Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Ok so there I was at the weekend sorting out my living room after the onslaught of Alex repairing the roof. (Well done Alex). Everything in the living room was carted out onto the towpath. I had bought, a while ago, some waste bins to use as storage and duplicate as foot stools. In one of these I keep my notebooks, in the other some art materials. I thought this was very clever.photo (1) Last year I got some proper foot stools but still l kept the others. This, as you can imagine, took up a lot of space. What I needed to do was combine the two  but still keep the functionality of the storage. photo (9)Simple task, easy execute!photo (8) Fecking genius!

Has no one seen this girl?


My roof

If you have tar on your roof take the hat off, this should cure it. I know some will say what about the rain to which I would say what about it? During the winter my fire is continuously lit. Any water going down the chimney will evaporate before it causes a problems. When the fire is not lit it can be covered.

For a long time now my boat has been suffering from a surfeit of tar, both on the roof and inside the ceiling and dripping on to my stove.  Last year I bought a new collar and arranged for a friend to fit it, but ran out of time during the summer. This year  I was determined to get the roof fixed. I was thinking to remove the old collar reseal the flue and fit the new collar. We all know things are never as simple as that,

This is the old collar, rusted to death a mere shadow of its former self.  DSCF1658 DSCF1659








What you may notice is, the top of the flue is inside the bottom of the collar in the right hand picture.

DSCF1660Here, where the flue comes out of the roof ,there should be at least 3 maybe 4 inches of flue above the roof level. How long it has been sheared off is anyone’s guess, but I am thinking nearly eight years. Why do I say this? Well I have always had this problem.

Alex to the rescue! Alex is a bit of a genius. Steel is his forte. He trained as a shipwright. He can visualise a job and decide what needs doing. If you want to decide what you want and and Alex thinks it wont work Alex will not take the job. He will however tell you why not.

After removing the collar Alex wire brushed the roof to remove the rust. DSCF1661 Midland Chandlers wanted £656 for a replacement kit from the stove top to the china man’s hat. We were not having that. I already had the collar. DSCF1663 I had to buy the stove top fitting. This doesn’t come ready to fit. The ‘nuts’ which are just a piece of 1/2 inch bar drilled and tapped were an extra £2.40 each and the fitting screws were £1 each. Total price £46+DSCF1668 The chimney was sourced at £26.40 from an independent engineering company in Carterton near Brize Norton. DSCF1666 Mort Bones had a reducer. That’s the connection between the stove top collar and the flue. It took a day to get the bits together but Alex was able to complete the job in two days.

The roof had rusted badly and around the flue hole the 4mm thick roof was thinner than 2mm . To correct this a 500x500x4 mil plate was ordered was ordered at a cost of £70. I knew this was needed.DSCF1662 The panel was fitted to the roof using an awful lot of screws and a copious quantity of sealer after first having the collar mounting bolt heads welded on the undersideDSCF1670 

The stove top collar was fitted and sealed to the stove (after Alex routed out the channel with a broken drill bit)DSCF1671followed by the  the reducer,

DSCF1672followed by the flue.

DSCF1673With the whole installation finished a paint can was utilised to block off the flue to check inside for leaks.

DSCF1719I was left to finish off the sealing and making it smooth for the undercoat.  DSCF1723Only the top coat to go now. I am going to paint a black band right across the roof in case the tar comes back, but I doubt it will.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Bargee Travellers, pull the other one!

I don’t suppose there are more than about 20 or thirty real Bargees on the 'waterways at this time. So I am at a loss to understand why there is a need for a National Bargee Traveller's Association? Have the ‘officers’ of this association purposefully used words like ‘Bargee’ & ‘Traveller’ in an attempt to take advantage of the Law as it applies to genuine travellers.

Currently the National Bargee Travellers Association (London) are against the new CRT London Moorings plan, no surprises there then.

They believe that the recent announcement by Canal & River Trust stating that it is reducing the time boats can stay on London moorings will not be of benefit. (Oh really!)

CRT do the oddest things on the waterways, though not necessarily for benefit of boaters, but this cant be helped because office Wallas cant be expected to understand the needs of us boaters however much they try to.

CRT are claiming that these changes are 'to ensure that some popular locations can be shared more fairly by a wide range of boaters'. Personally I think this is bollox. I don’t think CRT have a clue what the problem is and much less know how to deal with it. Last year before the changes to the five locations on a trial basis mooring at Thrupp was monitored by the Warden and people were asked to move on after one week. They can now stay 16 days using the new rules.

The NBTA are saying there needs to be more rings. (More rings will bring more fake CCers. There are more than enough ring for genuine CCers. What they are in fact trying to say is, There are not enough rings in London for us to break the rules as we would like to. We need more rings.

The mooring situation in London is simple. There are more than enough visitors moorings in London. What CRT have to address is keeping non-visitors off the moorings.

I am sorry but if you work in London and hop from one set of rings to the next then you are not a Continuous Cruiser you are a Continuous Avoider. And if you are part of the various groups that contact each other on facebook or by phone to let others know you are about to move then you are most definitely a fake.

If the members of the NBTA can read then they will know the rules applied to CCers. If those members chose to flaunt the rules then they have to deal with the consequences. It is not for CRT to bend over backwards to accommodate them, that is not their job.

More rings along London’s waterways will need planning permission to allow people to live there, which is what the fakes really want, but as I travel around the country I see many marinas with empty moorings. Yes I know its not on their doorstep but why should boaters be exempt from normal society, I know many people who travel from as far away as Spalding in Lincolnshire to  get to work in London.

I cant help but think that the NBTA  is a self seeking group who don't give a shit about the waterways only themselves, whose credentials are suspect.

Maybe there should be more rings in London and maybe they should be reserved for the London Continuous Avoiders, but then the visitor moorings should be for genuine visitors only.

Now come on boys you have been rumbled play the game by the rules.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


I used to feel sorry for the trading boats that were lambasted by the local traders along the Shroppie last year, but now I am seeing it from the village point of view.

Last week this boat arrived:DSCF1469 First off he is taking up more space than he needs by wasting that last twenty five feet of the public mooring, but that is not all. This mooring is barely 100 metres away from Annie’s Tearoom. Well you might say there is nothing illegal in that and you would be right to a point, but the morality of it is wrong.

He has just turned up on spec and opened for business. The people who use this path in the main are Annie’s customers. Annie’s paid for the sign on the main road that brings people down this way. Annie’s have worked hard to make this place what it is today. And this bloke just turns up and takes customers from an existing business.

This boat can offer a cheaper product because his overheads are rock bottom. Annie’s has to pay council tax, rental on the building and the courtyard. There are parking spaces set aside for Annie’s customers (in the rent) which people visiting this floating cafe are using!

This is a hobby boat stealing trade from full time workers. He didn’t moor down by the Jolly Boatman, he didn’t moor up by Shipton bridge no he moored where he could take advantage of the graft that Annies have put in to their business.  He has done nothing to make this area what it is, yet he takes money from other people. He is a moral thief, a parasite feeding off the hard work of others.

Poor show!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Norman came to visit

The last time this boat came through Thrupp the owner threatened to ‘get me’. DSCF1442 Of course the owner is Norman Bate who moors at Heaton Bridge. DSCF1472 Norman hates CCers and bridge hoppers with a vengeance, but he is just so much hot air. He is part of the mooring problem given that he is a regular overstayer. He talks bollox  about having friends in CRTs high places. He will happily talk to anyone until he finds out you are a CCer then he will verbally abuse you and tell you lies about how he is getting CRT to clamp down on dirty soap dodging scum bags. He is one of life’s wankers. Avoid him like the plague. Alternatively you could just punch him.

Monday, 18 August 2014


I often cringe at the chosen footwear boaters use on the waterways. It ranges from bare feet through plimsoles, crocs, wellingtons  to proper sturdy boots.

Notice I said Crocs! What will be the next fad?

Now I know the choice is yours, but the canals are akin to a building site (you cant get onto a building site without the correct footwear). Wearing inappropriate shoes can be fatal. No one drives a car with out a seat belt these days so why do people wear shit shoes when boating? What mentality says this is right?

It is just an accident waiting to happen! And trust me I know!


Where is the Jackal?

The extremist Muslim organisation ISIS are openly recruiting on the streets of London. David Cameron and the Mayor of London are learning to play the violin. The Met Police are doing nothing. This is despite David Cameron saying it would never happen.

I really think the only way to stop Cameron is to terminate his life. That will never happen either!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Driving a boat

Put a group of 6 people on a narrow boat and you can be sure they will choose the most inept, incompetent among them to drive boat. Fecking up a 90 deg turn is excusable but making it into a 360 and trying to park in the car park is just not acceptable.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Where is this?

It was a Portico built on to the constituency home of a prominent Tory politician.

You will be pleased to know it cost you the tax-payer £5,700. Bargain!

Conversation with a hire boater

From my side hatch I said, “You are coming up to a tight right hander under a lift bridge”.

“I know”.

“Then why are you going so fecking fast?”

I sat back and listened for the impending crash. It came!

I swear one day a narrowboat will land in Annie’s courtyard along with a couple of million gallons of canal water.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

My alcohol consumption increases during the summer months. I don’t buy more Guinness , but more Guinness gets bought for me. Many friends visit Thrupp and we spend time catching up at the Boat Inn. Its good to meet up because up to now I spend my summers here, but would rather be out and about meeting people.

What is surprising is the number of ‘strangers’ who randomly approach me and introduce themselves saying ‘I read your blog’ or ‘are you the Maffi that Bones writes about in her column’ this usually precedes a pint being placed on the table in front of me. I find this flattering not because they read the blog, though that’s why I write it, but because they have taken the time to say hello and I know they have taken the time to find out which of the odd ball characters in Thrupp is me.

I appreciate every one of them and love this ‘celebrity’ or should that be notoriety that goes with being one of the longest serving boat bloggers in bloggerdom.

Last winter I wanted to give up. I have, after all, been doing it a long time. Often comments are hurtful although it does depend on my mental state how it affects me. It was certain comments on the blog that made me wonder ‘why do I fecking bother’, which of course led me to saying I was going to stop last winter. If you have been a long term reader you will know this has happened before. I am very fortunate my mental events are short lived and it only takes a phone call from Stoke on Trent or maybe Bones to remind me I miss writing the blog so hard luck I am still at it.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Cake trolls

It was a simple post to highlight a problem which got misinterpreted.and generated 130 replies most of which were from bullies about cake. Yes the cake trolls even made an unwanted appearance. (Cake trolls are people who cannot see that they are bullies.)

What I said was

If you refuse to punctuate your writing properly or use capitals in their correct place, then please do not be surprised if I misinterpret you.

Now unless someone has a problem with language, dyslexia, learning difficulties etc then I don’t see why I  or anyone should have to correct every thing we see before we read it. The whole point of having a common language is to make communication easy. To just slap any old crap down then blame predictive text is simply bad manners. Then to say it doesn’t matter anyway shows no respect for the reader by the writer and one has to wonder why they bothered in the first place. It’s amazing that some people can’t differentiate their/there/they’re know all the -ists and -isms on the planet.

I fully understand that some people have trouble writing, so why do they come to a written forum? Well they have an opinion of course, but then so do I. Why is their opinion more acceptable than mine?

When reading the New Statesman last week (James Clark’s column) I noticed the classic their/there error. No, correction, I didn’t notice it, it jumped up off the page and screamed, “Look at me! I know you can see me!“ Where the hell was the editor/spell checker/grammar checker. Who allowed this so blindingly obvious error? In your reality of course, it doesn’t matter, in my reality it matters a great deal. It was wrong and from such an esteemed publication as well. (Here I will pause for the trolls to poo poo my choice of reading materials).

I am never always right. I do make a great effort to be as correct as I can, but I am unfortunately cursed with seeing the mistakes of others. Not just seeing them, but being in pain because of them. I don’t remember the last time I read a book and didn’t find glaring mistakes.

I didn’t ask for this ‘superpower’ to be laid upon me. Some would call it Pedantry, well if Pedantry is a mental condition then I am in deed a pedant. I wonder how many really understand what I just said in that last sentence?

I can no more not comment about mistakes I see than I can stop taking breath. The world is not filled with candy-floss and sweet smelling flowers and every one is not a cuddle bug. Were it so the world would be the most fucking boring place to be. If you think we should all be nice to each other then I will be nice to you, but you in return must be nice to me and that includes accepting my ‘condition’ and not rolling out the cake recipes to bully me.