Having shamefully abandoned them for months (many, many months) I lent my labours once again to CCNA yesterday and took Tarporley out for a trip. I was particularly interested to see whether it steered as heavily as I remembered. In fact, it didn't. This may be because I've got tougher; it may be because they've straightened the rudder out (have they?); but most likely because I insisted on using the new long tiller bar which, since they had the swans neck straightened (not completely, obviously, just enough), clears the cabin top with ease. It does not however so easily clear the bums of more generously proportioned steerers, hence its under-use. I also admired the new fridge, gasped at the new toilet, and bemoaned the fact that they'd got a new kettle and not given me the old one. Then I went to polish the brass trim on the ornamental water can and made a disastrous discovery - there was NO BRASSO. The shame of it.
We were taking a hen party to Little Venice and then back to Camden where we dropped them off in the lock (no, not literally). I steered all the way back, and it did seem a lot easier - no doubt largely because I've had a lot more practice in the intervening months. Following Mike on Prince Regent I got round Cumberland Turn with no problem, and didn't bang or scrape anything all day.
When we got back to Kings Place, I made the rather gruesome discovery that the shiny new toilet was blocked. I reported it to the skipper of the day (thankfully not me), who recorded it in the log book for the next day's skipper, who is by default, Toilet Officer (I was on the Toilet Subcommittee, but don't recall making any meaningful contribution). Later that evening he rang me to say that this is what comes of taking 'parties like that'. What, I said, women? Apparently, yes. Clearly my Toilet Talk requires refinement.