Thursday, 17 January 2019

Serco-Mears?

Have you ever heard of Serco-Mears?  No neither had I until just the other day when it was announced that they have just been awarded a government contract worth £2.9 billion pounds. Now it’s bad enough that the government is giving £2.9 billion to a company not many have heard of, but the purpose will stun you.

This contract is for the purpose of building homes for ‘asylum’ seekers! Outsiders! Now I don’t want to seem uncaring, disingenuous, or perish the thought RAAAAAAACIST, but when was the last time the government gave £2.9 billion to a house building project for social housing to house our homeless or ex-service or those trapped in sub-standard private accommodation? NEEEEEEEEVER!!!

OK on top of that If the company gets 10% profit that’s £290 million, let me put that better way,

£290,000,000.

And you can bet they get more than 10%


Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Connecting to what!

So today I moved from Atherstone down to Nuneaton. Whilst the signal, Internet/phone, in Atherstone was fair (and I by no means use that to say properly useable) the signal in Nuneaton is garbage! No phone very little internet.

Earlier today my phone tells me I am connected to the internet. Yet when I try to google pound/euro exchange rates I am told to make sure I have a signal!

Now I may be a bit old fashioned here, but if I pay for something I expect to get it. As in if I have a mobile phone I expect to take it to different places and use it. I most certainly do not expect it to tell me,

NO SERVICE AVAILABLE

not even emergency services. I mean what if I fell and broke my leg or had a heart attack?

Yes I know coverage is not guaranteed, but I am in a town fer cris’ake not out in the country (where the signal is, for some strange reason, better).

How long have mobile phones been going now 25/30 years? Isn’t it about time the system was sorted to function properly. No, I know there is never going to be 100% coverage, but the system needs changing.

Lower Heyford generally only works with O2, but if you go up on the bridge over the platforms you might OK with several ISPs. Why is that?There should be one company responsible for supplying signal then all the phone companies could sell you phones and packages. You pay them, they pay the signal company.

No its not complicated! Electricity/Gas/Rail they all have a company that deals with pylons/pipes/rails and several ‘suppliers’ that deal with customers. I can’t believe it hasn’t been done before!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

On being able to write

For some time now I have had problems with my laptop. Several of my keys failed to work S G H M didn’t work at all. Several others worked if you persisted. No capitals at all.

If you have ever had a problem with a lap top keyboard you may or may not know about the onscreen keyboard. It is not easy to write with the pointing device, but its OK in an emergency. A mouse would be better, certainly faster.

2019-01-15 It suddenly occurred to me today that rather than struggle writing on my phone then emailing to me to cut and paste, I could buy a keyboard! This I have now done and am able to actually get back to doing what I like, writing.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Brexit

Sorry, but I just do not believe Teresa is up to the  job.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Long time no see.

Well what can I say? Here I am currently enjoying the varied delights of Aylesbury basin. I am moored opposite Waitrose. Reeeeesult!

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I have done a few jobs that were in need of doing, tightening up the tap in the kitchen, fixing a drawer also in the kitchen. I fitted a new socket in the bedroom for the TV, although its wired the other end of the wire isn’t, I am yet to work out how to get it to the socket I will spur it off. It also has 3 USBs in it for phone charging.

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Smokeless fuel is £6.95 a 10kg bag, but only £14 for three at B&Q. So that’s 30kgs, but if I go on Wednesday its OAPs discount day so another 20% off the £14 is £11.20 for the 30kgs. Bargain!

I used to live in this area some 25 years ago. I was a technical instructor at RAF Halton The Nº! School Of Technical Training, only a few miles from my current location. We went out for a drive around the old RAF camp which has now closed down, you know just for the memories. We stopped at my old house. Some 35 years ago I bought two Thunbergii conifers which at the time were grown in 1 1/2 inch pots and stood only 2 or 3 inches high. By the time I arrived at this house they were nearly 2 feet high. I planted them either side of the footpath. I knew from m last visit, before I got my boat that one had been removed because it was breaking the pavement. The survivor was now breaking the pavement and was in need of felling.

46449181_1935403480096555_5620466895867084800_n You can just make out between the front door and the gas box there is a short path. I laid that path in 1989, almost 30 year ago, using some slabs I found somewhere and some bricks out of an electric storage heater. Happy Days!

Where I say we I no longer specifically mean me and Molly. I am referring to me and Susan a lady friend of mine who travels with me on occasions.

46519742_537456806723739_5971843354378371072_nThis was us in Susan's house in  France in August.

Susan’s history is as Madame Chavagnon the wife of the greatest chef ever in Oxford, André Chavagnon. Yes I know some of you will say ah but what about Raymond Blanc, but to you I can only say who do you think taught Raymond?

André, an award winning Master Chef, 3* Michelin, ran La Sorbonne just off the High Street, Rouge Blanc Bleu in Gloucester Square and My Cuisine in the Cowley Road. He served many celebs of the day including Ted Heath the PM, Macca, Jane Asher and many more recorded in the customers comments books Susan still has. André was also a champion Boule Player and held the world title for the UK for a while. Sadly no longer with us, André died August 2017 after a 10 year struggle with dementia. Both Susan and André loved boats but never got around to buying their own. I have known them both since about 2011. Unfortunately I never got to eating at one of André’s establishments as he was already ill when I met him, but little André follows in his fathers foot steps and he is goooooooood!

46667960_2134587703231198_7331194821320638464_nThis was us in the Loire Valley

Susan and I got together earlier this year. We both have a love for good food and good wine so we kinda fit!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

University Bullshit

There was an interesting story in the Oxford times today. The University has purchased the city’s only all female social accommodation at Farndon Court on the Woodstock Road. The current occupants of the 97 room building were given two months to find somewhere else to live in October, which makes them homeless just before Christmas.

Now students need accommodation, I don't deny that, but the University doesn’t have to use bullshit to cover up what is a most appalling situation.

A spokesperson for Oxford university said, “We have decided to buy Farndon Court in order to provide accommodation for 100 post-graduate students, which in turn will ease the burden on Oxfords rental market”.

Me, I don’t see how making 100 people (young women) homeless just before Christmas is easing the burden on the rental market.

OU seems to be riding roughshod over the city, as they always have. They have the land and money to build their own accommodation, they have enough pull to get plans accepted and not effectively steal accommodation from Oxfords ‘indigenous’ population.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Done it again.

This afternoon I came home and reached to put my bucket on the roof. PLOP!!! My bloody phone fell in the canal. Bank card Bus pass and £45. I cant afford to live on the canal ant more.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

When?

Further to my good news last week I still have to have a telephone consultation with my doctor. I had a phone call this morning to arrange it. The earliest it can happen is Oct 1. The good news is it only next month not next year.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Result

One has the all clear. Apparently my issue is Gynaecomastia. Easily treatable. Not cancerous. Hoorah!

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Oh bloody hell

So here I am about to feck off up the canal, when I pop into the doc with a small problem. (It took me a week to actually get an appointment). I now have to go to to the Breast cancer clinic at the Churchill.

I have been there before for my right breast, and had a biopsy, which turned out to be not a problem. However this time my left  breast has pain. It does not bode well, but I am James Fucking Bond it will not win!

To anybody out there who says, but you are a man how can you have breast cancer? I will say I have MOOBS.


Saturday, 18 August 2018

Roanne Loire Valley

It's been a week or two since I last wrote. Been a busy boy. I am sitting on a Eurostar train returning from the first proper holiday I have a in 12 years, not counting the 4,329 days I have pent  pootling around the canals. Here are some of the things I have seen during my travels.

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Saturday, 11 August 2018

PPI

Have you ever had a call from somebody asking if you had ever had PPI? I bet you have. And I bet you told them to feck off.

Have you ever thought of claiming PPI? Why should I you ask. Well because there is money in it! We all like money! You don’t have to let some stranger do it for you and take 33%. You can do it yourself. Just walk in to your bank and ask for a PPI reclaim form. Its that easy and you get all the money owing. Does that not make sense?

I did I got a payoff of £390. But being lazy I had to pay the agent £130 but I still got £260 I wouldn’t have otherwise received. Bugger me if a few months later I didn't receive a cheque for just over £1000 as a final offer. I kept all that.

The only problem with PPI is its not the bank that are giving you money well, not directly.

I remember when some time back £75k would earn you £500 a month in an ordinary bank savings account. £75k today earns about £25. Oh you say that’s because the interest is low! To which I would counter, Why?

Banks are having to pay back millions upon millions of pounds because they robbed you with PPI. In order to pay you back you are being robbed again with low interest rates. You can bet your sweet bippy they are not getting just £25 for £75k

OK so to get the best out of your bank it is your duty to apply for PPI. The only way you are going to get any return on your savings is to claim PPI.

Friday, 10 August 2018

And now!

Try as I might I cant seem to find the wherewithal to come here regularly to write. As much as I want to there is always something else to do.

I started this blog in 2004, that's 14 years ago. There are some blogs that have lasted longer, but not many. So what's been happening in my  little life of late? Well I gave you the rundown on my health issues a while back and it seems now that I am good to go.

I met Susan and we spend a lot of time together we both like good food and good wine. We seem to spend a lot of time in restaurants. She has a small house in France and I am going to visit her there soon.

When I return I shall set off on my way oop norf! or maybe dahn sauf. Don't know yet.

Catch ya later!

Friday, 27 July 2018

Speeding & damage

Overall I am fairly blasé about speeding in relation to rocking the boat. I live on a boat and expect the boat to move. I get a bit pissed off where I currently am because my ropes are slack to make allowance for the water level which can vary a foot between early morning and mid evening.  For a week I was actually stuck on the bottom so didn't move an inch after mid-day. Of course having your pins bent like this (pic) is an annoyance. This is the biggest pin Midland Chandlers sell and it was firmly in the ground right up to the ring. Oh and they do cost 15 quid! You’re right I dont have to moor here, but we have dogs and this is a shady, cool place. Pembroke from the College Cruisers stable hit me a good ‘un because he couldn’t control the boat at the speed he was doing.

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Many boats seem not to know the rules. In fact they seem not to know that there actually are rules. Ask them if they have read the Boaters Handbook and they look at you like you just spoke Martian.

The rules for not speeding are not about rocking boats and bending pins, however annoying that is, its about the environment. A chap passed me a few days ago breaking wash. Half way down the side of my boat he opened up the throttle!

If I travel on my boat at 1 mph I will do a certain amount of damage to the bank, small but some (lets call it 10). If I travel at 2 mph that damage is quadrupled, 40! So thats double the speed = 4 times the damage or wear. If I travel at 4 mph that 40 is quadrupled again, 160. Now assuming there is no breaking wash, that is a lot of damage. If there is breaking wash (and you don’t have to be doing over 4 mph for that to happen) then the damage is totally unacceptable. Few boaters know this, but it is a standard in engineering. Yes I know you are only washing a very small amount of the bank away, barely colouring the water sometimes but the next thousand boats past will do the same or worse.

Breaking wash can appear when you least expect it. The width of the canal does vary and what is a good speed for this one hundred yards is not necessarily a good speed for the next hundred yards.

Your hull can determine at what speed your wash will break, that you cant change. Also the width of the canal and the depth of the water. On a narrow canal your wash doesn't have enough time to lose its energy before reaching the bank, whereas on a wide canal it does. There are variations, a shallow wide canal as opposed to a deep narrow canal and all points in between.

Breaking wash most often appears where the water is the shallowest, on the off side where there is a slope up to the bank. So not only does normal speed damage the bank, slower speed can when the water is shallow. If you don’t want to break wash, and that is a rule, we should all be spending time looking behind us to see what is happening. It doesn’t happen in front. We should all monitor how our boat is performing in the water.

Something else that also affects affects the wash is this stupid habit people have of traveling with their fenders down and dragging in the water. Side fenders more properly known as ‘mooring fenders’ are for mooring. Almost every boat has a rubbing strake, that’s the ‘D’ section steel strip that  runs down the side of your hull, most often end to end. Its job is to protect the boat from scraping along the sides of locks etc, whereas a mooring fender is to cushion your hull from the piling/bank/etc when moored up. In fact mooring fenders are the most common cause of temporary lock stoppages. They break off in the locks and migrate to behind the bottom gate preventing it opening, or behind the sill preventing the gate closing. Come guys it is not rocket science! I know it wont have any effect on you but I laugh at idiots that think traveling with fenders down is the thing to do. It is a far greater offence than hanging your stern rope over the tiller. I don’t want any responses about this, the rubbing strake is sacrificial just like anodes.

Now then all that aside there is another factor we as boaters should be considering. The Wildlife! So often boaters don’t think about that little bundle o’ fluff sitting in the water three or four boat lengths in front (more often than not they cant even see them), or what is under the boat trying its hardest to get away from their propeller. Believing they can all get away is at best out right stupidity. This year especially I am sick of seeing little floating corpses caused by inconsiderate tiller jockeys.

4 mph is not a target, it is a maximum, but you should always take conditions into account, moored boats, wildlife, width, depth at this time of the year when you can see water has fallen below the level of the underlying silt.