Friday, 28 April 2017

What a bunch of beautiful kids.

I have a central role in this pic taken in 1961.

This girl on the left end of the second row is Diane Cook. I wrote this a year or two ago and this picture turned up this year.

Diane Cook

          Has it really been fifty years (56 years now) since I last saw Diane Cook? She was a lovely girl. My memories are quite clear. We were eleven. She had bobbed hair and the cutest smile. I was in love. She lived at No 2 Oxford Close, which was a cul-de-sac just off Cambridge Road. We were in the same class at Sherwood Park Primary. I don’t know when she came there but I was always at that school. The girl’s school uniform was a green jumper and grey pleated skirt she looked good in that. I kissed her as often as I could, which means while no one else was there to watch. She said she didn’t mind me kissing her but not to be too rough. I would hold her hand and carry her school bag to the crossroads where I went left and she straight on.
          I was once invited to tea at her house. I was overjoyed. As you turn into Oxford Close, it was the first house on the right hand side. It was a very nice house, with leaded bay windows. Her parents were middle class. I remember there was a garage at the bottom of the garden. I was invited to help with a nature project, Diane had found an abandoned nest, that of a blackbird, in a bush in the back alley. She wanted me to blow the eggs. She would then have this nest and eggs in her room with other exhibits. I don’t really remember tea.
           I don’t remember how much I saw of her after that, but at the end of the school term we never saw each other again. She went to the Girls Grammar and I to the Secondary modern. I did speak to her on the phone once, I was about fifteen, but nothing came of it. I bet she would have made a great ‘dolly bird’ in the sixties. A few years ago I made contact with an old secondary school chum, John Challis. He remembers her in her late teens. She was a friend of his now wife.
          Despite the life I have had I long for those days when I had no cares in the world and my idea of sexual excess was stolen kisses. Diane was my first love. I probably don’t remember all the details but the images in my head never fail to excite the eleven-year-old boy in me when I recall those early days. Good times!
          I would love to see who she became, what she achieved.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Some people…..

…, yellow, blue, black, or white just don't deserve to be in a civil society.


Saturday, 1 April 2017


For those of you who remember my nearly sinking the Milly M before Christmas, this was the reason.  This was sticking out from the front of the boat. It has to be an inch and a quarter long. 20170307_115114
It is now about one quarter inch. Thanks to the chap who welded up the BT tube.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Friday, 24 March 2017


Four weeks Fradley Lock was closed. One would have thought they could have fixed the leak!


Monday, 20 March 2017

More Crap

This is just some of the crap I picked up on Monday during my trip from Fradley to Fazeley a distance of about 10 miles. The bottom pic shows how much rubbish I collected.
DSCF3452DSCF3451DSCF3450DSCF3449This is a red Dumpster. I don’t know how much it holds but suffice to say its a lot. Well I filled one on Monday and I didn’t even really try. I could probably have filled two!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Fiona Bernice Slee (née Booth)

Back in January my friend Fiona died. Fi travelled the canals with her husband John on their boat Epiphany. Fi is the 5th boating friend I have lost in the last three years.


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Perils of Boating

So here I am in Streethay Wharf. I have a problem with with water. It wont stay on the right side. The right side being the outside.

It was two weeks ago that I moved up to Shade House Lock. And during that short trip I was disturbed at the angle of the boat in the water. At the top of SHL I inspected the bilges. There was about 200 litres of water in the dry bilge! I baled it out, not knowing where the water was getting in from.

The next day it travelled to Rugely. In Rugely I bought a wet vac. In ARGOS the cheapest was nearly £100. In SCREWFIX a good machine was £36. SCREWFIX won.

Since then I have been taking water out every day.

Mean while I organised with the Wharf to have an inspection (I was worried the bow thruster tube {BTT} might be leaking). Having not used the BTT in many years I decided to have the tube closed off. All was set for Thursday last week, if the boat on the slip was off, close but no banana. Streethay said they would fit me in next week (this week). The good thing is it seems the water is coming from the fresh water tank, but for piece of mind I am going ahead with welding the tube.

Well I finally got on the slipway this morning. Tom the Yard Manager asked if I wanted to black it while I am out (it needed it even though it was only blacked 18 months ago). I said no because I hadn't vectored in the 4 days required, however after a bit of thought I phoned Tom and ask if they would do it, in preference to me. I have blacked a number of boats, including Milly M twice and I really didn’t want to do it again. We agreed they would do it.

So it works out I am out of the water for for blacking and while I am out the tube is welded up. Although it is the other way around.

During all this, several days ago I noticed smoke coming from the chimney, inside the cabin. Not a problem I just filled the connection between the collar and the flue pipe with sealer. Good try, but in doing that I found there was a 3 x 1 hole in the flue, does it never end! I filled that hole with sealer. which has temporarily saved me from asphyxiation.

Life as a boater is somewhat perilous and I am glad I was able to work out what the various problems were before the boat sank or I was  dead.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Wildlife in the woods


This little pecker is a Fire Crest

This chap doing a bit of acrobatics is a Great Spotted Woodpecker


I missed the Nuthatch only seconds before the Woodpecker.

And a shabby looking Fieldfare


Friday, 24 February 2017

Poor Kevin…..

….. the kestrel got himself in a bit of bother at Lock 11 on the Curdworth flight. He seems to be a bit soggy. So I reversed up and gently plucked him out of the water, whereby I handed him to a local chap who took him to a nature warden nearby.


Thursday, 23 February 2017

Minworth Locks

Cincinnati bridge is coming down. End of an era!DSCF3017

Minworth 2-3 water drained for inspection. That fencing was erected for the best part of a mile. I wonder how much?

Every couple of panels a sand bag was placed behind the fence on the fence block to hold it all up. Needless to say many of the sand bags ended up in the water.


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Home Brew anyone?

This is Barry trying his hardest to squeeze a few pennies out of the passing traffic, of which there are none. Barry runs the Home brew boat Areandare. In the background is Phil and Sally Bridger’s boat.