought “Forget Me Not”, a 40ft cruiser stern narrowboat in Devizes, Wiltshire as an option to use as a movable base for my Dad whilst he was working on IT contracts in the run up to his retirement.
According to a survey they had done when purchsing the boat was apparently made by Brummagen Boats some time in the early 1980s it is powered by a raw water cooled BMC 1500 and at some point has been overplated it’s life before us (this is not unusal for a boat of this age).

“Forget Me Not” at the bottom of Caen Hill flight of locks

It stayed in the Devizes Area with me being a regular visitor through the start of 2017, where I took her down the famous Caen Hill flight of locks, one of the longest continuous lock flights. In the summer of 2017, Mum and Dad took the boat on a long summer cruise up the Kennet and Avon canal, on the the Thames and on to the Oxford canal to Cropredy music festival. At the same time Dad got a contract near Birmingham and the decision was made to move the boat up to Fazeley Marina on the Birmingham and Fazeley canal where Mum and Dad lived on board during the week. Apart from the odd couple of weeks where I took the boat out for short breaks this is where it stayed until May 2019 when Dad finished the contract and retired (for the first time).

At that point I was living in a house in Marple, that backed onto the towpath of the Macclesfield canal and as they live in deepest Somerset, an hour and a half away from the closest Canal, it was decided that I was best placed to keep an eye on the boat and use her. So the trip north started and she would be based in Marple’s Top Lock marina whilst they focused on refitting another boat; a wooden river cruiser, down near London.

The boat arriving in Marple in early June 2019

Whilst the boat has been in Marple I made various internal improvements including replacing 2 chairs my parents liked with a sofa I made from 2 Kelax units as the base and some custom foam cushions (I even sewed the the cushion covers myself). Whilst under my loco-parentis she’s been taken it on various trips including the Cheshire Ring in summer 2020 and to explore the Silver Propeller locations at the ends of the Leek and Cauldon canals in summer 2021.

In October 2021, delayed by Covid-19, the boat received blacking and a fresh coat of paint and she also had a new survey giving her a good bill of health for the years to come.

Coming back from paining and blacking in October 2021

Summer 2022 was marked with the Marple and Bosley lock flights being closed so due to a lack of water so she was restricted to going on local trips. She regularly visited the local hot spots of Bollington on the Macclesfield canal and Bugsworth Basin on the Upper Peak Forest canal and the odd night in the marina and hopes were high for a summer trip in 2023

However, fate had other plans and that’s where the story will continue.

Models Wanted: Online Daters who would like FREE Dating Profile Photographs!

As a Cheshire Wedding Photographer I see more of my clients coming to me having met online at one of the many internet dating websites. When I ask them about their experience one recurring theme is that many online daters have really poor photographs that don’t show them off in the best light. As a photographer who regularly talks about the value in this and got me interested and having researched a few hundred Cheshire dating profile pictures I agree with my clients, there are many users who are failing to get the most out of their internet sating subscriptions by having substandard photographs. I have spent a while researching what makes a good online dating profile picture and one common tip from eHarmony, Plenty of Fish and match.com is to get them professionally taken. So over the next few months I will be launching a new service dedicated to those looking for love online by providing natural, relaxed and fun online dating profile photographs to maximise the opportunity of finding a successful match.

In preparation for this launch I need to capture some real examples that I can use on this website, so if you are an online dater in Manchester, Stockport, Macclesfield or the wider Cheshire area and would like to refresh your dating profile with some FREE professional photographs and are happy to provide me a copy of your current online dating profile photographs that I can use as a before alongside your fantastic new professional online dating profile pictures in my marketing then please get in contact. I need to find 8 online daters (4 men and 4 women) to invite to attend their own personal sessions at a location near Stockport in Late May / Early June, the exact venue and date is being finalised but will likely be a Saturday.

To register your interest please contact me using my Contact Form

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Cheshire Wedding Photographer – Should always hire a Professional!

Unfortunately, once again the newspapers contain a story about a Bride & Groom’s memories of their wedding day having been ruined by a non professional photographer.

Bride and groom left with no snaps of their wedding day after photographer lost memory card in boozy brawl

The headline looks bad but when you read beyond the headlines it appears that Mr & Mrs Sanderson decided to save some money for their reception and honeymoon by asking a friend to photograph one of the most important days of their lives. It appears that the photographer, Ben Fagan, was wanting to build his portfolio but following the wedding rather than backing up the images immediately he put the memory card in his wallet. When he lost the wallet a week later after a fight in a pub he still hadn’t backed up the images. We will probably never know how good a photographer the friend was but what can be certain of is that he failed to follow what Professional Wedding Photographers in Cheshire would deem standard practice.

As a Professional Cheshire Wedding Photographer I know that wedding photographs are precious and I follow a 5-point plan to ensure that my clients always receive their images.

1) Use multiple cameras during the day.

2) Use multiple cards during the day, typically one 4GB or 8GB card per camera for each of the main stages of the wedding; the preps, the ceremony, the reception, and the first dance.

3) Have a system of recognising a used & blank card – this eliminates the possibility of using a card twice and overwriting images from earlier in the day.

4) Backup all the images to the laptop BEFORE leaving the venue.

5) Backup all images from the laptop to an external hard drive BEFORE going to bed (even if this means staying up until 3am)

This means that by the time I go to bed on a wedding day I will have at least 3 copies of all images (1 on the cards, 1 on the laptop and 1 on the external hard drive)

Tight Wedding Budget? You can still get a Professional Cheshire Wedding Photographer

Cheshire Wedding Photographer - Click for more info

It is clear that this wedding was done on a budget; 60 Guests and a UK honeymoon is not exactly extravagant but then neither is Professional Wedding Photography.

Remember; once the cake has been eaten, the flowers have died and you’ve returned from your honeymoon all you have left is your memories and your photographs.

As a Cheshire Wedding Photographer my standard 8hr coverage starts at £575 and is spread over the months before the wedding. To put this in comparison this is just £75 more than a 2 night stay in the Loft Suite at Upton House; the 5* B&B the couple in the article chose to spend the start of their honeymoon before spending a further 6 days in the Cotswolds. Looking at it another way when you add in the time spent processing the images and the time spent on the day this works out at less per hour than a typical garage charges to service your car. If you are on a really tight budget a professional Cheshire Wedding Photographer is likely to be open to negotiation for late booking or reduced coverage deals.

Professional Wedding Photography is really a small price to pay to ensure you get stunning images of your Wedding Day.

Related Blog Posts:

Cheshire Wedding Photographer – What to watch out for…


N.B. The prices of Upton House were checked on 15/06/2012 and was for a 2 night stay starting on 30/06/2012. Other rooms were available at prices ranging from £300 and this may not be representative of the price paid by the Sandersons.

Cheshire Baby Photographer – Celebrating the Jubilee

As well as a Cheshire Baby Photographer in Poynton, I am a Cheshire Wedding Photographer and knowing that this Jubilee weekend I would be photographing 3 weddings “on the bounce” and that with three 15 hour days (and the long hours of editing afterwards) I wasn’t going to get any time to produce something over the weekend itself so last week when I was photographing a 9 day old baby I took the opportunity to get something suitably patriotic and fit for a Queen to celebrate Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

Cheshire Baby Photographer – Jubilee Photograph

Cheshire Baby Photographer - Union Flag Baby

If you are wanting a Cheshire Baby Photographer or Wedding Photographer in Cheshire to help you celebrate the new addition to life or your new life together and would like more information about the services I offer then either use the Contact Me page or ring me on 07968 853 639. Whilst I’m based in Poynton, nr Wilmslow I use studios in Trafford Park and Stockport, I am happy locally such as Macclesfield, Marple or Bramhall and further afield across the North West including Chester, Buxton, Liverpool and Manchester.

God Save the Queen