Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Oh good Lord!

Narrowboat World has come of age! I seem to remember such entities as Old Swift Vic and Tom Crossely saying 'we don't do forums' and ' we don't do blogs'. So last year, or was it earlier this year, Tom started a forum. I seem to remember he decided to change the way forums are run and made his own rules. Tut! Tut!

Now I see that the NBW site has been revamped and resembles a blog of all things! Shame they can't update the verbally incontinent Old Swift Vic', but you can't have everything in life. I can imagine Swift Vic having apoplexy at the thought of the new site.

"CHANGE the web site! I DON'T BELIEVE IT!!!!!!!

At long last each article has its own address, as was suggested on many occasions by Andrew Denny of Granny Buttons, this now makes it easier to reference stuff that we as bloggers may want to comment on, if that is, someone would want to comment.

Some of you might think this is old news and it probabally is but to me it is hot off the press having not been to the NBW site for some considerable time.

This story from the BBC

After finding his partner and his best friend enjoying sex together on the sofa of his canal boat, William Cranston stabbed them to death in a fit of blind temper. Cranston was convicted of the manslaughter, by reason of provocation, of 39-year-old Kay Morton and 55-year-old Paul Wilkins. The incident happened in Stoke Hammond, Buckinghamshire, in September, Reading Crown Court heard. Kingston Crown Court will sentence Cranston, 44, on 22 July.

The court heard That the trio had been drinking at a nearby pub before returning to the narrow boat where they continued drinking and smoking cannabis. Cranston went to bed but later woke up to find his partner and friend having sex.

"Paul jumped up and came towards me," he told police, "I can't remember picking up the knife. When he came towards me, I just sort of lashed out to find out what was going on. Literally five seconds later I've got a knife in my hand and they were both on the floor bleeding to death.

Cranston called 999 and gave the pair chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but to no avail.

Cranston told the court that his baby son, Kevin had died the previous February where he found the pair on the sofa. Young Kevin, who was named after Cranston's brother who was killed in a house fire in Australia, was only 55 days old. Cranston told the court, "I can't believe this has happened to everybody."

Catching the pair having sex on the sofa where his son died was "the last straw," said Psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph, who had examined Cranston while on remand. He further said that this was the "ultimate betrayal" by Ms Morton and their friend.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Faulty 20p

We all need to check our change. The new 20p coin has been produced without a date on it. Should you find one the London Mint will give you £50 for it. If they will give you 50 quid you can bet it's worth a lot more.

Happy searching.

Wallets and Water, Banks and B*ll*x

Thursday night I walked home from work through Shipton Village with the dogs, its not far. Along the towpath I came to Colin's boat Sleepy Otter and sat a while, had a cuppa and a chat as you do.

It was whilst sitting on the gunnel my wallet plopped into the water. My debit card which was not in the wallet went as well but I saw it just in time and grabbed it out of the water. Despite wading chest deep in the in the canal for half an hour the wallet plus driving licence and three other bank cards were not seen again.

Time to call the banks. First Direct no problem. A new card will be issued. I emphasised that I had the debit card in my hand and that it should not be cancelled. They were happy with that!

HSBC accepted my request to cancel my other two cards, but wanted me to FAX a request for replacement. I do all my banking on line so I don't need to fax phone or otherwise faf about, but no, a FAX or letter is all they would accept. I said I could go on line to request the cards, but she said, "That is not acceptable, we do not do that for offshore accounts". I said that is not acceptable and will be closing both my Sterling and Dollar accounts. The lady on the other end, an American, who obviously doesn't understand that we Brits don't do 'being told' said, "I respect your decision to do that". What she really meant was, "You are up your a**e see if we care". So both the accounts are now defunct.

But there's more. Friday morning I received a call from First Direct checking that I didn't want a stop put on my debit card, which I suppose was nice of them to check. "No", says I, "I have the debit card in my hand just cancel the credit card. Thank you". On Friday evening I went to the ATM to get cash for the weekend . . . . . . and the the ATM wouldn't give me any money!!!!!!!!! I called FD and asked them what was happening. "Ah", said they, "our mistake", and put it right there and then. Well at least someone in the banking world gives service. Thank you First Direct.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson

Wow what a career move!

ACOUNTABILITY

There I was looking for information about the British Waterways Advisory Forum BWAF when I clicked on this link http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/ACCOUNTABILITY/bwaf/index.html

I got this message:-

404: page not found
We're sorry, the address you entered does not exist or has been moved.

So much for accountability

The Georgia Guide Stones

I came across the Georgia Guide Stones today. It all looks very interesting until you realise that the builders believe that the world population should be held at half a billion people and there are currently over 6 billion.

There are those that say well that would be a good thing. My answer is would you be responsible for killing 5.5 billion people?

Anyhow these are the 'Guides' on the stones (written in 8 different languages).

* Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
* Guide reproduction wisely improving fitness and diversity.
* Unite humanity with a living new language.
* Rule passion, faith, tradition, and all things with tempered reason.
* Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
* Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
* Avoid petty laws and useless officials. Balance personal rights with social duties.
* Prize truth, beauty, love, seeking harmony with the infinite.
* Be not a cancer on the earth. Leave room for nature. Leave room for nature.

I rather like the one that says, Avoid petty laws and useless officials. Balance personal rights with social duties. Two sentiments we need right now.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

It duz me 'ead in.

Some while ago I was having a few problems coping with life. I don't think I have it sorted yet but at least I am feeling better than I did. During this time something that caused me great problems was the introduction of the UK Waterways Ranking (UKWRS) site. I could not understand how those of us who had used the 100 Top Boating sites in the past could suddenly be pulling 10 times more hits than before. One site went from about 100 hits a month (using his old hit meter(which is no longer available for public scrutiny)) to well over 1000 a day with the new site. My head, which was not really working well in the real world at all, was struggling with this cyber anomaly.

The whole concept of counting hits at a given site may well vary from program to program, but a hit is a hit, so not by much surely? I spoke to Tony Blews about it and he told me he had made it so that a site owner couldn't just sit and click on his own site continuously to improve his position. Tony has tried, and I believe is still trying, to make the system fool proof.

The only way I could personally deal with this was to ask Tony to take me off the site so I wasn't a part of what was really causing me some mental discomfort while trying to deal with lots of other problems I was having.

It has all settled down now but there is still, in my opinion quite a considerable difference between the two sites. The list below shows today's hits on both sites and I still cannot get my head around it all. I suppose I am asking if anyone can explain to me why there is such a difference. The differences range from double to triple. The first figure is the 4 day average from top 100 the second figure is 7 day average from UKWRS.
Jim Shead's________761__2269
Pennine Waterways__575__1240
Granny Buttons_____460___673
CanalplanAC_______209___284
No Problem________187___259
UK CANALS_______151____251
Gypsy Rover_______97____144
Epiphany__________79____137
Narrowboat Bones___73_____100
NB Lucky Duck_____62_____104
Derwent6_________57_____103

I have taken the UKWRS 7 day total and divided by 7 to get the daily average.

Cranfield

Either there are some very educated blog readers on the system or Cranfield University is doing a project on blogs. The former I think!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Molly

Before Bones got her dog BOOTS some people we know were thinking of letting their dog go. We said we would have her she is an adorable Staff/JR cross. but they changed their minds.

Bones with her dog head on then started looking around for another dog and Boots came along. About 6 weeks he has been here. The "friend's" now decided that they would like the dog to go to a good home. Bad timing on their part.

Of course I said I would have her and on Sunday I went to pick her up. I am not really sure I am the type to be responsible enough to be a good dog owner, I have always said not, but here we are; I have a dog and she is stuck with me like it or not.

Her name is Molly. Anyone who does the Milly Molly Mandy thing will incur short shrift from me so don't try it.

We are learning about each other at the moment although she just licks and wag her tail endlessly. She has, inkeeping wit most staff's I have seen, a smile that resembles a Basking Shark. She is white covered in black/brown patches. At the young age of two she has already had one litter so a trip to the vets is in order.

Pictures will appear when I have some.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

RESPECT

Charlie's hirer's still come speeding past and rock the boat. I have mentioned it to Martin, who does the training and see offs, and he says he tells them to go at tick over past moored boats.. My boat is well tied and does not move much but some boaters are moored on grass banks and their pins pop out with every passing boat. Dave's hirer's at Oxfordshire Narrowboats get us from the other direction.

I called to one chap last weekend, poncey git in a pink hooped ruby shirt, that he should slow down and he set his chin to the wind and ignored me so I called again. This time he slowed down.

Private boaters can be the worst.

It's not about knocking over cups of boiling tea, its not about falling over and cracking your skull its about respect for the other people on the canal and the canal itself. Some of these students will never come to the canal again, no great loss, some may come back only in their 40's 50's and then they will complain about the condition of the banks and lack of suitable moorings.

It is not good enough that the APCO have set out the rules for their members they need to ensure that the training emphasises the annoyance factor, the damage done and they need to be pro-active and make more visits to the members and observe the handover process. If the APCO want to have their say in how the canals are operated (whch they do) then they must assume responsibility for their members. Perhaps if there was a fine when a boat/company was reported for speeding the hirer's and hirees might get the message, but that would require the company to have the phone number bold on the side of the boat which I don't think College Cruisers does.

Friday, 19 June 2009

ARMADILLO

New boat blogger ARMADILLO. I mention this because I like the graphics on the side of his boat.

Insurance

My insurance is due for renewal in a few months so I am looking around. I asked Newton Crum for a quote. I received two emails from Nautical something or other, who I assume is NC but I don't know. the two emails contained between them 25 PDF files only one of which I wanted. some of the rest I would have expected if I were to go ahead with insuring my boat with them but I don't think so. I cant afford to pay for the CEO's new Merc.

I could never see the point of having a £150 excess on the insurance. What it means is that you are not insured for the stuff that gets damaged the most. My current insurance company doesn't even cover my laptop (because, "we want to discourage people keeping high value items on their boat") They tell me they do an additional policy to cover house contents, I bet they do! When I suggested they give me a reduction in the boat premium if I took out contents insurance separate they responded like I was an alien. "Oh no sir we don't do that". Insurance is a a big con. It is a con because we allow it to happen.

Anyway listed in one of the PDF files was a section on 'Thing I would not be covered for'.

Page 5 What you are not covered for:

• the Excess shown within the schedule.
• loss or damage unless the Vessel has lockable storage.
• theft from an unattended motor vehicle unless the vehicle was securely locked and the personal items hidden from view.
• damp, mould, mildew, vermin and moth.
• mechanical or electrical failure or breakdown.
• loss or damage to computer equipment or computer software, mobile phones, jewellery, furs, photographic equipment, works of art and spectacles.
• breakage of items of a fragile nature.
• loss of money, travellers cheques, credit or debit cards.
• loss or damage to water skis, water toys, fishing, diving and sports equipment whilst in use.
• wear, tear, depreciation or gradual deterioration.
• any one item in excess of £200 unless agreed in writing by us.

Some of these are valid I suppose but those highlighted in red are all things, I think, should be covered in one's 'home'.

Page 7 What you are not covered for:
• scratching, denting, bruising and chafing. They are MAD

So all in all insurance brokers are about as reprehensible as estate agents though they may be on a slightly higher rung of the ladder.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Oh Dear

LEDGARD BRIDGE BOATS LIMITED
Notice is hereby given, pursuant to Rule 4.106 of the Insolvency Act 1986, that Jonathan Paul Philmore and William Duncan of Tenon Recovery, Unit 1 Calder Close, Calder Park, Wakefield, WF4 3BA were appointed Joint Liquidators of the above Company on 5 May 2009. Creditors are required to send their names and addresses and particulars of their claims to Tenon Recovery on or before 8 June 2009. If so required, by notice in writing from the Joint Liquidators, personally or by their solicitors, creditors must come in and prove their debts at such time and place as shall be specified in such notice. If they default in providing such proof, they will be excluded from the benefit of any distribution made before such debts are proved.
J P Philmore, Joint Liquidator 05 May 2009. (816578)

I was having a break from blogging when this happened and so didn't comment at the time. I comment now because things are starting to fail. The solenoid for the water flush has decided to be awkward. I have had an ongoing problem with my starter battery, works fine in the summer but not so good in the winter. The washing machine door needs a good wack to make the door micro switch operate. and the grill on the cooker keeps going out when in use. Oh the joys of boating.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Rudolph's Pictures

I have a friend in South Africa, Rudolph Mare, who I met in Saudi and worked with on and off for a while. He like everyone else these days takes pictures. I am not saying they are special just that they are interesting and worthy of a viewing.








The Jolly Boatman

[editorial update] {This pub has changed hands since this post was written and the standards are excellent. The food is fantastic. April 2011}


Mort came up from Oxford yesterday to feed Mr Paris' fish and stopped by the boat to see how I was. While there 'Aitch turned up on his motorcycle and I offered tea all round. Oops no milk so we toddled off to the Jolly Boatman. The JB is not our pub of choice, but Annie's Tea Room closes at 5 so it was the JB for tea.

Two teas and a Lemonade and lime shouldn't be difficult. Indeed the L&L wasn't, the tea was, difficult that is.

The teapot barely contained enough tea for two cups and the crockery/cutlery was dirty. I returned two cups and a spoon and no one seemed bothered. It is dark in the pub so I didn't notice that the cups they gave me were also dirty. However when I got outside we noticed the inside bottom was cracked and the outside bottom had dried tea drips on it. I took it back and said they really need to sort out their washing up technique. The girl looked and said its a crack, well that was my point in part, I asked her to look at the bottom of the cup. No one seemed to be bothered that standards were appallingly low, indeed they seemed to think I was the problem. However with another cup in hand I went outside again only to find this was also dirty. After the third trip 'Aitch decided he really wanted his cup of tea and wouldn't let me take that cup back.

You may think I am just whinging but I wouldn't have done this if it wasn't so bad. Going into the pub from the canal side for me is difficult. Out of the bright sun into a gloomy pub with my eyes is not easy. There are two steps between the dining room and the bar which, though marked with a white edge, are difficult to see because the light over the steps has blown and has not been replaced. I told them about this two weeks ago.

Since Steve and Joan left, March last year, these are the second lot to take over, the previous incumbents had difficulty making it work, and these new boys might just fail as well given their poor washing up skills and customer service attitude. Time will tell.

Meanwhile if anyone ask the location of a good food pub we always point them to the BOAT INN. Nothing is to much trouble for them, except Scampi Skips, and the food is fantastic. Zoltan, the Hungarian Chef, is an artist of some incredible genius.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Life in Thrupp

Well things have perked up we have had a grand total of 6 trucks in 5 days.. Ho hum! Life here is easy paced it is very beautiful and in between small jobs we get to watch the wildlife and relax a bit. Visitors are somewhat plentiful because everyone and his uncle wants to be sure we are running the place properly. Natural England came this morning, not sure why they came this quarry used to be a hill so is not natural in any way. English Nature have been, the council have made a visit (probably hoping to catch us out), Our resident birder visits once a week and various managers show their faces on an ad hoc basis.

Down on the canal life is amusing and social. You see the funniest things, speeding boaters pretending they don't see you, newbies zig zagging up the canal, friends stopping for a chat. I suppose the funniest of all is the odd overstayer who think they just have to say they want the wharf and they get it. Another Mark throws his weight around a bit and threatens to 'crop' the chain but he's harmless enough. At the end of the day the wharf is private and that's an end to it.

Mary on Puddleduck came by on her way to the Thames and was enquiring about where she could get a rope for her anchor chain. I was able to give her a suitable length of rope to help her on her way.

Balmaha came past back from the K&A. It doesn't seem that long ago that they went down.

Colin and Joy, nb Sleepy Otter, are in Banbury and should be here at the weekend.

Mark and PJ are on their way back from their 'epic' journey to the Millau bridge in France and should be back in Thrupp in time for an evening meal in the Boat Inn.

Mort of course is in Oxford with Bones and Boots and Stanley.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Learning the rules

Twenty five years I spent in the RAF as an electrical engineer and even after all that time I was still learning.

Two and a half years I have been living on a boat and with the basics being left, right, forwards and backwards I think I have mastered that much. I am always willing to learn something new or be appraised of rules I have not heard of before, it's how we accummulate infomation and helps us to get on with others.

Last month while reversing the half mile from my mooring to the water point I learned something that had never even occured to me before. My tail end was nearing Sparrow Gap Bridge while another boat was about 150 yards away. It was my bridge so I continued through. The other boat continued to come to the bridge. As the boat neared obviously not prepared to give way a very pompous lady on the front of the boat said, "You can't reverse through the bridge, we want to come through".

RULE:- It is unforgiveable to reverse through a bridge when someone else wants to come through, especially a shiney boat with pompous occupants.

I suppose I could have gone forward then moved over to let them through, but you know how it is when you are on a roll, the boat is going back 'arrow' straight, it is hard to spoil the moment for the sake of someone who scrubs the algae off the waterline before taking the boat out of the marina.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

OPEN

Well today we opened for business at 0700 and the trucks came flooding in . . . both of them. Not quite the success we had hoped for but it's a start.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Ecology at the quarry

This ecology stuff is really not working. The 168 acre quarry is divided into sections. Some sections are trapped ( newts, toads, frogs, slow worms, etc) and the trappings are placed in a sanctuary, away from where we are going to start working.

Every morning we have the newt trapper visit all the traps and he transposes all the newts, toads, etc into the safe area. Unfortunately this is quite close to the Rookery. Our black feathered friends treat the 'sanctuary' like McDonald's and spend most mornings snacking MacNewt burgers.

For baby formula the Peregrine Falcons regurgitate Little Ring neck Plovers this is not helping our conservation efforts. LRPs are not indigenous to this country, methinks they might bugger off if they keep having their young snatched, we live in hope.

The Ravens have, so we are told, fledged but they will be back next year, shame really cos the place they call home will be demolished.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Update

The Periguine has at least one chick. The price of a newt went down two grand this morning. Little Ringneck Plovers are scarce today.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Summer

Well, well, well summer is upon us once again, isn't it grand?

To the myriad flowers that can be seen at the quarry I can add Little Ring-necked Plovers, a Peregrine Falcon and a nesting Raven (the first in Oxforshire for many years). There is rumour of a Barn Owl in one of the silos but that is only rumour. LR-nP are schedule one birds and we can be fined for disturbing them. The Newt Fencing has been completed at a cost of over £60,000 and we still haven't taken out one penny! How many newts have been found? Not many! Currently Newts are worth about £12,000 each. Oh the joys of trying to be ecologically friendly.