Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Location Location Location

If you are coming to The Crick Boat Show this weekend and you wish to meet up if I am not in the beer tent you can find me along the canal down by the tunnel.

Away day to Northampton

This morning the contractors came and cut down the weeds. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. Having sat on my arse for over a week I thought I would get myself away for a change so I ventured on to a bus and went to Northampton. This is why you are able to read my up date. I did notice on the bus coming in that they have a Maplins now at last I can get the connector I need to connect up the horn and tunnel light.

Had I been bright enough I would have bought my camera so I could add some pics. Der!

Leicester to Crick

Wednesday 09 May

Last night we moored up in the middle of Leicester a nice secure mooring at the edge of Castle Park, the only pedestrian access is through the park which is locked at night. The gate to the park from the wharf has a BW lock and one of the gates on the street is also opened by a BW key. There is a map highlighting the gate on to the street.

We went for a walk around town which is quite nice. It has a huge open air market that has relatively recently had a roof put over it. Next to it is a 4 storey indoor market. There seems to be a lot of estate agents and amusement arcades although to be fair that can be said for most cities these days. You will also find a plethora of places to fill your face, still you soul and bank your money.

We went this evening to Shakespeare's Head for a pint or two. It is a 1950's building with little character and is most unlike a pub inside. Try it you will see what I mean.

Thursday 10 May

Across the river there is a block of student quarters behind which is the Pump & Tap and a whole street of eateries and bars.


Friday 11 May

I have overstayed my welcome here so I really need to move on before someone makes it official. I set off at about 11 and made my way to Blayby. I was going to go shopping but the nearby bridge is used by teens till late into the night so I was a bit unhappy to leave the boat, but I did get away later for last orders.

Saturday 12 May

I got up sort of early and went into Blaby for my shopping. Not a bad small town for shops but I wish the print/art shop was open on Saturdays I really wanted a Tee-shirt with 'Maffi' on it.

I pulled pins at 11 deciding to get as close to Foxton as possible before mooring for the night. As it happened I made it all the way. What did annoy me was that the three boats I met coming down all stole my locks. I know they were in my favour because I could see daylight all the way up the mitre posts. The skipper nb Yelvertoft muttered something about cross wind. Another said sorry I didn't see you. Well of course he didn't, he didn't bloody look because I was only 50 yards away and I saw him at the lock gate before he started winding up the paddle.

So here I am back at Foxton. I went for a jar at the Foxton Lock Inn and was disappointed with the attitude I encountered. There are still 50 days left until the smoking in public places ban, but I had to smoke outside. So I went across to Bridge 61 for a beer. Bridge 61 is owned by the same guy who actually built the Lock Inn way back in 1980. His lease expired and BW said piss off. The premises were taken over by a brewery who spent over £1 nillion on it and last year made a loss of £88,000 (check Companies house). Why would they lose money? Simple really, the management team are not publicans. Can you imagine being barred from one pub just because you work for the pub across the road? Well I have never heard of such crap, but the new barman at Bridge 61 has been barred from the Lock Inn for just that. A lay celebrating her 60th birthday at the Lock Inn asked if they could provide some candles for her cake.

"Did we supply it?"
"No."
"Then no."

Most of the people in Bridge 61 tonight had been across the canal and thought better of it. The general consensus of opinion from those people I spoke to was a big thumbs down. I don't think I will ever go in there again.

Sunday 13 May

I was up early, well early for me, and talking to the lockie booking my ride to the top. After nb Jacob entered the lock I went to move my boat up the queue. The Canaltime boat that had just exited the lock moored up where I was about to moor. Err like there wasn't space for him elsewhere. F***ing Americans! I had enough time in the last lock to order a bacon sandwich and a coffee.

Along the canal south of Kilworth you come to the junction of the Welford Arm, I only mention this because turning right here there is a really nice mooring spot. A couple of hundred yards of sharp concrete edging, some with mooring ring. Just the place to stop for a day or two especially if you are wringing wet from the rain.

Monday 14 May

It was a bit wet today coming down to Crick but the sun came out when I arrived. I took out my rod, tut tut you have a mind like a sewer, and cast a few baits for the fish. Loads of bites, but no landings. Ho hum!

Jon Sargent did a programme about 4X4's tonight and why we don’t need them, did you see it? One of the three owners featured demonstrated such total stupidity. His sooped up 4X4 was fitted with ultra low profile tyres! I am sure it would make a really good off roader….NOT! What a pointless exercise.

Tuesday 15 May

Crick is miserable, it's raining. BW are in breach of the 'veg pledge' and it's a long walk to the pub!

Wednesday 16 May

More fishing today and I finally caught a fish, well two actually. Only a few inches long , but fish, Roach, nonetheless.

BW came to visit today, wrote down my reg no. Quite a cutie she was, but not as cute as the barmaid in the Red Lion.

I would have thought that given that the boat show is only 10 days away BW would have at least cut back the nettles along the tow path where the show boats and visitors are to moor their boats. A few of the trees could do with being cut back as well.

I watched one of those American police video shows tonight. What a load of b*ll*cks. While I don't disagree that at times they are in great danger, the voice over track is totally over the top in its description of what is seen on the video. They seem to assume that all drivers are incapable of driving a car properly at speed when in fact some pretty accurate manoeuvring takes place. And if the cops would just stop chasing them then the danger would be less. Yes I know that crims have to be caught, but at what cost? One cop tazed a female driver, and while she was writhing on the ground he was giving her commands with which she could not possibly comply so he tazed her again. Totally unnecessary, but then I have always doubted the sanity of giving a Redneck any kind of weapon. Yes I know they might not be Rednecks but they certainly act like them. Yet another cop emptied his clip at a fleeing suspect, who was still in the frame when the first shot was fired, and missed him altogether.

Thursday 17 May

Weather here is still miserable, scattered showers and overcast. Boo Hoo!

Friday 16 May

Well, well, well the sun came out today. It has been quite nice here all day. There is a Co-op in the village so I set of to get some shopping. On the way back I stopped in the Red Lion, it's a long walk. Boring I know but bear with me. The conversation at the pub got around to the subject of rubbish on the tow path. The general gist of it was that the boaters were to blame for most of it, I have to agree. So often it is obvious that the bin bags lying in the hedgerow with their contents spewing out are the result of thoughtless boaters. More especially when the bags are on the off tow path side. I find it difficult to understand why they do not just put the bags on top of the boat until they get home or to a disposal point. A couple of beer cans and a few sweet wrappers and crisp packets chucked in the hedge, well that is probably anglers, but a bag of domestic rubbish has to have come off a boat. Even here at the tunnel mouth there are a couple of those single use BBQs that you can buy at a garage, not a pretty sight.

We are better than this guys. The canal is there for all to enjoy, all the time. It does us no good to be seen as 'those low life' that litter the tow path. We must all make an effort to keep the tow path tidy even if it is not our rubbish it wouldn't hurt us to pick up litter where we moor. Yes I know it's not our 'job', but if BW have to hire people to do it, it will cost us in the long run.

On a similar subject did you know that sheep choke to death eating those balloons that are sent up for charity?

Saturday 19 May

When I arrived here Monday I was the only boat at this end with the exception of three boats 'long term moorers' by Bridge 11. Yesterday and today other boats have arrived and I dare say more will come over the weekend. There is about 30ft behind me and about 20 foot in front. Who is going to be asked to move when other boats turn up, me probably? Will I be miffed? Yes I will, for one thing I am on the bottom and for another the bank here is muddy and I alredy collected a lot of dead twigs to make a base to step on to get on/off from the boat so as not to bring that mud on to board. Why should I move? Why can't people moor up next to other boats especially this week when mooring here at a premium? I will never understand the mind of a boater.

Sunday 20 May

Lunch at Edwards is normally very good and today was no exception, but Bigfish decided to repaint the gunnels on La-Di-Da at the wharf and my meal was laced with paint fumes. Why couldn't they wait till later when the lunch rush was over? Thank you Bigfish you owe me lunch.

Monday 21 May

Andy Warhol said in the sixties, or was it the seventies, that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. I understand what he meant given that the advances in visual media in the last thirty years, but to what extremes will one go to in order to fulfil the prophesy. We have a plethora of 'reality' TV shows where almost anyone can take part in a whole variety of 'life' performances. Why oh why would 40/50 year old virgins want to grab their 15 minutes of fame telling the world about the deficit in their lives and what they are doing to fix it.. I know there is a need for medical/psychiatric records to aid others in this but to put this out on national TV is really in bad taste.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Time to go

Much as it pains me I must leave this mooring and more important this WIFI connection. Dont know when I will get another connection but hey them are the breaks. Catch ya later.

Some times......

Sometimes when you cry no one sees your tears.

Sometimes when you are in pain no one sees your hurt.

Sometimes when you are worried no one sees your stress.

Sometimes when you are happy no one sees your smile.

But FART!! just ONE time... And everybody knows!!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Boaters talk..toilets

I see that the price of a pump out has been reduced from £12:10p £10 by British Waterways. Way to go boys!

CLOCK



WOW I put the clock right


Speeding, mooring and moaning

I know that at 1800 rpm walkers overtake me when I am out on the cut. I think it is fair to say that I am not exceeding the speed limit of 4 MPH. When I pass moored boats I cut back to between 1000 and 1200 rpm. I think that is reasonable. So why do many boaters stand and stare at me with a scowl on their faces like a slapped arse when I pass. I rarely know when another boat is passing even those that do not cut back, and if I did I wouldn't care. I live on a boat, boats rock on the water. If I wanted to live a stable rock free life I would buy a house.
AddendumHaving said that nb Crystal Ball came past this morning (Friday)faster than anyboat I have ever seen before and nigh on ripped me off my mooring. He trailed a 1 foot wake.

The BW rule is to 'slow down' when passing moored boats. How slow is slow? I often see signs that ask one to slow down but more and more these signs specify 2 MPH or even tickover. One even said "What part of slow down do you not understand". I find such signs offensive and unwarranted.

If you want a totally stable platform to live on then there are such things, they are called houses, normally built of brick or concrete and only subject to movement in certain mining areas.

If one more Moaning Minnie scowls at me as I pass them at a speed that would allow snails to overtake I just might give up slowing down altogether. I see many boats 'moored' with slack ropes so obviously they will move when another boat passes. They could do as I do and learn to tie up properly. If I am on arnco pillings I will tie up with the ropes at 90o to the centreline of the boat. You can be sure that I dont move!

Why is it, that in this normally very friendly community, boats have to moor 100 yards apart? This only exacerbates the problem of having to keep speed down over a long distance.

Why is it that boats will not share a mooring bollard or ring where the space to moor securley is limited? When I moored up here in Leicester this week the boats already there were moored up taking a good 40 ft between them more than was necessary. In a space where it would be possible to moor three boats of 60 ft one was a good 15 feet of the end of the wharf and another (about 35 ft) 20+ feet from the other end. As it was I had to breast up to Paul on Waterlodge (67 ft) and he only just got in what space was available.

This is a good example of what I mean taken at Banbury last month

Yes I know I can ask them to move up, but I shouldn't have to.

Auctions

Maybe I am something of a Luddite, but BW's plan to auction off moorings can only be bad for boaters. Auctions are not market forces. People know how much they can afford to pay and will be out priced by those who don't care what they have to pay. Those with money will get moorings, those without will add to the vagrant population. BW have had a few hairbrained schemes in the past but this must beat the rest into a cocked hat.

Their plan for ‘a more open and transparent way of setting mooring prices’ will simply push prices up out of the reach of many in favour of better fixed boaters. Many boaters already find it difficult to absorb ever increasing costs but now they will be competing with some who have a pot of money to throw at a mooring. I wonder if BW will publish lists of who bought moorings this way and how much was paid?

I licenced my boat last October at the same time as Derek and Dot on nb Gipsy Rover, yet there are 45 numbers between our registrations. Multiply that over a year and you are looking at nearly 600 new boats, probably more.

A properly organised 'waiting list' is surely the only fair way to go.

There she is!

Milly M outside Edwards restaurant at Crick Wharf

Click for larger image

Moving errr no!

Thursday 10 May

I was going to move today, but the wind is up and it's been raining. What is a guy to do?

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Leicester

Monday 07 May

I did a couple of small jobs on the boat this morning and set off north at lunchtime. Locks a plenty on the way , but before long I coupled up with a brand new boat Waterlodge. When I say brand new it had only gone in the water just two days before. Not a scratch did it have, but you know me generous to a fault. By the time we moored up I had selflessly given him a few to be getting on with.

Tuesday 08 May

I set off with Paul about ten and did 15 locks before mooring up in Leicester. This afternoon we passed Balhama. Mo called me an opportunist because it appeared that I just arrived and went straight into the lock. The reason I was so far behind Paul was that it was my turn to close the bottom gates at the previous lock. Ho hum!

Northampton to Foxton

Thursday 26 Apr

As you know I found a WIFI source in Northampton. For future information Sostas coffee shop opposite Argos in Abington street. Free WIFI as long as you order a few coffees. I also topped up the beer chits supplies. Oh and the hair has been tidied up at Chaps Barber. So much so that when I saw Nigel, a few days later, he didn’t recognise me.

I quite liked Northampton. No longer the centre of the shoe industry it has a lot of history to it. Good old buildings of superb quality from a bygone age just have to be seen. The market square though in use was only half full but if you ever need a mobile phone or any accessories that is the place to go. If you at sometime find yourself in the area spend a day or two there, you will like it.

I had moored at the back of a council estate, not an obvious choice but I had no problems while I was there.

This evening I had a pint or two in the Railway Tavern in Bridge Street. I get the impression that the RT is about to go down the pan. The pub, though once a nice place, is now as lack lustre as the fading colours on the pool balls. OK for a quiet drink but there are other better places if, unlike me, you can be bothered to hunt them down.

Friday 27 Apr

I left Northampton after a trip to Morrison's for supplies. I went through the first lock at 1:45 completing the 16 to the top and doing the tunnel again then moored up at Stoke Bruerne about 7 pm. Not a bad days travelling really. Stoke B is probably one of those places you either love or hate; I love it and stayed until Monday. During which time I met up with Alan and Debbi nb Keeping Up on their way back down the flight.

Monday 30 Apr

Despite having a nice clean boat I once more went through the tunnel and of course at the other end it was dirty again. The residue the leaking roof deposits on the boat is a bit corrosive. While it doesn't seem to attack the paint it does have an eroding effect on brass and if it isn't cleaned off soon it takes quite an effort to remove it. I moored at Bridge 18 below Buckby flight.

I thought it would be nice to try out my rod and some of the free fishing gear I won on my travels, no joy! Time for bed!

Tuesday 01 May

I was up early again but spent time watching TV before moving off. I set off up the Bucky flight with an elderly couple on nb Cleo. He was the spitting image of my brother Robert. The Leicester Arm is nice I followed nb Cleo up to the locks at Watford. The lockie gave me an explanation of how the staircase works, red paddles white paddles, totally confused me but I managed to get up to the top. Had he talked side ponds I think I would have understood better.

Crick Tunnel is a bleeding pain. The lime deposits on the tunnel wall have changed the wall profile, consequently the rubbing strakes don’t make contact before the side sheets which gave me a nice scrape about 4 inches wide above the name. On a good note I now have a collection of strange looking stalactites.

Nearly two years ago I came to Crick looking for a boat while I was on vacation. I had my lunch at Edwards Restaurant. I have been looking forward to coming back. Tonight I had Venison. What a meal that was! A bit on the pricey side but then good food always is.

Wednesday 02 May

I need a pic of the boat for a book about "live a boards" in an exotic location. The location, I thought, could be Edwards Restaurant. So I set too cleaning the boat. I did just the port side and stern because that was the side to be pictured. I moved the boat across the canal and moored up on the old Crick wharf and removed the collection of 'stuff' that I have off the roof to make the pic a bit tidier.

I took several pics as the sun moved across the sky, hopefully the changing light will produce at least one good frame.

I set off to Welford at mid-day and arrived at about 6. I found the shop in the village, which funny enough in this day and age didn't take bank cards. Der! After dinner I popped down to the pub, as you do, where my night was taken over by Josephine. She, a woman in her forties, took great interest in what I was doing and why. She left, before me, much the worse for wear following four pints of Guinness. I can't believe that her companion, a man in his sixties who also had 4 X G drove her home. Some people are just too stupid for their own good.

Also met in the pub were Derek a leading light in local am-dram and blind in one eye, Dominic and Helen a May December couple.

Thursday 03 May

I slept well, past 9 am. It was bloody chilly this morning, but I set off on my way to Market Harbourgh. I filled up at Kilworth boatyard and emptied my tank. While I was there I made a passing acquaintance with a member of the Hus Bos Gliding Club who informed me that Vulcan Bomber XV358 would likely fly at the end of the month. If you are at the Crick show you may well see this glorious aircraft flying. I used to work on Vulcans during my early years in the RAF. I even worked on this particular aeroplane.

More paint came off in the Hus Bos tunnel much to my annoyance. Up by Bridge 51 a couple on a boat started waving frantically ……. It was Derek & Dot (the Kiwis) again. We moored up and Dot made me a sandwich and a coffee. We chatted away a couple of hours so Market Harbourgh was not achievable, but I did however make it to Foxton locks. I had expected to have to wait until tomorrow but the lockie called me to go down. What a nice place the locks are. A lot of work has been and is still being done to make it a good visitor attraction.

Derek and Dot. This link from Mo on nb Balmaha

Friday 04 May

Overnight at Foxton and this morning I got a BW key from the shop and Oil from the boat yard. Rather than change the oil there and then I decided to wait until I got to Market Harbourgh. The run to MH was not particularly outstanding but better than the short arm to Welford. I booked a berth at MH, most unlike me to pay, but it will be easier to change the oil and do a few little jobs I have on hand. MH is a nice place, lots of shops and pubs, what more could you want.

Saturday 05 May

Oil change took an hour or two. I have to dismantle the steps to gain access to the engine compartment then rebuild afterwards. There were quite a lot of boats come into the basin but most just winded and left.

This afternoon I repositioned the lamp and horn unit on to the gas locker lid, never did like it stuck on the front of the cratch.

I opened one of my back packs today to find more mugs wrapped in a copy of the Arab News. On the back page was a story about a woman arrested for DWF. Now you might not be able to guess what that is so I shall elucidate, Driving While Female. I kid you not. Her husband was called to the police station to collect her and he had to promise that she would not commit 'such a terrible crime again' which, according to the defenders of the law 'could lead to immoral behaviour'. What a crock of crap! The fact that Saudis are the worst drivers in the world (proven fact) and kill people every day in droves is not immoral, but women drivers……….

Sunday 06 May

What a busy place MH basin is on a Sunday. Boats a plenty. Mostly just using the basin as a winding hole, but nonetheless busy. It is quite amusing watching how some people achieve such a simple manoeuvre in such a large space. Well it brought a smile to my sorry mug anyway.

I returned to Foxton this afternoon. I took the opportunity to watch others coming down the flight, quite an education.

Walking around the back of the Museum brings one to the Inclined Plane. I can't help wondering why all the fuss. It does depend who you read, but some say that the IP was an unmitigated disaster. Bereft of profit and given that the Watford locks were never widened to cope with the wider traffic that the IP would lift up the hill, something of a white elephant.

I see that British Gas is advertising that they are the only supplier to reduce their prices twice in one year. Well given that they were probably the most expensive supplier they can afford to do that. The question I ask is should they be using this as an advertising ploy when they have virtually been forced to do this because customers have been leaving in droves due to their high prices. Shame on them.