Monday, 31 July 2006

Just passing time

I know there are those of you out there that are wishing me good will to get out of this place soonest and for that I thank you all. As much as that is my wish there is some pleasure in being here, well not actually 'being here', but having the opportunity to spend lots of time on the net. A link I picked up from Granny B tonight has kept me amused for sometime, if somewhat 'pining for the fjords' so to speak.

The nb Balmaha is a veritable gem in blogworld, can't think why I haven't found it before. I only stopped by to read Andy's link and spent an hour or more soaking up the ether in the words of their travels. Everything from hot air balloons to helicopters, guillotines to tragedy, and did they ever find out what was making that awful smell down past Waterford locks?

Definitely one for my Boaty People List.

I really got a kick out of nb Warrior and their probable antique stove. Methinks the Milly M would have been a very different boat had I found such a jewel last year.

Back to the matter in hand, no not likely. August 27 is the court date and assuming a decision is made it will still take me a week or more to get out. However a phone call from the company 'Mr Fix-it' some months ago suggested that if I persisted in going the legal route they would drag this out for a year. My MP Michael Ancram is to ask questions of the Foreign Office.

In the last few weeks another two Brits have turned up from Tobuk up north. They have been told inshallah! One, Mr A is prepared to sit it out, the other, Mr B has a new contract in Oman and wants to go soonest. So yet another MP has been pointed at the FO. Ho hum!

Sarah Pipalini

Three Italian nuns die and go to heaven.

At the Pearly Gates, they are met by St. Peter. He says, "Sisters, you all led such exemplary lives that the Lord is granting you six months to go back to earth and be anyone you wish to be".

The first nun says, "I want to be Sophia Loren,"...... and *poof* she's gone.

The second says, "I want to be Madonna".......... and *poof* she's gone.

The third says, "I want to be Sarah Pipalini."

St. Peter looks perplexed. "Who?" he asked.

"Sarah Pipalini", replies the nun.

St. Peter shakes his head and says, "I'm sorry, but that name just doesn't ring a bell."

The nun then takes a newspaper out of her habit and hands it to St. Peter.

St. Peter reads the paper and starts laughing. He hands it back to her and says.

"No sister, the paper says it was the 'Sahara Pipeline' that was laid by 1,400 men in 6 months."

If you laugh, you are going straight to hell!

Back at the yard

Well she is back from her sojourn to the canal to have her signwriting completed. And well fine she looks to.

No the font isn't what I wanted but it's not going to change now, is it?

I think the main problem was the panel was too long. I suppose I will learn to live with it.
Click for larger image
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Picture from Ledgard Bridge

Saturday, 29 July 2006

The Milly M

Wow what a sight! This is my first proper look at the almost finished narrow boat, Milly M, that will be my home for a long time to come. All I have to do now is GTF out of Hell.

Milly M

The boat was moved from the yard on the river along to the canal for the finishing touches to the outside the canal bank being just the right height for the painter to work.
Needless to say it didn't get there under it's own steam but towed.

Sign writer at work.

Not quite what I had in mind so don't ask what I think.

The original design

Photos by Gary at Ledgard Bridge

I could be home by Thursday

........ I could, but I wont. I asked the company to make me an offer that would allow me to walk away from the $50k they owe me with some dignity. They offered exactly the same as 3 months ago, but I would be expected to leave the country with a promissory note that they would pay me at some time in the future and I would have to pay my own legal fees. There is a level of stupidity in this company that is beyond belief. This is how my lords and masters do business.

Not only are these people cheats and liars they have the audacity to think I am stupid enough to fall for it. This is the way that my company works. Lie, cheat, steal, and assume that their opponent will accept being treated like a moron.

I am sure that the Qur'an does not teach them to treat those that come to benefit their country like this. Screw them. I will await my day in court.


Friday, 28 July 2006

Be aware!

Well Well Well it would seem that the owners of a recently defunct narrowboat company are trading again. Offering build slots for a deposit. Offering chandlery services, new and second hand boats.

Isn't there a law against owners of collapsed companies setting up in business again so soon after their demise? The mind boggles. The thing is to start the new company before the old one goes down the pan.


was dormant at companies House

Now In Liquidation?

From their now defunct site

"The concept of Narrow Boat ownership should be an experience that leaves you content to spend the years ahead with the knowledge that you made the right choices. At LEES NARROWBOATS we invest our time in you, to make sure that when you place your order with us, you have the confidence that we will deliver your dreams and expectations."


(New company same postal address)

From Paul Lee's new site

The Boat Supply Company Ltd, is dedicated to supplying our customers with the highest standards of service, coupled the most complete range of marine products available on-line, we have many years experience in building, supplying both boats and chandlery.

Now tell me would you buy a used car from this man.

Thursday, 27 July 2006

Light in the tunnel

Well the Temperature is 114oF and the Air con, I think, has packed up. My room must be about 85oF and it is getting uncomfortable. I really envy you guys in the UK. I know I am sad, but I sit here many hours each and everyday watching. Watching the people at the yard going about their daily routine. Watching those that have boats at the yard going to and fro. And watching the boats go by. I am so envious. I would give a lot to be in Blighty right now.

A reassessment of my finances means I can walk away. I have the exceeded bank balance that I planned on and the case against my company could end up a fruitless endeavour (the company bosse have left the country and there is reportedly no money in the pot). But I really don't know anyone who would voluntarily walk away from $50K and wonder why should I? ( There is a contingency fund)

My lawyer is supposed to have told me that the Governor of Riyadh could grant me an exit/re-entry visa. This is in his remit and certainly not $1,333 worth. It is my right and can be arranged on the phone, so that is my next effort. Maybe I will be home sooner than I thought, but will have to return. However I won't hold my breath just yet.

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

It's not right

Maybe it's me being stressed because of the situation I am in or maybe I am rightfully indignant, I don't know, but what I do know is it's my boat and I didn't give anyone permission to use it as a shortcut, either to work on other boats or to get to their own boat.

At this time the roof of my boat is finished, has been for some while. The boat cost an arm and a leg and a half. Some people seem to think they have a right of way across the top. There should be no need to walk on MY roof. The boat is new as yet unfinished. I have not been able to see it myself, by the time I do it will be second-hand. There is probably a case of trespass to answer if I wanted to be arsey.

Its not right and is totally inconsiderate. Were it an older boat in for repairs then maybe I wouldn't mind quite so much, but it is still in the 'showroom'. The roof of MY boat is not for others to trek across. Sitting here watching people who should know better tramp across MY roof is doing nothing for my blood pressure.

I keep on hearing about what a marvellous community the boating world is, but if this an example of the kind of community it is then I am saddened, no, I am hurt that people think so little of me that they would abuse my property. Yeah I know it's only a boat, but the point is it's my boat.

I don't mind people using the rear deck if necessary, it's made for feet, but they should stay off the roof or they might just find footprints on the roof of their car when I return.

The British Embassy

I wrote to the British Embassy on the 12th July. Today 25th, 13 days later, I recieved a reply.

The legal position in Saudi Arabia is that an exit visa may not be issued to a foreign national who has an outstanding, ongoing private rights case in the Kingdom. The only way that a person in these circumstances may leave the Kingdom is if he gives Power of Attorney to a legal representative, approved by the Governor's Office, to act on his behalf. (Which I have done).

If your legal representative is approved by the Governor's Office, the Governor's Office can direct that an exit/re-entry visa be issued to you. (Well I would hope he is, he is on the Embassy approved list).

In directing that an exit/re-entry visa be issued the Governor's Office would also direct that your passport be returned to you. (My lawyer wants SR5,000 to do this)

I am sorry that you feel we have not been able to help you as much as you would wish. However, this is essentially a private dispute between yourself and your former employers, and we are, as an Embassy, precluded from becoming involved in such private disputes. (So I ask again whay good are they)

So what good are the Embassy? Not a lot. Yes this is a 'private dispute' in essence, but these people are doing this to hundreds. They are in violation of International Law.



Don't ya just love SPAM? No? Well you are obviously not one of the morons who are spamming my build site guestbook.

Endless lists of URL's that because of the make up of the guestbook are not clickable. URL's for stuff that is not even remotely related to Waterways. Placed there by people who have obviously NO LIFE! People with an IQ smaller than their shoe size and the personality of a cockroach.

Annoying sods that really give a good case for euthenasia. I reckon that it must be something to do with Uni's being on their hols. What is it that makes these social misfits sit at a PC and pepper their trash all over the Internet.

Personally I am insulted by their content. Ads for bigger boobs, bigger wanger, training shoes and Viagra. At 55 I already have bigger boobs than is decent for a guy of my age and a bigger wanger would be wasted. The best I could do with the trainers is run off the effects of the Viagra (which I also don't have a need for).

It seems to me that these people are the LD of society. Who just want to encroach into other peoples lives because they have NO LIFE of their own.


Monday, 24 July 2006

Steel Dragons

There is a place we used to go down by the riverside,
The meadow grass was soft 'n' cool the trees there grew with pride.
We played there all the summer long, in this haven from the crowd.
We'd rest awhile and there enjoy the passing of the clouds.

We would fight the evil knights and dragons we would slay,
'Til twilight came to tell us of the closing of the day.
Life was oh so simple then, no worries did we crave.
At night in bed we all would sleep the slumber of the brave.

Then one day a man arrived with a tripod and a scale.
He measured to the riverbank and back up to the hale.
And when his task was over he took his tools away,
We never thought that he'd come back, but then again he may.

Then late sometime in summer, we heard a thunderous roar,
Steel dragons came into the lane and through the meadow tore.
They started off by tearing the grass from all the land.
By the time that they had finished not one tree did they let stand.

Next there came the lorries with yards and yards of steel.
But no one ever asked us exactly how we feel.
The place where we all went, to spend our time in play,
Was totally destroyed in the space of just one day.

Giant concrete pipes sunk into the river silt.
Steel skeletons erected and to the sky were built.
Piles and piles of tarmac were laid upon the ground.
Then someone deigned to tell us, "This was to be 'Newtown'".

The Dragons kept on eating the grass from off the land,
And still no one ever told us exactly how we stand.
Then one day came the people; we knew just what they'd say,
"We're sorry we can't live here, there's nowhere nice to play."

The buildings are now rotting as the fabric falls away.
Steel skeletons lay rusting in the sadness of the day.
If only they had stopped to think, "What will our work become?"
There'd still be children playing, by the river, in the sun.

Hand crafted by MAFFI

To free or not to free

Andrew Denny over at Granny Buttons seems to be in a bit of a pickle. He did a piece about the new 'Narrow Boat' magazine and the password required to access the data base, which as it happens is a specific word on a given page, and Richard Fairhurst gets all uppity about it.

Whilst I do understand Richards point that some people earn their living from net journalism, those that short circuit the system to 'get it for free' are not the kind of people that would pay if they couldn't do that. With more and more people getting Internet savvy it would seem to me that net journalism is not the place to try and earn a living, unless you can afford to take the hit.

One of the great things about the Internet is the fact that sometimes you get stuff for free, a bit like the Elsan disposal mentioned in the last post, it is often a bit of a game finding passwords and there is a certain amount of pleasure in doing this.

This Blog doesn't cost me anything but time. I don't have adverts on it because that was not the point of doing it in the first place. It's a training ground for future endeavours. Other places where I have my 'work' are open to abuse and, dare I say it theft, but that is the nature of the beast.

I know stuff that I have written has been used on other sites, but I don't really care at this time. That someone thinks that the poetry and songs that I write are worth 'stealing' is praise indeed, if praise were needed. It would be nice if occasionally a nice fat cheque appeared , or even a little skinny one, but hey, it's no biggie.

People are people if they can get it for free they will, if they can't then they wont get it legitimately, so nothing is lost. Exposure is the important thing and unless I miss my guess Narrow Boat has got a lot of that for free from Andrew. I for one had never even heard of it, now I have and if you hadn't before reading this you are now better informed.

Ask me in a couple of years if I still feel the same way and I might have a different opinion, but for now I would say live with it, it's not like you can change the Internet or people for that matter.

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Somethings smells here!

Sawley Marina have recently put up the price of their pump out service by 25% to £10. Why is this? 25% is a bit of a steep increase considering that wages tend to rise about 3%. OK so I know that the contents of the black water are toxic but no more toxic than the contents of an Elsan or Thetford.

Historically it was done 'bucket-and-chuck-it' style, but things move on and now there is a cleaner canal.

If cost is an issue, which I doubt, are those with black water tanks the only ones that use the disposal facility? Surely most boaters have some sort of toilet facility on-board? Why do some have to pay and some not?

Time for a reassessment of what goes down the tubes methinks and how much it costs.

Yeah sure a black water tank contains a lot more effluent but it only gets emptied infrequently, whereas a Thetford more often and an Elsan every other day or two.

Do I detect that someone isn't seeing the whole picture here. Yes I know that 'Elsan' points can't handle the volume of a pump out but there are an awful lot of 'Elsan' stations around the cut when compared to pump out units. On a cost basis the p/o may well be cheaper, so why is there a necessity to raise the cost by such a large %age when others pay no charge at all.

Or is it that pump out is to become a new cash cow!

Mayday! Mayday!

Why the powerboat industry is sinking.

There is an interesting story over at about the power boat industry in America by Daniel Gross. It seems that Brunswick who also make Billard tables etc and Ten pin bowling equipment are feeling the pinch.

Interesting remark in the last paragraph:-"Thanks to higher interest rates and concerns about employment, the types of people who would be expected to buy these luxury items aren't pulling the trigger."

That's not the NRA then!

Saturday, 22 July 2006

HSBC again!

I know this seems to be becoming a bit of a slap-a-saudi Blog, but it's really is not my fault, they give you so much ammunition.

HSBC are the parent bank to SABB (Saudi Arabian British Bank) although SABB would say otherwise, I think the logo gives it away, don't you?

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All this month I have been trying to move a few dollars over to my USD account in Jersey. For some strange reason my money isn't mine, inasmuch as, if I want to shift it I must effectively ask permission. This really makes a mockery of the internet banking system because you have to go to the bank to register where you want to send money. Now you see what I mean about ammunition.

Well I already have two banks registered with SABB, HSBC Jersey GBP and First Direct GBP. So given that I am not going to make a special visit to the nearest branch to set up my dollar account (the bank charges here are high enough already with out adding taxi fare) I decided to use one that I have already registered (the exchange rate is not favourable but I will take the hit). Even though that account is, according to the web site, set at a transfer value far in excess of the money I wish to transfer still I get the message "International Transfer rate set to zero call......."

Added to that all the replies I have received whilst trying to get this sorted have been deleted from my account. This might have something to do with the fact that I mentioned in my last message to them that I would be complaining to the Saudi Banking Authority and to HSBC HQ. Even the banks are a law unto themselves!

Well yes, I suppose I could have my salary sent straight to Jersey, though this is not really an option. I used to do that, but the company pay us late every month, 2-3 weeks. Having my salary paid into a Jersey account the cheque is sent from America??????? Not only does this take a further 3 weeks to appear in my account it costs $30 to do so.

I suspect, though I couldn't swear to it, that my lawyer is holding my assets in my account so I don't leave the country without paying him (itself a bit of a waste of effort coz I can't bloody leave!) How so you may well ask? Saudi law is non existent. In the west they would have to get a court order to do such a thing, here you just have to know the right people and be a Saudi of course.

Saudi Law is what the judge decides it will be on the day. There is no precedence. It is purely arbitrary. If he didn't get laid last night you lose. If you are not a Saudi it's a hard fight. A Saudi and a Pakistani both charged with the same offence will receive vastly differing sentences even if all the circumstances are the same. A non-Saudi is not allowed to bring a non-Saudi witness to testify against a Saudi. The fact that Saudis commit a large number of crimes against non-Saudis might have something to do with this. It's called looking after your own, something that we in the west have allowed to fall by the wayside.

Note if you change the '03' to '01' '02' '04' '05 ' '06' '07' '08' '09' '10' you will be gobsmacked.

So even though, in my case, there are two hundred co workers here that could tell the court the same story of contractual abuse and incompetence as I will, I cannot call one of them. It is corrupt and racist and the norm, but just watch the bastards scream if they should be treated the same way in the UK.

And still I can't move MY funds out of Saudi.


Bored now!

Well it's getting on towards the end of July. I am still no nearer a conclusion to my illegal detainment in Saudi Arabia. Today I wrote a letter to the head office highlighting that they didn't reply to my last letter and asking if they would make me an offer that I can live with so I can GTF out of this place. Who knows maybe someone will give them a kindness pill, but I doubt it.

The longer this goes on the more I hate these people and this country. I have never in my life been any where that has such total disregard for the Law, National, International or Sharia or for that matter personal liberty.

Were it up to me I would shoot the lot of them, but it isn't, so I will just have to continue in my boredom in the knowledge that there will be no virgins for them in heaven.


Thursday, 20 July 2006


.....back at the boatyard the Milly M has a problem. My ingeneous wine rack/step will not fit as I designed it. What a p*ss*r! It was to go between two cupboards under the side hatch. However the cooker seems to be far wider than I had planned, consequently the walk through space is now seriously depleted. The wine rack has to go and probably the end cupboard too. Doh!

I did spend a lot of time drawing that rack because it was to include a 'dummy bottle' to act as a step up to aid escape out of the side hatch.

Click for larger image

Gary thinks we can sort it out when I get back, but that wont happen unless he wants a fitter to follow me around the country while he does it, coz I am gonna be travelling just as soon as I can when I finally get back to blighty. We are now 7 weeks past the due date and 2 weeks past the revised due date. I probably wont be back till the end of August which is yet another 6 weeks. It will be finsihed!

Oh thank goodness!

I've had this piece knocking about for a while now. I was loathe to put it here for fear of being the only one who can't get his head around the concept of Canal History, but it would seem that I am not alone.
I'm sorry to say, and I know there are those who will pillory me for saying this, but what is it about 'President' that gets people so worked up. It's a working boat from a bygone era. So what?

It's not like it was in original condition. The cabin is new it has had a number of engines, and it is well over plated. It may look like an old working boat but there isn't much left of the original. Why do people go ga-ga when ever it appears?

I like the fact that it has a 3 inch elm bottom and I would be interested to find out how that was done, but it's not like I am ever going to see it. It's a boat fer chrissake.

I am fully aware that if it wasn't for the history we probably wouldn't have canals today, but right now we do have them and it shouldn't be necessary to continuously pay homage to that history.

There now, that has shot my bolt as a serious boater. I envisage R&J dolls with my face on and pins sticking in the head.

ote to self:- I must check the obit column to see if there have been any apoplectic shocks in the boaty world.

Tuesday, 18 July 2006

How dare they!!!!!

The towpath telegraph has been all abuzz with the latest rumour saying that the HERON boat yard is building boats again!

Photo by Gary at Ledgard Bridge

If you are thinking, "It's disgraceful!" "Shouldn't be allowed!" "How dare they!" Then you can take a chill pill and relax.

Yes the yard is building boats again but not HERON. The premises have been taken over by those stalwarts of Yorkshire boatbuilders LEDGARD BRIDGE BOATS, you know, the ones that are building my boat the Milly M.

Their current workshop, on the other side of the river and down a bit, is a little on the small side. If you have ever tuned in to the site web cam when they are craning a boat(s) into the river you will know that this is not an easy task. Even so they have still managed to turn out 123 boats from there since they took over.

The old Heron site will give them much needed extra space, and more security. The old LEDGARD site will in time be given over to much needed housing. Gary Peacock said "We will have to keep the old site on for two or three months while we move which is a bit of a pain but at the end of the day the new site is actually a lot more suitable for the job, even though the lease is far more expensive".

(I spot a price increase coming)

Smart move Gary, but the old signage has to go before you get tarred with the same blacking brush as the previous encumbents.

Monday, 17 July 2006

Bill Gates

Sometimes you know what you are about to do on your PC is wrong. Despite that Bill Gates team insist you do it. Like up grading to Live messenger. The Beta version was great, but then one day I got a message box asking me 'if' I wanted to upgrade. I said 'NO'. That was that no messenger.

The next time I was asked I said 'YES' and duly uploaded the newer version. Big Mistake. I now have no contacts in my contact list. And whose fault is that, not mine. If I open the old Windows Messenger v.4 all my contacts are still there.

So why is it that MSN insist that you have the new version? I have no idea! How does one fix this problem? I have no idea! I have many times raised points about software on my PC with the manufactures and they always start from the "It must be your computer" stance? Why is this? I have no idea.

So why haven't I been intouch with MSN? Well I get a bit pissed off being told that I don't know what I am doing by some bimbo who is reading her instructions from a card. Probably because I am a newby you might say. But I have been into computers for 15 years. I have worked in a computer servicing department in the RAF. And I have worked on a help desk, albeit some while ago. I do have some idea.

It's all down to the software companies not putting a properly finished package on the market. Yes, I had the Beta version and that worked fine. What ever they did to improve it they screwed up. Ho hum! Back to Windows Messenger version 4.

Oh before I finish, it takes 10 minutes to load Live Messenger and only thirty 30 seconds to load Yahoo Messenger. Why is this? I certainly have no idea!

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Positive action

The more I think about it the more sorry I feel for the people who have lost out due to the LEES & HERON fiasco. I can't possibly feel the same sense of desolation that they are feeling, but I do know what it is to be screwed. It has been 12 weeks since I last had any formal contact with my company. Here I sit just wishing my life away, waiting. I have been 'abandoned' by the British Embassy who say they can do nothing unless I sign away my claim to DIFA, but then I would get not even the $8000+ that they offered.

I have always hated contracts. Oh they can be very useful, but if it all goes down the chute then you have to resort to the courts to get restitution. In the case of the LEES/HERON people that is more expense on top of the pain they are already suffering.

They like me could end up with just a large lawyers bill, and why? Because the systems that are in place to protect us do not work. For all the financial input of taxpayers money in making laws there is very little output.

Its about time we put our foot down and said "No More". The government is ours, elected by us to look after us. It seems to me their first priority is to make our lives better not line their own pockets.

Every one, not just boaters should make their presence felt by their MP. They need to know just what you (we) expect from them. Remind them that they have a cushy job because you (we) pay their salary and expenses. Remind them that we work 40+ hours to pay the taxes that they waste, and if nothing else they should be busting their butts to look out for the people that pay them. It's no good spending our money making laws if good people get shafted.

I wonder how many of you have ever been to your MP's local office and questioned his stance on your favourite issue. Not many I bet, yet it is your right, nay duty, to let these clowns know that you are on their case. Your MP is usually at his office once a month when you can get to see him. He probably gets to see maybe 20 people while he is there maybe a few more. He says all the right things and disappears off back to Westminster.

Imagine what would happen if he arrived to a thousand faces every time he showed up. Apart from the shock, it would be a good reminder to him that he is a public servant and as such has a responsibility to his constituents. Then maybe, just maybe, he will start working for you as opposed to working for himself.

Yeah I know it'sa pipe dream, isn't it?


....things are too good to delete from your inbox.

Friday, 14 July 2006

Granny is Probably Right

Andrew Denny of Granny Buttons is more than likely right in what he says about the regulation of builders, but try telling someone who has just lost £60, £70, £80 thousand and his house into the bargain, that there are laws in place to protect him and he will simply shed more tears in his beer, after he has planted one squarely on your nose (no not your nose Andrew). LEES narrowboats may have bought one of the most respectable of boatbuilding names, Kevin Wadsworth's Warble but that is no comfort if you have just lost everything.

There are two things you do not screw around with when it comes to keeping Jo Public happy, his money and his dreams. In life these are all he really has that he can call his own. One earned by the sweat of his brow and the other he has because he needs to focus on why he is sweating, albeit his house, his car or his narrow boat.

If these law are in place and if they had any balls then there wouldn't be any prospective boat owners now left with nothing. Obviously no one has checked LEES books for some time and it is doubtful they checked HERON's books either or these collapses would never have happened. Agreed the buyers could have done more homework, but that is easy to say in hind sight.

With the collapses in the industry this year alone it is obvious that it is incapable of regulating itself. I could just as easy be one of the losers in this debacle. I had to pass Heron boats on my way to Ledgard. Had I stopped there, they may have turned my head and I wouldn't now have to worry about getting out of this place.

The collapse of a boatyard is not an instant thing. It is a long term mis-management of finances and resources. Of course for the buyer it is an instant thing. Today they visit their boat to see the progress and make the next payment, tomorrow nothing, all gone in the blink of an eye. They may spend the next 10-15 years trying to get back to square one. Not to mention the effect on their health both mental and physical.

People just don't deserve to be treated like this. When you consider all the lame brain ideas the government have for interfering in our lives why have they not considered this as a worthy cause. Could it be that MP's Ministers etc don't do the boaty thing. I can't help but wonder if they lost a few squillion in champagne deals if they would fix that one quickly or just put it down to experience.


Sitting here in the crappiest place it has ever been my misfortune to be. I often write with my anger and not with my head. Occasionally I get things wrong. Partly due to the position I find myself in and partly because of the speed of my connection. It can take 5-10 mins to load a page, hence any research I do is often sketchy.

HIXON BOATS have not as I appeared to say earlier gone bust. They are indeed still a working boatyard. My confusion came about due to a recent report of their losing a court case over shoddy workmanship. However this also comes down to bad management.

A thousand apologies to HIXON for my misrepresentation of the facts.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Another one bites the dust

So yet another builder bites the dust. LEES Narrowboats went into liquidation this week. Many good people have lost an awful lot of money and why? Because financially unqualified people set them selves up as builders and fail to run a proper business.

Business is very demanding. It is not something that you can take a half assed try at. It requires all of your attention and all of your wits to be a success. It makes no difference if you are a superb builder it's the project planning and the financial management that will make or break you. It would seem that LEES along with HERON & EDITOthers were sadly lacking in the important stuff.

So where to from here. I think there has to be a licencing of builders, all their business plans need to be audited before they set up business and regularly thereafter. A prospective purchaser needs to see a solicitor to look over the contract and they need to employ a surveyor to oversee the build. Every time money changes hands there should be a corresponding certificate of ownership of that work which has been completed. Not just a scrap of paper knocked up in the workshop, but a duly notarised document. Nobody should be expected to stump up £60,000 without proper legal protection. Obviously the boat building industry cannot regulate itself so it's time for the Government to step in.

The idea of a limited company law that protects the builders home while he has incompetently lost the homes of many is a situation that has to be stopped. The industry has had a lot of knocks of late. And action is required to stop the rot.

All builds should have to be insured against loss by the builder. Proven before the contract is signed. This should help to tidy up the business that has failed to sort out itself. Financial management of each project(boat) could be carried out by the insurance companies.

A public auditor should be able to enter a premises to check the books without notice. At least one member of the management team should hold certificates to prove his competence to manage the finances of the enterprise.

If necessary an external financial organisation should be set up to manage deposits and stage payments. No money to change hands until legal ownership of the stage is confirmed. This would include proper transfer of ownership papers for the hull to the buyer and not to the builder. There is no justifiable reason for the builder to own a hull that he didn't build. If it is his build there is no reason for him to keep ownership after he has finished building it.

Until such devices, or similar, are in place no one should be allowed to set up as a builder.
Anyone got any more ideas?

My day

I had a lazy day today. I awoke at 10 showered, did brekkers then pulled pins. The sun not as hot as yesterday, the water clear. Having moored just past a lock last night there would be several miles of nice straight canal before I would have to open another.

Cruising is therapeutic, the steady throb of the engine mildly hypnotic. Almost drifting along High Bank Top I watched a friendly otter who seemed very interested in me and my boat.

I have never seen so many Kingfishers darting in and out of the dappled shade.

There can be few more pleasurable delights than slowly ambling along a still canal. Observing all around as part of your own private world.

"Knock! Knock! Hey are you up?"


"Well about time you were"

"P*ss Off"

Bloody Americans. They have no respect for other peoples dreams.

Red Diesel

It seems to me that if the Eberspacher has problems running on Red diesel then other equipment may also suffer the same or similar. Given that I also have a BARRUS Shire 45 fitted this could be of concern to me. So I asked a few questions over at BARRUS.

I have just had a new Shire 45 fitted in my boat. There has been a lot of bad press about heating units not running on what we call red diesel.

What is the latest information on running diesel engines on 'red'?

Is there a a need to set the engine up differently to run on red diesel?

Will running on red alter the frequency of the servicing interval?

Anything else I need to know about running a new engine on 'red'?

I got a prompt reply from Peter Taylor at BARRUS

Dear Sir

The Shire 45 engine will run on red diesel without any modification. It will not effect performance or servicing intervals. Depending on fuel quality you may find that a fuel additive will help.

Peter Taylor Customer Service Manager E P Barrus Limited

Good answer, not too sure how one is to determine fuel quality but good answer nonetheless, to which I had to reply

Hello Peter

Thank you for your speedy reply. One more question. Pre Low sulphur diesel there was just road diesel. Red dye was added to it for agricultural/Leisure. Is there any evidence that this fuel has changed since those days that you are aware of?

Peter came back with

Dear Sir

I do not think there have been any changes.

Peter Taylor Customer Service Manager E P Barrus Limited

I do so like straight talking, no bullshit people.
PS If you have any Shire engine the maintenance and part books can be down loaded HERE

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

The immovable object

When you meet an immovable object there is nothing that you can do to make it move, otherwise it wouldn't be called 'immovable'.

I have met one such object. It doesn't matter that there is no legal reason for me not to have a visa to get out of Saudi Arabia the company wont give me one. I paid for that visa even though it is their responsibility to provide it for me, and still I have no visa.

The law is on my side, but the law here is a farce. The only communication I have had with the company in 10 weeks was a threat that they would make this last a year if I proceeded with legal action. Given that this should have taken 2 weeks and it is now nearly three months since I went to a lawyer I can believe that they were being truthful about that, which is surprising because they have so far lied to me every step of the way.

I could appeal to their better nature, but these bastards don't have one.

So now it is time to fire the big guns. I have written to the embassy today highlighting my problem again. I have also copied that email to all the major news media and papers.

If you feel like you need to do something you could try writing to your MP/ the Foreign Office /the office of the deputy Prime minister and the papers or anyone else that you think might feel inclined to help. Email me and I will give you the outline of my story so far.

My email is HERE

Addendum This week the 7th member of staff died since the company stopped paying for Medical Insurance a year ago.

DUMMY or what?

I can't help wondering if my email addy is I get several of these a week. I cannot believe that I am expected to fall for this crap. This one a really taking the p*ss. Normally there is a long preamble before they get to the money. This guy is obviously trying to increase his productivity by reducing the time taken to convince me to buy in to his pathetic scheme.

Saya ada alamat e-mel baru!
Sekarang anda boleh kirimkan saya e-mel di:


Funny I always thought SOLICITING was against the law. I may be a bit naive but one thing I do know is Harris is no honourable man. He is part of a group of ruthless murdering criminals who would sell their own Grandmother if it would turn a buck.

Surprising as it is people do get taken in by these fraudsters. I think I read to the tune of $4 billion a year. Their stories of poverty and hardship are totally fallacious. They are judged in their community by the scams they make and the cars they drive.

Often the return email is a from Russia or some really stupid email that anyone with $45 million to dispose of would not be seen dead with. Many of these come from Nigeria which is the scam capital of the world but also come from Britain, America, China, Korea, South America etc etc etc. Just make a list of every country you know and you will have missed several.

No matter what the sob story leave them alone. Don't do as I did with the BANK OF NIGERIA a few weeks ago and take the piss they have very long arms. People do actually get robbed and murdered trying to get their hands on the millions. The Golden Rule is "If it looks to good to be true it is"

PS If she is a honey then she is going to take you for a lot. Be Safe On Line

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Eberspachers again

You can find the questions referred to here

Dear Sir

Many thanks for your response to my earlier email. I must ask further questions ref Hydronic 10 units.

Your answer No1 below would seem to say that since the advent of low sulphur Derv that 'red diesel' has somehow changed. According to Shell & BP all diesel was the same the only thing that changed is the Derv. 'Red diesel is the same now as it always was.

I find your answer to question 3 to be somewhat lacking in caring for your customers. Red diesel is the only readily available fuel on the canals. You are selling your product to canal boaters and yet you can only answer 'as far as we are aware'. I am sorry but shouldn't you be able to say 100%.

Surely if the Hydronic 10 units were designed and marketed before the advent of low sulphur Derv then the fault lies not with the fuel but the design.

If that is the case would your company be prepared to amend its advertising to highlight the problems of running a Hydronic 10 for long periods of time on 'red diesel', (lets stop calling it red and call it normal). And amend the tech data ref servicing intervals.

What ever the case, given that red diesel is the only readily available fuel on the canal system, the Hydronic 10 is not really suitable for use on a narrow boat even as a holiday home( holidays can take place at any time of the year and in the colder seasons the units will be running all the time).

I know it is possible to use it purely as a back up unit, utilising the solid fuel stove as the main source of heat, but I would doubt that there are any backup systems at this level of technology that cost more than the main.

Many live aboard boaters are on fixed income and the continuous use of additives and bi-annual servicing are well beyond the scope of most. Yes it is a choice that people make but they must be allowed to have access to all necessary technical data if they are to make an informed decision. At present that data is being withheld.

Answer 6. 'Bi-annually for a live aboard' is not really a good enough parameter. How many hours of running on red diesel before a service is required?

If the igniter pin is susceptible to spikes shouldn't it be the job of the manufacturer to build in protection? However good a power supply system is spikes do occur.

Many thanks for the time you are taking in replying to my emails.



No answer yet.

Monday, 10 July 2006

Mr Angry

I think I have every right to be angry with all the unnecessary garbage I am getting from here. To say it is frustrating is an understatement. If stressing people out was an Olympic sport these people would have all the gold medals. All I want is to be treated fairly by another member of the WTO. Given that that is not happening I have to wonder what stupid moron let them in to the WTO in the first place. Why?

But as if I don't have enough problems the banks are now screwing me around. HSBC to be exact. I have accounts in Jersey and one account in Saudi. The Saudi bank are a bunch of incompetent fools who cannot understand simple requests. Twice now they have told me I can transfer out of the country and twice the internet system has refused to let me. This is totally in keeping with the third world mentality of the whole country and I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised.

What does surprise me is the Jersey branch of HSBC are playing just as stupid. I called them one day last year because I was trying to pay for my eyes at the clinic and the terminal kept voiding my request. They said they had been watching my account because three times it had clocked up $245 in as many minutes. OK so we decided that they would cancel those 'swipes' and I would pay when I got to the hospital. Needless to say two of those swipes did come out of my account and now 16 months later I am still trying to get it back.

I faxed them hard copies of my bank statement and a copy of an email which their own Fraud department sent to me, which they duly lost, and nothing has been done. I am still a total of $490 out of pocket and all I get is "Sorry we lost it, can you resend". Well HSBC it's just not bloody good enough. I feel sure if it was an over payment into my account you would have had it back in a jiffy. You released funds from my account which we agreed you shouldn't. All you have to do is reimburse me and I will be happy. Get your act together! and don't forget the lost interest. HSBC more like AHIL (all hope is lost).

It seems my life is surrounded by incompetence, I don't deserve this.

Sunday, 9 July 2006

The Jericho Saga cont.....

With the eviction of the illegal incumbents from the Castle Mill boat yard one would have thought that, that would be the end of it. Nah! Now a controversy rages over the security fence around the site.

Yeah Ok it is big and yeah the razor wire does look a bit dodgy but how else are BW going to keep out those who would return in an instant given the opportunity. Local schools are being asked to suggest pictures to paint on the hoarding to brighten it up; needless to say they are to my knowledge not interested. Which is a shame, because that teaches the kids that the man with the law on his side is wrong.

What does surprise me is that the site will remain in this state for about three years. Not a spade will be turned, no clearance will take place and more especially no brick will be laid.

This will be a great shame because I seem to remember the argument being based around the urgent need for housing in the area. Added to that there are enough eyesores on the canals as it is with out putting them up semi permanently.

I trust that at this time BW still own it, I most certainly hope so because in 3 years time it will be worth a lot more than £4 million and God knows BW needs every penny it can lay its hands on.

I am a bit ticked off about what is now being said on the Castle Mill site. Mis-information is not going to win them any friends. Author Philip Pullman said in the Guardian newspaper, 1st June:-

"British Waterways have clearly been planning the eviction even as they negotiated with boat owners over a replacement yard. They are greedy, shifty and dishonest and cannot open their mouths without lying. This eviction is a needless setback. They seem desperate to sell the yard without planning permission."

What did they expect? The eviction notice was granted before Christmas and BW said that they would allow them to stay until after the festive holiday. They were moved off in May. The Castle Mill site now contains alot of overly emotive statements, unnecessary slurs on the BW Managment and a lot of anger. All in all it's turned into a bit of a one sided bunfight. I can't help feeling that some people just don't know when they are beat.

Lament the passing of this boatyard by all means but it's over! Time to move on.

A couple of things


Health and Safety rules say a recently uprated footpath in Yorkshire isn't wide enough for both cyclists and pedestrians at some points, so the riders will have to dismount and push in places. That's no big deal, but Councillor John Halton complained:

"Because there is not enough room for both cyclists and walkers , cyclists are being told they cannot ride on the path designed for them. It is a complete farce."

Now look, Councillor, I am not going to make you look stupid, you are doing that well enough on your own, but obviously someone has to tug on your reins. What you fail to understand is, is that the path has been uprated to allow cyclists to use it with safety. OOPS! EDIT It is not a God given right to ride along it, walk along it, and if you have to get off your bike for some of the way so others can use it in safety, it really is no big deal. Now take ya head out of ya ass John and 'stop' wingeing! Life is to short to spend it being a twat.


Discussing unlicensed boats Sheila Shaw, British Waterways patrol officer said, following the removal of several offending boats:

"This is a really positive step in continuing the progress we have already made in making sure all boats are licensed. It’s important that everyone who keeps a boat on our waterways pays their way to help continue to maintain them for the benefit of all".

Yes it is important we boaters (sic) pay our way, but the canal system is a National Treasure it is the governments job to ensure it survives for all to enjoy, not the boaters. It is the perseverance of canal enthusiasts and organisations that have prevented the canals from being paved over, it is the boaters that help to keep them open to navigation rather than lay just muddy ditches. When people say, "Ah but, the taxpayers put up most of the money" all I can say is boaters are tax payers to.

A percentage of every body's tax goes towards the canals, but lets not forget that as well as their percentage a boater pays on average £600/£700 pa just to float on the water.

Our canal and river system could, if funded and managed properly by HM Gov, cure our water shortage problems. Surely boaters are not to be held responsible for that!

Friday, 7 July 2006

Maybe Next Week

Last Wednesday I applied to the company for an exit/re-entry visa. This should be able to get me home to deal with dental, medical and boat type things. I can then come back at the end of August in time for the court case.

This does have a drawback. The company might, while I am out of the country, cancel my re-entry visa. This is a risk I will have to take. I think they will almost certainly try it because I have a good case and it will cost them a small fortune if I return.

However that said I really don’t want to spend longer here than I have to. The longer I stay the more I hate it and its people.

Today I went, as I normally do, to the compound restaurant. The thing about these people is that they rarely wash their hands after the toilet. Cleaning ones self is paramount to Islam. The problem is the Islamic way is to use only water and the left hand. Water is all purifying.

This may have been OK in the days when tribes roamed the desert it makes sense, but today it is really unacceptable. No, I will say that again, it is downright disgusting. Mainly because, they use their right hand to dry off their left hand.

Needless to say within 30 minutes of leaving the restaurant I had to dash to the toilet twice in quick succession. This is not a rare occurrence it happens to me 2/3 times a week. On one occasion I had not left the table before I had to excuse myself This is another good reason to leave this land behind.

Anyway, if I am lucky, I will get the said visa in time to book my seat on the early Thursday flight. Of course the reverse is true, the company, who have no respect for any one that isn't a Saudi, may elect not to get the visa just to f*** me up. Which is really petty, especially as I had to pay for it in advance. It is their legal responsibility to issue me with, and pay for visas. They never get you a visa unless you pay upfront.

Anyone out there thinking of working in Saudi I have one piece of advice DON'T they will Fuq-u-up.

Thursday, 6 July 2006

Some days are OK

Sometimes despite all that is going on, this place is OK. Where in England do you get to see sights like this.

Family pool
Ripe for picking
Temp today is about 110f.

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Across the world

Since starting this blog I have kept a record of where it is viewed. Quite surprising really that in some countries with all their troubles people have the time to stop by.

Albania // Algeria // Argentina // Argentina // Australia // Austria // Belgium // Bermuda // Brazil // Canada // Chile // China // Cote D'Ivoire // Croatia // Czech Rep // Denmark // Ecuador // Egypt // England // Estonia // Finland // France // Germany // Greece // Guatemala // Hong Kong // Hungary // Iceland // India // Indonesia // Iran // Ireland // Israel // Italy // Japan // Jordan // Kenya // Kuwait // Lebanon // Lithuania // Luxemborg // Malaysia // Maritus // Mauritania // Mexico // Netherlands // New Zealand // Nigeria // Northern Ireland // Norway // Oman // Philipines // Poland // Portugal // Romania // Saudi Arabia // Scotland // Singapore // South Africa // Spain // Sweden // Switzerland // Taiwan // Thailand // Togo // Turkey // UAE // United Arab Emirates // United States // Uruguay // Venezuela // Vietnam // Wales

Tuesday, 4 July 2006

On a lighter note

In the email today I received a mail from the



Yeah I know don't touch it with a barge pole
But I must it's in my nature. So I just had to reply

I have been asked by a contact in the Central Bank of Nigeria to email you with my address details so you can send me a large case of money.

Now being a bit wary of anyone who wants to give me a large case of money, I did some checking.

I might not be the sharpest tool in the box but I know a scam when I see one.

If you are going to do this in future try and be a bit more professional about it.

Get a credible e-mail address! Not an address from a gaming site

You are so Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb

If by some chance you are genuine which I doubt you can send the large case of money to:-

Maffi Mushkila
Ranco Village
Saudi Arabia
Have a nice day

Monday, 3 July 2006

Fruit Loop Latest

My roomie just came to my room with the compound security guards. He is saying that me and 'someone else' is accessing his computer. I have no interest in his pathetic life. I just want out. If I didn't know better I would say that the company has arranged this little fiasco. He needs a lot of help!

I am just not the sort of person he needs to be around right now. I wont tolerate some goon that wont ask for help when he needs it. I was offered an armed guard in the house! What kind of f***ing place is this.

And to top it all we can hear gunfire a few blocks away. At this rate I might as well put the boat up for sale, it doesn't look like I am ever likely to use it.

Oh for a peaceful life!

OK spleen vent time

Never in my life have I come across a bigger bunch of crooks. The man who I am paying to work for me in the courts has told me I can have my passport back with an exit/re-entry visa. It will cost me EDIT SR 5000=$1,333. That's on top of the EDIT SR 25,000=$6,666 fee we have already agreed. This God forsaken country is overflowing with cock sucking morons. The treatment I have received since I got here is most certainly not in keeping with the teaching of Islam or it's venerated prophet.

Saturday I was told by the British Embassy here in Riyadh that they couldn't intervene. Which begs the question what bloody good are they? Why are we paying hundreds of thousands of pounds if not millions if they can't sort out a simple passport problem. Seems to me that it's a bit a jolly for the boys with the old school tie. More socialite lepers who's use to the real world is not worth a fart.

I am being held in this country against my will against all humanitarian laws and no one gives a shit. Saturdays court case resulted in yet another delay, until August 27. That will be four months of my life stolen. Four months that I can never get back and not one of these interbred bastards will be held responsible.

I hate this place with a vengeance and right about now I hate the system that we have that does nothing.

When I leave this place I will be so overjoyed. Incompetence on this level should be subject to termination. They are no good to anyone other than themselves. And as humans they are a non starter. Come on George Bush get the nukes flying, you know it makes sense.

And as if I didn't have enough to contend with my room mate has flipped. He has the idea that I am using my PC to access his PC to screw up his life (he has had a computer surgically implanted in his chest). What a fruit loop! Get me out of here!!!!!!!!!!!!

Boaty things

I do so hate it when blogs are all text. However well you do your layout text can be so off putting with out a break. I always try to put graphics in when appropriate and some times when not so.

This is the fire surround as I designed it using pictures of tiles from a tile website. The hearth is a bit small, but the important thing is I didn't want it square. I have a habit of breaking toes on square things (three times in one year). I knew that the curve wasn't going to be easy so we settled on a compromise.

I really wanted much darker colours, RED GREEN PURPLE BLUE but darker is not in vogue this year and I couldn't find them anywhere. But I am quite happy with the way it turned out. I think they look a bit pale due to the flash, well I hope thats it anyway.

The trouble with looking at colours on the PC is all PC's are set different. I see what I like and send it to Gary. He sees it on his PC and however his PC is set, that is what he thinks I am trying to convey. Just one of the problems of trying to do this over the internet.

And a quick thank you to Marie Peacock, Mrs Gary, she chose the floor colour, I think it looks really good.

Photo from Ledgard Bridge


From the time I decided to buy a boat I have been online virtually every day. Searching information, ideas and canals. I figured going in as a complete beginner the more I knew the better. Well its been three long years and I still don't know much. If it's been put on the net about canals chances are I have read it or have a copy to read later on during cold winter nights.

Until now it has been an adventure. It is said to journey in anticipation is always better than to arrive at one's destination. I have to agree at this stage. It been a good journey. I have found a lot of interesting places along the way and 'met' a lot of jolly nice boaty people. How interesting it will be from here only time will tell.

Change comes to us all, I make a habit of changing. I do this because I like to travel and see other places. Since 1999 I have lived in 3 different countries. All to one extent or another have been enjoyable, though understandably this place has not been as nice as the other two. I shall leave here with a sour taste.

Kudos, my friends, kudos they just don’t have it. Here they have lept from the cleft stick to the mobile phone in one step. They have rapidly progressed from the camel to the motor car, so fast in fact, many still have the camel in the garage.

It is 3:30 AM and the first call to prayer has begun. This is probably why they are always so tired, never having a proper period of sleep. Yes I know they could go to bed early, but they don’t. Many will, tired as they are, drive many miles in the next few hours to get to work. Many will die in the carnage that can be Saudi traffic, they will be the lucky ones those that survive will have a tough life for the rest of their time.

There is one thing I would like to give every Saudi national if it were in my power. I would like to give them all something they don't posess. I don't know why it is but Saudis in general do not have a safety gene. I would like them to have one. This country has the worst automobile accident rate on the roads than any other nation, everyone travels fast, too damned fast. Their life on foot, so to speak, is very slow and relaxed, but put them behind the wheel of a car and they must be in front of every one. Many drivers never wear out as set of brake pads before they die.

For me, my journey is coming to an end. I have done my time here. I have survived the road to Al Kharj a thousand times or more. I have sat in a car for the equivalent of twelve weeks We have only ever hit one dog. We have been hit a few times and survived. Just as soon as I can get out of here I can start a new change.

Big Col asked me last year, "What if you get your boat and you don't like boating?"

"Not an option," I said. "I have made many life changes and always addressed them the same way. This is my free choice and I will give it my all."

Whether I will say that in the middle of winter when my diesel heater has gone tits up I don't know, ask me then.

Now will someone please get me out of here!

Sunday, 2 July 2006


So what was the result? Well the problem with that question is finding out. The court date came and the court date went.The only way I knew that the court date was yesterday (Saturday) was when I went to get my passport from DIFA HQ. The man who could authorise it was in court. No one told me even though I asked to be told. The system here is that when you hire a lawyer you sign a contract and give him power of attorney to act on your behalf. After that you get to see him only if he wants to see you. He wont answer the phone. Even though my lawyer gave me his number when I did call he hung up. It is the Saudi way.

He did try to call me yesterday but due to my visit to the British Embassy I was unable to answer the phone (Has to be left at the gate). I have tried calling him since but no answer.

I would like to tell you how I feel about all this, but unfortunately I am still here so it would be inadvisable to vent my spleen. The last thing I can afford to do at this time is upset my 'hosts'.

The long and short of it is there is a legal system here designed to protect me and ensure that the company doesn't defraud me from my just entitlements, however it is so badly worded that the company is using it to their advantage ie I cannot leave until all is settled. This is really pissing me off.

Even if I do/have won in court that doesn't mean I can come home. The company can take their time paying me 'till that is done I am a prisoner (and I do mean prisoner) in this country. I am not allowed to leave even though I am not at fault and have done nothing wrong, yet!

So if any AL Qaeda terrorist/suspect tells me his rights are being abused in the UK, after I remind him he has rights which is not the case for me, I have just two words to say to him and the second one is OFF!

Site appearance

The Blog has changed over the last few days. It is not designed to confuse anyone. I am just playing. I have only recently found out that HTML isnt that diffcult so at the moment to fill in time I am teaching myself. I really need a book there is only so much you can rip off from other places.

If anyone has any little tricks I can play with please let me know. It would be nice to be able to use the left hand side of the blog which at present is empty, and make the posting area wider. I have played with this but the corners seem to lose their position.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

Eberspachers Response

OK so I got my reply from Eberspachers reference the HYDRONIC 10 diesel fired heating unit.

It would involve a very long scroll on the width of this blog so this is a link to its location at Canal Interactive Eberspacher Heating

I am not sure about the morality of selling a heater to a narrow boater that doesn't give its best performance using heating oil, that which we are sold as diesel, and cost the soggy end of an arm and a leg to service, but to be fair, in their advertising blurb they do say for your 'holiday home boat'.

Certainly the HYDRONIC 10 is not really a suitable unit for a narrow boat if you are going to live on it full time as I am. Servicing cost alone could add up to £600 a year, fuel additives (make a guess). The only way to keep the servicing costs down is to feed it with Derv or paraffin which, at about £1 a litre for Derv, is a bloody expensive way to heat such a small space, to say nothing of the logistics of getting 80 lt's of diesel down a muddy towpath in the middle of winter.

You could, of course, use it just as a stand-by for when the stove goes out, but even then how many stand-by systems do you know that cost more than the main equipment?

What is the answer? I don't know but I am going to try and find out'

Watch this space!