Sunday, 27 September 2020

Wood Knowledge

Oaken logs, if dry and old, keep away the winter's cold; Poplar gives a bitter smoke and fills your eyes and make you choke; Elm-wood burns like churchyard mould even the very flames are cold; The Irish we are told have said [that] hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread, Apple-wood will scent the room and pear-wood smells like flowers in bloom; But ash-wood wet and ash-wood dry, a King may warm his slippers by.

Monday, 7 September 2020


Today September 7th it will be exactly 14 years since I first set foot on the Milly M. This is the longest I have ever lived in one home as an adult, since I got married at 19. Being a military person I have lived in about 20 places I have called home in the last 50 years.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

And so the winter comes

Being a military type one would think I was used to such things as cold weather and the like, but you would be wrong. I worked on Vulcans, Harriers, Hunters, JPs, I even did one job on a Spitfire and one on a Javelin. But all this was mainly either in the confines of a centrally heated hanger in the UK or in the hot jungles of Central America. I say this so you wont be to hard on me for saying 'I put my fire in yesterday'.

Number 5

The fifth battery turned up at Tooleys today. I will be picking it up later to fit this am and then off to the Thames. LET THE HOLIDAY BEGIN!

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Value for money!

When I bought my boat in 2006 I was furnished with 8 batteries from the 'Squadron' badge. Two were for the bow thruster. One was for the starter. And 5 were leisure batteries. They were £200 each! 😱😱😱They would have been fitted in/or about July/August of that year. It is now some 14 years later and just last night I ordered their replacements. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Although I am still not sure I couldn't squeeze another year out of them.

The 'Squadron' badge no longer exists so I settled for a cheaper set of 4 batteries (see here). Even so they came to £762.88. £190.72 ea plus delivery £15 so at £777.88 a bit pricey.

There are those who may think that is a bit expensive, but lets stop there. If you think 3 years out of a cheap set of FLAs is good contemplate this, in 14 years I have never looked at my batteries, except to dust them off once in a while, only then because I felt I should do as everyone else seems to have spent eons nurturing their batteries. 

In that 14 years I have never had to lift them out, they weigh more than a large bag of coal. I have never risked possible back injury, you guys of course have, and many times! And as you know with lifting them out you also have to lift them back in. 

Another good thing is, I know many people who switch their inverter off at night 'to save the batteries', I never have. And I dont have solar!

The initial cost for all my batteries in 2006 was £1600/ £1000 for 5 leisure batteries. So although the price hasn't dropped much (£22.12p) I think I got a great deal in the beginning and a great deal last night. After all I am nigh on 70 and I don't suppose I will be changing them again any time soon if ever!

EDIT: The batteries arrived today, Thursday! So when I set about changing them I was surprised to see that there were 5 not 4 leisure batteries installed in the boat. Consequently I have amended some of the figures above.

Important news if you live on a boat...

In a landmark judgement issued on 25th June 2020 (AB v London Borough of Camden (HB) [2020] UKUT 158 (AAC)), the Upper Tribunal has confirmed that Housing Benefit is payable for boat licence fees because the boat licence fee if living aboard is rent. Specifically, the boat licence fee is a payment in respect of a licence or permission to occupy a dwelling and thus it qualifies under Regulation 12(1)(b) of the Housing Benefit Regulations. Regulation 12(1)(b) is directly transposed to the Universal Credit Regulations so this judgement also applies to claims for the boat licence fee as housing costs in Universal Credit.
Upper Tribunal Judge Mr E Mitchell found that the boat licence without a permanent mooring qualifies under this regulation because the boat dweller without a permanent mooring is required to make a payment in respect of a licence to occupy the land, including land covered with water, that while moored, comprises part of his houseboat dwelling. Although the decision was made in respect of a boat licensed without a home mooring, it also covers boat licences with a home mooring (Housing Benefit for mooring fees is already within the scope of the regulations in Regulation 12(1)(f) which is also transposed to the Universal Credit regulations).
In paragraph 69 of the judgement, Judge Mitchell said:
“…a ‘dwelling’ is comprised of more than simply the houseboat. It includes the land used for the purposes of mooring it. When a houseboat is moored, the dwelling is comprised for housing benefit purposes of the houseboat itself, the canal or river bank used for mooring and, probably, also the land beneath the vessel (given the Interpretation Act 1978 definition of land, which includes land covered by water). If someone other than the person dwelling in the houseboat owns the land comprised within the houseboat dwelling, the owner in principle is free to licence its use, for mooring purposes, to that person.”
He continued in paragraphs 82 and 83:
“I therefore conclude that payments made by Mr B to the Canal & River Trust were
payments in respect of a licence to occupy that part of his houseboat dwelling comprised of land owned or managed by the Trust. It is not disputed that the payments are periodical in nature nor that they are made in respect of a dwelling occupied by Mr B as his home. The payments therefore fall within regulation 12(1)(b) of the 2006 Regulations and constitute ‘rent’ for the purposes of that regulation.

It follows that the local authority, acting on 1 December 2016, did not establish a proper statutory ground for superseding Mr B’s award of housing benefit. The authority’s decision is set aside. For entitlement purposes, the result is that the authority’s actions on 1 December 2016 had no effect on Mr B’s existing housing benefit award. That is the effect of the decision given before the start of the reasons for this decision.”
Unfortunately the judge also decided that the costs of compulsory third party insurance and Boat Safety Scheme examination did not qualify for Housing Benefit under Regulation 12(1)(b) on the grounds that these payments “…were made in respect of services necessary in order for the conditions for grant of a licence to be satisfied” and were not payments in respect of the boat licence itself.
The Judge made it clear that he was not drawing a distinction between a boat licence without a home mooring, a boat licence with a home mooring or a houseboat certificate: the decision covers all three. He also used the word ‘houseboat’ in the everyday sense to mean a boat that is used as a home.
This welcome decision follows a difficult period for boat dwellers due to an adverse judgement in the Upper Tribunal in 2017 (Kirklees MBC v JM [2018] UKUT 219 (AAC)) which was undefended by the boater, and which had reversed a Social Security and Child Support Commissioners’ decision of 2002 (CH 884 2002) that boat licence fees, regardless of whether the boater had a mooring, were eligible for Housing Benefit. From 2017, many boat dwellers both with and without a home mooring saw the Housing Benefit for their boat licence either withdrawn on review or refused with a new claim.
If you have been refused Housing Benefit for the boat licence fee or if your Housing Benefit was stopped, you can now either make a new claim or seek permission to appeal out of time. The same applies to those who claimed Universal Credit for the boat licence fee and were refused.
If your Housing Benefit was refused or stopped and you did not appeal, you may be able to get permission to appeal out of time. If you did appeal, your appeal should have been stayed pending the outcome of this case and you should now contact the Tribunal with the judgement. If you appealed and your appeal was not stayed but was decided against you, then you should contact the Tribunal for permission to appeal out of time.
The boater was represented by barrister Justin Bates, instructed by the NBTA.
The full judgement is available here

Thursday, 9 July 2020


Inside Blogger I see this message:-

In July, the new Blogger interface will become the default for all users. The legacy interface will still be available as an option. We recommend trying the new interface by clicking 'Try the new Blogger' in the left-hand navigation. Please file any critical issues encountered. Read more.

Now I have looked at this new interface and have to wonder why they are bothering. It is not easy to use and the editor is just as crap as it has always been! If Blogger want to make changes they should be looking at the editor a substantial change to the editor. Windows Live Writer (LW) is, to me the perfect editor for Blogger and since Windows discontinued LW it is now open source.

Blogger should stop thinking about pissing off their million or more users and CHANGE THE EDITOR

Friday, 12 June 2020


Today I closed my Twitter account and one face book account. When I am allowed to post on the other acct I will close that also. Hoorah!

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Martin Thorne

Those of you who have passed through Thrupp on your boat may remember Martin Thorne. He was the farmer who stood at the 5-bar gate, by the disposal point, giving his judgement on the world of boating.

I am sad to say Martin passed away at the weekend suffering from C-19 complications.
You may have thought that Martin was a bit scruffy, but he refused to buy new clothes at his age 'because I won't get any wear out of them'. πŸ˜‚
Martin had many wonderful stories to tell about his life as a farmer and as a young lad in Oxfordshire.

As a young lad his father told him on Friday night not to be late home. He turned up in the early hours of the morning. Confronted by his father about his late arrival he said "What are you gonna do about it". He woke up next morning in the coal shed with a black eye. 

His Swedish wife died from breast cancer many years ago before he came to live in Thrupp. You may remember he always wore a horse shoe shaped ear ring, that was his connection to his wife. After his wife's funeral he went in to his local pub in Woodstock where he had drank for many years and ordered a pint. He looked at the beer and thought to himself "this is not the answer". He left the beer on the bar and never took another drink in his life.

A truly knowledgeable man of all things countryside. He would rise at 5 every morning and walk with his springers loving the early morning light (his dogs always named after English cricketers, the last being Gough). Martin would often see the otters on the bridge on these walks when they returned to the area.
One very special evening we both stood on the lift bridge watching a family of foxes in the field. He had shot many foxes as a farmer, but in later life he had a real passion for them he loved nothing more than to just watch them. 

If you ever walked in the woods past Annie's and under the railway you will have walked in a wood Martin planted, 80,000 trees! The owner of the field left Martin to buy the trees. Martin ordered the trees in latin, the owner an arab was none the wiser. Consequently there are many fruit trees in the wood apples, pears, hazel, cherry.

Martin was a true Oxfordshire gentleman. RIP Martin my friend.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Wednesday, 25 March 2020


Many years ago, when unattended car parks became a thing (1959/60 in my town), you could pay for a ticket for two hours and if you came back early you could pass the ticket on to another driver. The legality of this was doubtful but, using the man on the Clapham omnibus approach, it would seem logical that the parking space was paid for so what does it matter which car was occupying the space. 

The councils, however, had a different approach, the Dick Turpin Approach, and they said the tickets were not transferable between vehicles. People still would pass on a ticket with 'time' on it. This irked the councils very much, they wanted every car that entered a car park to buy a ticket There were two probable answers. One would be the right solution, one would be the wrong solution.

The right solution would be to have all car parks Pay On Exit. That way you would only pay for the time you occupied space in the car park, This would be beneficial to the driver but not to the council. The reality is its the only honest way to charge for parking. Anything else is just Highway Robbery!

Now the system used by the councils is the one that dis-advantages the driver the most. Pay On Entry is legalised robbery. When I go into a car park I never know how long I am going to be. There are confusing instructions in several places on the board. Then there is the confusing vertical keyboard, not only confusing because it is not what people are used to (QWERTY) but also because it is at the wrong height/angle and the letters are difficult in contrast (yellow on the silver buttons. This shouldn't be a problem, after all whats a mistake here and there, but if you do make a mistake entering the Reg No of your car you can get fined!

The confusion of the keyboard is a real pain. They are well aware the keyboard is confusing, and I say this because on the instructions where it says "use the keyboard to input your reg no" there is a picture of a QWERTY board. 

Added to all this if you don't complete in a specified time the transaction is aborted, yet when the transaction is complete it takes ages to deliver your ticket!

We shouldn't have to put up with this daylight robbery. It has to stop.

not easy to see but this is the QWERTY icon

Saturday, 29 February 2020

As it was, so it will never be again!

Looking through some old pics and found these.

Milly M on the bank opposite the Co-op at Mirfield.
This was before I had ever set foot on board
I don't know who the painter was, but understand he was allergic to paint. This might explain why he did such a crap job! Just out of view to the left hand side is taped an A4 picture of the font I wanted. This is OK but not what is in the supplied picture.
This is the picture I sent, that was stuck on the side of the boat.
If they were unable to do what I asked, I really think they should have discussed it with me

Friday, 21 February 2020

Its not difficult!

There I was chatting on (laptop) FB Messenger when it shuts me off and says it no longer supports the version of EDGE I am using and I will have to download the 'new ' version. No I don't want to now, but they say I must. Why cant they wait until I am asleep! 

So it takes me 15 minutes to upload the new version, by which time I have logged onto Messenger on the phone.

So now I have the latest version of  EDGE. EDGE is an Oxymoron because it doesn't have it (the edge)! Ok so lets start FB again so I can continue with my conversation. NO!

The version of EDGE I have no longer supports the version of Messenger I have! So I have to download a new version of Messenger. The phone locks up while I am doing this and tells me I have to download a new version of the Messenger app.

Now you might think this is quite a clever computer, but you would be wrong. It doesn't know simple tings, things like which window I am going to throw it out of if it doesn't start behaving itself.

I bought my first computer 30 years ago and haven't been without one since. And in all that time they (all companies) have failed to get it fucking right. 30 Years down the line its about time they fucking did! Its like they have only just started and I am pissed off!