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A birthday nightmare at Calcutt Boats

A birthday nightmare at Calcutt Boats

Not really what I was expecting when I agreed to book my boat in for blacking.

During my stay:

  • Booking was recorded as just hull blacking: On the phone I asked for a blacking, service and mooring. I confirmed this by email, to which there was no reply. When I arrived, I was told there were no moorings available, despite the fact I’d organised to have the carpets cleaned which meant moving all the furniture around and some of it off the boat. It was claimed they ‘hadn’t received the email’. I had asked for the service on the phone and confirmed it all by email. They claimed they didn’t receive that.
  • Washing up was stolen from communal area: Not a big thing you might think. When the boat was on the crane and I wasn’t allowed to do any washing or release of grey water from the sides of the boat, I did a bit of washing up in the communal area. Within the space of 2 hours, I had the only 2 mugs I own stolen plus 3 sharp veg. knives and some spoons. I don’t have any more mugs. Now I will have to go out and buy some more.
Damaged wheel hub
Damaged wheel hub
  • Car vandalised in the carpark. Parked my car under the tree in the carpark overnight. The next morning I arrived to drive off the following morning, and noticed the wheel had been damaged.
    As the car was parked directly next to a piece of derelict machinery on the side that was damaged. No vehicles were able to come alongside and I have difficulty looking at the way that damage comes from the inner wheel to the outer wheel, how such damage could be caused.
  • Negligent engine service by boatyard. The boat was returned to me after the engineer had said it was ‘good-to-go’. This was after he had had problems completing the service on it. He left the engine half done after starting work at 4.30pm. Not turning up the following day like he had promised when he did a turn up, he did about 1/2 an hours work on it and said the boat was fine and ready to take away. It wasn’t. Bonnie made it 300 yards before it broke down.

What a birthday treat from Calcutt Boats! I was in some trepidation about spending my birthday up on stilts on the boat. Now I know it was a bad idea.

Letter of complaint

I had to write a letter of complaint to the owner, Roger.

Broken down after a service at Calcutt
Broken down after a service at Calcutt – Here’s a picture of where my boat had broken down at the top lock.

To be fair. Work on Bonnie was given priority over some of the other jobs that needed to be done by the boatyard.

It took roughly 1.5 days to sort it out completely.

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Weedon -> Calcutt Boats

Weedon -> Calcutt Boats

Calcutt Boats

Supposedly to get a Eberspächer fitted, which on arrival, they claim to know nothing about.

As well as that, they’ve given me an invoice with a cost from my last visit. That was on the 8th July 2017.

An invoice that was paid at the time. On my querying it. The guy Matt, went off and brought out another invoice.

This time the invoice, which was again paid at the time, had been “entered it into the system wrongly”.

For this reason. It was up to me to pay it again.

Calcutt Boats dodgy invoice
Calcutt Boats dodgy invoice

Whether they’re trying to scam me out of money here, I don’t know. I do have eyes. That’s certainly what it looks like to me.


Apart from that I’ve had some blacking done.

Blacking at Calcutt Boats
Blacking at Calcutt Boats

Hull Blacking at Calcutt Boats
Hull Blacking at Calcutt Boats

Hull Blacking at Calcutt Boats
Hull Blacking at Calcutt Boats

Fitting Anodes at Calcutt Boats
Fitting Anodes at Calcutt Boats

This and a service, which, to be honest, I could have done anywhere.


The main reason for bringing the boat here was to have it priced for the fitting of an Eberspächer.

Something which was agreed in emails months before.

When I arrived. They claimed no knowledge of it.

Bourne End to Weedon

Bourne End to Weedon

Or so it seems…..

In two days.

Done 15 locks in two days.

That’s in 40 miles.

Not Kennet and Avon style that’s for sure. These pounds are 10-15 miles long.

All you need do is put the boat in gear and sit back.

Dead easy.

Watch the world go by.

Grand Union Canal

Is like a Kennet and Avon where everything works, the locks function, the paddles don’t leak madly. Sluices open in the same uniform number of turns. You don’t need boards to get on and off your boat when you moor up.

Pounds are long.

There are many boat yards, places to stock up, get fuel.

So different to the Kennet.

BMC fuel pump problems

My boat has got a slight problem.

It’s leaking fuel.

The fuel leaks into the sump pan, and gently fills the pan up whilst wasting me money.

I’m currently heading to somewhere that can fix this problem.

This place recommended by ABC Marina in Aldermaston when they did my service.

It’s called Calcutt Engineering. I’ll be dropping in in the next few days, so I’ll give my verdict on them.

Otherwise, it’s been a long and hot day boating. I’m not settling down with my beer and going to watch a bit of telly, then go to sleep, ready for the day ahead.

Here’s some shots from along the canal


Heron hides in bushes

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