Thursday, 28 June 2007

Calling all crews

I should be off down the Thames to the K&A this weekend. Anyone want to crew, days, weeks, weekends?

Call 07 74 63 69 59 5 to book a trip. Or text details.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Oxford

Bones brought me into Oxford today and I found a Mac D with inet access. Yeah I know not cool.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Thrupp

Thursday 14 Jun

Can you believe it Tooley's boat yard did not have the right oil for my engine. I surprised myself today in that I Left Banbury at about half eleven and arrived at the Rock of Gibraltar at 9pm, not bad going really. There was a bit of rain early on but it has been a really good day overall. Yet another blog reader said hello. I mentioned the boaters banter on Saturday and he said he might be there. On the way into the RoG some miserable biddy shouted to slow down which was a bit difficult because I was only just in tick over. It would seem to me that some people just want to complain.

Friday 15 Jun

Up at 6 and on my way, the few short miles to the pub, by 6:30. There is not much room here at Thrupp. There is literally no space from the lift bridge to past the Jolly Boater. After washing down the boat I went to bed for a rest. Come 4 there was a crashing on the boat that announced the arrival of Dr Bones. Why she couldn’t just let herself in I don’t know. So I got up to let her in first making myself decent. I was enjoying that sleep!

Alan Jones wasn’t far behind me last night. He arrived with Debbie this afternoon, who had broken one of her toes. An ambulance was called and she was whisked away to hospital. Bones promised to pick her up later which meant she couldn’t have a drink. Oooo is she tetchy at times.

Saturday 16 Jun

This morning Bones hammered on my roof, dragging me out of my slumber, at 8:30. She was on her way to Keeping Up to transport Debbie to the fracture clinic. My mistake was being somewhere in the middle. It's like she is over-dosing on a constant diet of 'E' numbers.

John on the Wey Arrived about 2 this afternoon. I had been at Alan's boat checking on space availability and was returning along the towpath. A text from John said "Well I am at the boat where are you".

Moley turned up but having not met him before I was not aware who he was. Bones had moved her boat up from past Dukes cut and moored up down the canal a bit. We went to see her, but found the boat locked up. Back at the pub a bewiskered figure said, "OK I'll do the introductions".It was Dave (STD101 or something) and Moley was with him. We all four entered the Jolly Boatman where bones was holding court. Today is the day of the Boaters Banter. In total 11 people arrived. Cheshire Rose, Bottle and Mrs Bottle, Steve, Shaun also came. Me Bones and Hannah complete the list

Sunday 17 Jun

It was a good banter which for me lasted until mid-day today. John on the Wey stayed with me on Milly. I awoke at 7:30 to find John fishing out of my side hatch and the kettle on the boil. Nice one John! After John had left I was away down to Bones' boat. A space had become available in front of me. I got to drive her boat down to the pub just after which spaces became available back on the seven day moorings where Keeping Up was moored. Bones set off and I followed in reverse. That must be a good half a mile!

Monday 18 Jun

What a strange day this has been. I spent most of the day on the boat. Bones came mid afternoon and after watching a film she took me to the Doctor. The verdict is that I have torn a cartilage and will need an MRI scan before they can decide whether or not to operate. It will take 3 months for a appointment by which time I should be back in the area. If not I will come on the train.

Bones cooked dinner and we went to the pub after which we watched one of her collection of Jeeves and Wooster DVDs. During this time she plundered my biscuit tub which was a fair swap for the Guinness she plied me with during dinner.. Watching the DVD marked a special occasion in my boating life. I have finally connected up the DVD player which I bought back from Saudi. More important it worked straight away.

So Salman Rushdie is to be awarded a knighthood. That will put the cat among the pigeons.

Tuesday 19 Jun

Lazy day today. Nothing happened to warrant writing about it, but you know me why use one word when a hundred can be equally interspersed with nothingness.

Wednesday 20 Jun. 07

Both Me and Alan needed water today. Alan got the bridge for me and I reciprocated. Once again I have to bloody complain. Along came a boat while Alan was filling. Alan said, "Moor alongside I won't be long". The boat did that and then started to unroll his hose connecting it to the same standpipe as Alan. Well the flow from the pipe was slow enough as it was, now that the water is being drawn into two boats the flow rate is halved. Not satisfied with that he then got his Porta Pottie out carrying it over both his open tank and Alan's open filling point. Now for me emptying toilets is not a big thing, I have a pump out, but I would have thought it makes sense not to bring together the operation of the filling of drinking water supplies with the emptying of toxic waste. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

I caught a couple of nice roach tonight and hooked into a large carp which took my hook line and sinker and disappeared under Alan's boat never to be seen again. Doh!

Thursday 21 Jun

Well, well, well, what have I been doing today? It all comes around to what does Dr Bones want me to do! Her washing for one and sawing some wood for another. Where Bones is concerned she asks and you really don't feel you should say no. She is something of an Amazon. She IS in charge! I probably shouldn’t stay here much longer. The longer I stay the more I love her and I don’t think she needs a lost cause right now.

Friday 22 Jun

Tonight I watched an 11 year lad, Lee, sing his heart out on a talent show. It made me wonder about me. I always thought I should have been born earlier. I felt I should have been a fighter pilot in WW2. Obviously that was not to be, however during my time at primary school I was the 'voice', the very best singer in the whole school. Aled Jones was an amateur compared to me. Prime solo parts in the school plays and I was always wheeled out to sing for visitors. Only ten years later a bright teacher would have been able to get me in 'show business'. I could have been another Lena Zavaroni. Opportunites for young people to make it to the top over the last thirty years have increased manifold. Maybe I was born too early.

I saw Bones' stalker tonight. He never usually comes to the Boat Inn but had obviously heard she was around. Apparently several people have had to talk to him about his fixation with women. It would appear that if a woman, any woman, speaks to him he assumes they will be getting married, sad really. I on the other hand consider myself lucky if I talk to a woman and never see her again. There is only one woman for me and I am not on her radar.

Saturday 23 Jun

Alan and Debbie left this morning. We moved to the 14 day moorings at Shipton Bridge and will move on later in the week. Bones has got a permanent mooring; I won't say where here for safety sake, I have to be on my way soon to the K&A.

Sunday 24 Jun

A trip out today for fuel. This involved passing the Rock of Gibraltar where Moaning Minnie has her boat. She saw me coming and closed all the hatches. At Enslow Wharf there is a phone number to call for service. I have to wonder why the man that holds the phone is away and then has to call his father to come down to the pump. Wouldn’t it be better to leave the phone with the man who is going to pump the fuel? Seems dumb to me. Stopping at the RoG I managed to moor in a 60' 2" space.

The problem with the location we are at now is the distance to the shop and more important the distance to the pub.

Monday 25 Jun

What a day! Caught a fish. Emptied my rubbish. Had dinner with Bones and Mark Parris. Watched TV. Oh happy days.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Picture book

If anyone knows what this duck is I would like to know, it is not in any of my books.

Friendly Mallards at Crick come for their dinner.


I have never seen this before, probably the work of the over zealous mooring warden. The bollards say 'Private mooring only'. One of these is on the 2hr side of the official sign post.


A Moorhen finds an optimal place to nest at Stoke Bruerne.


I saw this house coming down the locks to Banbury. I just had to take a pic.

Busy two weeks

Friday 01 Jun

It is quite a nice stretch from Marsworth to Berkhamstead. The only downside is the newbie boaters! Now I don't have anything against newbies, in fact I quite enjoy them. They can be quite entertaining, but there are times when there are just too many and it can make the trip a bit irksome especially when you have only one lock wheeler and they have six and your crew do all the work. I am sorry but even if they are new to boating there is no excuse for lack of enthusiasm.

So anyway we got to Berkhamstead, we pootled by the Crystal Palace, moored up past the Rising Sun and went for a drink in the Boat, go figure!

Usually when Candy comes to visit we reach a point when I say something that that gets her in a huff. Today was no exception. We have been friends for a long time, but there are times when I feel I am not a good friend to her at all, though I am not sure why. I think she wants more, emotionally, from me than I am prepared to give, or maybe more than I can give. I have said before she is probably on of the nicest, most considerate people I know, but after two days we just seem to get on each others nerves.

Saturday 02 Jun

It's a relatively short hop to Hemmel Hempstead, highlighted by a woman and her young son trying to move a Tupperware tub that she had just bought. Well not to put too finer point on it she really needed help. I don't mean from a convenient boater who just happens to be present, but from a professional who has the time to start at the beginning. You know the sort of thing, this is the front and to goes forward…………… Sorry, but she was really hopeless, I would doubt she had ever been on a boat in her life.

On arrival at HH I sought out Gina and Peter. I recently tore one of the zips on the cratch cover and took off a couple of poppers. Between them Gina and Peter would put it right.

Sunday 03 Jun

By lunch time the zip was in, as a matter of interest just in case I should ever call you a zip, zip is arabic for penis, so I was told in Riyadh.

Monday 04 Jun

Candy caught the 11:08 train to London.

By lunchtime the poppers were fixed. With a pump out complete I left. Mooring up at the Crystal Palace, in Berkhampstead, I revisited the pub that I had last frequented back in January. John, a live aboard boater and a local at the pub was standing in exactly the same place as in January. He thought I had visited a just a month ago and was quite surprised when I told him it had been nearly five months.

Tuesday 05 Jun

Slow start this morning. I just couldn't get my sorry arse out of bed. I didn’t get on my way until nearly noon. Getting to the other end of the Tring summit I turned down the the Wendover Arm and travelled to the current end. Just before Bridge 3 there are a number of live aboard boats on both sides of this very narrow canal. With barely an inch to spare it was a good job the plastics had fenders because I rolled them down the side. What is wrong with these people?

The newly opened section is a very nice place to moor up for a night or two. All the banks are concrete, but funnily enough, no mooring rings or bollards. There is a map of the area and an explanation of the progress so far. Would you believe I found a spelling mistake? :)

My daughter, Kirsty, lives nearby and she came to take me to her house for a meal.

Wednesday 06 Jun

I pootled up the canal to the junction, Kirsty came to visit, then down to Marsworth. I moored up above the bottom lock and lunched at the Bluebell Café. They have a new mural covering one wall, giant sized bluebells.

I was a bit concerned that the water level in the pound was dropping rapidly and by 9 pm I was on the bottom listing scarily. The solution was to open the up lock and refill the pound. I dropped over a foot of water from the next pound in order to refloat my boat and one or two others. I moved the boat down the lock and moored on the first available slot.

Why was the pound level dropping? Well the top gate of the Marsworth Bottom Lock leaks like a sieve, despite the fact that the flight was closed for several week earlier this year for repairs. This bottom lock, despite needing it, was not repaired. Why not?

Thursday 07 Jun

Walking back up the canal this morning I noticed that the pound that I used to fill up the lower pound was virtually empty, down over three feet. It is going to be difficult to go up the flight today which will not affect me coz I am going down the Aylesbury Arm.

The AA is a nice, though hard canal to navigate. It also gave up it's bounty of fishing gear. Seven floats one spinner and a baiter.

Arriving at the basin in Aylesbury I was direct to a mooring which was not only private but too small. Why whoever it was would interfere with my progress to the 14 day mooring I can only wonder, but surely if I am a visitor then the visitor mooring is the place I should be. Anyway having turned around and found the 'private' space to small I reversed back to the correct place.

Well, well, well talk about over reaction! Big Brother have sacked Emily for using the 'N' word when talking to Charley, who is obviously black. What people do not understand is that there are two words, Nigger and Nigga. One is offensive, the other almost a term of endearment, is not. Emily used the word Nigga and although Charley was shocked that she said it, she was not offended. We live in a very strange PC world where a black man can call a black man Nigga but a white man cannot. Anyway Emily was asked to leave immediately. They didn't even give her time to put some knickers on. What a bunch of assholes. Now is probably the time to accept that this programme has run its course and take it off the screen.

Friday 08 Jun

I wandered around Aylesbury and relived a few memories having lived near for many years. It has changed quite a bit in the intervening 13 years. There is now a big push to sort out the area around the canal basin. I kinda get the feeling that the planners would rather they could do away with the canal.

My grandaughter Natalie came to stay on the boat this evening. She was going to come up the arm with me. We made it up to lock 10 and stopped. She has never been on a boat before, she was very nervous. She caught a fish.

Saturday 09 Jun

With bacon sandwiches inside us we set off for Marsworth. Nats was very sad when we saw what appeared to be two dead puppies in the canal, but she got over it. I was quite surprised that she worked so hard. The sun shone all day.

At the top of the flight I gave her the opportunity to call her mother and going home, but she said she wanted. I think she might have had second thoughts if she had seen the size of the GU locks. I even managed to get her to drive the boat through the swing bridge while I swung it open and closed.

We stopped in Leighton Buzzard to pick up supplies, you know important things like After Sun (Nats got sunburned), then dropped one more lock to the Globe PH where we had a meal and overnighted.

Sunday 10 Jun

Same choice for Nats today, home or carry on to Milton Keynes, same answer. She coped admirably with the locks though there were not so many today as yesterday. At Solbury we waited for about 20 mins for a working boat to come and join us down the flight which was having trouble with water levels. Later at the next lock they had steamed through and went down without us, I had been going slowly due to a fishing match.

Nats spent the latter part of the afternoon sitting out of the sun. Despite the use of After Sun she was quite sore on her shoulders. At MK Kirsty came and whisked her away and I continued on my way towards Oxford stopping at Thrupp Wharf, Cosgrove just above bridge 68. While I wouldn't stop there for any length of time it's a nice overnight stop and of course there is the Navigation PH.

Monday 11 Jun

Stoke Bruerne

Gayton Junction. They have almost finished the new marina at the Junction. Nigel has at long last sold the bat boat (Pipestrelle?)
Overnight Stowell Wharf

Tuesday 12 Jun

I came up the Buckby flight with the newest of newbies, this was their first lock. At the top I continued on with another live aboard and did the tunnel and locks. We met four boats in the tunnel one of which hit me at the kink in the tunnel. BW were reinforcing the embankment at the north end of the tunnel which delayed our progress for about 20 minutes. Down the flight is easy when you both know what you are doing. I stopped in Braunston for about an hour then continued on down the Oxford to Napton. I passed an Aussie on a boat with an unpronounceable name who said he had been watching my boats progress at the builders from Aus land. By the time I stopped near the top of the Napton locks it was too dark to go on.

Wednesday 13 Jun

Still the sun shines. It has been 5 days now, but it was not to last. I did the last few locks into Banbury in the pouring rain. I met Keep Smiling on their way up. It would seem they have stopped doing the blog. Coming into Banbury I saw a recognisable boat name, More2Life. Of course wherever you find M2L No Problem is not far away. Not only was NP present, moored behind M2L, but also NP2 a few boats behind them. Sue was away until tomorrow. I will be on my way early, so will miss seeing her. Ho hum!

Monday, 4 June 2007

Crick and beyond

Thursday 24 May

People have been arriving all week. From the tunnel to Bridge 15 there are no slots left. And still they come. There will be boats all the way to Yelvertoft by tonight. How people can think that they can arrive on the day and expect to 'get a good pitch' is beyond me, but come they do.

I moved the boat today to get water, but before I moved I let in Frank on his new Liverpool Boat. The plan was that I would then breast up on my return, which I did. Peter off nb Robin then helped us to move the boat that I had asked to move twice. This gave me enough room to moor behind, once again on the bank. Frank got the better deal, I have a bigger slope and cannot get the stern into the bank. For the first time I have to use the plank.

Friday 25 May

A number of people stopped by to chat about boating and Milly M. Mick and Sue from Canal World Forum are on the way to getting their boat and should be on the water in the not too distant future and I wish them the best of luck with their endeavour.

Saturday 26 May

Today was busy with an almost continuous stream of people walking the towpath. I like talking to people and so was kept occupied for most of the morning. Whilst talking to one couple yet another couple stopped by, she said I bet he doesn't remember me. I was clueless she obviously knew me, but I have met so many people since I have been on the boat that it is difficult to place one face sometimes the next day let alone a couple of months later. It turned out to be Cheshire Rose and ST???W? I really am terrible with names. Cheshire Rose you may remember came to visit with Alan Jones, nb Keeping Up, when I first spent time in Milton Keynes which I think must have been in February. I put the kettle on and made tea, I'm good like that you see.

One of the things about meeting up with people who read this blog is that they know what I have been up to and so that rather limits the conversation, however it does give an opportunity to catch up on other people we all meet around the cut.

I did get into the show this afternoon even though my ticket was in London, but I won't go into details here. While in the show I lost track of Cheshire Rose and didn't see her again. I know she reads this so I will say goodbye here. CR email me with your PN and I will call when I am on my way to Oxford if you wish to travel on the boat for a day or two.

Colin and Joy arrived and we did the show together. We met a few people as we went around. I met Peter from Eberspacher who replaced my Hydronic 10 with a Hydronic 5. This jogged my memory, I did promise that at the end of the winter I would report on the performance of my Hyd 5. I can only tell the truth about the Eberspacher now fitted to my boat and the truth is I have no complaints. The unit runs well, has never failed and even runs on red diesel. I have no complaints at this time and don't envisage any. Despite the bad press I have read in the past I really do think this product is OK. There have been misunderstandings where Ebers are concerned. One notable misunderstanding is 'the bigger the better'. The truth of the matter is the Hydronic 10 is simply too big for a 60ft narrow boat. It spends most of its time in idle and this clogs up the injector and igniter hence the problem. The Hydronic 5 is more suited. When it is running it runs full chat and that which gums up the Hyd 10 is properlyburned so no glogging up should occur. Another misunderstanding is that builders know best how to install. This is not always the case. Installation instructions are produced by the manufacturer to tell installers how to install the units properly. Them being the makers one would expect them to know how best to do this. I am one of a number of Erbys customers who have had replacement treatment and so far we are all satisfied customers. Need I say more?

That'll be £25 quid thanks Peter J. Just kidding!

I called Dawn to see when she was coming, but they are up on the Calder Hebble and wont be showing. Ahhh! Bones is on her way though. Yay!

We, Colin, Joy and I returned to Milly M for a cuppa and to put our feet up for a rest before going out to Edwards for dinner. Personally I am not sure Bones will get here in time. She has to travel from London to Oxford to pick up her car then up to Crick.

I needn't have worried she arrived with half an hour to spare. We arrived at the restaurant a few minutes late but even so we had a great meal. Colin and Joy went home after although I had expected them to stay. Bones and I went back to the boat and spent half the night talking. If you ask Bones what her degree is, she will answer, "Which one?" No one likes a smart ass!

We get on well because she is a dingbat and I am a tad short of dingbat mates, though more do appear now I am on the canal. The most inane comment from either of us can provoke a one liner that cracks us up. We laugh a lot when in our own company and also when with others. Bones is currently taking a rest from her mid life crisis; I think all the angst was taking its toll.

Sunday 27 May

We wasted the morning talking again, no surprises there then. Bones had an appointment to see the editor of Canal Boat Magazine Keith so we ventured out into the pouring rain to the showground. Keith wasn't there so we went back later. Meanwhile in the beer tent we had doughnuts and beer for late breakfast and met up with Bazza and Bottle from the forum not forgetting Mrs Bottle. I am told Gary Peacock was somewhere at the show, but we didn’t see him. Baldock was present on the Lister stand. We tried to see the BraidBar boat but were told the next available appointment was tomorrow. However when we did get to meet up with Keith he arranged with Lousie of BB boats to get us on the boat today. While chatting with Keith I was surprised to learn that he had read my blog. As the day wore on Bones was getting colder and wetter, why is it that girls never seem to be dressed for the weather, so we adjourned back to the boat via the village store.

With a nice hot cuppa inside her and the clothes outside her getting drier Bone packed up her things ready to go. We left for her car, still in the rain, to Edwards where she had been able to overnight her motor. We hugged as good friends do, she was gone. Boo Hoo!

The entertainment at the show ground goes on all night. I don’t wish to be a kill joy, but what is it with music at these venues. I suffer from poor hearing after spending a working career working with jet aeroplanes and normally have my TV volume up loud as a matter of course, but even though I am well over half a mile away from the entertainment area I can still hear the music over my TV. What is the point?

Monday 28 May

Well surprise, surprise it raining again. Must be Showtime! After one last wander around the show I got ready to leave the area. I entered the tunnel at 3:55, isn't it sad that I know that? Watford locks were easy, no queue. Buckby locks seem to go on for ever. The gates are very heavy and several of the locks are top heavy with water. By that I mean the top pounds levels are higher than the bottom gates. This has the effect that it is impossible to fill the lock after rain because water cascades over the bottom gate before the lock is full. I had to open the bottom gate paddles to empty the top pound through the lock. Given all that all the gates leak and the ground sluices do not close properly emptying is also a problem. I didn't get moored up till after nine.

Tuesday 29 May

It's been a good day today weather-wise. Just a bit chilly with a small amount of drizzle, but by show standards, a good day. When the sun came out it was warm, but those sunny spells were few and far between. I made it all the way to Stoke Bruerne which is nice.

Why is it that people don't want to share a lock! I'm sorry but there is just not enough water to waste 56,000 gallons for just one boat and most certainly not for a 20 ft Tupperware craft. Some people are just too picky, they must think water grows on trees. Sorry people but we have to make this work and if we don't share who knows what the future will bring.

This blog has become, of late, a very negative site. The thing that really gets me is there is so much to complain about. Complaining is my forte. I am good at it, but I really must learn to stop!

Wednesday 30 May

Today saw me in Milton Keynes

Thursday 01 Jun

Believe it or not I travelled all the way to Marsworth today, quite a trip.