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'. 😂
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!

Saturday, 15 February 2020


For as many years as I can remember Kilsby has been moored on the Hythe Bridge Arm in Oxford. You may remember a pinky red paneled boat with yellow framing opposite the small, but adequate facilities block. It has, for the last several years, looked very sorry for itself, there being a constant battle to keep the water on the outside. Recently the owner relinquished her grasp and bought a new boat and Kilsby was donated to a charity. 

Kilsby, if she was able to be saved, is to gain a new life as a hire/trip boat and had to be towed to Tooley's Historic Boat Yard where it was to be appraised and the first stage of its reformation was to be performed. 
Wrapped ready for transportation

It travelled over several days as volunteers were available. The boat was so badly listing that Tooley's placed several old batteries on the roof to level it up. During its stay in Thrupp the batteries were nicked and had to be replaced before it could continue its journey. One day it appeared behind me on the Tooley's Wharf.

Tuesday 28/01 it was unceremoniously dragged into the dry dock where it started being stripped of its 'soft' bits, of which there were many. There was not a piece of wood on the boat that was not damp to one degree or another. This was a shame because there was a lot of Mahogany on it. 

On Day One the inside was stripped out. It was not pleasant. There was more wild life hiding behind the slimy wood walls than was healthy, some of the biggest slugs, snails, and worms I have ever seen. The half filled skip at the yard was soon filled and then the yard itself.

6 0'clock ish next morning the skip was taken away and a nice empty one put in its place. It didn't take long for the volunteers to fill this one all stacked very neatly. The cross board water tank came out followed by the poo tank and a strange oblong box construction in the top of which was gas bottle storage and below a coal bunker.

On Thursday there was another change of skip and the loading continued filling this one to its maximum capacity. This saw the majority of the wood out of the boat and any 'surplus' stacked up on the wharf again. The BMC 1.8 also came out.

Yet another skip arrived and was subsequently filled on Friday and still the junk came out, including a ton or more of house bricks. 

Saturday morning came, and buckets and buckets full of detritus that had been residing on the bottom of the boat under the floor were added to the pile already on the wharf which included a fridge and a cooker …… oh and a bath!

Once again when Monday came the skip was replaced with an empty and that afternoon I filled that skip to nearly full with what was on the wharf, only the bath remains. 

Kilsby was taken out of the dock first thing and moored up near where the old bridge had been.

Kilsby is an interesting boat because its cast iron hull sides and wooden tri-keelson bottom are 107 years old. In its heyday it had been a working boat and for many years after that a house boat having at least three owners during its 25 years on the Hythe Bridge Arm! 

I had the privilege of towing the now stripped hull up the canal to the old arm where it will rest until April when it will be inspected and assessed for refurb. I will post the vid next week. 

Saturday, 25 January 2020


I like to clear up the rubbish as much as the next man but I just don't see the point of this. By all means take it out if you must, but please take it away. Leaving it behind is just fly tipping!

Tuesday, 14 January 2020


If you are coming to Banbury, just a small piece of useful advice. The Lift bridge is low at the hinge side. there are several chimneys in the water because of the "It'll fit" attitude of many boaters. It probably wont fit and if it is stainless it will stay in the murky depths of the canal forever!


This arsehole is Kanye West. 
He thinks he is the Messiah!

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Winter Mooring?`

I spent most of the summer painting my roof and other stuff, with an interlude in the house in France. However, as summer faded into autumn I needed to search out somewhere to hibernate or at least make my way to Brum, I haven't been for some years. With the latter getting further away with the stoppages due at various places. I was going to go with the 'lets stay around the Oxford area' scenario.

You may imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, I was offered a mooring at the famous Tooley's. I love Tooley's because it has such wonderful history. Here on the wharf I feel visited by the spirits of bygone boaters. Only yesterday I 'imagined' seeing a young girl standing near the end of my boat when I let Molly out for a pee! It was a fleeting glance that disappeared as I stepped down off the stern, changing my viewing angle. Trick of the light?

I am moored about 30 feet from the lift bridge. After being here just a few days I learned why the previous incumbent had moved on. It seems the operation of the bridge is quite a problem for some. Now I can understand single handers struggling to get the bridge open and they may have to nudge me in the process What I do find unacceptable is crewed boats 'whacking' me, quite unnecessarily. There are bollards opposite to tie up, let off the crew who can then cross the bridge to lift it to let the boat through, but No! Stupidity reigns! I wont complain. 

And why is it that having just passed several moored boat there is a need to throw the engine into reverse at max chat to slow down so they don't hit the bridge. I might complain. 

Susan has been to see the mooring. She says the terrace garden needs attention. Well that's not going to happen!

Sunday, 22 December 2019

The Election

Well, well, well! How did you like them apples? This is now the fourth time we (as in country) have set out our stall for Brexit 2015 2016 2017 2019. We had over three years discussing the 'way out' and still couldn't come to a conclusion. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest the result, democracy at its worst!

I said at the time 'what ever way you voted we must all get behind this result and make this work'. Well that didn't happen!

But now we have another opportunity to do just that, What's the betting as soon as the weather warms up the protesters will be back out on the street.

Will Brexit work? I honestly don't know, but having seen the way the senior EU statesmen have behaved since the referendum and are still behaving even now I do not think we can stay in. We would be punished for having the temerity to say we wanted out. EU members have said on many occasions that they are going to fuck us up big time. Germany has never forgiven us for WW1 WW2, France cannot accept that we kicked their arse several times and saved their ass a couple of times too. I think it was Guy Verhofstadt who said the EU army will march on the UK!

Lets be honest all they want is our money. 19 of the 28 EU states do not contribute. Of the 28 we get the least out.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Open Live Writer

Ok so now I have the answer. It is not the answer I wanted but it is the right answer. Blogger is Google based. Google currently do not recognise OPL. End of story!