Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Did you know?

Facts

Half the population of the UK lives within 5 miles of a canal or river.

10 million people visit the inland waterways of the UK each year.

Every year over £1.5 billion of income is generated by visitors to the UK inland waterways

(Figures taken from British Waterways Website)

My question is, and I think every one should be asking the same question:- why is the grant from Central Government so small?

1.5 billion pounds of income and the bastards stuff the waterways for 7 million.

Pound for pound the waterways is a damned good investment.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Caen Hill

I have just spoken to BW about the Caen Hill Flight. I had heard that someone had knocked a gate off, but it appears that a gate needed repairing. Other work is being done and the flight should be open Saturday mornring. Hurrah! All I need to do now is get there. It's only two days away but do I really want to go cruising in the rain? Nah!

Smoking ban!

OK so I can see the logic of banning smoking in public places, it had to come, but if the government insist on banning smoking on our boats (Law to introduced next year) they are on a hiding to nothing. Where will it all end. BW will be compelled to ban smoking at locks too! Surely if banning smoking on boats with crews and passengers they must ban smoking in cars as well.

HMG don't want us to smoke, so why not ban it all together. Why? Taxes! The tax revenue on tobacco is equal to double the National Health budget. Where would HMG get that money if there was a smoking ban?

Personally even though I am a 'hardened' smoker I think there should be a total ban. That would sort out the men from the boys. And I don't mean smokers. Yesterday I went to the village shop in Kintbury asked for my weed and the lady behind the counter said, £10.96. thats £5.50 a pack where everyone else charges over £1 less. Small shops seem to be using smokers to keep their head above water ('scuse the pun) It's profiteering that's all.

Cigarettes range in price from around £3.50 to £6. Why is this? Ignoring the tax cigarettes in other countries are all the same price. In Riyadh, Kuwait City and Muscat I never paid more than about 85p. the day I arrived in Riyadh I paid SR5 and the day I left 3 years later I paid SR5. Here in the UK prices go up weekly. Smokers are a cash cow and all shop keepers are ripping them off.

Hungerford

If one had to stay in one place for a while Hungerford is just as good a place as any. There is a lot of history here notwithstanding the horrors of The Hungerford Shootings not so may years ago.

I lived not too far from here in Calne Wiltshire which in itself is not too far from Caen Hill. With most of my family in London or there abouts my journey to visit them would take me along the A4 through H'ford, but I never seemed to find time to stop with one exception.

On that occasion with the memory of the 'shootings' relativley fresh in most peoples minds I stopped just to see what H'ford had become. My over riding impression was the calm of the place. I could not believe it when the traffic, in the middle of town, stopped for a good 5 five minutes to allow a mother Duck and her babes across the road. For somewhere that had experienced such mindless violence a few years previously to just sit and wait for the ducks to pass over the road said a lot about the resolve of the locals. Respect.



Sunday, 22 July 2007

A tale from Thrupp

Bones came for coffee after work. Nothing new there then. When she left the boat there was a big splash followed by an "Oh bugger" from herself. Me in fits of laughter dashed up the back steps hoping to see Bones up to her waist in water. What a disappointment!

There she was standing on the towpath with a very surprised look on her face. "Your door has fallen in the water", she said. I looked and sure enough there it was gone. It would seem that as she stood on the gang plank it lifted off the bank pivoting on the rear gunnel and slipped under the edge of the door. When she stepped forward to leave the boat the plank went down on the bank end and up under the door lifting it from its hinges and catapulting it up and inevitably into the canal.

I was able to get it back but because of the weight of it and the fact that it went down wooden side up the 'sea searcher' needed a little help from Bones herself. Moral of the story is 'sod the plank let her jump'.

Up not Down

I spent the night about a mile down from Kintbury. It absolutely poured down. I took the opportunity being moored on the offside to go for a walk in the rain in my birthday suit. What a wonderful feeling that was if a bit chilly. I love walking out in my skin suit, but of course one has to be careful where one does it, don't want to scare the wildlife do we.

Coming back up this morning I reversed about a mile to the nearest turning point which as it happened had a trip boat moored in it, still I did manage to turn about. At Kintbury Lock a young couple furiously wound the paddles as a private boat exited the lock and shut the gates when I was in. They then walked straight to the top gates and started to lift the paddles as I stepped off the boat. I shouted to 'STOP and wait' as I hadn't yet secured the boat. It was as I tied off that I saw the bottom paddles which they had so speedily wound were at the top and not the bottom, possible disaster averted.

I apologised for shouting and explained that it was my dime (boat) and I must be the one to decide if it was safe to proceed. Losing ones boat is a problem for all boaters but if it is your home the problem doubles.

Osney Lock

Our intrepid Kiwis are at this time trapped at Osney Lock with the water rising. The authorities say the peak willcome about midnight tonight. Derek & Dot are safe and well. Taking it in turns to keep an eye on things at night 2 on 2 off. Their biggest problem is the boredom. D&D were interviewed by Sky TV News so keep an eye out for the report.

Derek (right) about to be interviewed by Sky TV. Picture courtesy of Percy

One family of hire boaters, moored below the lock, have abandoned ship with the lock mooring pontoon 3 feet under water. The bottom gates of the lock are open and the top paddles are drawn to let some water down. D&D will keep posting on their Blog with updates of the situation.


This dramatic picture by Derek says a lot


Friday, 20 July 2007

Picture from Thrupp

I found a picture on the forum, taken by Alan Jones on nb Keeping Up, of me reversing up the canal past nb Bones to "a better spot" he said I could use it so here it is.


Adoption

Though it saddens me to say it I don't hold out much hope of getting poor Lucy back. I have to look to the future and for that reason I am asking if there are any dollys out there who would like to be adopted.

Always a considerate 'parent' a successful applicant would have pride of place on the roof and be entitled to a machine wash every six months. Other conditions are open to negotiation. Tips include all the ooohs and aahhs we get and Lucy got lots.

Good grief!

It is some time since I mentioned the Genghis Khan of the waterways, Victor Swift, but I was amused to read that when on the Oxford an itinerant boater emptied his sewage bucket into the canal near where Victor was moored. Perhaps someone was sending a message to old Swift Vic.

I obviously have this man wrong I thought he was a continuous moorer in a marina, but it would seem he does venture out sometimes.

Addendum: Just in case you didn't spot it Victor is planning to travel down the NENE to Peterborough in September. If you are out and about in that area polish up your boating skills and check your licence date or you may end up in his column. Doh!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Rag Doll

I have to wonder if this is the real Rag Doll I spotted when I came down the Oxford. If it is they have let it go a bit.

Living on a boat

Since I embarked on my 'adventure' I have had loads of fun, met loads of good people and travelled a great distance, canalwise. I have answered many questions from the hundreds of onlookers I meet on my way around. Two questions keep cropping up.
  1. Don't you get cold?
  2. Don't you get lonely?

To the first I always answer by discussing my heating arrangements. I have a diesel central heating system which feeds 4.8 Kw of finrads that run down the port side of the boat (thats the left side to you land lubbers) and a 5 Kw solid fuel stove. I switch the central heating on if required about half an hour before I moor up. This stays on for an hour by which time I am tied, dried and getting fried. That one hour is enough time for me to find somewhere nice to moor and set the stove in to motion so to speak. By the time the CH shuts down the stove is roaring and I am down to just a teeshirt, snug as a bug in a rug as they say.

To the second I always answer, "No not at all. I am often alone but never lonely". I do like my own company and can find people to mix with if I choose. I do miss female company more so now that I have left the vicinity of the City of Spires, but what will be will be. Life is what passes you by while you are making plans so I don't make any, prefering to live my life.

Living on a boat is great for me, but wouldn't suit every one. I have had a blast since I moved on to Milly and I hope it will continue. I have lost loads of weight. Those of you who have met me will know I am not a 15 stone blob, but I used to be. I am yet to meet any of the yob culture that others complain about, but I may in time. In all honesty the kids I have met have been very helpful and very inquisitive. I would go so far as to say I have had more grief off other boaters. I am ashamed of myself for one incident when travelling up through Wolverhampton. A black youth came to watch the boat through a lock and I, stupid that I was, closed the back of the boat while I was winding paddles. There was no need he was a really pleasant lad.

Boating is great and long may it continue so.

Another thank you

It's strange that the people you meet around the system come back in the nicest possible way. Do you remember the incident of the chair floating off down the river? Well I was helped to retrieved it by John and Linda who were on their friends tupperware boat. They sent this picture of me on Bones' welldeck taken after they dropped me off. Many thanks to both of you.
I think I need a haircut. Bones did offer but I declined.
BTW it has just started thundering and chucking it down, must be something to do with that helicopter hovering overhead. Gonna be a wet morning me thinks!

Leaving Newbury

Well Ruth came and her grandson was mighty impressed. I was able to cast off by 4pm and reached Kintbury before nightfall. Just before the lock at Kintbury there is a trip boat moored in the winding hole, DER.

Apart from the fact that the gates on all the locks are falling apart the K&A is a very nice canal. I started early on Thursday morning and arrived at Hungerford about lunchtime. The spot I have has Internet access via WiFi so I will hang around for a day or two.

I am indebted to Richard and Alison Viney who I met while moored at Crick. They sent some pics taken of me on the boat.......... well take a look.

Note a frontal pic of Lucy

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Still in Newbury

Contrary to what Nicholsons might have you believe there is water at Newbury. Stop in Greenham services, it cost £1 to fill up but that is waived if you also have diesel.

I dont know why but this pic at Granny Buttons is so cool.

I noticed this morning that More2Life now have me listed on their blog.

I am having a visit from Keith's sister Ruth this afternoon. Something to do with impressing her grandson.

And at long last I have returned to the Top 100. My extended absence must be down to my erratic posting schedule. Time for T-mobile me thinks.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Picture book

Newbury bridge



The Thames in the morning.





Bones taking a pic of me taking a pic of her.


And on to the K&A

Friday 13 Jul

Up with the larks I moved down to Tesco's to await the arrival of Derek & Dot coming down the K&A. They decided to stay one more day at Theale, so I then set off for the canal. I must say it was much quieter than the last time I tried it. County Lock has a broken gate so that wasted time.

I stopped at the Cunning Man to get some tins of coke at the café. Dot text me saying that a crew was waiting at Burghfield Lock to help me along. Sure enough arriving at the lock Dot & Derek were there to do the lock and came all the way to Sheffield Swing Bridge where they are moored on the up stream side of said bridge. The mooring at Sheffield is really nice. Quiet, clean with a good hardwood edge and mooring rings. The shops aren't too far away and the locals are friendly. I swear one lady tried to pick me up in the shop, but backed off when I said I lived on a boat. Yet another young girl said a very positive 'Good afternoon' as I walked to the shop. Ho hum! Not that I would have been interested, emotionally this has been another hard day.

I spent the night on D&D's boat drinking wine and flapping gums as you do.

Saturday 14 Jul

Well I was supposed to be up with the larks this morning, but it was not to be. It took a while for me to get out of bed, Derek came to return my cork screw and Martin on the boat behind D&D came and introduced himself as a reader of my blog from near its inception.

I met Jennifer last night, nb Amy B Lazy. She was waiting to travel up the canal and was hoping that my expected early start was going to be an alarm call for her. It was gone 10 before I set off. We travelled up together as far as Woolhampton where I decided to stop rather than head for Newbury which, I would never have made today anyway. I called keith and arranged that he would come to Woolhampton for our boys night out. Funny old thing I cooked dinner and we caught up on two years of absence 'til 3 in the morning.

Sunday 15 Jul

Wine and Bacardi do not really mix. We dropped Keith's stuff off at his car and cast off to head for Newbury. Keith worked hard and realised that this boating lark is not quite as relaxing as he thought. My bucket went overboard and sank. Jenny stayed on her boat and we worked the locks between us. I think Keith's overriding memory will be of the aching muscles he will wake up with in the morning. Hee Hee.

I have moored up by Victoria Park where I will stay till Tuesday. I saw a doctor about my knee while I was at Thrupp and he said he would arrange an MRI scan for me. It was supposed to take 3 months to come through. Well I would be back in Oxford about that time so that was a good plan. 4 weeks is not 3 months. The Nuffield called me Friday as I was going through Blake's Lock asking me why I had not replied, to the letter they had sent, confirming if I would be able to attend on Monday. I have not received such a letter. And on the form the doctor sent he put instructions to call me with the appointment. Doh! So anyway I am off to Oxford tomorrow for my scan. I have worked out, from a book Bones has, exactly which muscle it is in the back of my knee but I can't quite work out the problem with the patella.

In the Big Brother House this week we see an example of the youth of today. These people are the future. Be afraid, be very afraid!

Monday 16 Jul

Today I went for my MRI scan. Bones picked me up in Oxford to take me to the Nuffield Hospital. We spent an hour in Shot Over Park sat overlooking the city. Strangely enough from our vantage point we could see not one of the famous spires. The scan took longer than I thought, and though noisy, I slept through most of it. I have to wonder, if they fix the problem and I am no longer in pain, how will I know I am still alive when I wake up?

We had a meal in The Turf PH famous its past customers. Bill Clinton is supposed to have smoked wacky baccy there, but not inhaled (Oh yeah! What was the point of that) and Bob Hawke, one time top man in Aus, entered the Guinness Book Of World Records after drinking a 2 1/2 pint Yard o' Ale in just 11 seconds. Thomas Hardy also has a connection, but I didn’t get to read that bit, go visit yourself and find out I am sure you will like it.

We hugged at the station said our goodbyes and I returned to Newbury arriving at the boat after eight. Damn it I do miss her.

Tuesday 17 Jul

Rain, rain and more rain.

Leaving Abingdon

Thursday 12 Jul

Well today was the day. It was time to go. Bones came in for a last cup of coffee. I don't think things were strained, but it wasn't easy to say good bye. I walked with Bones to the bus stop, not really my ideal place to say our last words. Walking away was hard. This episode in my life has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, one I did not want to end. I feel circumstances seemed to conspire against us. I won't go into great details, no need, but if you ever get to meet Bones you may understand something of how I feel now. Some people just pop into your life, have a profound effect, and then pop out again. I think we had a chemistry, but who knows, maybe I read too much into it all, it doesn't stop the heartache.

I left Abingdon about 12:30 aching to stay but knowing I should leave, my licence runs out Friday and I want to get down the K&A as per the master plan. If I thought there was a chance of something between us I think I would have bought an EA licence and stuck around, but I am not very good at reading the signs so away I go.

The trip down was hard. Leaving someone you care so much for is harder than giving up smoking, which begs the question:- Why can't I give up smoking? I didn’t stop until 10 o'clock when I moored up just above Reading bridge. Worn to a fraz it wasn't long before I was asleep. What a day! What a trip!

As seen on TV

Milly M was on TV for a brief spell last week. A picture shown on the weather forecast was of the river at Abingdon. There on the end of the line of boats at the park was Milly M. My few seconds of fame!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Should I?


I was thinking of changing my profile pic. What do you think?



Well I know what I think, big NADA which is why i removed it.

Nearing the end of my stay

Tuesday 10 Jul

This morning there were lots of school kids in the park out on a field trip. The park where I am moored has a water play feature which consists of a large area of blue plastic with many different fountains, each triggered by standing on one of the others. Anyway with all the kids standing around waiting for the field trip to start Bones asked the pool attendant to turn on the water feature, this was a great hit with the kids, but the teachers were not so happy about it. Community spirit be blowed she has such a wicked streak.

Later in the day a group of older students appeared and had their picture taken in front of Bones' boat. They then stood on her gunnels and proceeded to rock the boat violently. I was incensed! I walked off my boat to the crowd and ask them to stop pointing out that it was someone's home and they should have some respect. I cannot believe that they thought it was OK to do that. What were the teachers thinking?

Shaun came to visit Bones tonight. Bones as usual had many funny moments in her life to tell of which she really should write down, I told her as much to which she replied, "I think you should do it". Yeah right! She has had such a ………curious life that in places is very funny ……..others very sad…….and yet other almost totally unbelievable. It would make a good book, but I don’t think I would be up to the challenge. Whilst I do like writing I also like to finish a piece with a reasonable level of sanity and I feel this won't happen should I take on this task.

Wednesday 11 Jul

Today is my last day here at Abingdon. I am heading off tomorrow for Reading before my licence runs out. I really should have got a Gold licence. It would have cost less than the visitor fees I have paid this year.

I really like the Thames its fun to be here and of course I have Bones as a neighbour. There is never a dull moment when she is around. We have emptied a few cans and several bottles. I probably haven’t laughed so much in a long time, but all things must pass. I need to be on my way down the K&A, but I will be back this way at the end of August so all is not lost.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Doh!

Saturday 07 Jul

Well what a pickle! This morning I moved the boat off the mooring that was holding me on to the bank into slack water just in front of Bones. I had the same problem as the time I went for water. I was pushed into the trees. This time I had a chair on the roof and a boat pole lying towards the back. Well sods law says the boat pole and the chair were going swimming. For a while I thought, well sayonara, but then it occurred to me that the flow would not have taken said items down the river but down the wash behind the island. It was a good thought because the chair had, as I found out, got caught on a bridge, the boat pole long gone. So, how to get the chair back? First I thought sea searcher magnet then gloom hit me when I realised that the chair was aluminium. Not to worry a hook and a length of rope would do the job. Doh! No hook. However two piling hooks tied to a long length of rope would suffice. I took my makeshift grappling hook to the bridge and successfully managed to hook into the debris that had caught the chair. Not a good plan! I only managed to dislodge the chair and send it floating off down stream. I dashed across the road to see the chair floating out of reach of the rope. So off down the bank and throw the 'hook' to grapple the chair. It is at this point I realised that standing on the rope is not necessarily a good plan as the rope disappeared into the water not only missing the chair, but taking with it the end that I was standing on. I can't repeat here what I called myself but suffice it to say the air was multi shades blue.

Given the flow of the water I was rather hoping that the chair would get caught behind a moored boat, but it didn't. Someone in a garden opposite saw this fiasco and seemed to take an interest. Meanwhile a chap on a Tupperware boat helped me to get the rope that I had somewhat foolishly tossed in the river.

So what to do now? I felt sure that it would catch on something eventually and be retrievable so I set off through the town to see where it might go. A plastic was coming up the river and I asked if they had seen a chair floating by. A couple on the bank said a lady had come by in a skiff and collected it and taken it away. The plastic captain came alongside and let me on the boat and off we went to see if we could find it. There in the garden of a house, where people had taken an interest in the chair as it floated by was my chair. The lady explained that she was a rower and didn't like the idea of meeting it anywhere on the river and so retrieved it. Seems to me that at the speed it was going it was going to be somewhere in the vicinity of London Bridge by night fall, she would have to be bloody good rower. Well all was not lost I had retrieved my rope and my chair. John and Linda on the plastic took me up the river to my boat. Unfortunately, as we neared the place where I had been moored before I moved, the engine cut out. And we drifted back down stream. I had visions of calamity. The boat wasn't theirs, just on loan from friends. Imagine if the boat had been smashed against the bridge, which it couldn't possibly get under, having just helped me retrieve a chair that I had got for nothing way back in Birmingham. Several attempts to start eventually bore fruit and we were once again underway, much to my relief. John took me all the way back to Milly M and dropped me off with the chair. Thank you very much John and as for the rest of you never let me hear one derogatory remark about Tupperware boats again. I didn’t find the boat pole but I may get lucky down at Culham lock on the weir.




This is very important. When I was back in Hemel a master criminal kidnapped Lucy from the roof of my boat. I have been waiting for a ransom note but so far none has been received. Lucy was an important part of my life. I had rescued her from the Staffs & Worcs canal way back in December last year. I kind got used to having her around. She had special qualities the main one being she didn’t nag me and truth be known she could steer the boat better than me. If you should see her around in the Hemel area, please retrieve her. A beer reward will be paid. This is the only picture I have of her.

Friday, 6 July 2007

My boating to date

Since I left on my incredible journey I have travelled some considerable distance on the waterways. I set off from Mirfield and travelled to Castleford to register the boat. I travelled the L&L to Wigan. From there I travelled the Bridgewater and T&M to Middlewich turned right to Barbridge and on to the Shroppie to Chester to visit with my daughter Dannie. From there I made my way down the Shroppie to Market Drayton where I was stuck for three weeks due to canal work. After that was done I completed the journey to the end of the Shroppie at Autherley Junction. Leaving here I made way up the Staffs and Worcs to Penkridge thinking to go over the top of Brum but changed my mind, went back to Autherley and through Wolverhampton to Birmingham where I spent Christmas at the NEC. From Birmingham I traversed the Grand Union all the way to Brentford where I sat waiting 4 weeks for the red boards to come down on the Thames. Twenty five days pottering about on the Thames bought me to the Oxford canal. Back on the GU I went again to Milton Keynes. Back northwards I went to Northampton back to the GU then Leicester and on the return stopped over at Crick for the boat show. I made my way to Hemel Hempstead to get my cratch cover repaired. Wendover Arm next followed by the Aylesbury Arm. Up the GU to Braunston and this time 'down' the Oxford, stayed a week or two at Thrupp. I am currently at Abingdon on the River Thames. I travelled more miles than I care to remember and about 650 locks all in 9 months. What gets me is the journey has really only just begun. Faaaaarr out dudes!

I miss having regular internet contact. The connection in Riyadh was at best poor, but it was there nearly every day. I really need to sort out something better than intermittent library visits.

Still in Abingdon

Wednesday 04 Jul

Well, well, well, did I have an interesting night. It all revolved around the boyfriend of Hannah, Bones' long time young friend. The details of this night will have to remain untold at this time, but suffice it to say it involved a serious racial attack in Abingdon and an unplanned overnight guest who, being a scouser, I found very hard to understand.

Thursday 05 July

Canal Boat magazine has today published Bones' first column. The cartoon of her at the top of the page is really good. You need to read the page to see what a good writer she is.
I am quite jealous and I know Bones will get some strange pleasure out of me saying that. Bones does have a heart but she says she keeps it in a box at her parents house, I can believe this. My heart on the other hand is repairing nicely and is now kept in the 'secret' compartment where no one can find it.

Kevin Blick, editor of Canal Boat, says, "It's as if the industry has woken up to the fact that it needs to try harder woo the customers". I say, "What a shame they can't wake up to the legal requirements of the contracts they sign with their customers". When it comes to giving the customer what he wants Joe Boat Builder could try keeping to the delivery date. Yes I know that things happen outside their control, but customers do not have contracts with the builders suppliers. In my case the steel was lost and the start of my boat was about 5 weeks late, not my problem really was it. After my shell was finished the engine was late. Even up to the last week of the planned finish date I was being told yeah it will be finished on time. I moved on to the boat in September some three and a half months after the contracted completion date and still it wasn’t finished. As it happened it wasn't until a month after I moved on that the boat was 'finished' minus the curtains, anchor, Prop cutter etc. I left the boatyard mid-October 4 1/2 months after the planned finish date with towels covering the windows. Yeah OK I was trapped in Saudi for 4 months and couldn't have been there to take the boat away had it been finished on time, but what about the owner of Mus' be Dreamin' he wasn't trapped anywhere except in his boat waiting for it to be completed for many months after the contracted completion date. It would seem from my travels that that few if any builds are finished on time. I have only come across one boater in my travels who says his boat was finished on time.

Alistair came to visit tonight. Bones cooked dinner on my boat. Ali bought us each a bottle of Champagne which was quaffed during the evening, cheers Ali. Topics of conversation were myriad and included that old stalwart, toilets. It is quite amazing that boaters will happily talk bogs where as landies wouldn’t. To prove that point I have my own toilet talk which may interest some and could be used by all boaters. When one is paying £12+ (£10 now) to empty ones black water tank it is pointless putting your half litre down followed by two or three litres of good clean water. I am sure most would have worked out that to avoid this you simply don’t flush every use. This does have its drawback, odour! My personal trick to alleviate this odour is to spit my mouthwash down the pan two or three times a day. It is very noticeable when the toilet is used and of course you are always ready to play tonsil tennis should the opportunity ever arise. I imagine that this could be used in cassette and Porta Potties. Please do not try kissing the Porta Potty.

That was a neat trick Alistair, Bones, Champagne, mouth wash and toilets in the same paragraph.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Abingdon

Thursday 28 Jun

I said recently that this blog was becoming very negative. I have worked out why that is. It's the world we live in. No Smoking, No Parking, No Mooring, Don’t do this, Don’t do that. Not Allowed, Only if….. We live in a world of negativity. You never see a sign that says Please do…….. or Welcome……. We are conditioned towards the negative. Well that’s my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Friday 29 Jun

I called the lockie at Osney today about the river levels. He said today is a good day to make my way down the river. So I went. I am really annoyed with myself because I do things on the spur of the moment which means I left while Bones was at work. I was going to cook sausage and mash for tea. Of course I sent her a text, but it is not the same as saying a proper goodbye. I also missed the blues band at the Boat Inn and we had planned to go northwards for the weekend. If I had stopped at Folly Bridge I could have caught a bus back to Thrupp but as the river was so good and the lockie said I could make Abingdon easily I ploughed on Nice as Abingdon is I think I would rather have stayed in town for the blues band. Ho hum!

Saturday 30 Jun. 07

Its half way through the year. How time flies when you are having fun.

I bought a CD today and I bet you will never guess which one.

Bones is on her way down stream. Nearly having her boat sunk in Gosney lock she has decided to moor up for the night. Next time you see her ask her if she will ever step off her boat again with out a centre rope?

Sunday 01 Jul

Bones called she is on her way down again. The river is running a bit faster than usual but she should cope. Kimberley arrived with James and her friend, Tom, from Uni days. We, well I, did something so stupid, we walked across the park and played Frisbe. No so stupid you might think, but I had turned down an opportunity to go to the Diana concert with John on the Wey because my knee was playing up and then I go bouncing up and down on it like a teenager. That IS stupid. I have now found Glucosamine which is supposed to help the body repair ligaments and cartilages so hope fully it will improve over time.

Bones came to Abingdon Lock and we all went to meet her and help her down. I had spotted a nice mooring by the park sheltered from the flow by trees, but in front of a Tupperware. Poor old sod nearly got his gelcoat scratched, nearly, but not quite. Having completed the rest of the logistics (getting car from Oxford) she came along for a drink and a chat. She say, "I quite likes Kim, she's sweet".

Today is notable in that one can no longer smoke in public places. And it would seem you cannot wear a hat in a pub either. When is it going to stop!

Monday 02 Jul

I cooked dinner for me and Bones tonight, which is quite unusual for me. Bangers and mash & Strawberries and cream. Such delicacies are normally the way to a girls heart but not our Bones. Ho hum!

Tuesday 03 Jul

Went up the river today to PO and fill up water. What a trip that was! First I couldn’t get off my mooring the river was holding me tight then turning around was quite an event at the junction, laying my nose alongside the end of the island and letting the river push my back end around. It was almost as scary as the trip through Reading and back.

Even though BW has recently reduced the cost of POs to ten quid that is still four quid more than here on the river. Der!

According to Bones Alastair from the forum saw me at Osney Lock. I don’t know if he spoke to me I can't recall, old age and senility are creeping up fast. He will visit today or Thursday.

Broke a guitar string today the first I have broken for a long time. Fortunately I had some spares in stock.

Speaking to Bones tonight it turns out that I did speak to Alastair at Osney. He was coming in as I left the lock but we didn’t have time to stop and chat. Confirmed Thursday for his visit.

Hannah came to visit and brought her boyfriend Chris, a scouser. Between us we downed three bottles of wine and a few cans of Guinness.
I did say I wouldnt do this blog any more when I came home because I thought it would be very monotonous. It does seem to be a bit I did this, I did that and not very interesting. I have to wonder if it is really worth carrying on.