Saturday, 30 March 2013

On my journey this year. . . .

. . . . I travelled 429 miles, operated 17 lifted bridges and went through 267 locks. My collection of 149 bags of rubbish  this trip brings to 306 bin liners full of our rubbish collected. Yet I failed in my task. Not once did I stop and feel that someone had beat me to it. The whole point of me doing this is to encourage others to follow suit. I know some are. but most aren't.
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Let me re-iterate, no one is paid to do this so it wont get done unless you and I do it. There simply is no money. Litter on our canals is becoming a serious problem. Not only is it unsightly but half empty beer cans carelessly discarded soon fill up with the bodies of slugs and in many cases voles, mice etc (I suppose they die happy). Various creatures eat the rubbish discarded by us humans and DIE! Cans thrown into the hedgerow are shredded by well meaning volunteers with brush cutters and endanger wildlife, our pets and even our children with sharp edges of shredded cans spread across the towpath. Animals get caught/trapped by the continuous spewing of our litter, where it is not wanted, and they die in hunger or in pain through infection.DSCF8237
Litter is a problem. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. Even though you may not discard litter, if you don’t pick it up when you see it, you are contributing to its effects.
There is no reason why when you moor up you cant get a bin liner and go collect the rubbish in your vicinity, say 100 yards either side of the boat. Standing at the tiller for several hours causes muscles to stiffen up. Picking up litter will enable you to stretch and exercise those stiff muscles. If you are feeling really energetic then maybe half a mile or more. You choose. And when you have contributed to the solution encourage others to do the same, boaters, walkers, fisherman they can all help.
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There are 2000 miles of canal and there are 36000 boats if every boat owner litter picked 100 yards of canal the problem would be solved.
100 YARDS EACH
That’s all it would take. Not a lot is it?
So what does it cost? Well you will need bin liners. You may have bin liners but if not £1 for thirty in Poundland. Gloves might be handy £1 in Poundland. Litter picker £1 in Poundland (maybe), but about £5 in disability shops and as little as £3 on the internet. You will have to put up with a bin liner or two on the roof until you get to a disposal point, but that’s no hardship.
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So let us all make it a part of our routine while out on the canals this year. Enjoy the cruise, moor up, litter pick the area, wash up for dinner. Come on guys its easy we can all do this and we can all succeed in making our canals beautiful . You can even get the kids to do it with holding food until its done.
 Smile
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Friday, 29 March 2013

Bridge 77 Macclesfield Canal

This is a picture of Bridge 77 on the Macclesfield Canal. It hangs in my local The Jolly Boatman in Thrupp. My journey this year was about visiting this bridge and taking a photograph of Milly M in the bridge hole.

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So this is the picture I took. It has changed a bit. Behind the trees is a housing estate, but its sort of the same

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Beer again!

It takes a while for me to get around to the ‘latest’ news. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has reduced the cost of beer by 1 penny, or has he?

My local had gone up by 20 pence prior to the budget.

So what did the government actually give us?

This is a pint of Guinness pictured in a a pub north of Birmingham.

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It was £3.70 a pint. I got no discount for the 20% head. I actually got £2.96 worth of beer in it. So with the Chancellors 1 penny off I still paid 73p more than the quantity of beer I was sold.

I explained to the seller that I was traveling around the canal and that I took pictures of my Guinness where ever I went for my blog and asked if they would mind if I took a picture. “No problem,” they said, “but let me just top that up so it looks better for your picture.”

I pointed out that they had just sold it to me and it should be photographable (is that a word) when they first put it on my table. Fortunately I had already taken a picture before they picked it up.

This was not an isolated incident. It happened in a number of pubs I went into. None wanting me to photograph the beer they had served me, but rather top it up to make it ‘look better’. This is how come the punter is milked of over £40 million pounds a year.

I think a lot of it is because the staff have little or no understanding of what  the rules mean. Like the press the breweries have been allowed to self police. They have laid down the rules by which they will operate. In a vast majority of instances the rules are not being followed. The rules laid down as far as I understand say that in a Brimfill glass, which constitutes the vast majority of glasses used in pubs today, the glass must be 95% full when it is put on the counter and If you ask them to top it up they must, without any quibble, do just that.

Note the top of the harp is 17% of the height of the glass so about 20% of the volume.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Monday, 25 March 2013

Boating is fun

About 08.45 on Saturday I left Milly M and headed for the Train station. There I met with Chris and Joy Wren (nb Wren’s Nest) for a trip to Heyford where Bones (nb Bones) was moored. We were to get the Good Ship Bones to Banbury by late afternoon. Kate Saffin (nb Morning Mist) and Nina (nb Gibraltar) were some way in front of us, with Kate towing Nina to Tooley’s for an engine. They were ably assisted by Heather a vicar, or was it Helen. Unbeknownst to us Steve and Jan (nb Quadlibet) were not far behind us.

Our first obstacle was Mill Bridge at the far end of Lower Heyford. This is an aluminium lift bridge that, under normal circumstances is easy to lift. Today however Chris had a problem so I went to help. With both of us pulling down the beam we still could not open it. Bones swapped places with me and still the bridge would not open. Eventually a third person arrived and the bridge finally wobbled open. I took the boat through. We were about to set off again when we heard that Quadlibet was coming so we went back to the bridge to help. There was no way Steve was going to lift it on his own.

When we finally got to Somerton Deep Lock there was an accident on board. I was driving the boat and, as I would normally do, I went to put the bow on the gate. Lifting the paddles before I was in contact surged the boat back the raised the stern and threw the boat at the gate. At the moment of impact Joy, who had been sitting down, was about to step out of the front door. The result being that she was thrown to the floor. and hurt her shoulder. There is a nurse on Quadlibet and she was only a short distance behind. Joy was strapped up and kept warm. We made our way up the lock without further incident. At Chisnel lift bridge we found two people waiting to operate the bridge, both nurses; well one was an ex nurse, Nina and Heather. More making comfortable of the Joy was achieved and we carried on. Kate, who was by this time near Aynho Lock, was called and asked if she could call a taxi to take Joy to the hospital (our nursing staff were convinced it was a break). Kate phoned her friend Martin who lived in Deddington, not too far away, and as he was going to Banbury he agreed to take Joy to the hospital. Yay Martin! Kate moored up and walked back down to Aynho.

While waiting for Martin Quadlibet over took us. With Joy dispatched to the NHS, what's left of it, we continued on our way. We had a plan! we would go through the lock first . Bones would moor up at Nell's Bridge and I would help Morning Mist and Gibraltar through Aynho lock. Bones would prepare the lock at Nell’s and Morning Mist would go straight in leaving Gibraltar in the bridge hole.  At Aynho lock Quadlibet was already in the lock and called us in. They left first followed by Bones. At Nell's bridge Quadlibet went up the lock, another came down the lock and by the time we got there Kate went straight in. There was a hire boat above the lock and they agreed, as Gibraltar was in the bridge hole, to let us bring her up. Up goes Gibraltar and the tandem pair set off, down comes the hire boat, then I lock Bones up and we follow the tandem pair passing Quadlibet on the way moored up for the night.. At Kings Sutton all hands lock up the pair and I stay to bring up Bones. At Grants Lock Alec appeared, having driven to Banbury after sorting out his gearbox and riding down the towpath on a bicycle (gaining a puncture on the way).

Bones goes up the lock as part of the next plan and waits while we lock up the pair. The plan is Bones needs water so will go to Banbury moor up below the Town Lock and take on water.  Alec and I would operate the lock for Kate and Nina. It was a good plan. While waiting for them to arrive Peter (nb Futurest) and Janice (nb Roots and Wings) arrived so we were mob handed for the coming locking. Kate went up first and moored up on the water point taking on water. Gibraltar comes up and was bow hauled to a mooring opposite Kate. Then we brought up Bones. With all three boats above the lock the lift bridge was opened Gibraltar was bow hauled through to be moored near Tooleys; Bones went through followed by Kate. All boats found mooring space. With all boats secured Heather had to leave, Peter and Janice were sorted, Nina had to look after her dogs and that left Kate, Bones, Alec and me to get a take-a-way. There was much creaking of hips and knees that evening. It had hardly stopped snowing all day!

Joy was diagnosed with a broken shoulder and will be strapped up for a few weeks. Get well soon Joy.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

I am stunned

STUNNING DECORATIVE CANAL BARGE WARE GYPSY ART HAND PAINTED BUCKET  (EBay listing)

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It is painted with water based paint, or so it would seem from his answer to a question on-line. The bottom is full  of holes. It is not Stunning, it is not decorative, it is not Canal barge ware nor gipsy art. It is hand painted which is the only truth told about this bucket. If he told me it was blue I wouldn't believe him. And yet in the last 12 months he has had over 400 +ve feedbacks.

Seller notes:“Stunning Piece , Looks Superb”

There is nowhere on EBay to report this

The only thing stunning about this bucket would be if someone clouted you with it. Still I suppose that’s E-Bay!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Shower problem

My thermostat on the shower has gone kaput. This also happened about three years ago. At that time I went to Nicholson’s in Kidlington and before I had time to read out the part number the guy behind the counter put a new thermostat in my hand.

I went to two plumbers in Banbury today and it was a long process. Why does the world need 100 different thermostats? If I can buy a whole new shower for £82 why does the thermostat cost £60?

I don’t mind paying but I hate profiteering.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Poo!

This is a nice touch from Braunston, but there is still a lot of doo doo on the towpath and in the village. It seems that people don’t take any notice! Maybe the locals should be banned from the towpath.

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Oooo. . .

. . . just a short while later.

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Through the back doors

I was up at the ‘crack of a sparrows fart’ this morning and within an hour it started raining. You can imagine I was not best pleased as I was going to met friends for lunch at Fenny Compton today. Not long after the rain started the snow began to fall, looks like lunch is definitely off.DSCF8446
Dear Mark & SarahSorry about lunch but I have Anal Glaucoma and will not be able to attend our lunch date.

Dear Maffi
Sorry to hear that. What’s Anal Glaucoma when it's at home?

Dear Mark & Sarah
I just cant SEE me
shifting my ARSE to Fenny in the snow.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Unbelievable!

What would you do here? It is difficult to do as this sign says because a boater needs to know what it says one hundred yards away so he can adjust his course. He is half way through when he can read it. It’s A4. Even if it was ten times the size you don't want to do what it says because there is a huge rock about four foot out from the towpath. So the sign is pointless, just the poles and the yellow tape would have been sufficient, maybe an arrow. CRT just over complicate everything.

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Friday, 15 March 2013

Bitches

I asked a question on a face book page and was verbally abused by some old tart.

At Romanian Underdogs I asked, “Don't we have enough stray cats and dogs here?

I think it is a reasonable question to ask and if they had come back with some pictures of some badly treated dogs I might have been moved to put my hand in my pocket to help.

Some old tart said, “Shut up dick head.”

Of course now they have two chances of getting money out of me fat and slim.

I have to wonder if they are importing stray dogs for the food industry because they certainly don't appear educated enough to be doing it for good reasons.

And todays diatribe.

Isn’t it amazing, on one hand the government are trying to ensure that as we get frailer we don’t have to sell our homes to fund our care costs. At the same time commercial finance marketing company’s are offering to unlock the equity in our homes to ensure the life we paid for throughout our lives is not snatched away by our government who, it seems, see us as a cash cow.

Governments of all types have displayed over the past 30/40 years, if not longer, a total disregard for their purpose in life, what the people want! Despite the university education which most of them got for free most of them display a singular inability to do the job.

David Cameron talks a good job but persistently fails to deliver the goods. We are now over halfway through his administration and he, and his team, is still blaming the Labour Party for the country’s ills. Whilst it is very much the Labour Party that started all this they, The Conservatives, were voted in to fix it and so far they haven’t! They haven’t failed because to fail you have to try, I don’t believe they have tried. Cameron is too intent on lining his own pockets to be bothered with wasting time trying to fix things.

If as they say the problems are so deep rooted that it will take many years to sort it all out then why are those who were responsible for this clusterfuck still calling the shots instead of serving time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. But no they are still arguing over how much bonus they should get this year. That those people, who brought this country to its financial knees, should still be driving around in their posh cars and living the high-life in their big houses is an anathema; a septic spot on the arse of this once great country of ours.

For hundreds of years our fathers and forefathers fought to make this country a better place. In a few short years our elite have screwed it up big tine. They haven’t just screwed it up through incompetence, but also through greed. Maybe the Labour Party allowed this to happen, but the Conservative Party continue to allow this to happen and must now take their fair share of the responsibility for this mayhem. Those who are responsible for this ‘financial’ problem are still calling the shots, are still wanting big bonuses and are saying if they don’t get them they will leave the country to work else where. It may have escaped their notice that ‘elsewhere’ has their own bunch of wbankers who are perfectly capable of screwing up ‘elsewhere’s’ economy without the help of these tosspots. That DC has failed to act and bring these people to justice speaks volumes about his abilities as a conservative, a politician and as a leader. David is in denial. He is failing, he is not listening, he is grabbing at straws. It is when he starts on about God and the church, a la Tony B-liar; we will know he has really lost the plot.

I don’t know how many Chancellors have any financial qualifications, but as I understand it George Osbourne has none. The man who currently holds the purse strings of this country has no proven ability to add up, which he has demonstrated time and time again. It is about time the ‘budget’ was consigned to history. The budget seems to be about where the Chancellor can squeeze more taxes from the populace rather than about what the government does with the money it already has. Increasing taxes only goes to prove that the Chancellor has no fucking idea about finances. Every time Joe Soap works hard enough to earn a pay rise the government automatically get more taxes, 31% of every pay rise in tax and NI. Every time Joe Soap’s company makes a bigger profit the government automatically get more tax. Why oh why do they need to keep finding other things to tax? Every time a rich man dies the government, who have taxed every penny he has ever earned, want a final bite of the cherry. It is as if they feel a man has not done enough in his life that they load his death with more taxes, after all he can’t fight any more. Though I can’t say exactly I would hazard a guess that for every pound earned 60p is paid in tax, probably more. Money that has already been taxed should not be taxed at the final giveaway. Maybe if we paid the entire tax due in one lump on our salary then remove all other taxes it would become easier to understand that the system becomes cheaper to administer. HMRC could cut back on Tax Officers, office space, machinery, buildings etc.

I want that our country should grow. I want that our country should not be deconstructing our health service for personal gain. I want that politicians should do right by the people who elected them. I want that every man who walks into the House of Commons do so with good intentions. I want that the people of this great country are placed first before the wants and needs of the rest of the world, and when our country is put straight then and only then should we see where we could help abroad.

The trouble is what I want and what most people want is just fairy dust. Fairy dust is not powerful enough to fight against the evil that is politics. I find it laughable that those who are telling us “we are all in this together” are saying they deserve a 33% pay rise, while many low paid workers have not had a pay rise in years. Myself I have not had an increase in my meagre income for six years. I would gladly accept just 33% of an MPs salary because that would be triple my current income. If you didn’t understand that one third of an MPs income is three times as much as my income and yet ‘they’ need a pay rise!

Now I get by, I don’t have the best life but I have a life. I live below the poverty line yet, I still pay tax so that MPs can have a 33% pay rise, doesn’t seem fair really does it? The corruption in our government is not just limited to breaking the law, expenses etc but greed.

GGMS

The other day like many I saw this tweetDAVIS LAMMY

David Lammy is an MP. A number of people pointed out his ignorance to which he replied

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Does he honestly think he is the only person weary of the endless discussion of race.

Unbelievable!

What would you do here? It is difficult to do as this sign says because a boater needs to know what it says one hundred yards away so he can adjust his course. He is half way through when he can read it. It’s A4. Even if it was ten times the size you don't want to do what it says because there is a huge rock about four foot out from the towpath. So the sign is pointless, just the poles and the yellow tape would have been sufficient, maybe an arrow. CRT just over complicate everything.

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Sunday, 10 March 2013

Freebee

I fished this Guinness out of the canal in Leominster. Being as the can was intact I washed it thoroughly and peeled the top. Free beer cool!

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Addendum

What you wont have known from yesterday’s picture is Bones is two inches taller than me. We were sitting on the same bench seat.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

No Problem

Sue from No Problem took this picture of us with my camera back in the summer.

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Well at least she isn't sticking her tongue out .

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Coming to Braunston

What a lovely job they have made of this once weed ridden island.

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Spring sprung!

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Amazing

I hear my favourite drunk is selling up. (Please let it be true).

Harpagon

I am gobsmacked that a Thames boater by the name of Tim Mountain can for petty, selfish reasons cause the Jim Shead Site to be closed. Jim’s Site contains a wealth of information about all things boating. It has a list of nearly 100,000 boats past and present which contains such information as name, length, builder, engine size etc. If you want to know about a boat and lets face it many people do then Jim’s site is the only public source of this information. Jim gets this information from CRT and the EA under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOI) so one can assume that that the legality of this information has bee investigated and is kosher, Yes? Yet Mr Mountain claims that Jim has infringed his copyright. How he thinks this is the case the gods are still trying to work out. Unless he personally built the boat, which I doubt, he is just guilty of flapping his gums.  His complaint to the web host 123.reg almost fell on deaf ears. They did not uphold his complaint, but did insist Jim should remove public arena information, gained legally,  from his site, specifically that relating to Mountain’s boat. It seems if you are an arse and you shout loud enough you will scare those people who should be standing up for us.

If what Mountain says is true then all the anoraks who go train spotting or plane spotting must also be infringing copyrights. As a child I used to collect car numbers (don’t ask) so I to must be guilty.

Mountain claims he has a right to privacy, this is true, but his boat has no such right to privacy. The details of his boat are in the public domain and as such anyone may publish that information if they so choose. If he doesn't want it in the public domain then he should take it out of the water surrender the 35978 licence. The licence number 35978 belongs, if it belongs to anybody, to the EA. The name Harpagon is a character in a 17thc French play THE MISER by Molière. Harpagon is the title role.

At 30 feet and a bit his is a diminutive ‘plastic’ boat, commonly known to us tinbox drivers as a splitter. Its 120 hp engines are far bigger than anyone would ever require on a non-tidal river, especially on such a quiet stretch as that between Wallingford and Days Lock. Maybe it’s a p***s extension.

Mountain is generous to a fault. When Dari O’Briain, Griff Rhys Jones, and Rory McGrath starred in the Liberty Bell production of the Jerome K Jerome book Three men in a Boat. recreating this famous late 19thc trip up the River Thames, Mountain towed them for a few miles. Two million people invaded his privacy that day. What some people will give up to get on TV! Seems he wasn’t as shy in 2005.

Harpagon

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Apologies to Liberty Bell for using these stills from their production to illustrate a point about freedom.

But I have to ask what has he got to hide? How can the details of his boat affect his privacy? What has changed since 2005 that he would destroy a perfectly legitimate web site that was a very useful resource. Perhaps he has a job with MI5 or is it MI6? Or maybe he is a celebrity? Anyone ever heard of him before? Maybe he has been telling people he has a 50 foot boat with 300 hp engines? That would be a larf, he would be well caught out then wouldn’t he? Muppet.

Yes I know I shouldn’t call him a Muppet but in fairness he did call Jim Shead an ‘idiot’ about twelve times in a couple of missives and set up an email address protestagainst.theidiot@ntlworld.com. He also suggested that those who want to look at this information (that’s like you and me) would only do so for ‘illegal’ purposes. I would like to reply to this email address, but I would want to complain about the other idiot, Mountain. Who the F*** does he think he is?

I don’t know who or what he is, but  if he is being so petty about something that is not illegal then I know this much, he is not the sort of person I want to drink with in a pub. In fact I wouldn’t want to be in a pub that has him as a customer. I have been thrown out of better places than that.

I am told if you want a nice plastic boat built that a company called RLM may build you a nice boat to a 1969 design, but be wary because at 9’6” wide it wont fit on the Oxford canal, which by all accounts ain’t such a bad thing anyway.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Calcutt Lock Mooring

Been here at least two days. I wonder what his excuse was?

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Boaters rubbish….

….below the Cape of Good Hope.

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Oooo!

Isn't it amazing? CRT asked for public help to repair the £2.1 million Dutton Breach, and yet late last year they paid £6.75 million for a new four story office block in Nottingham.

I am going to be sick!!!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Yes this is yours Polly

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A little STAR

If you are looking for a very nice live aboard This is your baby. It is absolutely lovely. Worth every penny.

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An award

Today I walked with Molly along the canal towards the Blue Lias. The shop at lock 13 said open but I could not find anyone there. I carried on up to bridge 23 by the pub.

On the way back starting at Bridge 24 I counted 77 piles of doodoo between there and Bridge 25. I didn't include the ‘poo bunnies’, of which there were many, hanging in the trees. It’s not even a quarter of a mile. For this there is no excuse. If you were to search for an excuse you wouldn't find one because between these two bridges there are 3 Dog waste bins. One near each bridge and one in the middle by the lock.

I hereby declare that at Long Itchington the stretch of canal between Bridges 24/25 is the dirtiest stretch of canal (dog poo) on the entire system. And is to be henceforth known the shit capital of the canals. In honour of this it will be renamed:-

“Dog Shittington”

and its post code changed to DOG SH1T