There was me back in January promising to be a more regular writer in the future and look at this it's October already.
Saturday 14 January 2023
Saturday 5 November 2022
Suze and I had a great summer on the Thames. Though she only came for five weeks I spent nearly 3 months enjoying the sun. There are places where you can spend days on the bank and never put on clothes. It's fab just lying in the sun and getting an all-over tan.
We returned to the Oxford Canal at the end of summer and headed for Banbury for the Banbury Canal Day which was a great success for its first day after the Covid debacle.
Our plans for the winter were to moor in Thrupp, we had a winter mooring. We watered up late October in preparation for our journey to Thrupp and were expecting to head that way at the weekend hoping to arrive before the stoppages began. However, whilst we were watering I decided to empty my rubbish. On my return, Matt of Tooley's asked if I wanted a mooring.
Now we love Tooley's and we love Matt. How could we say no!
So for the foreseeable future, we will be mooring at Tooley's.
If you happen to pass by please stop. We will be only too glad to host your good selves to a few beers and sometimes a meal. We will be moving onto the wharf as soon as the current incumbent has been sold and moved, maybe end of November!
Friday 9 September 2022
I was born in 1950. There was a King on the throne, George Vl, the father of a monarch who served us well for 70 years, though my personal memory does not include the King.
When in 1947, as a young woman of 21, the then Princess Elizabeth said, "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong", she meant it and she carried out her promise with great dignity, until the day she died.
We can all say well she had a privileged life, but the reality of it is she was like a bird in a gilded cage. It was impossible to escape even if she wanted to.
I am not a great royalist but even I can see greatness, and now all our lives have changed, we will all be the better for her greatness and dignity, which she displayed at all times.
Tuesday 6 September 2022
My time on the Thames is coming to an end. I have so far been out for 2 months, one of those with Suze. It has been a fab summer full of lots of boating, lots of eating, and lots of wine. We met some old friends, made some new friends and learned a new skill, 'Mooring in crap places'.
There are so many boats on the river these days mooring is becoming a problem. Mooring places are few and far between. The more Liveaboards (LABs) come to the river the more difficult it gets to tie up. Usually, the rule is 24 hours but more and more LABs tie up with their shopping rib on the outside and they stay there for weeks on end! Moorings, in general, are disappearing, becoming overgrown or blocked by fallen trees. Many more landowners are erecting 'NO MOORING' signs and some fee-paid moorings are asking stupid sums for two 1-inch holes and access for the night. Often the water is shallow and not suitable for a flat-bottomed boat the banks are precarious, and the plank has always to be at the ready. Rubbish abounds and copious quantities of Doggie doo-do adorn the area and pathways.
Now I don't mind clearing up some rubbish other people have wantonly discarded, but if I am paying good money I shouldn't have to cut back the overgrowth and scale a 6-foot high bank and trip over debris that the infamous magnet fishers have discarded. I think the HSE might like to think about this one!
The bank from Pooh stick bridge to the bridge where Thame joins the Thames is now a charged for mooring. Most of that stretch has about a 7/8-foot bank and is topped with nettles or has trees growing out of the river
Many official moorings have all but disappeared. The signs that denote their presence barely peering out of the brambles. The 'Public' EA mooring 200 yards downstream of Staines Bridge on the right hasn't been cut back for what looks like the three years since the last time I was there and that was done by well-meaning boaters. At Molesey, members of the local boat club have removed the wooden bollards that were set into the ground adjacent to their club because a narrow boat had the temerity to have an engine breakdown and moored there. Yes I know the club took them out I watched them do it. I even had a photo of them doing it. Well that's no big deal you may say, but if you have an engine problem near there the next stop is on the weir.
So what we have is increasing numbers of boats and decreasing numbers of moorings. Landowners can't keep turning up taking the money and walking away! Well, they don't turn up now you have to pay online so they have to do fuck all!!! They can't even be arsed to ensure any signs are clearly visible.
Add to this increasing growth of the bank side trees obscuring the bank (and the river) and the poor old boater is being royally screwed every which way.
I think there should be a 'mooring standard' which must be adhered to if charges are made. And if the Landowner doesn't want to accept the 'standard', then he can't charge, but must accept wild mooring on his banks. I like the EA's way of charging for mooring, 1st-night free, 2nd-night £5, 3rd-night £5.50 4th night £50. So no one stays more than three nights and the charge is £10.50. Charging £10/£12 a night is just preposterous adding over £300 to a month's stay on the river! Especially when some are paying up to £2.20 a litre for fuel as well. A month's stay could cost over £300. Add to that the gold licence is an extra £300+. So we are looking at £1,000.
I know there are more important things to be worrying about right now, but this is something that concerns us all that like the rivers.
Friday 2 September 2022
I often get some gook telling me I need to watch 'this video or that video'. The videos tell me how wonderful this man is or that product is, and how insightful he is, and they spend a lot of time doing that, but never seem to get to the point. Stop with the pointless intro and get to the point. What is this ad trying to fucking say? I listened for a few minutes and said 'F**k off'
If you have something to say, then say it! Do not faff about, because the instant you do your discussion is over. Talk to real people in the language they understand. We didn't all go to college or Uni. Life lesson No1 KISS Keep It Simple Stupid.
Well, here I am at Clifton weir. A chap arrived and asked me to move along, it was his fishing rights. I said 'No'. As I understand it, his fishing rights do not supercede my need to moor. In the reach between Culham and Clifton, this is the only mooring! This is my second day. I have spent a lot of time and effort over the last couple of months making this a nice mooring. I'm sorry but he could have fished in front of me or behind me. I was not obstructing him. He was very polite, but I am sorry if you come to me at 8 o'clock at night when I am cooking my dinner and have a DVD in the machine, and am almost naked getting ready for a shower (just a tee shirt), do not expect a good response. Do not threaten me that I will never moor there again.
But was I just being an arsehole? He didn't miss out on the fishing he just fished somewhere else. I did move up, about 20 feet, the next day because on reflection it wouldn't have hurt. I burned my dinner anyway.
Tuesday 16 August 2022
Tuesday 9 August 2022
Been a busy few months and I have lost track of blogging. Currently, we are in Kingston (not Jamaica) for a few days. District Enforcement are now in charge of the moorings and fees. As I have come to expect their website via PAY TO MOOR is not particularly user-friendly and I attempted several times to 'Register Arrival' to no avail. Needless to say the following morning one of their 'thugs' came to visit asking why I hadn't registered. Anyhoo the system worked that morning. The chap I spoke to on their messenger system said they had had a glitch over the weekend. WHY?
We ate out last night at Cote on the promenade near the bridge. Though it is signposted, people still insist on riding their cycles down the very crowded pathway! And why do joggers think it is okay to jog in this area? People are out at restaurants trying to enjoy a meal and/or a drink they should not have to put up with sweaty juggernauts thundering through the place, grunting and splashing all over the place, it's just not cricket! Don't get me started on electric scooters!
Today we are off on a 'boat trip' to Richmond. That'll be different!
Saturday 28 May 2022
....people, how are you all doing? Me? I have left Banbury and am on my way to the Thames. Current location Wolvercote bridge!
I had a few weeks in Thrupp, when I painted and polished Milly M. When I set off from Thrupp she was looking fine. However, a trip to Yarnton Bridge and a two-day stay, left me shat on by dozens of pigeons, and all my hard work seemed wasted. I cleaned one side of the boat when I moved to Kidlington Green. I am currently at Wolvercote Bridge for a couple of days!
I have witnessed some of the work CRT has completed and also the Sustrans/Council pathway, and I must say I am impressed. I do find it hard to understand the need for Hydraulicizing the Drinkwater lift bridge. The proper solution was properly balancing the bridge. This was also the solution to the Thrupp bridge, but no one at CRT ever listens to boaters.
However, I am now on the downside of the bridge at Wolvercote on the only mooring. Above the bridge, the new path carries on, but there is nowhere to moor. The once narrowing path is now a wide footpath which comes almost to the edge of the canal. No effort has been made to provide any kind of mooring at all.
Well, that's fine but where do the hire boats moor to visit the pub over the bridge. Apparently nowhere! Repairs to the bank here would reduce the number of boats racing at breakneck speed to get to Thrupp, the next pub.
Come on CRT, Wolvercote has long been in need of repairs to the bank so boats could moor securely.
I have noticed that there are no less than 6 boats moored on the offside between Kidlington and Wolvercote. One just before Langford Locks Bridge. One just above Shuttleworth Lock (Dukes Lock). Three! just above Wolvercote Lock. The sixth one escapes me just now, but I will get it.
I will stay here for a couple of days then move on to St Edwards disposal point for water.
Catch ya later! Ciao!
Tuesday 24 May 2022
There I was having a disagreement with Susan on the back of the boat. We'd had a bottle of wine or two so I was getting louder and 'f'ier. People at the pub started to take an interest so I played to the crowd. It must have sounded awful but really it was mostly fun...........until. Up pops a camera girl with a mobile poking her nose where it wasn't wanted. I told her to go away it was nothing to do with her.
It was 10 o'clock at night. Susan wanted to take the rubbish half a mile down the towpath to the disposal. I said it could wait until the morning I didn't want to go. I needed to pee but Suze was standing in the hatchway stopping me from going in the boat. All I was saying was, get in the boat or go home, which eventually led to get in the f**king boat or go home. I said it several times getting louder and 'f' ier each time. Susan was playing, but not moving out of my way insisting we should go to the disposal. At no point was there any danger of this escalating. I was annoyed but not angry, after all, I was just about to piss me trousers.
Camera girl is told several times to f*** off. Although we are moored on the towpath she was invading my privacy, sketchy as that may have been at that time. We were in my home! I know she can take pictures anywhere she wants, but she must accept I can object to her intrusion.
So she calls the police even though she had asked Suze if she was OK and she said yes. I heard her say Susan was being held against her will and I was being violent towards her. I was not holding her against her will and if camera girl had listened she would have heard, however vocal I was, I said she was to get in the boat OR go home. By this time we were laughing together at her, though I was still angry at camera girl. Someone else called the police about the girl. When the police arrived they didn't come for me they came for her. Apparently, she is a bit of a troublemaker. They did ask us both if we were OK. I explained what was going on, and Susan explained what was going on. She explained she wasn't scared and felt no danger. The Feds were happy that there was nothing to worry about despite our little show. It was a camera girl they came for she was well known to them.
The lady, whose birthday party it was, apologized to the pub for her behaviour. The police took the girl away from the area and sat her at the front of the pub where she tried to call for a taxi. No taxi was available, she asked the police to take her home which they did. She will undoubtedly put her vid on YouTube or FaceBook or somewhere and get her 20,000 likes and piles of sympathy. I will be treated like shit after you have all seen the vid.
Let me be honest about this, I am quite sure now, thinking back, the vid will make me look horrendous but you had to be there, in our heads, to judge.
We have decided if this should happen again I will burst into a rendition of Nessan Dorma or something similar!
Thursday 10 March 2022
.....that when the USSR broke up NATO promised that they would not move one inch closer to Russia. After all that time it would seem that the promise was just so much hot air. Ukraine is probably the last former USSR country to want to join NATO. Now I don't agree with Putin's actions but ffs the west blatantly lied and Vladimir Putin is pissed!
When is the west going to take responsibility for this clusterfuck?
Republics of the Soviet Union, numbered alphabetically by the English names of the post-soviet states: 1. Armenia, 2. Azerbaijan, 3. Belarus, 4. Estonia, 5. Georgia, 6. Kazakhstan, 7. Kyrgyzstan, 8. Latvia, 9. Lithuania, 10. Moldova, 11. Russia, 12. Tajikistan, 13. Turkmenistan, 14. Ukraine, 15. Uzbekistan
Wednesday 9 March 2022
Monday 28 February 2022
Strengths & screeched are the two longest one-syllable words in English.
Facetious, abstemious, annelidous, arsenious are English words that contain all five vowels in alphabetical order.
Uncopyrightable is the longest English word with no repeating letters.
Stewardesses is one of the longest words typeable on a normal keyboard with the left hand.
Polyphony is one of the longest words typeable on a normal keyboard with the right hand.
Quattuordecillion is a cardinal number represented in the U.S. by 1 followed by 45 zeros.
Deeded is the only word that is made using only two different letters, each used three times.
Queueing is the only word with five consecutive vowels.
The word with the most consonants in a row is latchstring.
The only words with three consecutive double letters are bookkeeping and bookkeeper.
Underground is the only word that begins and ends with "und".
If you spell out every number from 0 to 999, you will find every vowel except for "a". You have to count to one thousand to find an "a".
Q is the only letter that is not used in the name of any of the United States.
The only words with "uu" are vacuum muumuu residuum and continuum.
Subcontinental is the only word that uses each vowel only once and in reverse alphabetical order.
The longest English word without a true vowel (a, e, i, o or u) is rhythm.
More English words begin with the letter "S" than any other letter of the alphabet.
"I am." is the shortest two words sentence in the English language.
If you were to write out every number name in full (one, two, three, four...), you wouldn't use a single letter B until you reached one billion.
In written English, only one letter in every 510 is a Q.
The shortest -ology is oology, the scientific study of eggs.
11% of the entire English language is just the letter E.
Happy is used three times more often in English than Sad.
Approximately one new word is added to the English language every two hours and around 4,000 new words are added to the English dictionary every year.
Only two English words in current use end in "-gry". They are angry & hungry.
A sentence that contains all 26 letters of the alphabet is called a pangram.
The dot over the letter is called a "superscript dot".
In English, the @ symbol is usually called "the at sign" or "the at symbol".
There are only 4 English words in common use ending in "-dous" hazardous, horrendous, stupendous and tremendous.
"No." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
Thursday 10 February 2022
You may remember last year we donated money from my advertising account to Trevi house, which is a women's rescue centre in Plymouth. TREVI has been a favourite charity of mine for a number of years. I have received from TREVI House, a response to our donation. Which totalled £110. This included £70 from the ad account plus £40 from my wallet.(I have a habit of losing my wallet and if I get it back I donate half the cash therein to TREVI House. The rest of the contents of my wallet I donate elsewhere to worthy causes) However the response is currently in Oxford, but as soon as I receive it here, in Banbury, I will post it on this page.
TREVI do have a page which can be found here;
If you want to donate independently of me please, by all means, do so, they need all the help they can get.
Thursday 3 February 2022
I was going to go away for the weekend, but time was overrun by the Countess Chavagnon and her shopping/social life. We managed to get away Monday pm and I stayed at her house in Oxford for a few days.
I started with the sniffles Monday afternoon and progressed through long bouts of sneezing on Tuesday and was comfortable again on Wednesday. So comfortable in fact that I came home on Thursday arriving in time for a late lunch.
We persisted throughout last month with the Dry January shenanigan, an alcohol fast, that was long overdue. Low and behold we succeeded, never touched a drop! We are feeling quite chuffed and my liver had an opportunity to re-generate. My middle region also managed to do some reshaping. Some, but not much!
Milly M will be going into dry dock next month and various smaller jobs. Gas locker needs attention. One window has to come out for resealing and the internal frames need rubbing down and re-varnishing again. Ooo must get rivets!
Friday 28 January 2022
I find it quite odd that people use the word 'blackened' to describe getting the hull done. Moreso they pay a fortune for the privilege! Having a boat blackened should be a very cheap process. One which I am able to do for next to nothing. Best quality materials to EU standards, by a qualified arsonist. £10
One liter of E10 petrol and a match. Job done.
Blackened, as you will have gathered by now, is generally the aftermath of a fire.
We take a boat to be Blacked using Blacking after which the boat has been Blacked.
Wednesday 12 January 2022
Thursday 30 December 2021
When it rains up country a couple of days later the water ends up in the town. This Christmas just gone the water just overtopped the bank and was probably a contributory cause in the sinking of a narrow boat.
The boat which had been listing for several weeks was securely tied with a center line (If you dont know, this is not a good practice). The raising of the water level simply held the boat down causing it to list more and holding its side vent in the engine bay under water.
Not as bad as this is the staff who are dispatched to lower the level of the canal to to stop this sort of thing happening. I am sure they dont realise just how shallow the canal actually is! Dropping the canal just 4 inches puts people on the bottom. Not paying attention and nodding off in the van can easily drop the level 8-10 inches. They did this to me earlier in the year and most of my windows started leaking. The canal is not level fore and aft under the boat so when sitting on the bottom some areas of the baseplate are not supported.
This morning I was woken by a wine bottle rolling across the floor as someone had opened the paddles and dropped the level about 8". So after spending time picking up my stuff off the floor I went back to bed. By the time I awoke and hour or two later the boat was floating again.
Either CRT train their staff better in the responsibility of maintaining water levels or they dredge the canal! One or 'tother or both I'm not fussed, but it is not right to risk damaging peoples homes by failure to train staff!
Wednesday 29 December 2021
Thursday 16 December 2021
Monday 22 November 2021
So the way it works is one end is plugged into the supply and the other is connected to your shoreline cable. The one in the picture is £164. The £400 one replaced one of the short cables with 20 foot of artic cable hence the extra £200+😮😮😮
I'm sorry but this is a rip of, daylight robbery! There is an easier/cheaper way of achieving meter reading. Buy a meter, buy an enclosure, a length of cable and install! That's what I did. Total cost £35.
The only problem is that the mooring owner can't just come along and read the meter when he wants to unless you are around, but you can easily avoid that by emailing him a snapshot of the meter. Sorted. Job done!
Wednesday 17 November 2021
Wednesday 10 November 2021
I spent the last two years moored at Tooley's Wharf right along side the dry dock. It was never my intention to stay so long but circumstances dictated different. I was originally contacted by Matt who asked if I wanted a winter mooring. Well the price was good so I said yes. With in the first few week of my residency I saw the ghost of a child at the end of the wharf. From this I took this to mean that I had been accepted by the history that is Tooley's! A fine history it is. Originally I was only supposed to stay until the end of March.
However Covid-19 reared its ugly head March 2020 23rd to be exact and the world changed! Tooley's were quite happy for me to stay insitu until the crisis was over. So I stayed for nearly two years.. I had my living space at Tooley's and Susan had her space in Oxford. We were due to go to France on March 14. We decided against that and held on to the tickets for later use. Instead I decided that we would decamp to Oxford. There we would have a bigger space to live in and local parks would provide space for Molly.
Well after the first six weeks I was crawling up the wall. In the middle of a city we saw virtually no one. Infrequent visits from family were conducted via the living room window on the first floor and and gifts or deliveries were raised into the house via a basket lift.
We sat back and decided that we should go back to Tooley's. This was an infinitely better plan than the first 6 weeks. We were able to pay a lot of attention to the outside of the Milly M and she ended up looking top dollar. We did travel back to Oxford from time to time to do the shopping for an old lady of Sue's acquaintance who lived a few miles away and couldn't get out herself. I never went in the building and Sue only left the shopping in the hall.
So all that came to an end as we returned from our tripette this year. The previous incumbents of the wharf had had some issues with their landlord and wanted to come back, so given I was only suppose to be there for winter 2019 I was out! However I had returned with a few problem with the boat so was allowed to stay until Nov 1 to sort them out. In the mean time efforts were being made by Matt at Tooley's to secure me another mooring at Sovereign Wharf. It took a while but I am now moored at Sovereign Wharf.
If you come to Banbury and want to say Hello you can find me, going south, on the last mooring on the right before TOM ROLT BRIDGE or coming north the first mooring on the left after TOM ROLT BRIDGE.
It is only temporary in that it is the mooring that Ian lets out during the summer, but I am hoping to come to a deal either for regular winter moorings or, if I am lucky, a permanent position here. You might wonder why I would want to stay in one place all the time! All I can say is the knees are wearing out, the hips are fucked and I am 71 in a month, so all in all I need the rest!
Sunday 24 October 2021
Tuesday 5 October 2021
People came through last year when it was very stiff saying, "It never used to be that stiff" and this year they are saying, "I was told it was very stiff." One can only assume that they have never fixed anything in their lives.
The working mechanism is not on the towpath side. If you are a single hander, providing you are less than 58 feet and are skillful you can moor on the working side. There is one bollard, roughly midships to tie your handling line around. There really is no need to moor on the other side and walk down to the lock to cross over to get back to your boat.
If you are longer than 58ft you can get your bow on to the working side bollard, then take your bow rope on to the bollard while working the bridge. You can either traverse down the gunnel or walk through the boat.
If you are a single hander then be a single hander. Dont ask me to help you because I wont. I have been a single hander for nigh on 15 years I accept help sometimes when offered but never ask for help. You chose to be a single hander so be a single hander. Don't keep expecting others to 'help' you because you cant sit back for a few mins and solve the problem in front of you.
There are some boats I will help through, an elderly couple and a chap who had a stroke and lost the use of his right arm come to mind immediately
There is always a dummy who says, "Why are the beams are on the "wrong side?" To which I have to respond, "Donkeys, mules, and cart horses don't jump beams. In fact it would be a folly if they did, the risk of injury is greater.
"But we don't have donkeys, mules, and carthorses anymore". That's true, but CRT are tasked with keeping the history and heritage as intact as best they can. If you dont like it buy a caravan! Your ignorance and lack of thinking ability is dangerous and damaging to the equipment we all rely on.
Two boats this last few months have, through their own bloody mindedness, crashed into the bridge. One, BLUEPRINT, wasn't too bad although the bridge did shake, but the second, WARRIOR, was under power. More than a crawl! and lifted it up off it hinges. Fortunately it dropped back in the right place.
Earlier this year I was moored on the outside of the wharf with the historic KILSBY on the inside. This leaves a good 15 feet for the passage of two boats. A chap comes past and bounced of the MILLY M. I asked if he had enough room and highlighted the fact that Tooley's do give handling lessons to which he blurted out, "Well you shouldn't be moored there".
There was only one reply I could muster. "I wondered how long it would be before your lack of boating skills was my fault". It seems that people want to change things instead of honing their boating skills.
A few week later I was moored on the inside and KILSBY an 111 year old FMC boat was on the outside. Now I dont know about you but even though I am 5'8" I stand on a 14" high milk crate when steering. This way I can see forward to just about 60' in front of the boat. The Skipper of MAISIBERT, seeming somewhat shorter than me, stands on the stern deck and cant see the 200 yards in front at all. He was 3/4 of the way across KILSBY when he hit it. I thought KILSBY was going through the bridge! "Sorry", he said "I didn't see it". Well of course he wouldn't see it his narrow boat was in the way.
I know negotiating past Tooley's is not easy, but that's a good reason for taking care. People are more likely to come on through the bridge when there is a boat waiting, than to wait until it has a free passage. The other side of the bridge has space for six boats at push and still leaves passage from the lock, but do they wait, NO!
On the other side I have seen boats who wouldn't go through to the lock waiting area because the was one boat ready to come through despite mooring spaces for six boats.
Monday 23 August 2021
Sunday 1 August 2021
Now I know we are not all perfect, me especially, but the difference is I generally PAY ATTENTION most the time. Though there are not many people in this world who would own up to snagging their bow exposing their propeller and then cilling it in the same lock, and all that whilst going up! I am he. And to highlight there can be a danger even to long standing boaters I wrote about it somewhere here and and put a link on FaceBook.
In Napton a few years ago while delivering a boat. I saved a boat from sinking. If there is water coming through your front door and you are rolling a fag you are just not paying attention. Now say thank you, I just saved your arse, because I was paying attention! I shut the bottom gates, I opened the top gates to sort out the problem you were not paying attention to. I am sorry your gearbox destroyed itself, but that was nothing to do with me saving your arse!
Boating is fun! But if you dont pay attention it can be a disaster. I worry because I understand that boating is dangerous, others seem not to.
Monday 14 June 2021
Once again it seems that CRT are only fixing shit that has totally failed instead of fixing stuff before it has a chance to fail and cause mayhem!
It must be 3 maybe 4 years since I sent CRT pictures of damage to Dashwood Lock. I sent CRT a picture of the damage and a picture of the lock name plate, which as it happened was actually a BW sign! On my return I observed that the damage had not been repaired, but the BW sign had been replaced with a CRT sign. What kind of idiots are more concerned with corporate image than actually doing the job they are paid to do?
Had CRT acted 3 or 4 years ago when they knew the problem existed then maybe they would have a better understanding of the problems! Instead of pissing about faffing over signs.