Tuesday, 31 May 2011

I dont believe it!

I made my way to Northbrook lock today, to spend a few days reading writing for college.

I had an uneventful trip up the canal, until that is, I got to the lock. There on the bankside was a blonde bimbo trying to untie her boat, which she had tied through the gaps in the rail that form the old style piling. She was doing this all with one hand in the wind. Ah shame I hear you say. The other hand was filled with mobile bloody phone. I dont believe what was happening on the phone was so important and if it was she should have waited to untie the boat. I swear the next time I see anyone doing this I will poke a mooring pin through their ears. Not much chance of hurting them being as their brain would be easily missed.

A green boat called Serenity came through a bit later after I had been out sawing wood. I left two larger bits of wood at the lock behind the bench to go back later to cut it. When I went back to close the bottom gate that a hire boat had left open! Serenity had had it away with my bloody wood! I don't believe it!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Done.

I love the message in the status bar that say “Done but with errors on the page”

It can be so annoying. It a bit like dentist saying “I have drilled the tooth but haven’t got an filler”. Or the doctor saying “Well we have done the triple by pass but we only had enough for two”.

If the page is loaded it is loaded with all functionality. If it does not have all functionality then it isn’t loaded and the only one ‘done’ is the end user. Why are major soft ware companies allowed to to put inferior products on the market, albeit free, with impunity. Why are trading standards not following this up.

What is stopping the page, you are surfing, from ‘loading’?. Why cant the company fix it?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

T-mobile

I hate T-Mobile. They seem to be totally incapable of doing anything right. 18 moths ago I had trouble updating the firmware on my dongle. The update file would not recognise my dongle. After three attempts to get me a new one (about 6 weeks) I finally got them to send me one with the firmware already updated. So it was all sorted.

Last month my dongle started playing up again. It went away for repair, for 3 bloody weeks! I threatened to cancel my DD. Funnily enough a new one arrived two days later. Would you believe the FW is the old FW and needs updating. The update file does not recognise my dongle in fact it say it cant find it which is funny because I just used it to download that very file. When I spoke to them last month the chap said “Oh you have one of those we haven’t done that model for a long time.”

What is the point of sending out a dongle that is not up to date. I think I need 3G or Virgin or O2 or Orange or anything but T-friggin-mobile

And relax.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Sometimes things seem so silly on FB

Elizabeth: Our evening visitor Mrs Duck had just wondered off.

Phote EG-K

Maffi I wOnder why she wAndered off
Pete: Ditto
Maffi That's not a good enough reason!
Bones: Probably had an appointment at the quacks....
Maffi Oxford ooooooooooh!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Back pay required

Open letter from David Fletcher (ex BW chief)

I am taking the unprecedented (for me) step of writing this open letter to the biggest waterway titles because as a lifetime user of the waterways, a boater for 30 years, ex-Chief Executive of BW from 1995 to 2002, and Vice Chairman of the British Waterways Advisory Forum, I have the privilege of a multiple perspective on this move from a public corporation to a national charity.

During my time at BW I prepared proposals for its activities to be transferred to a charitable trust which could operate the publicly owned navigations. This even featured on the front page of the Financial Times! However, although the then Labour Government recognised the proposal had much to offer, it was decided for a combination of political and funding reasons not to implement it at that time.

This decision at the time was right as evidenced by the following period of unprecedented repair, restoration and regeneration of the waterways and the areas surrounding them. This was only achieved by an equally unprecedented era of cooperation and support from everyone who used the waterways, local authorities, development agencies, many generous funders, and especially government. This was a great time to run BW!!

The world and the waterways however have now moved on. BW has fought hard, with some success, to continue the earlier momentum. However in the current challenging economic climate the waterways need a new model to make them sustainable into the future. In these circumstances I commend the leaders at BW, many of whom I recruited, for having the vision and indeed the courage to revive the charitable trust concept in the modern ‘Big Society’ format.

So now we have a once in a generation opportunity to create a new body to hold our waterways in trust for the nation, and to operate them in a proper and sustainable manner. For this to truly succeed we need another era of special cooperation and support. We must now harness our energy and talents to find imaginative ways to make the new trust the success that we and the waterways deserve.
What he fails to say is that prior to the cutting of the umbilical cord those that are to take the reigns should first fight for the backlog of maintenance (reputed to be £300m) to be funded direct from the government purse. It is after all the continued reduction in government funding that has contributed to the severe decline that we see today. A budget of 39 million pounds spent totally on maintenance for the next 7 1/2 years would allow the system to stop going backwards by 2018. The current plan to turn BW into a charitable trust with only a budget of £39M pa means that the system we know will continue to deteriorate beyond repair.

I personally cannot believe that with unemployment at quite a high this government can put so many BW workers out of work in favour of volunteer workers. Obviously it is cheaper to pay benefits rather than salaries.

Speeders are in season.

'Our Winnie' a Thrupp Canal Cruising Club boat has just gone past the wharf. Traveling at speed inappropriate for passing moored boats and creating breaking wash damaging the bank and wildlife. It is one of the many TCCC boats that seem to think that the rules do not apply to them. I have reminded them before what the speed limit is on the canal but obviously  they are to dumb to understand simple english English.

The Club is always telling non members what they can and cannot do but they never seem to tell their own people. You will remeber I was told about mooring on the winding hole and three club members in the next couple of weeks did exactly the same with impunity. The Club has rules which it's members seem to take great pleasure in breaking.

Maybe Mr TCCC Chairman when you read this you might consider putting an entry in the club newsletter reminding your members of their obligation to monitor their speed properly that includes looking back at their wash often. Responsibility for the safe operation of their boats must surely be an integral part of the agreement for the very cheap moorings your members enjoy.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Thieving B’stards 11

Following the theft of my generator last week I have placed a sign in the window of my boat. It reads:-


Thank you for stealing my GENERATOR

Now I no longer have to worry
about running my dialysis
machine

I dont suppose for one minute the perp will see it even if he can read.

Signage

When erecting a sign it is important that it says what you want it to say. If it is the slightest bit ambiguous people will take advantage. Take this sign for instance.
It should say something like:-
Absolutely no mooring except for properly licenced boats that are legally entitled to use BW facilities whilst they are using the lock.
What it actually says is:-
The pontoon is for the use of those using the lock or anyone who wants to pay £25 a day.
Which is something different.

It's about time BW got some balls and started kicking ass.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

M-I-l-L-Y M

I think there is something wrong with blogger. Many of the blogs I read don't appear to be displaying a link to my blog link. It is probably blogger hiding it behind a less well known blog or more probably a glitch in the blogger program.

Of those that do manage to make blogger work properly some manage to spell my boat name wrong, even though there is a picture right at the top of the blog.
So we will try again then. Say after me M-I-L-L-Y M. No its not Mily, Millie  or even Milli or anything else. Come on guys difficult it is not!

And to ad insult to injury we can't even get my name right its M-a-f-f-i not Maffie or Maffy or Maffey.

Another change

I have just installed IE9. IE9 is different. It appears to reflect the austere time we live in. The window is sparse. Trimmed to a minimum. It looks like MS can no longer afford to do this, which we all know is certainly not the case, The changes seem to be purely for the sake of change. Take the orbited e that is the icon for the Internet. It used to be fat. It is now - thin! Had peopled complained that the fat e made them feel undervalued? It seems so pointless. Justifying the salaries these people just to write stuff albeit in another language.

Bits that you are used to being cut out for no seemingly good reason. It feels like someone  going into your house and removing the toilet handle.

Our IT department say that the new look is easier to learn for new comers to computing (heard that before). What about those billions that have already learned the last dozen systems MS have produced in the last 20 years? What is MS saying to them (us)? Do they think we have endless time available to re-learn programs yet again? I would hate to think how much time I have wasted re-learning updated programs over the last 21 years.

Computing today is not about learning computing its about clicking a mouse and if that is the level of your computing skills buy a pen!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Writing

As is the norm in any class, exercises are set to give you a new avenue to explore with whatever it is you are doing, in my case writing. Last week it was 'The Letter on the Mantelpiece'. This is a fairly standard exercise for this course and others in the class had heard of it before, I hadn't. As is always the case we never get to finish in class, but we do read out what we have written in the time allowed, usually not more than half an hour. After class I take the time to finish off the work set to make it suitable for presentation.

My LOTMP was a letter to the father of a WW1 soldier.  It has worked out very well. I thought it was not too shabby, but others who have read it, the good Dr's Bones and Saffin and a well known canal worker, all of whom have opinions I greatly respect are telling me it is something far better than I perceive.

It would seem then I could be getting the hang of this writing malarkey.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Charity box

Those of you who have been to Thrupp may know of the book stall and the charity box. It sits next to the elsan point and gererates a few hundred quid for the club charity every year. Last week someone jemmyed it open. There is never any money in there overnight so it was a pointless exercise.

You can see it is only small and made of about 4mm thick steel so they had to put a lot of effort into it to get nothing out. Now I can understand this stupidity, they 'thought' there was something in there (it would only have been 50p max on a good day) but it is emptied regularly so would have been empty.

What I don't understand is why would someone want to break into this one in Oxford?


It only ever contains cigarette ends!

Theiving B'stards

Last week when returning from the pub I noticed a torch light on the wharf. By the time I arrived who ever it was had gone and along with them my generator! I missed them by less than a minute. I looked around to see if my iminent arrival had caused them to drop the said generator, but it was nowhere to be seen.
I called the feds. They sent a dog team to scour the area to no avail.
A follow up visit an hour later from the local bobbies revealed nothing. However I did mention that there had been a spate of thefts from boats in the last few weeks, they said that they were not aware probably because people don't report small thefts. They did say that  we should all report any theft no matter how small. Unless they know there is a problem they can't deal with it.

Its not what they stole that irks me its the fact that they scoped my boat and decide that I didn't need it. I might have needed it as a standby power source for my dialysis machine. I am sure if they were caught their lawyer would claim that they wern't to know I needed it so bad.
On a happy note I have had the generator for two years and in all that time I have never even been able to make it cough let alone run. So really they did me a favour, now I dont have to take it to the skip. Suckers!!!



Like ths but darker blue.

The VOTE box

I have removed the VOTE box for two reasons:-
1. As has been mentioned the question was a little bit biased.
2. People are still comming on line several times within the space of a few minutes. This could be people voting several times or not I dont know, but I know it can be done.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Chill dude

Sorry couldnt resist this. Boots relaxing at the country seat don't you know.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Widget

I am a bit concerned that some visitors to this site are visiting several times in a short space of time. Is this indicative of a flaw in the blogger vote widget. Does anyone know how secure this widget is?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Further to the boaters in London

From their website.
http://www.londonboaters.org/leecampaign
As Continuous Cruisers we are bringing this process to your attention as well as asking you to support us.
What gets me is they believe this twaddle. They are most certainly not CCers as they claim to be. They are simply mooring fee dodgers. We need to be very clear about that. They may have signed the CCers declaration about the Mooring Guide but they have broken the rules and their status as CCers is invalidated.
Understand this boaters from London in order to CC you MUST move your boat around the system. If BW allow you not to do that now, it is not your cleverness that is to be praised but BW lack of kahunas in allowing you to continue to break the rules.
I am sorry but I will not support you people in breaking the rules any more than I would support Barrack Obamma’s application to join the KKK. (Barrack Obama is quite entitled to join under equality rules but I dont think he would survive a bit like putting the pigeons among the cats, and that would be a shame).

Vote Top Right

Thursday, 5 May 2011

London Boaters (updated)

The following box of text is from the London Boaters site. It is filled with emotive words that in fact mean very little and is designed to get people on their side where they don’t necessarily have a side to be on. This group of boaters have presumably signed up as Continuous Cruisers. If they haven’t signed the CC declaration then their licence requires them to have a permanent mooring. Either way they have broken their agreement with BW. BW could simply refuse to licence their boats and hoik them out of the water. But no BW are changing the rules so that those that signed the CC agreement are better able to comply with the rules. Lets get this straight BW are not a housing association. They are a statutory body (look it up). BW though, they probably don’t know it, have the same or similar remit to make the rules as any other statuary body, for instance HSE. Broadly speaking the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the framework law. HSE is part of that law and is responsible for building on to the framework of the Act with out the need to keep going back to parliament. BW, I think, have the same or very similar powers. (If that’s wrong then I wasted £600 of tax payers money when I left the RAF.)
Families living on houseboats near the Olympic Park claim they've become targets for "social cleansing".  “They’re trying to increase the distances we have to travel by so much that coupling relocation with the continuation of our lifestyle becomes impossible,” he says. “The rules are extremely draconian and breach the Human Rights Act because, essentially, they’re trying to define where people can live. And they have no legal right to do this.”  The boaters, who describe themselves as “gatekeepers of the canal” – believe that whatever BW’s intentions, the measures will inevitably cripple their ability to lead a peaceful life on Hackney’s waterways. “Plans to carve up the moorings into ‘neighbourhoods’ and charge boaters for overstays are being opposed by local river dwellers" “The London boat community in Hackney could soon be history if proposed British Waterways plans are brought into force in advance of the Olympics." 'Houseboat residents near the Olympic development site in east London are accusing British Waterways of an attempt at "social cleansing". They say proposed changes to rules for living on the canals before the 2012 Games could force hundreds of people from their water-based homes ...'
It is to BWs shame that this situation has been allowed to exist. Poor management of the rules is bound to cause people to think they can break the rules with impunity. However BW simply have to formalise, if not already the case, and apply the rules that exist now, not make new ones, and the situation will then come under control.
 
A while back a London Boater tweeted that he had been on his mooring for 5 years and had just received his first patrol notice which he was going to fight. So that’s 5 years with out paying a mooring fee. (At least £10k probably £15K or more) Were I he, I would say to myself , “OK I have got away with it so far, time to move on,” but no he is going to fight it. BW should present him with a bill for his back mooring fees then see how much fight he has in him.
 
To London Boaters I would say you have signed up to be CCers so go and CC. Stop complaining that you are no longer allowed to flout the rules. If you cant obey the CC rules due to work school or childcare situation then you are not a CCer.You should have a proper mooring. If you have got away with it this long be grateful move on. The only outcome is one that will be detrimental for all CCers alike both the genuine ones and the not so genuine ones. Its a lose/lose situation. If you lose we all lose. Don’t screw it up for every one else especially those that signed and do abide by the rules as laid down In the Guide for Mooring.
 
I am sure you understand The Guide for Mooring that is the paper with the rules on and you signed to say you would follow them rules. Yes you can be a pain in the arse and cause BW to waste money taking you to court but  wouldn’t it be better to let BW spend that money repairing the system for all to enjoy rather than pushing your luck and ending up with parts of the system closed due to lack of maintenance. I suppose you don’t care if they close canals, you are after all River Dwellers.
 
Finally I do resent you calling yourselves ‘London’ Boaters. You are boaters just like all of us. We all need to be treated  the same. If you try to cut yourself off as being different to other boaters BW will use that against you. Who would blame them. And as for being Gate Keepers of the Canal that's like a cat calling a fur ball an air filter.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

TUPE

TUPE- Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006

The TUPE regulations were introduced to prevent companies taking over another and cutting the staff salaries i.e. banging them all back down to National minimum.

This regulation can not be meant to safeguard the salaries of people who earn phenomenal amounts over and above what is reasonable.

Our military personal me included do not/did not stand in defence of greedy people milking our state. BW CEO and the board must go.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Back to School

Well college started on Monday which is strange. Ruskin being a Trade Union college and Monday being May (Labour) Day. However, it was said we will all turn up for the first day irrespective of which bank holiday it was. I can live with that. Half the class couldn't live with it and didn't manage to get there , for reasons best known to themselves. Half an hour was wasted drawing the timetable on the Smart Board to work out tutorial times, this could have been done sometime in the last six weeks and saved to a Memory Stick. The term specification had not arrived in emails as it should have done. Then it turned out that we were not doing the two Bill Shakespeare plays first, but EMMA which I still haven't got to grips with so I am automatically going to be chasing my tail from Day 1. And the Senior Tutor said, "You must come to tutorials, it an honour to have them." Well maybe, maybe not. Nothing of course was said about the fact that they got nearly £4k from me to be on the course. That of course wasn't an honour for them to take the check. Were I to finish the course they would get another £4.5K for each of the next two years.

The email was re-sent before the first class of the week was over. "OK," thinks me, "I'll go and print it off," something I shouldn't have had to do. I went to the library to use the computer. It was closed. For Bank Holiday.  Excuse me, but if you are going to insist the students come in on a bank Holiday then the facilities should be available, or am I wrong?

On the second day tutorials for the other part of the course were assigned for some of the same weeks as the first one and later in the day were re-assigned so they didn't clash. The tutor left the class to photocopy required text and other material a number of times which, to my mind, should have been prepared sometime in the last six weeks. I wonder if the administrators/managers are putting too much pressure on the teaching staff.

Anyhoo this will be my last term I do not feel I am getting value for money. I am not talking about the teaching, but the other stuff, the framework upon which we should be able to hang our hats while studying. Administration is notorious in all colleges for not being 'fit for purpose'. What ever the college problems are be it timetables, class allocation, equipment  they are not our concern and we should not be affected by them, but we are. This is a failing that should be corrected so we don't know the problem is there. After my first two days it seems I need to work about 20 hours a day just to stand still I don't have time for the college problems.

Monday, 2 May 2011

The end of OBL

Osama bin Laden has been killed by American forces in a secure compound not far from an elite military training base inside Pakistan. The Pakistan Government say they did not know he was there. Do they think we were born yesterday? If some senior government officials and probably senior military officials were not involved I will eat my boat.

Pakistan, despite their platitudes and bullshit, is a known terrorist country. At the time when Salman Rushdie was given a knighthood a very senior member of the government said (in the house) that someone should 'suicide bomb' Rushdie. Yes he later apologised but the point is he said it!

When working abroad I met many decent hard working Pak nationals, ordinary individuals that still respected the empire as it was, but they would not trust their government or their military and neither do I.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Giza job?

I want Robin Evans’ job not because I think I could do it any better, I wouldn’t know until I tried, but because I could put at least half a million in to the maintenance budget. I could do that because I would be embarrassed taking £556,000 in salary, I would settle for £56,000. I wouldn’t really need that much but it would allow me the opportunity to go out and about and meet boaters and buy them lunch and tell them what’s happening. And of course no one on the staff would be allowed to earn more than me, that’s another couple of million in the pot.

Novel

Hire boaters are often a source of joy here on the canal. (I specify ‘the canal because although I can only comment about the Oxford I am sure it applies across the the system.) I love this new fangled way of mooring up a boat. There is a certain amount of tantric rope tying going on here. Ignore the rope exiting stage right, that belongs to another boat.11042011336