Messing about on the River Welland

Alfie on board
Alfie on board
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

I’ve known Anthony Grunwell a long time. One of the first shows I did with Spalding Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society was the musical Anything Goes in 2003. Anthony was the director and cast me as the Purser. It’s usually a male role but we were short on men so a little dramatic licence was required.

I remember being dressed in naval uniform, singing the opening number ‘Bon Voyage’ - ‘There’s no cure like travel to help you unravel.’

Last week Anthony and I took to the high seas once more. Well, not quite. The River Welland, to be exact. This time it was Anthony playing the role of the officer, as operations manager for Spalding Water Taxi.

Although the water taxis have stopped running for the winter period, they are available for self-hire, along with the company’s handsome narrow boat, named All Well And Good. It was the narrow boat which I found myself on, supping a cup of coffee and enjoying the views along the river bank, along with Anthony’s excitable but gorgeous little dog, Alfie.

“I’m not keen on the idea of self-hire,” I said. “Dougie and I argue when we are in a car; this would just end in tears.”

“You don’t have to steer the boat yourself if you don’t want to,” Anthony reassured me. “You can book the boats with a pilot. But it’s not difficult. Why not have a try?”

With that, he replaced my mug with the tiller and told me to take over. Panic ensued but with Anthony’s calm instructions, I soon realised that you move the tiller in the opposite direction to the one your brain thinks is correct. Once I had conquered this, it was plain sailing. Heading towards Crowland, it was so peaceful and relaxing; quite incredible to think we had only just left the outskirts of Spalding.

Anthony talked me through turning the narrow boat through 360 degrees and we returned unscathed to the mooring at Locks Mill House where we chatted about the boats and the people who hire them out.

Anthony is open to ideas as he is keen to offer a bespoke service. He told me he recently organised a corporate day for a company, taking their sales team to Crowland where they lunched at the Olde Bridge Inn. There was also a successful hen night. The friends of the bride-to-be dressed the narrow boat the day before, arranged for a Chinese meal to be delivered, then Anthony did the steering while the party was in full swing.

The boat doesn’t have a licence to sell alcohol so guests can bring their own drinks, unless they are booked on one of the narrow boat experiences which include complimentary Prosecco and canapes. Nothing is too much trouble - if there is something you would like to do or have arranged for you, Anthony is on hand to try and make it happen.

If you want to know more, give Anthony a ring on 07740 664017. Mention me and he’ll give you a discount.

Now that’s something to sing about.

You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at