Friday 30 June 2006

London Underground

Today I step away from Waterways banter and bring you Corporate Terrorism............................ just for a change you understand.

There's this chap in London who is a devoted fan of the London Underground. He has a site dedicated to it, Geofftech. Geoff holds the world record for 'doing' the whole system in 18hrs 35min 43 secs. He is not some kind of nutter. He does it for charity. He only ever puts the Underground system in a good light.

Can you believe that Transport For London (TFL) ordered him to remove all images they hold the copyright for, even the maps from his web site. Also any images that are similar to their logo. Geoff is not a happy bunny. He has raised thousands for charity with his World Record attempts.

Tube Relief raised funds for the victims of the July 7th bombings. Can you believe how crass the TFL Corporation can be?

The World Famous 'Roundel' and the map, though belonging to TFL, are cultural icons of London and its people. Geoff is not making a profit out of this venture and even supports the TFL's own charity. What is wrong with these people? There are thousands of sites and businesses all over the world that use the 'Roundel' in their advertising so why are they going after someone who only does good works for the community.Shame on you TFL.

Well I for one am miffed. So for the remainder of my time in Riyadh Saudi Arabia, this is another place that is going to use a national icon for no other reason than I am not subject to their corporate terror campaign. Knowing how the courts work here I say to TFL bring it on!

Thursday 29 June 2006

Panic on!

Sitting here as I do watching the boat yard I dread the thought that I might see something after hours and be stuck not being able to do anything. No I don't watch the 'tele' like it was my life line, but I have a big wedge of dosh tied up to that wharf and I want to be sure no vandals FIU. What were these two doing on the roof of boat at 9 o'clock at night

Last night I saw smoke coming from between my boat and the boat standing on the wharf. Now it might have been black exhaust smoke, but at 10pm? What to do? Call Gary? No I don't have his home number. I tried to send a pic to Colin for an opinion but he wasn't on his messenger. I PM'd Windy to ask for her mobile number so I could talk to her and get her to phone the police.

'Police' thats a good idea, google, West Yorks Police gave me a lot of info but none I could use. 0845 doesn't work from here. I ended up texting the police deaf line and left a text and left a message on the answer machine on the police phone in Mirfield. I had a spell with Bones who probably thought I was making a big thing of it, though she did agree with me that there was smoke. What was so bloody annoying was the fact that with all the communication systems we have had the boat been in flames there isn't much I could have done about it. Police websites are great if you are in the UK but not a lot of good outside. I will not be the only person who saw something on a web cam and I wont be the last. I don't mind telling you that I had a panic on for a bit there!

Pictures from Ledgard Security cam

Tuesday 27 June 2006

Those Eberspachers again

If you want to know the answer go to the man how knows. Which is what I did.

I asked, "Sir I am having a Hydronic 10 fitted to my new 58 ft narrow boat. There seems to be a lot of bad press on the internet forums about this unit.

Will it run properly on red diesel?

And this was the response:

We are aware of the press reports regarding all marine heaters including our competitors. I think it is no secret that from the time the petrochemical companies stopped supplying red diesel (I.E. White diesel with a red die added) and started using gas oil instead, all marine diesel appliances have been

That said, yes this heater will run on red diesel but the service intervals may be reduced, depending on usage. If the heater can be run on a separate tank, using paraffin, white diesel or a red diesel and paraffin mix the service life will be greatly extended.

Notice I said 'properly', he said, "That said, yes it will run on red diesel, but.......", thats a no then? So what that says to me is, 'we are aware of the problem and the solution is down to you (me)'. If what he says is true we are none of us getting what we pay for, 'diesel'. Well not to be put off I returned with more questions.

I think all those of us with HYD 10's should be asking the same questions. Why? Well this company is making money out of us (albeit we are not a huge part of their sales volume) and we have a right to know! It is not right that they are recommending these units for narrowboats, knowing that the available fuel is not the best way to run them.

I think they should be looking into ways of modifying the units to operate on what we have in the way of fuel and not expect us to make major logistical arrangements to get other fuel. Should they be recommending these unit for narrowboats? Personally I don't think so.

If Derv was changed for Gas Oil I think car owners would be up in arms, but then there are more of them than boaters. Maybe I should be asking the oil industry why we are being palmed of with with inferior fuel?

I'll be back on this if/when I get a response.

Monday 26 June 2006

I did it!

OK so now I have my 'feed', what is the point? Clicking on this little button allows you to see my past posts in text format. If one doesn't have time to open up a blog where it is, then one doesn't have time to read it anyway. Duh!

It may have escaped the initial program designers little grey cells but some of us do make a lot of effort to get their blog to look like you want to read it, you know interesting, so I ask again "What is the point".

I think it is a case of millions of programmers sitting idly about trying to think of what to do next. Well I have a suggestion........stop messing my life up and GET A PROPER JOB!!!!


Aardvark (Afrikaans for "earth pig") is the common name for an ant-eating mammal. The aardvark is found in much of Africa, from the southern part of Egypt to the Cape of Good Hope. Primarily a nocturnal animal, it lives in burrows and feeds on ants and termites, occasionally eating other insects, the fat mouse, and a species of wild ground cucumber.

The Aardvark is up to 2.3 m (7.5 ft) long, including the fleshy, tapering tail, which it uses to throw earth backward when it burrows. It has an arched back, a tubular snout, and large, upright ears. The Aardvark uses its specialized, chisel-shaped claws to break open the hard clay of termite nests; then it uses its sticky tongue to capture the insects in the nest. Unlike the animals known as anteaters, which are toothless, the aardvark has 20 cylindrical, rootless teeth that grow continually throughout its lifetime.

The female gives birth to one sometimes two offspring, which can dig their own burrows at the age of six months. Though a timid animal, the aardvark will fight when it cannot flee or burrow to safety; it defends itself with its powerful claws or by striking with its tail or shoulders.

The Aardvark makes up the order Tubulidentata. It is classified as Orycteropus afer.

Sunday 25 June 2006


According to Granny B what I need is RSS feed. RSS what? It's a system to tell people (Granny B etc) when I have up dated this here collection of diatribes and dribbles.

This blog is a means to an end. It fills some of my time. I have not worked since 30th April and it is getting just a bit boring sitting here scribbling stuff that no one really wants to read. It is just an amusing interlude or is it?

I have gone the way of others in that I have 'added' on bits and pieces, more for me than readers. Hits Counter, Guest Book (no one signs it), Links, Cbox etc. I am now down to graphic links, trouble with this is the graphics are different sizes, not good for my neat gene.

I have become a part of Granny's 'B' list (he doesn’t have an 'A' list, too elitist) merely because I comment on waterways type stuff, and do it regularly. You might be surprised at that because I lived in a place where water is a premium resource and not to be wasted going up and down locks etc.

It would seem to me that blogs are now becoming as much a community as the canals from which they sprung. Though I do wonder whether there is really a need for endless lists of 'where we have been', there is definitely a need for 'what we are doing' type blogs, but if you can combine the two so much the better.

Personally I try to read all those in my 'Boaty People' list every week, I have time to spare. It's nice to be able to see how Lucy is doing on No Problem and where Les is in Valerie, how things are going on the Belle build and what is Dr Bones doing to her boat this week etc etc etc.

I 'know' a lot of people I have never met, simply by keeping an eye on their blogs. When the Milly M is finally ready to go cruising there will be many 'friends' to meet most of whom will be watching out for me so they can duck out of sight when I appear around the next corner.

I think my blogging days will come to a natural conclusion when I am out and about on the cut, after all it's the pairing of people that make interesting reading, me being a 'go it alone' type will not make the grade. I think 'we' is preferable. 'I' gets a bit monotomous, whereas 'we' 'he' 'she' 'I' makes better reading.

So where was I.....Oh yes, RSS feeds? Yeah, I probably will get one, just as soon as I work out how.

EDIT: Did you notice the amatuer 'I will probably get one'. Get one? What a prawn!

Friday 23 June 2006


There seems to be something of a problem with this Hydronic 10 heating unit. According to the makers blurb it will run on both diesel and paraffin. What they do not say on their website is what 'quality' of diesel.

Now it would appear that this heater, that was not initially designed for the live aboard narrow boater, is not partial to red diesel. Derv or paraffin it seems is OK. Given that the Eberspacher web site specifies it's suitability for narrow boats one would assume that the company would have built a unit that would run on red diesel. After all how many Derv or paraffin outlets are there canal side? Red diesel which has a higher sulphur content causes the unit to coke up and in turn the unit fails, often well before it reaches it's designed servicing interval.

The unit is designed with a 2000 hr service interval, but there is no way of telling how many hours the unit has run unless you fork out 200 sovs for a diagnostic gadget. The engineers of course have these, well they need them to reset the system, which I am told is after every three failed starts. There is a timer modulator that allows you to reset the fault log but that is again extra, 70 quid. How do these people get away with this?

Another problem that has arisen, though I am unsure of the frequency, is the igniter probe is susceptible to spikes from certain chargers when they switch on. Surley this can be addressed easily, I mean its only a 12 volt system, it's not like we are talking kilo-joules.

So what do we have? A heating unit that was not designed for narrow boats being recommended for narrow boats, but doesn't run properly on the readily available fuel. It is subject to coking up which causes it to fail. You need to pay for an add-on to reset the processor because of bad design for the use the company recommend. (What ever happened to the reset button?.) And a fuel igniter that your charger can kill stone dead. Not to mention that you can't see when it needs servicing.

Sucker! No not you, me, I have just had one fitted on the Milly M. DOH!

Wednesday 21 June 2006

The Rochdale

I see in the Inet press that the Rochdale canal is now open again. Since the 10th of June in fact. I know that a lot of people were complaining about how long it was taking, but when you see the work that was done and realise the cost to do it, one must must sit back and say WOW.

This was no mere hole plugging exercise. This was quite a major feat of waterways engineering.

The workings, with a price tag of £1.27 million, covered a distance of 160 meters and included PVC lining, new wash walls, a concrete channel spanning the IRK aqueduct and breach, the construction of deep moorings on the towpath, bollards and the inevitable "reed bed" not to mention the crayfish.

The work can be seen here at PENNINE WATERWAYS

The hole can be seen here.

I think BW and Co. should be commended for a job well done.

Tuesday 20 June 2006

Not long now.

So today the boat progressed closer to completion. The plumbing was finished enough to lay the flooring. The last pack lies solemnly solo on the wharf. A large box of something was standing on the wharf and then was emptied, might have been my microwave or maybe not, then the box vanished.

People are still clog dancing on my roof, but work has been done. The centre rope has been tied!

The top hatch changed from the nice green one to one I don't recognise. I hope this isn't the finished article, I liked the green. I don't know who the lady is in the black, but she appears quite often and a grey haired chap who I assume is her hubby.

They must have had a coach party visiting today coz there were an awful lot of people about this morning.

The race is on now as to who will be ready first the boat or me! I have another court case next week. Fingers crossed. I could be home in 10 days, but then again it could be ten months who knows.

Sunday 18 June 2006


Why is it that people say upgrade when they mean 'buy a new one'.

Upgrade may have become a dictionary definition, but only because those that write about such thing as computers, mobiles etc have misused the term in the past. When you 'upgrade' you add to or replace older components.

If you are reading this on a 486 then it is not upgradeable, but well done for persevering . The best you can do to improve on what you have is buy a totally new system. What you will have done is upgraded your life, not your computer.

The same applies to mobiles phones. Unless you actually put newer components in the phone you have you are not upgrading, you are just buying a new one. Again you have upgraded your life by buying a new component for it (the phone) not your phone.

Don't mind me it's just the way my mind works.

Saturday 17 June 2006


I'm told I need to update, but there is nothing to update now, well nothing I can see anyway.

I did notice that there seems to be rather a lot of people clambering on the roof of my boat over the last few days. I don't remember 'footpath' being in the spec!

Given that the roof appears finished apart from the smoke stack, I can't imagine what they could possibly be doing, other than trampling all over my very expensive paint work. And why would the fitting of a smoke stack require 3 great lumps, as there were at one time.

For the last few days I have been trying my hand at web site design. I always thought this was something that would be quite difficult, but with the facilities you can get on line today it really is a doddle.

Once you know the basics of coding, which you can get from editing blogs and the like, it's not that difficult. I would certainly benefit from a book on HTML coding, but quite a bit of what I have done up to now has taught me enough that I can write and edit in the HTML window rather than the WYSIWYG window.

So we have Maffi's Boat the Blog and soon we will have Mafi's Boat the Site, which if things go according to plan will be just as boring as the Blog. It has about thirty pages in it so far but there is a lot more I want to put in it before it goes on line.

Maffi's Boat the Tee-Shirt? Maybe not!

Wednesday 14 June 2006

Woo Hoooooooo!

Some time this morning at around 10:30-11:00 the Milly M took her first moments learning to swim. No reported leaks so far. She's a natural floater. (Maffi does proud father impression)

And would you look at that she has found a mate already!

Tuesday 13 June 2006

Dogs Kill Alligator

This blog and the build site between them have clocked up over 9000 hits, from over 1000 indvidual places in over 70 countries. Surprisingly a lot of recent hits (100 or more) have been from people googling "dog pack kills alligator in Florida", mostly Americans. You know it was a funny picture, but not that funny.

Sunday 11 June 2006


I give you fair warning.
There is a story in another of my blogs 'Excuse me but....' that will make the more sensitive of you puke. It will even make the hardened among you cry.
The barbarity of man's in humanity to man never ceases to amaze me.
It is a story that has to be told again and again and bought to the attention of the west.
If you are the slightest bit queasy do not go there.

Saturday 10 June 2006

My 15 minutes of fame

In another life I was a singer, not famous but quite good. I started singing at school when I was about 6 and never stopped. The head mistress Mrs Jessica Horsbourgh insisted I sang a solo in the school play, I was good. And every time we got a visitor to the school I had to stand up and do my piece, it used to embarrass the hell out of me.
I then progressed on to doing backing with a small rock band when I was 17. Mainly because I couldn't play the guitar. We/they were called Program. If I recall correctly we did one gig, but we practised a lot! I did the art work for our first album cover. Shame we never got a contract it was a good cover.
Then I did nothing until I got my second divorce (39), when I took up playing the guitar that I had owned for some time, to avoid becoming a couch potato. After I had learned my first song I thought 'I can do that' and set about writing. I didn't stop for about ten years.

I did my first solo gig at the Bulls Head in Aston Clinton one year after I started learning to play.

While I was learning I was a member of the local church and did my early gigs there on Sundays. I was a founder member of,
There were 7 of us, we would sing in church nearly every week much to the disdain of some of the choir. Until, that is, we started singing my compositions.


There was Margret & Steve Pay (both Lay preachers) Richie & Roz Palmer (he was an airframe fitter) Brian Ludlow (doctor) and me (lecky) & Sandra White (nurse). We played a few gigs out at other churches and shows etc. Brian's wife, Lady Margret Ludlow, was too busy bringing up the children, of which, they had a few.

After that I was moved to Wiltshire, funnily enough Richie lived there too, and we formed Old Frendz . We only did two gigs and split, but we had fun rehearsing. I still make a point of visiting Ritchie and Roz when I go home. Alas, sadly, I have lost touch with the others. Happy days.


I still own 6 guitars and I still sing and play, but only on my front porch. I write a lot, but not lyrics. Seem to have lost the touch. In my hey day I could write two songs a day.

OK it ain't over till the Fat Man sings.


PS Hard to believe with that hair, I was a Sergeant in the RAF. I still have more hair than is decent for a man of my age.

Friday 9 June 2006

New to the web

Welcome Liam best of luck

Sale Cruising Club

An extra source of income!

Every once in a while someone somewhere gives me a little tip unbeknownst to them. A few weeks ago a field for sale on the Trent, mentioned on the CW Forum caught my eye. It would make a nice Marina if the rooad access was better. Still it's a possibility for when I get home.

Today on Granny Buttons blog, Andrew Deny always a source of good information, posted this sale, which I thought was a pretty fair deal. . Two boats on a secure mooring with a small garden near Paddington station. Quite an investment opportunity.

36 foot Springer and 22 foot house boat, to be sold together, with garden on a secure residential mooring. 15 min. Paddington station (click here).

Just the sort of thing I could be looking for if I get what the company owe me before I come home.

Pictures from Appollo Duck

Aerial View

An aerial view of the yard which will hatch my boat maybe some time next week.

Ledgard Bridge, Mirfield.
Picture sent by Bazz in Australia
Courtesy of Google Earth

Thursday 8 June 2006

Down at the yard

Down at the yard I am told the boat is looking good by Roy 'n' Paula who were on a visit to their ex-Heron.

Well I don't know about that, but by 'eck doesn't that workshop look smart 'n' tidy?
They must be getting ready to move someone else in or me out.
Waaaaah! I don't wanna go in the water! I don't wannaaaa go!

Picture courtesy of Gary at Ledgard Bridge

More on water

The government committee on water does not think it is necessary to have a 'national water grid', it does think we should have more reservoirs. It also thinks that water bills should rise to fund the 'leak plugging' process.

1 billion pounds in outstanding bills is not acceptable. That much money will plug leaks in 20,000 miles of pipelines. And what is the point of more storage capacity if we can't fill the reservoirs we already have? How do they propose that these extra reservoirs are filled and with what? Unless, there is a way of redistributing the water!

Bewl Reservoir in Kent was down to 34% earlier this year (filling it from rivers is not viable). While in the midlands and the north hundreds of billions of litres were flushed into the sea. Our water supply system in the UK is in terrible condition and government committees are virtually ignoring the fact.

Southern Region covers the diverse areas of Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The major centres of population are all situated on coastal flood plains and are highly vulnerable if climate change leads to increased storminess and a rise in ocean levels. The region has few reservoirs. Over 70% of the population is dependent on groundwater for its drinking water supplies, which makes the region vulnerable in times of drought and if climate change alters the rainfall pattern.

A combination of factors, ranging from drier winters caused by climate change to ever-rising demand for water in the densely-populated South-east, have been highlighted as causes of a new long-term water problem in the region.

The 15.5 million people in London and south-east England account for a quarter of the UK population, squeezed into a 10th of its land mass. People in the South-east consume more water than anyone else in Britain. Every day, the average water consumption is 154 litres per capita - in the South-east it is 175 litres. The result is massive pressure on water resources in a region which, according to an Environment Agency report five years ago, had already reached the point of demand equaling supply.

Tuesday 6 June 2006

The Drought

Here we are a tiny island surrounded by sea and we have a water shortage. What is the government doing about it, not a lot it would seem. The south of England is the driest part and our lords and masters are going to build another 5 million homes. Where do they plan to get the water from? They have already scotched a plan to put in an arterial canal from north to south.


It's not that we don't have water, it's just that we don't have it in the right place at the right time.

We have a very good system of waterways, albeit they need some investment, but the system could be modified to ensure that the water that runs off down to the sea every time it rains is channelled into reservoirs (which never seem to be full).

There are two things that the Government need to look at:-
  1. Investment in the waterways and storage as an answer to the perennial water shortage problem.
  2. Investment in the canal system as a national heritage treasure.

No. 2 is long over due and can only enhance No.1

Funding? Well to begin with, there is nearly £1000 million outstanding in unpaid water bills. They could start by shutting off supplies to those who don't pay, making exception for those who cannot pay. (In Australia they install a tamper proof trickle valve. This allows enough water for basic hygiene and no more. People will be falling over themselves to pay up!)


At the end of the day the water shortage problem will only get worse. An investment program needs to be set up now. The benefits are many fold.

  1. There will be an increased amenity value which will benefit everyone.
  2. The dependence on hosepipe bans as a means of conserving the dwindling water stocks will cease.
  3. The gardening & water-sports industries will also benefit.
  4. Tourism within the UK will surely increase.
  5. For years now our reservoirs have not been full this is wasteful.
  6. Those eco systems that thrived around the artificial lakes of which we were once so proud have been seriously affected. A new vision will improve this.

At present, the future of the water industry in the UK relies on people not being allowed to use water they have paid for, when we are surrounded by the stuff. If we stand still the situation will only get worse. This cannot be the way to go. Though water does not lend itself to a 'national grid' system easily, it can be achieved. Most of the water courses are already there we just need to upgrade and use them more effectively. A massive investment now will ensure water supplies for the next 100 years.

Instead we let billions of gallons of rain water flow into the sea when large quantities of it could be piped into our empty reservoirs. Not easy but doable. What is the point of having vast water storage facilities if we don't use them to store water. I have seen people here in Saudi drop pipes a man can stand up in, 15 ft into the ground for hundreds of miles to solve their water shortage. Why can't we?


The future of this countries water supplies should not be left to those valiant volunteers who for years have spent their spare time saving our canals from the ravages of time. It is the responsibility of government and the water companies . What the government need to do is open their eyes an see the potential we already have for solving this problem. Water supplies are 'infrastructure' that's what governments do.


Cut from a pic by SUE nb No Problem

Writing on the net

There is a rule that says if you make a post criticising someones spelling or grammar, the post will contain at least one error, if not several.
Those of you that know me from the various forums I frequent will know that I have a problem. I can not abide people who will not take the time to check their posts. It is lazy and inconsiderate (Dyslexics are the exception).
Spell checking is not at the top of peoples agenda when it comes to having their say. Neither is capitalisation, s p a c i n g , commas' apostrophe,s' and every other possible abuse of punctuation.
I can't help it, it is friggin' annoying. If you have something to say do it properly. Now, with the recent proliferation of Blogging, there is a new media full of poorly written content seemingly scrawled by gorillas. They contain huge blocks of text with no full stops, no capitals, no paragraphs, 100 word sentences.
What is it with people. There is no excuse for this. If it is worth writing then it is worth writing properly.
I used to hate writing at school. I am probably not very good at it now, but I do try to make an effort. What started me off was a mentor in the RAF who pointed out that 'pronounciation' was incorrect, Americans use that a lot. The word is pronunciation. And since then I give no quarter. It is as much a psycological problem with me as other ailments of the mind.
Language is how we communicate. There is a set of rules. If we follow the rules, then what we have to say is easily understood by all. If I have to read it twice to work out if it is in English or Klingon then the writer didn't care enough to make me want to read it, so to me, it isn't worth reading.

Monday 5 June 2006

New Gates

Standedge Tunnel (Diggle end)has a new pair of gates. Very pretty they are too! Depicting a narrowboat being 'legged' through. The gates were produced by an artist local to the canal Joy Williams. They look reet nice!

However, I feel I have to ask "For what purpose?"

I think the idea is to stop boaters from trying to go through the tunnel unofficialy. Excuse me but would a length of 'I' bar across the tunnel mouth not have had the same effect.

They could have even painted 'NO ENTRY' on it.

£37,500 my ghast has never been so flabbered. That is a very expensive bit of decoration. I think I might go into making gates when I leave here, seems like a nice little earner.

I borrowed the pic from Towpath Talk

Saturday 3 June 2006

Electrical system

The electrical system on the Milly M will be a far cry from my original idea of two car batteries and a hurricane lamp. In fact it will be a mini power station.

The battery system will consist of 5 Squadron 110 a/h AGM3 units. The good old BARRAS Shire Will be driving no less than three generators. 1-12v 50 amp purely for charging the engine start battery. A further 12v 110 amp for charging the 4 leisure batteries. And a 240 vac 3.5 kva generator for the washer/dryer microwave etc this will be supplemented by a 2.5kva inverter for when I am not cruising around.

I am told there are two topics that always crop up when boaters get together to talk boats. Toilet facilities and batteries.

I like all boaters will be concerned about the life of those expensive batteries and I am looking around to see what technology is available to aid in prolonging their life, be it gadgets, additives or just plain old education. Having been an electrician in the aviation industry for over 35 years and having taught batteries in 3 different countries, I find my self at a loss to understand the idiosyncrasies of battery systems on boats.

So I will continue my quest, searching the web for an answer.

Friday 2 June 2006

No work today

Today is Friday. There is no work done on the build on Friday. Now I know there must be a good reason for this, but for the life of me I can't see why. Already the boat is past the contracted completion date and 5 weeks behind on the build. I do not understand why Friday is a no work day.

It just does not make sense!

Thursday 1 June 2006

The engine arrived!

Photos courtesy of Gary at Ledgard

The beast has arrived and is on it's way in. The Barrus SHIRE 45. This is a whole lot of Grrrrrunt! for 4mph.

Now that, ladies and germs, is an engine, so if you see me out on the cut don't p*ss me off or I will burn ya paintwork off with the exhaust.

Don't ya just lurve the green on the hull.





All pictures are clickable for larger image.