Sunday, 30 December 2007

To move or not to move

I managed to blagg a mooring in Thrupp for the month while I was recovering from my eye ops. That time is now at an end, however I have since broken my hand and am not really fit enough to move my boat alone. The mooring warden has said I can stay on the mooring for another month @£25 p.w. which isn't a bad deal, but do I want to stay?

I really should get on my way the trouble is I am reluctant to move. I have become very fond of Bones this year and am wanting to stay in this area for a while but I know her parents are not happy about the possible situation we could be in, me being 23 years older than she is. The last thing I want to do is risk upsetting her parents who are good people and have been very kind and generous towards me.

Nearly thirty years ago I allowed a girls parents to influence a relationship I was in and I have deeply regretted it ever since, never waking or sleeping without seeing her in my minds eye. Leaving her was a very hard thing to do which I thought was for the best at the time, but if I could turn back the clock. . . . . . . . I am reluctant to let this happen again. What to do, that is the question. Would Doctor Bones want me to stay anyway? Prolly not, but who knows?

Oh I do get me in some pickles don't I?

Wednesday, 26 December 2007


It would seem that boating is not for me. I am thinking I should sell the boat. Being a boater is not good for my health. Whilst I have not had a cold of flu since I arrived on the boat I seem to have been inundated with injuries.

It all started when I fell off the roof on the Leeds & Liverpool late last year and tore a cartilage in my knee, that has only recently repaired itself enough to be not painfull when I walk. That has been because in since September I have hardly moved due to having tore my retina on (I think) the K&A and knocking it loose on the Oxford which required two eye ops to correct it. I have lost count of the rope burns, stove burns, cuts and bruises, and how many times have I fallen in?

Last Sunday I fell into the boat breaking a Metecarpal in my right hand which has now truly left me single-handed. DOH!

If you add to this the number of other injuries sustained by others near and dear to me I should make the Milly M a DANGER ZONE.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Behind the times

Today Wednesday I recieved an email from Narrow Boats And Canals Of Great Britian .

In a post entitled "RED now 'cos we wont be getting any after November 2008"

It opened "It has been announced that from November 2008, it will be illegal tobuy or to use RED DIESEL in privately owned narrowboats."

Now I know I am not the most upto date boater on the cut but we have known about this for nearly two years.

Later it says, "The hire boat companies are sitting pretty as usual, not only do they get a lower rate of BWW licence, but they will also still be allowed to purchase and use RED DIESEL after the November 2008 deadline for everyone else to stop using it."

Since when did the Hire companies pay a lower licence fee than private boaters? Is not a hire boat licence about £1500 as opposed to my £650ish?

It goes on to say, "It is also clear that a number of private boat fuel outlets who also serve hire companies will not have the tanking facilities to store both RED DIESEL and ordinary diesel, so we are going to find it difficult in some areas to obtain fuel at any price."

Who says so? Is it that clear? Is red diesel going to be avialable to anyone or will it be a case of claimng back the duty on white? Yes there will be problems in the beginning but the Law as it is being written is taking so long because these things all have to be addressed. I would doubt that the needs of 30/40,000 boaters will not be taken into account especially given the revenue that will be generated at the increased rate of duty.

Lastly the writer asks, "Any comments or ideas what we can do??? other than give up private boating???"

Given the out of date information and mis-information I would have thought the writer had already given up boating if not why not?

Ice Thursday again

This morning was very cold at Thrupp. Ice had formed across the whole canal attaching itself to the boat proving I think that Millly M is well insulated. Moving around the boat one could hear the ice cracking giving doubt to the security of my blacking so I went back to bed.

This boating malarkey is grand!

Tuesday, 18 December 2007


You may have noticed that the font on my blog has changed from Ariel to Times Roman. This has happened since I started the Google Ads. I don't like TR so if any one can tell me how to put it back to how it was I will be most greatful.

Addendum Hurrrraaaaahhhhh I fixed it!

Who's PC is it anyway

Sometimes I jut don't quite understand who this computer belongs to. I know I bought it sometime ago but I am absolutely sure I paid for it with my own money. So why is it that it wont do what I tell it to. When I want it to switch off I press the off button and it takes ages to shut down. I would have thought if I press the off button then that is what I want it to do and being only a dumb computer it would do as it is told, but no I get messages asking me if the non responsive program should be shut down now or later.

What part of OFF do you not understand Bill Gates! Perhaps it is because Americans dont speak English. Maybe they just dont understand that OFF means OFF, not why don't we play mind games with the dummy.
I switch my computer on and it takes an age. Then finally when the T-mobile loads I need to press connect which I do. Then and only then does it decide that 'I' should have loaded the drivers for the T-mobile and tells me that 'I' should have known that myself. What is the point of hiring a servant if you are going to do all the work.

Have you ever had that little box pop up which say illegal action you cant do that, when all you asked it to do was something that you have asked it to do a hundred times before, but today no chance.

There is nothing wrong with my computer that I am aware yet every few minutes something else decides not to work. You cant do that, not this time, Oi what do you think you are doing are some of the many 'prompts' I get during the day and to be honest I am fed up with it. If these odd quotes must appear on the screen there must be a 'PISS OFF I'M NOT INTERESTED' button to allow you to take back control of your computer. How can BG and his cohorts claim that their system is a true multi-tasking system when it has to bother you with niff-naff and trivia. How about a YOU FOUND IT YOU SORT IT button.

Bill, in as few words as possible, I paid my hard earned cash for MY computer and your software. All you have to do is make your software work for me that's what I paid for that's what I want. What I don't want is your system to tell me I CAN'T, that is defeatist and very bad programming from your company. FIX IT!

Dusty does it again.

Dusty came down the canal today with some much needed diesel. I was close to sucking air out of my tank having already transfered my central heating fuel across to the engine tank.


For the second time this week a password I have used for several years has not worked.

I am a simple character my passwords tend to be the same for most things, that way I don't have much to remember, after all it is not like I am protecting my bank details is it? Today I typed in my normal 'username and password' only to be told "do not match", so I tried leaving the mail provider off the username, again "does not match". Back to what I know it should be "email address does not exist". OK so now I hit the 'forgot password button', this is designed to make you feel that you are a dummy when in actual fact the company that own the site have changed their password policy. I seems that my 6 digit password that has been quite adequate for the last three years is now not secure enough, 8 digits are now required. FFS it's a blog who is going to steal it.

It would be so nice if they said in the beginning that the site would continuously change their password policy instead of making me feel like I was loosing my marbles.

Do these people really feel this is necessary or are they just jumping on the band waggon. My banks all being part of the HSBC chain of money grabbers have changed my access codes several times over the last 5 years. It seems now that in order to find out how much money I have in my account I have not only the 2 original 8 and 10 digit codes but I need the name of my dog, my favourite singer, my mothers maiden name and my grandfathers NI number all of which I find.......... well actually no I don't find them at all so I always spend half an hour on the phone to the customer accounts department which requires yet another set of memories before they can reset all the security info to a series of new information I will promptly forget.


Saturday, 15 December 2007

Dud's visit

Neil came on Wednesday for a short visit on his way back from a meeting in Brum. He came bearing flowers and chocies, he can come again. Last saw ND on the K&A down at the Barge Inn Seend with his faily and friends in August or was it September.
Nice to see you again Neil.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Swan (local hard boy)

This Swan has been giving me grief over the last few days. My brother Allan fed it while he was staying and Natalie fed it, as this picture shows, while she was here. Now it expects to be fed every day. If no feed is forthcoming it violently attacks the boat. Opening the side hatch to shoo him away only opens up one to attack. It will not be long before he comes in and helps himself to the larder.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Ice Thursday

This morning there was sheet ice on the canal. It only covered about halfway across the canal where I was but more later as I reversed up the cut for water and a pump out. Mort was very poorly this morning, she has a sore throat and a temperature but she came with me any way.

At the lift bridge I met the ex-commodore of the Sale Crusing Club who gratiously opened the bridge as he told me he had read my blog the night before. I keep forgetting to get peoples names, silly me! A lot of the people that do normaly talk to me on the cut read the blog so I don't really need to intro though most times I do try to it depends if I am busy on the tiller or not.

Mike the Mooring Warden came to chat. This is the second time he has spoken to me, I dont have a problem with that, but it would be nice if he introduced himself first. I hate talking to nameless folk whatever their job. Mike could have been the local murderer for all I know, had it not been for Mort telling me who he was I never would have known.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

I am a dumbass

Somethings are so delicate. We have to take care to look after our treasures. If we take our eye off the treasures that we hold most dear we will break them. Last week I managed to break two hearts because I relaxed into my comfort zone and allowed a special person to feel unsafe when she needed me most. Now the only thing I have to take care of is, what to do for Christmas on my own? Am I a dumbass or what?

Sorry Puddless XXXXXXXXXX

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

It was my birthday

With all the side issues associated with my dear friend Mort getting a bang on the head Monday last week I forgot to write about about my family lunch the day before my birthday. It was all Morts doing she was speaking to some of my young 'uns on MSN Messenger and got them all to come by on the Sunday.

Kim and Jim, Kirsty (my oldest) and her youngest daughter Natalie, my lad Toby all turned up for lunch at the Jolly Boatman. My brother Allan was already here. And Mort completed the group (well I couldn't not ask her she did all the work).

First near all family lunch I have had in a long time.

After lunch we repared to the boat where Natalie fed the Swan at the side hatch.

Not much to write really but I sadly have forgotten most of it worrying about my friends head.

Monday, 10 December 2007


I have had a few emails back and fourth from John nb Lee Swallow but never realised that he had a blog. His blog is called Halfie though new to blogging (NOV) he has been boating for some time.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Me and Big G

We, Mort and I, spent a few days at her family home in Cambridge. Mort spent the time resting following her crack on the head [she is on the mend but it may take a little time].

Friday I dug the vegetable patch. Having not had much exercise of late it was a much needed interlude. Morts dad has some trouble digging such a large patch so me and sister E's husband B did the rest of the digging on Saturday that I had not managed on Friday. By the time J and E arrived on Saturday the job was done.

Mr and Mrs A, being the good people they are, showed me nothing but good manners and good hospitality despite the fact that they doubt the sincerity of my friendship with their daughter.

Sunday we went to church. While there a man who I did not know told me I was a sinner. Where he got that from I will never know, unless he had been tipped the wink from on high. Silly me there was I thinking that JC died for my sins so I didn't have to, yet this stranger stuck the knife in and twisted it. I try, I am not perfect but I try. I would never knowingly do someone wrong and always try to help people if I can. So how come he thinks I am a sinner?

I think the answer is because I don't at this time choose to worship the God of his choice. As I see it I didn't ask to be born into this world yet I am expected to worship God. I can understand some have a personal need and I wouldn't poo poo them for that, but what I don't understand is 'What kind of god want us to worship him constantly?

My thinking, at this time, is he must be very vain. Why create something as complex as man just to have him spend his days worshiping him. Surely he has better things to do with his time than to constantly watch what 6 billion people are doing with their lives. Would it not be better to issue every one with a set of rules, on a sim card, at the time of their birth and it could zap them every time they break a rule, sorted.

I think I need God in my life, but as yet no one has given me the real reason in a manner I can understand. I did do the "I love God thing", not that long ago as it happens, and probably still would if only I could stop this thought I have that religion, all religion, is a controlling organisation to suppress the masses.

Thursday, 6 December 2007


This is a Christmas tree.

It is not a Hanukkah bush,

it is not an Allah plant,

it is not a Holiday hedge.

It is a Christmas tree.

Say it... CHRISTmas, CHRISTmas, CHRISTmas

Yes. CHRISTmas - celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ!!!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007


My birthday celebrations culminated with a bang. Fortunately for me it wasn't me that got the bang but Mort. While she was trying to turn the engine off I pushed the slide back to get on the boat not knowing she was there. Her head was in the line of travel of the slide and the inevitable happened. Had it bee me I would have been in tears, these things really hurt. Bones however, though in some pain, kept the tears at bay.

She was a bit dopey that night and the next day so I took her to the hospital where they were concerned enough to give her a CT scan. All proved OK and we were allowed home.

TLC is flowing by the bucketful and Mort is resting. Today she seems a bit more like her old self, which is good.

Saturday, 1 December 2007


So I have a visitor for a few days. My brother Allan came down this way. He arrived Thursday night and will leave whenever. He learned a valuable lesson about the silent footfall and now has long sticks planted down the towpath beside all the p(sh)itfalls. Ho ho ho.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Lost and found

If you have ever lost a credit or debit card you will know how I felt on Tuesday when I went to the bank in Kidlington, to top up on readies, and couldnt find my debit card.

Fortunately I remembered where I had last used it, just that morning in Oxford, and found a telephone number on the reciept. Following a hurried call I was somewhat relieved that it was found there at W H Smiths. The supervisor said I could collect it the next day ......... providing I had identification. Fair enough it shows the company are concious of the need to check such things.

So why did I feel uncomfortable having to prove to a perfect stranger who I was to get back something that belonged to me. Maybe it was the god awful picture on my passport which I will not show here

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

A jolly good chap

I left my laptop on Morts boat last night. Doh! I went off to fetch it after I returned from Oxford. On my return I could see someone standing on the stern deck of my boat. GRRRRRRR!

As I got closer I saw three guys, two on the bank, and Dusty on the deck. I had ordered coal and fuel from to be delivered last weekend. Though he did show, because of the level of the River Cherwell he only came down with half a load and so did not have enough cargo to sort me out.

But nonetheless there he was this morning, having come down in his car, with jerry cans and three bags of coal to tide me over till he could get down again. Service like this you don't get every day. Dusty is truly a jolly good chap.

Many thanks Dusty

Oh surprise!

Have you noticed that Mort has not mentioned her position in the Hitsunlimited site since I overtook her? Surprising that init?
However, its her birthday today so best not upset her.


Monday, 26 November 2007

Towpath Safety (rewrite)

You could be forgiven for thinking that I was going to post the same as Mortimer Bones, but you would be wrong. In fact when I say Towpath safety I am talking Health and Safety.

I am currently moored on a 14 day between Gunpowder Wharf and Langford Lane Bridge. The towpath here is absolutely abysmal. Near the wharf the concrete curbing is falling into the water and the towpath, such as it is, is collapsing with it. Further down the towpath is almost non existent and here, where I am, the path is very narrow. The other side of the wharf the edge is so shallow that a plank is mandatory to get on and off your boat.

Unsuspecting travellers along this path risk not only twisted ankles, scrapes etc but also the possibility of ending up in the canal.

One thing that surprises me is that BW recently, Monday last week, asked one non paying boater to move off one of the permanent moorings because they want to put it up for tender. If they should be successful in shifting him, and he is very reluctant to go, they will then rent the mooring, to some sad sap, knowing that the towpath is unsafe. Given their promise to ensure that towpaths are safe I wonder how much of our hard earned cash they will spend fighting a court action should the new tenant have an accident and sue.

This mooring is, if you have followed the Gunpowder Wharf story elsewhere, one that should have been given to the next on the list before they closed it. And the boater on it at the mo is the man that was at the top of the list.

Note:-This mooring was up for tender while ago, but taken off the list until this situation is resolved. Well that's easy to fix. Give the man a mooring which he was promised some time ago and which he waited for not knowing that there would be underhanded dealings from BW.

The silent footfall

I don't have a dog, as much as I would like one, simply because I recognise that I would not be a good dog owner. They need commitment and that, as far as dogs are concerned, I don't have. It still nevertheless amazes me that dogs are allowed to crap on tow paths and around locks where you need to be.

Today, however, I met a new piece of discusting detritus just under the bridge, HUMAN EXCREMENT.

OK people get caught short, but please get rid of it. There were plenty of places to do that within yards.

Blooming Liberty

This morning I set of to the water point just past the bridge. 150 yards max. I spent about an hour getting water and had a cuppa with Wendy (Moggyjo-on CWF). Only going that short distance I left the mooring pin in the ground, well nobody's going to take it are they?

Oh yes they did!

The bloody nerve of some people.

Sunday, 25 November 2007


I found myself in London last night visiting my mother who I haven't seen for some months. Mort was going to dinner in Surrey and offered me a lift so I took the opportunity while it was on offer.

As we sat in the living room drinking a cuppa I explained to Mort that I was born in that very room those so many years ago. It is quite sureal going back these days.

Mort left about 5 and will pick me up at lunchtime today and head off back to the boat.

Mum was well for an octogenarian.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Naughty Boys

To secure the rear hatch I have an ABUS combination lock. I know from the time one failed that they are hard to break and need cutting with an angle grinder to remove.

Being a combination lock not only means it will secure the boat, but it allows you to lock the boat and set a number so you know if it has been tampered with.

This morning I returned to the boat and the number I set before I left was changed. So some naughty boys had tried to get in to the boat while I was away.

Today I will have to report this to the police, not that they will be able do anything, but I think they should be told.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Wise Alderman

A 300 year old pub that predates the canals by 100 years. Although canalside it is the garden that lays along the canal the pub is on the main Banbury Road between Langford Lane Bridge and the rail bridge.

The pub name commemorates the local councillor who attempted to get Kidlington (largest village in Britain) converted into a town, and failed. I find this surprising because Mirfeild in West Yorkshire claim to be the largest village in Europe.

The long bar is has oak beams on the ceiling though not the lowest I have seen. Often pubs of this age retain their 'olde worlde' bar tops and shelving but not here which tends to detract from the feel of the place. The furniture is quaint but not old.

There is food available in the bar and in the dinning room. It is not a 'gastro pub' which is good. The menu is simple and is served at lunchtime and evening.

A large flat screen TV adorns the wall opposite the bar but it would be better placed at the end of the bar room so more customers could see it in comfort. Landlady Anne Croft says it is a rugby pub but being there is no rugby on today punters were watching England get done over by the Croatians.

Ann has held the licence for 21/2 years. Being a local lass she has known the pub a long time and can remember 5 of the previous incumbents.

There are various nik-naks around the bar including a large brass bell with TITANIC on the name plate, obviously not original. Strange choice for a canal pub.

Unusually the staff here are all locals not an Aussie or Eastern European accent among them although Ann claims to have dual nationality, Brit/Aus. Tonight's staff were Liane (cute) and her cousin Kirsty.

Quite a large Alsatian pokes his nose over the bar top from time to time. I'm not quite sure that is legal but I wasn't going to argue with him, would you?

I came here lunch time one day last week and increased the clientele by 50%, this evening it is quite full and bubbly.

For smokers there is a purpose built two sided shed out the front large enough to take the two picnic tables which give us 'social lepers' some comfort in the rain.

They serve a variety of beers including Ruddles County, Tetleys and GK IPA. This is the first place I have found a sub £3 pint of the black stuff, which is cool.

There are moorings available along the garden and some past the bridge. If you should come here tell them Maffi said Hello that might just rack up a few free pints for the next time I come this way.

I have heard various stories about this pub but I can only speak as I find, but there are mixed comments here.

Did I mention they do B&B, No? Well they do.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007


I am confused! Mort tells me that the Hitsunlimited site has re-opened and that I am at 48th (she omitted to tell me her position). Try as I might I am still getting the screen that tells me that the site is still awaiting renewal.

Is she seeing things?

Is it maybe that she is looking at information stored on her computer?

Boat Blogs

Given that there are so many boat blogs I will just be adding them to my NEW list as I find them then move them to the main list after a few weeks.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

BW who's that then?

Recently, yesterday in fact, I signed up to AdSense. With 30,000 visits I could have been making a few bob. Not to worry.

One of the ads that has appeared is this one about BW.

I think we all need to look at this.

Things you see in a pint

I was quite amused with this pint of Fosters I had some months ago. Wether it was intentional or not I don't know, but there is a reasonable image of the map of Australia.

Monday, 19 November 2007

State of the system

What ever way you look at it the new practice of tendering mooring to the highest bidder in sealed bids can only be bad for the waterways and boaters. Personally I think BW managers are abrogating their responsibility, but then the government have given them the lead in that, remember the Bank of England?

People who can afford to bid a few hundred pounds more that the guide price are less likely to get the mooring than people with a few thousand to offer up. The upshot is that more people will be pushed into bridge hopping than at present. Many will decide that enough is enough and leave the water altogether. Losing these people will reduce the number of 'eyes' on the system. A lot of these 'eyes' see stuff that BW, due to cut backs, can no longer see and they report what they see.

Along the towpath from me are two guys who are occupying a mooring that is up for tender. When that mooring goes to the new 'owners' the moorings either side will, though already occupied be due for a price increase next year. If the first mooring goes for 3 grand then there is the possibility that BW will call that the 'market' value and hitch up the price of the others to match. Result more people unable to afford the cost of boating, more pairs of 'eyes' leaving the waterway.

Boating has a finite cost above which people will not carry on. The higher the cost the more people leave. The knock on effect is the number of second hand boats on the market will increase and the value of the boats will decrease. So getting out becomes a problem. Kind of a 'Catch 22' situation that BW Management have forced on the punters.

Rising cost of Red diesel, licences, moorings and the seemingly excessive cost of spares can, together, take the canal system back to the muddy ditches they were becoming 30/40 years ago. If builders cant sell new boats at a reasonable cost because they are competing with the used boat sales then they will go to the wall, which will add to the unemployment stats.

The cost to the nation will not only be financial, but we will lose a valuable national asset and that would be such a shame.

From Dru, my friend in Saudi

A young Mexican, now an American citizen was visiting his parents in Mexico City on vacation when he lost his wallet and all identification.

Cutting his trip short, he attempts to make his way home but is stopped by the U.S. Customs Agent at the border.

"May I see your identification please?'' asks the agent.

'' I'm sorry, but I lost my wallet,'' replies the guy.

''Sure buddy, I hear that every day. No ID, no entry,'' says the agent.

''But I can prove I'm an American!'' he exclaims. ''I have a picture of Bill Clinton tattooed on one butt cheek and Jimmy Carter on the other.''

''This I gotta see,'' replies the agent.

With that, the guy drops his pants and shows the agent.

''By golly, you're right!'' exclaims the agent. ''Have a safe trip back to Crawford.''

''Thanks!'' he says. ''But how did you know I was from Crawford?''

The agent replies, ''I recognized George W. Bush in the middle.''

Well I moved

Not the most salubrious mooring I have ever had but it will do for a couple of days. The concrete edge is falling into the canal and the mooring rings are too far apart to tie up securely. So for the sake of mooring where I was where there is no movement of boats that I might be blocking from using the 14 day mooring I have now relocated to a somewhat dangerous place. Cest la vie!

Oh dear.... Mooring warden!

I had a visit from the mooring warden this morning. " Are you moving today?" What a stupid question. Of course I am moving now he has asked, but the canal is dewatered below Kidlington Green Lock untill the December 21st, so going down the canal is not really an option. Hardwick Lock, going north, is closed till November 30th and further along Cropredy Lock 25 is closed till December 7th and Napton till the 14th Where am I to go? No one is travelling this stretch because of the closures so who am I stopping from mooring?

I have to be in this area for the hospital and have told BW that! The doctor is still not happy that I need to move the boat with my eye in its present condition.

I am quite happy to move short distances, as I have been doing, to comply with the rules, but I am not happy about moving for the sake of moving when I can't really go anywhere. Seems to me that BW are not really very compassionate about sick people, unless they can make money out of them.

Well I will move down to Gunpowder Wharf today. This is not ideal because the towpath there is in bad condition and could result in my trippping either on the path or worse into the canal I will then have to sue BW under the H&S Act.
The good thing is I can search for the chimney I lost last week as I pass the spot.

Saturday, 17 November 2007


Today I went with Bones to the AGM of NABO, which is surprising because I am a member of RBOA.

Many people think, wrongly, that this organisation is about Narrow Boats. NABO (National Association of Boat Owners) is for all boaters and I think we really all should join. With 1500 or so members they have some clout, but with double that number they would have more clout.

Eugene Baston was there as was Sue B nb Nackered Navvy, Wendy nb Harry every one else I didn't know.

Apart from the usual boring stuff at the beginning the topics included Memebrship, Red Diesel and the condition of the system. When we broke for lunch I left. Those village hall chairs made my bum numb.

I got a paper headed BRITISH WATERWAYS 2008/09 Customer Service Standards. It is supposed to be a 'draft' but nowhere on the page does it say so. Many of the items on the list are what BW should be doing as a matter of course, in that they are charged with management and maintenance in their remit from the government. Many of the items have not been complied with this year, veg pledge etc how they expect to do it next year given that there will be a back log from this year.

Some interesting points:- Locks are to have ladders, two in wide locks place at thirds on opposite sides and one in narrow locks placed in the middle. Personally I can't see the point of placing the ladder in the middle of a narrow lock, if you fall in you are hardy likely to fall down the side of the boat.

Next point:- There are to be three mooring points on the same side as the ladder in a narrow lock and three mooring points on each side of a double lock. Well at least this will stop people from tying up to the ladder and bending the top rails, but the cost of this will be a bit on the large side.

Next:- Commercial and leisure boats are to have separate mooring places on multi-use waterways. I wonder if that means that BW will not be able to moor their maintenance boats for weeks at a time on visitor moorings?

The list contains 79 different standards which as far as I know do not meet standards that everybody else in the UK has to meet and according to NABO is not to the level they would wish.

I will copy it all here at a later date.

About time

Well well well Mortimer Bones is now at 40 in the top 100. Alleluia! Maybe now, if I pick up the teddy's she threw out of her pram, I can get some peace while I languish at 49. What the heck she's happy.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Oer Missus

This morning there was a strange dribbling sound coming from the wrong side of the boat. A quick inspection outside told me it was time to empty the .... hmmm tank. Oh bugger that wasn't supposed to be full for another week.

I would need a trip to Enslow for their services. Bones said she would come along and work in the office and do the bridges and locks for me. She went off back to her boat and I set about reversing the half mile or so to the lift bridge at the top of Thrupp. By the time I had got to the bridge Bones was there hanging on the chain opening the said bridge.

I had put the washing machine on before I started and noticed that my water level was down and wouldn't supply a complete cycle so I stopped for water past the bridge. This was a good thing to do not just to fill the tank but because Bones was facing out of the window working. She noticed a sign that the Thrupp pumpout was now working. So clever these academics! And people wonder why I love her.

After filling up with water I was able to turn the boat around and do the pumpout without having the trouble of going all the way to Enslow. The only drawback is that there is no rinse water pipe so I had to use my drinking water hose and aim it down the filler from a distance. I don't like getting the two operations mixed up.

So we returned to my mooring far earlier than had been expected and Bones continued working in the office. Though we are not 'together' we have a good life, very peaceful and friendly it will be a very sad day when I leave. I predict a few tears.......... from me not her!

Pickles No 2

It would seem that boating bloggers are all coming out of the woodwork at this time of the year. Just found this from my site meter. Pete is going to fit out a sailaway in 30 days! I wish him luck, good deliveries and fair weather.

I entered this one on the blogroll because he has class and taste. His Blogroll includes Bones GB NP Cosmos and of course Moi so he cant be a bad guy, can he? I will look forwward to his progress.

Oh didnt I include the link? Click post title.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Sob Sob Sob

I am bemused that Dr Bones is so miffed by something so trivial as the Top 100 listing. It would seem that my being ahead of her is causing her some grief. It pains me to think that my position on the list is a problem to one for whom I care so much.

I could disable the link in my blog to allow her a moment or glory, that would be the gentlemanly thing to do. What do you think?

Monday, 12 November 2007


Zipping through the blogs this afternnon I came across a mention of Blackbird on Granny Buttons blog. I have met Carrie when we were moored down at Wolvercote and again at Lower Heyford. I know she reads my blog but never knew she was a blogger. I have added a link on my 'BOATY PEOPLE' list.

It would appear Carrie is a very good artist as you will see if you visit her site.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Smoke in the water

Well that was a busy weekend. Bones god-daughter Elspeth came for a visit with her mum Claire. They arrived Friday afternoon and left Sunday post lunch. Bones took them sightseeing in Oxford on Saturday while clever me stayed home and took Milly for water. I lost my smoke stack reversing back. Doh!

Adam and Lucy came over for a visit and though they repeatedly knocked on the roof could not raise me, well they wouldn't I was down past the bridge with a sea seacher magnet trying to find my smoke stack. Bones sent a text to say they were in the Jolly B but. by the time I got there they had given it up as a bad job and tried Bones again back up at the Boat Inn. I wandered down a bit later to find Lucy making Animal Spoons with Elspeth and Adam being Adam.

Dinner Saturday night in the JollyB. Sunday we, Bones and I along with Elspeth, went to church at Upper Heyford where we were over an hour late and only just arrived intime for the minutes silence before coffee and cakes at the village hall. Elspeth ate lots of cakes. Claire stayed at nb Bones to do Elspeth's homework, well she is only four, Elspeth that is not Claire.

Children are a joy but hard work. I had forgotten how much hard work! Poor old Bones was worn out by the time they left.

Bones came to me in the evening for a shower, her water tank was empty.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

I am miffed and bleeding

Nice as Thrupp is, it is hazardous. It's good that the Thrupp Cruising Club take care of the tow path and improve it, BUT all those posts and planters are dangerous. Last night I fell over a planter, which in the dark are invisible. I fell headlong on to the grass bruising my hip and scraping down my leg. At my age that could have been serious not to mention the damage that could have been done to my eye.

I have to write to the TCC and suggest they paint the tops of the planters and posts white to ensure they stand out and help prevent others falling foul of the 'camouflaged' trips. I can't help wondering why this hasn't been done before, H&S and all that.

Posts at Thrupp invisible in the dark

Thursday, 8 November 2007


When we had our problem with the Kidlington Sheriff, one of his complaints was that we run our engines to charge our batteries. His complaint did mention 'in the summer' and as we were by then in the autumn it seemed a somewhat empty complaint.

Yes we do run engines to charge batteries otherwise we have no electric. I cant help thinking if the sheriff ever stopped to think where his electric comes from and what if the residents of Didcot complained about the power station running all hours of the day and night to supply him with his power.

Seems to me that he doesn't give a fig about the residents of Didcot as long as he doesn't have to suffer others at the bottom of his garden. Live and let live Mr Xxxxxx. I wonder if you have stopped to think what the effect will be on your neighbours if you get planning permission to put up two extensions on your house at Planning Committee Meeting. Can't see they will be best pleased.

It reminds me of a chap in Wendover who applied for permission to build a second house on his property. It was something of a folly because the the road was tiny and really couldn't handle another house let alone the disruption while the work was being carried out. Anyway he posted the planning notice on his front fence for all to see then parked his car right up against it so no one could see what he was planning to do. Some people!

Canalside residence

I see from Andrew Denny nb Granny Buttons that there are moves afoot by local residents and local councillors to curtail moorings at Battlebridge Basin, Kings Cross. Having had a run in with a 'land pirate' recently at Kidlington I cant help wondering why it is that these people think their 'rights' extend past their property line.

The canal is a feature of many residential areas and I assume a selling point for any future house sales. Why is it that they will kick up a stink about boats while they live in their houses but as soon as they want to sell they will advertise it as Sought after canalside residence and add several thousand pounds to the asking price. Either they want to live near a canal or they don't, if they do then they have to accept that canals have boats on them or they could do the decent thing and hand over any cash gained from the sale, specifically because the house is near a canal, to BW who I am sure would put it to good use. . . . . . maybe.

I don't seek out conflict but if I see any homemade signs against mooring in a particular area I make a point of mooring. If we allow these 'little Hitlers' to have their way there will soon be no where to moor except out in the sticks and then the English Heritage will get on their hobby horse. We are in a no win situation.

Maybe if the councils would put up proposals for draining the canals and using them for land fill sites then the locals would be only too glad to fight to keep the canals, boats and all.

Still in Thrupp

So here I am outside the Jolly Boatman having moved from the Boat Inn just a few hundred yards up the canal. You just have to love Thrupp the place is a nice village location and like all villages filled with intrigue and stealth. I have met a few of the locals that I met last time I was here in June, I think it was, and things have changed a bit. Who is doing what with who? I am beginning to learn, but really don't want to. Mort says I am to sensitive and should not let it get to me.

My eye is progressing well. The bubble is dissolving and I can see quite well out of the eye though the image I see is somewhat smaller than the good eye. Tomorrow I will see the doctor for the first time since the last op.

My good eye which adjusted from long vision to closer vision after I had the 'accident' is now reverting to its norm which is a good sign that the op eye is doing good.

Time to put the washing machine on. Ciao

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The man himself

Eugene Baston came sauntering down the towpath this morning with a cheery "Hello". There was me wondering how I was going to move Milly to the 14 day mooring having just had my eye done yesterday and Big G provided the solution. Not exactly a cruise, just 400 yards but much needed because I had out stayed my welcome on the 48 at the Boat Inn. I am now moored outside the Jolly Boatman.

Coffee and Hob Nobs were served and a long chat transpired. More coffee was drunk at nb Bones and more chat.

Don't believe all you hear about EB he really is a nice chap.

Many thanks EB, nice to see you again.

Monday, 5 November 2007

A Poke in the Eye!

Once again I trekked to the John Radcliffe hospital for an eye inspection this morning. Well the good news is it was OK but the other problem was causing some inflammation so had to be fixed, today.

There I was expecting a peaceful day and I find myself on the operating table for the second time in 5 weeks. An Aussie doctor poking me in the eye with a sharp stick. This time I was wide awake so was able to come home same day, which was nice. My lens is now back in its correct position and I am doing impressions of Pirate Pete. The good Dr Bones is doing her bit, she picked me up from the hospital even though she was not feeling too good herself.

So yet again I am in a fixed position and unable to move. Next appointment Friday. Ho hum!

Sunday, 4 November 2007


Last night after our 'epic' journey to Thrupp we sauntered over to Eynsham for dinner with Adam and Lucy. They had taken delivery of a large painting of Lucy done by local artist Lorna.

Adam is a very good chef and always comes up with the goods. Smoked Salmon to start, Partridge for main and Blueberry pie to finish. Absolutely superb! Thank you Adam.

We stayed overnight so Mort didn't have to worry about how much wine she consumed.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

To Thrupp

Well we have been here at Lower Heyford two weeks, time to move on. We are heading for Thrupp where Mort will moor for the winter and I will stay for a few days. Graham and Matilda came for some much needed tiller time. Graham will be getting his boat later this month and needs to bring it to Oxford from Tring. Having last been on a boat when he was eight this was a good opportunity to get familiar with steering a boat. Mort went to pick them up from Thrupp and I made my way down to the water point to fill prior to the trip. This was also Mort's plan but another boat with a very large tank beat her to it.

Graham came on board with me and Matilda went with Mort. We travelled the first two locks together, then let G&M take nb Bones alone down to the old quarry while Mort and I led the way. At the quarry we stoppped for lunch (we should have come here in the summer as originally planned it's a nice spot).

It was hard work for them but, I think they enjoyed themselves. At Thrupp I watered nb Bones while Mort took Milly M to moor up down by the Boat Inn then G&M drove her back to LH to collect her car. While she was away nb Bones now watered needed to be moved down to it winter mooring. With no head light (it's not wired in) I propped open the lift bridge and took the boat through in the dark. The mooring was just three boat spaces down.

Friday, 2 November 2007


A fruitful day. At long last I have managed to sort out my oil change. Over and out!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Hello hello hello

Looking around my site meter I see that the BBC has been visiting the blog. I wonder what they are looking for? They can come and talk if they wish I am very open, probably too much so.

Page Views
Referring URL -
Visit Entry Page-
Visit Exit Page -
Out Click - GO HERE CLICK MILLY M http://www.waterexpl...owBoatLocations.aspx

I am a bit miffed that they came to me via MortBones but then they would have to start somewhere to get to the good stuff. ;-)

Wednesday, 31 October 2007


I was somewhat surprised to see that I have a reader from Mitcham in Surrey. Surprised because I was born in Mitcham and this is the first 'local' I have seen reading the blog.

I have to ask, "Do we know each other?"

If we do please get in touch you can find my email in my profile.


Mort's mate Claire came for an overnight stay and and a visit to the educational metropolis that is Oxford. She arrived about 9:30 last night. I gave her my bed because of the close proximity to a proper toilet.

We dropped Mort off at work this morning and spent the next several hours around the shops, in the pubs and sight seeing. I saw for the first time the Thames near Folly Bridge from the other side of the river from Christchurch Meadow.

Oxford is one of those places that holds a myriad secrets and just has to be explored. At the Turf pub, down a back alley, in 1963, Bob Hawke one time premier of Australia set the world record for downing a 'Yard of Ale', 2 1/4 pints, in 11 seconds. Funnily enough it was also at this pub that Bill Clinton two time president of the USA famously smoked a joint but, 'didn't inhale'. Yeah right Bill I believe you!

Anyway after collecting Mort from work we headed home and a curry was consumed. Then this heathen joined Mort and Claire at a church house meeting in the village. Nice people but, I am still not convinced about this whole religion thing although having been a paid up God botherer, I can see why people do (you might be surprised to hear that I was baptised into the church at the age of 38).

Claire in her hurry to get home left her hand bag at the Vicarage. Doh!

Monday, 29 October 2007

The continuing eye saga

Hospital again today! Eye is progressing well and the gas bubble is fast disapearing. More drops. On the down side my lens has actually moved and may be causing some problem in that area. Next appointment Monday.

Told the Doc I was preparing to move away and what that entailed, he said NO! at least another two/three weeks. Doh!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

A visit to church

Mort Bones woke me up early this morning for coffee, it is difficult not to wake when the rear sliding hatch is opened, it clatters loudly. Coffee was drunk, emails were checked and showers were taken, I have copious quantities of hot water since the boiler was replaced. I went into my lie down phase to rest my eye, Bones went back to her boat.

At just after 10:30 she returned to 'escort' me to church. It was windy and wet. The service waited for us before starting, well that's how it seemed. I have long been a bit of a heathen and church isn't my thing these days, but I like to be there for Bones. Churches are strange places not really of the present day, but nonetheless calming and sensory. I thought the service was a bit 'high church' for my liking, but that's what they do here so I followed. After the service a glass of wine was offered and refused, however I had to go back for my jacket and was waylaid by a lady who assumed we had just moved into the village and was interested when I corrected her that we lived on boats. Then the vicar, Paul, also interested in the boaters stopped me for a chat. Bones was cajoled into a glass of wine while I was chatting and that was the excuse to offer me a glass again, Which I accepted.

A nice group of people full of characters.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Slack day

Not moving much so not much to say. Today was a housework day. I had intended to change my engine oil and would have done had it not started raining. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

The ECO fan

Because of the design Milly M is not an easy boat to heat. I have an Eberspacher unit driving 4.5 Kw of finrad central heating which run the full length of the boat. This is effective but costly in terms of fuel.

The multifuel stove is the mainstay of the heating system but tends to localise heat at the front of the boat. The normal entrance of the boat is via the back. Through the office across to the right in to the bathroom, then diagonally across the bathroom to the left and down the side of the bed. From there to the centre at the bottom of the bed to enter the kitchen, along the kitchen over to the left again to access the living room.

I was quite insistent that each room should be a 'room'. Each room has a bulkhead which obstructs the easy flow of air. This has its problems in that there is not a straight line between any two sections and the stove is mounted 11 feet from the front of the boat and faces forward from the LR/K bulkhead. It is because of this that I was sceptical about paying out for an ECO fan if I was only going to find out that it was not effective.

Fortunately Mort owns an ECO fan and while she wasn’t using it for her boat (she is a much harder boater than me) I was able to give it a try.

I have to say that my reservations were unfounded. While I do need to angle the fan to blow down the side access to the Kitchen the overall effect is to warm the boat down to the back of the boat. There is a difference with the fan that is very noticeable. While the Office at the rear is not as hot as the LR it is much warmer than without the fan. For this reason I will be able to use the office this winter with out resorting the Erbespacher. So all I need now is to get my own ECO fan, but I don’t think I want to part with 70 quid for one so I will be looking for a deal. Watch this space!

Where is Maffi?

I have been asked if I could have a map showing where I am on the system. Not an easy task to sort out in my present location, poor signal!

However, I have today added a link under the clock. It is just a case of clicking on the link and then selecting 'Milly M' from the list of boats on the right hand side of the page.

Those boats at the top of the list update regularly, those at the bottom not often. Milly M will, I hope, be at or near the top.

The default setting is for a Google earth type image but a normal map can be selected or indeed a hybrid of the two.


Tuesday, 23 October 2007

What's this, a bit of class?

Andy Denny of Granny Buttons made mention here of a poetic work by an old sailor. Not wanting to be outdone I thought to post this by an old airmen, Moi.

I have had it aound for a while but not too sure if it is finished yet.

Ancient road of water still
Through English fields winds on
Toward the slowly setting sun
Muddy ditch of nutrient soup
Blackening with the fading light
History of the revolution
Beginning the rise of Empire yet
Decaying with the loss of greatness
Far from former glory falls
Leaking through the boundary set
To trespass on another's space
But in the morning sun the evil fades
And myriad rays reflect the glory
Of a sceptered isle from long ago
When hard men in wooden boats
Carried wealth across the land
In times when English industry
Hungered for the cargos therein
And the market place craved
The product spewed from
Smokey city factories.
Overtaken by rail slowly faded into disuse
For many years this eyesore
In the throes of death left to nature
Disappeared 'neath both car park and estate
Filled with weeds and silt and supermarket trolley
Bicycles, milk crates, tyres, and all manner
Of junk, garbage, waste and trash
Stinking ditch of filth and mire
Yet men of vision equal to the original Canalers
Saw the waste of this historic water
Campaigning for keeping it open
That our children might marvel at it's wonder
And continue in some small way to
Preserve the life of days gone by
Before the advent of rail brought it close
To its demise and sad finale
No longer do we see the many working boats
That once plied trade along the length
Of canals that covered the country
North to South, East to West
Instead the new boater of leisure
Sets forth from marinas across the land
To enjoy the sights of green landscapes
Rolling hills and open valleys
Tree lined fields and stones of long gone ritual
Viewed from calm waters through rush and reed.

Windows Live Hotmail

I don't often have problems with my PC and usually then because I click in the wrong place, but this new Windows Live Hotmail (which I didn't ask for) has screwed up my computer BIG TIME. It wont display properly looking like something a 5 yo might do and then it has the cheek to tell me I don't have scripting enabled. So I follow the directions and lo and behold scripting is enabled. What it might be telling me is I don't have the right scripting enabled, but then what is right?

My laptop now runs very slowly and that isn't helped by the connection I get here.

I have to ask, "Do the designers of new software have any idea of the circumstances some of us work under". "Do they have any idea of the demographics of the end users". I have to ask that because the writing gets smaller and the clicky bits appear as mere specks of dust that we should otherwise be able to clean off the screen with a wet wipe.

Yes I could increase the text size, but that would mean changing a whole load of other stuff as well and I shouldn't have to. I like it the way it was. It has become like an old pair of comfy shoes, easy to wear. I had enough trouble as it was changing from 98 to XP. I don't want Vista or any other system. I just want my computer to do what I want till the day I shuffle off this mortal coil. Is that too much to ask?

Obviously YES because they keep pissing about with my LIFE!!!


Well what a turn up for the books! Frost every where this morning and quite chilly to boot. I went to make Mort her morning coffee and found her door ajar which is probably why her boat was so cold. My boat on the other hand was reasonably warm, the embers still glowing under the ash in the stove. The sun came out and burned off the mist by 9:30 and so melted the last of the ice off the boat.

Lower Heyford is a nice quiet place to moor . . . . . . . . at night, there being trains running all day except when you need one. Kizzie's restaurant at the boat yard serves a 'Whopper Club Sandwich' that is a meal in it's self. This eatery is unfortunately going to be closed from the 1st November until the 6th of March.

The nice thing about mooring somewhere like this is . . . . . No miserable landies.

Well this isn't getting the housework done. Ciao

Monday, 22 October 2007

Lazy Sunday . . . . . . . No!

Sunshine all day here at Lower Heyford. Today's task is to get both Milly M and Bones bilge pumped out. The boatyard here has an adapter for the normal black water pump and a filter/separator to take out fuel and oil. I took nb Bones up first. Most of the contents of the bilge came out with just a small amount of sludge left. I turned Bones at the winding hole and reversed back to the 14 day mooring with some ease. Then I collected Milly took her to the pontoon and had her done too! Turning Milly was easy but getting her to go back was a pain. The canal is shallow and she wouldn't go where she was told. It took some time and stops to let 4 other boats pass.

Why did I have to do all this? Her ladyship was out to dinner.

The guy at the yard was very trusting, waiting until both boats had been done before I paid.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

The day after the night before

Copious cups of tea and coffee were drunk this morning, JOTW gets up very early, then Mort came to make the bacon sandwich breakfast. James and Mort set off to pre-position the cars for our trip to Lower Heyford while JOTW and I took the boats to Thrupp for watering and rubbish disposal. Poor John had a little bit of trouble with the slow response time of Milly M, his boat being shorter and much more manoeuvrable.

All sorted we said good bye to JOTW and set off to LH. Me with my head on one side in an attempt to simulate lying down. Three boats managed to get in the Shipton Weir Lock side by side. It's a strange shape, somewhat hexagonal. Further discussion with other boaters suggested that another 60 footer could have got in there as well, not bad for a lock on a narrow gauge canal.
The weather today was about as good as it gets. The sun shone all day. The trip up was very pleasant. Mort and James steamed well ahead of me out of sight, but that was good I enjoyed my time. Moored up below Bridge 206 at about 5:30. Mort bought me a new club hammer because mine keeps thinking it's an aeroplane while hammering in pins.

Nite Puddles XXXXXX

Friday Night

We moved up to bridge 225 just below Langford Lane Bridge last night where we were to have a few guests for eating and drinking. No we weren’t going to eat the guests. On arrival John on the Wey was standing on the bridge wondering where we were. He was pleasantly surprised to see nb Bones coming in his direction followed by me some distance behind. Once moored Mort set to cooking and John and I set to emptying a few cans. James arrived while it was still light. Well we thought that’s about it, but were stunned when we got a call from Adam and Lucy asking, "Exactly where are you". James walked up to meet them. That was two more than we had expected to turn up. Later a voice and a head appeared over the parapet, "How do we get down there". Maurice and Jude had arrived. All in all the discussion was about the unsuitability of a boat party under a bridge in the freezing cold and it was decided that the next one would be in the summer.

Mort sang, Adam sang and Maurice sang I didn't, though would have if asked. Even us toughened boaters ended up inside huddled around the fire. I don't recall what time it all ended but it was late, though before midnight.

Friday, 19 October 2007

And away

I delivered a letter, by hand, to our annoyed neighbour this afternoon in the hope he may change his attitude to us. I do hope he read it. Well at least he didn't come out shouting at us over the water, but he did come out to see us go. I missed the opportunity to wave good-bye and strongly resisted the temptation to flip him the finger. That really would have been offensive and we certainly don’t want to antagonise him, we are after all respectable boaters not water gipsies.

Big Fish

We walked along the towpath to the bridge this morning. I often do this to escort Mort to her car. We saw some blood on the edge and some big fish scales. A little further up we saw a large carp with its side eaten away. It must have weighed about 15/20 pounds. Whatever it was that took it out of the water must have been big. Mort got the picture on her mobile.

Wyatt Earp

Last night we were again verbally abused and threatened by the sheriff. He came to the bottom of his garden and asked me if I was moving on tomorrow. I of course said no. I told him that I had phoned BW and confirmed that this was a 14 day mooring and that we would move when it suited us.

He in his arrogance called us disrespectful of other peoples privacy (he is the one who invaded our privacy). He called us arseholes and threatened us saying we picked the wrong man to make an enemy of.

We are not doing anything wrong. The law is on our side. I don't know what has happened to this man in the past, but, it must have been bad. That said there is no reason to be offensive or threatening towards us.

I have never in my first year on the canal met such a disagreeable person. What his problem is I don't know but his arguement did not bear fruit . Nothing he said to us had a grain of truth. All seemingly made up in his own mind.

I will when I return here, and I will return, offer him coffee and time to chat about whatever it is that is stuck in his craw, but I hope he has adjusted his attitude by that time. I neither want or need to be treated as less than I am and I refused to be bullied by people who should know better.

While I am writing this a BW man came along the towpath and we chatted about the sheriff. Apparently he complains a lot and always quotes rules that are non-existent.

Please if you should come down this way look out for the house with the six foot scalloped fence around. It is a nice place to moor even though he will complain.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

And so to Kidlington

Today (Wednesday) was definitely the day to move. We had lunch at the Plough followed by an afternoon snooze and set off at 3.30. A lot of the trip was at tick over past all the 'Agenda 21' moorings. At the swing bridge before Duke's Cut I missed my footing stepping off the boat, dropped my rope and pole in the water and crashed to the ground banging my bad knee, OUCH!

It was quite a pleasant trip up until we were 'greeted' by a Kidlington resident who it would seem is the self appointed sheriff for this stretch of the waterway. Bones had moored directly opposite his garden, I moored behind her. Said sheriff came out of his garden walked along a footpath, which we later found was private and he was trespassing, crossed over the lock and then walked down the towpath. I was still mooring Milly and he walked right past me. Level with the stern of Bones he said to her, "You know this is a 24 hour mooring". Well no she didn't. There are no signs and she said as much. "Your lot took them down", said the sheriff. Well if his first volley across the bows didn't piss her off, that did.

"It's 24 hours because of the proximity to the houses", he pronounced. What a load of BS. I have moored on some canals right outside peoples front doors and had no complaints.

'Your lot' now what does that mean? Are we boaters some kind of splinter group of mainstream society. Are we a band of renegade people who flout the law and remove 6X6 posts set in concrete or was he maybe hinting that we are floating scum and just didn't want us here. Either way I think my 25 years in the RAF and the good Dr's eminence in her field would rather belie his thoughts of us as anything other than good people who because of people like him are assumed to be on the fringes of society.

Another resident came along the path and Mort said, "Oh look one that smiles". To which he countered, "Have you been having some problems?" Mort explained and the chap said that the 'sheriff' was a bit of a miserable git who thought he owned the canal.

It transpired on Thursday morning, speaking to the lady on the boat in front of Mort, that Mrs 'sheriff' was obviously the 'deputy' and had stood on the other side of the canal when she moored up with a face like a fart, arms crossed over her chest, scowling like there was no tomorrow. I feel sure that there has been some animosity on this stretch in the past, but what has that got to do with us, now. Given the rudeness and poor attitude of the sheriff and his deputy I am not surprised that there may have been trouble in the past. People behave towards us in response to how we treat them. Treat me like the good person I try to be and I will be a good and loyal friend. Treat me like dirt and I will shit in your garden (metaphorically speaking).

This is as far as I know a 14 day mooring and although we were going to move off today, we will stay a while and maybe come back here for a few days after the weekend. If you should be in this area please stop and enjoy the countryside for a few days it's quite lush, some natives might be a bit up themselves but don't let that spoil it for you.

Have spoken to BW this morning (Thursday) and they say 14 days. Looks like I may be staying.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Mon Tue Wed

Yesterday it chucked it down all day. Shame really because we were going to move on. We will have that joy today.

We have now been moored here three days. Because of the depth I have breasted up along side Bones. She has three pins in to hold her tight. Unfortunately speeding boats pulled all three pins out on Monday, luckily Dusty came past and helped secure the boats.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

The aftermath

Bones is the kind of person who, if she is up every one is up. Quarter to 8 she called me this morning. Probably because she had no milk for tea. Fortunately we had plenty of Bacon for breakfast.

Milly needs a P/O so between us we reversed down the canal to College Cruisers and there started the problem. Just below Aristotle Lane Bridge we encountered some anglers doing what anglers often do, complaining about boats on the canal. One very grumpy chappie got Morts goat simply because he was rude which was the signal for Mort to confront him face to face. It is quite surprising how disarming it can be to step off the boat and ask someone "What is your problem". After due discussion Mort quelled the situation by saying we would moor up until they had finished their fishing session which in itself completely flummoxed them, they weren't expecting that.

While we waited (4 hours) we dragged a futon mattress out of the water then disappeared of to take nb Bones to our new mooring a couple of miles up the canal. I have never sat at the front of a boat before so this was a new do for me. Just to sit while others do the steering is quite fun as long as they pay attention. Bridge 238 is a 'fixed open' lift bridge. Trouble being that it is not very high on the hinge side and it was for me to point out that Morts bags of coal on the roof might just end up in the water. A quick reverse gear to stop and Mort did some juggling with the coal and we continued on our way.

Once moored we stopped at the Plough for lunch and a pint of the black stuff. Bottle had prepositioned his car at the pub so we wouldn't have to walk back. By the time we arrived at the Milly M the anglers had buggered off and left a thank you note. Bottle set of for home and Mort & I proceeded down to the P/O station. I was expecting to have to wait till the morning for the yard to open but as luck would have it Mike was still there and agreed to do the bizz there and then. This was good because that meant I could go and moor at the Plough rather than at College Cruisers over night.

I dropped Mort of at her car and made my way to the mooring. All in all another pleasant day on the water.

Oh another weekend

Well today was a good day. Bones came back from her visit with her parents. Graham & Matilda came with gifts of wine and Bottle came with the Guinness. What a lovely bunch of people I spent the evening with.

Friday, 12 October 2007

To the Hospital

Today saw me up with the larks, showered and on my way to the hospital for the first appointment since the eye op. It's a long walk from Frenchay Road Bridge to the bus stop. I arrived in plenty of time for the appointment and was seen an hour later. What I don't understand is why did the doc want to put drops in my good eye to open the pupil when he never looked at it.
The nurse asked me to cover my left eye and read the chart. I said, "What chart". "Well what can you see?", she asked. "The wall with a bright centre", said Moi. I haven't opened my bad eye for 10 days what did she expect me to see? I was able to read the last line on the chart with my moon watching eye which is some achievement
The doc held my eye open causing some pain & discomfort (he had sharp nails) When I mentioned he was hurting me his response was, "Well if you could open your eye I wouldn't have too". Not what I would call a good bedside manner. It didn't alter the fact that his nails were unnecessarily sharp for the task.
My eye is healing OK and may be back to normal in about 5-6 weeks according to him, but that is not what I was told by the Doc who did the op. All hail the NHS!
Oh and there is good news! I can now lay down for 45 mins and sit up for 45 mins which is so much easier than last week.
So any way I left the hospital with two pupils as big as saucers and couldn't see a thing. Even stepping on to the bus was difficult and I had to ask someone to put me off at the right stop.
By the time I arrived home some 5 hours later I was absolutely knackered and needed to sleep.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Oh joy!

Well not being one to complain it is with joy in my stomach that I report at the end of another boring day Bones has excelled herself. Friday she is to cook main course at her mother's house and tonight it was try out night for James and I. Bones cooked a delicious salmon steak with fresh prepped veg and it was superb. Now I don't usually like salmon but this dish was fandabbydozie.

Nite Puddles XXXXX

Monday, 8 October 2007


OK so I can't do much except maybe spend too much time on here, but today while having my ten minute break, standing at the side hatch I saw two native Crayfish among the rocks. That cheered me up no end.

The bad boy Signal Crayfish

The good boy english Crayfish.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Moving on

This morning started well. Mort had a result her engine is purring like a pussy cat. 'Twould seem that there was a problem with the stop cable not coming out of stop. Not a problem with modern engines but I am sure they will have some foible that will catch me out.

OK so then we went for water, my tank being on red. Easy enough until it came to reversing back down the canal. The BT took this time to stop and we got a propellor full of junk. Added to that Mort can reverse her boat very well, not so mine. I am still supposed to be flat out so I was no help at all.

We moored up north of Frenchay Road Bridge opposite the landies house. It is very shallow and again I couldnt help. Mort went off to get Bones.

On the eye front I can open my eye for short periods but it wants to close itself. While it is open I can see the fluid level half way up my vision, strange, there are even waves on it, how cool is that.

Nite Puddes XXXXXXX

Another for the JD fans

With the onset of autumn and winter just around the corner I thought I would include this to give you a lift.


Saturday, 6 October 2007


My brother Robert came yesterday for the afternoon and took a large bag of rubish away with him (I am not near a waste disposal point).

Kim & Jim came today. Which was good coz the good Dr Bones was away and getting those very cold eyedrops in is not easy. Kim also went out and bought some flowers to replace the ones on the top which had seen better days.

I can now see light and dark out of the bad eye to the point where where I can discern the fluid level across the middle of the lens. Weird!

Dr Bones came back in time to torture me with some more ice cold drops.

Through the side hatch

This mooring at Aristotle Bridge is quite nice. On the other side of the hedge is a children's park. The prim and proper of Oxford can be heard saying all the right things through clenched teeth to keep their rug ratz in check. At night it descends into the meeting place for the local yobs. Despite the noise they tend to be reasonable.

A boat that was here when I arrived last week was attacked, by that I mean someone had a go at getting through the front doors, mid afternoon. They failed!

There is a constant stream of tow path users past all day, Mothers with children, runners, walkers, cyclists and the inevitable drunks who in themselves are harmless. Two young girls passed the boat several times today, the last time one of them was definitely pissed.

I spoke to BW about my predicament and though they didn't say I could stay they didn't say I couldn't, but did suggest that if I got a ticket I should write to HQ and argue my case. It is the end of the boating season it would be nice if someone at BW would come up with a plan for people in my position so staff could make a decision one way or the other. All in all I don't really want to stay here and would be on my way if I could.

Friday, 5 October 2007

I never expected. . . . .

'Knock knock' on the window, Bones went to see who it was. She came back, "He said say its Eugene"

I don't know a Eugene, but went outside anyway. There was a chap and his wife and their baby, none of whom I knew. So I said, "You will have to help me out here".

"Eugene Baston from the forum".

"Ahhh that Eugene" It would appear I do know a Eugene.

Well it would seem the family were out for a walk when they came across a pair of boats he recognised and he couldn't pass by without saying 'Hello'. Mr Bones was out and then he saw Milly and knocked. Mort of course said, "Miss Bones 'is' in", which surprised EB because he like others had assumed . . . . . .

" Ah one would have thought you were a doctor", said EB.

"I am a doctor", said Mort.

She wears it so well.

Anyway nice to see you EB and family. Thanks for stopping by. We will probably meet again. Ciao

Thursday, 4 October 2007

My Life

Here I am horizontal face down with my head hanging over the end of the bed. This is to be my life for the next 10 days. Woe is me! My brother Robert is coming to visit today and Kim & Jim are coming at the weekend.

Bones is being a good nurse and getting some pleasure out of putting freezing eye drops in my eye four times a day.

I am allowed to get up for ten minutes in every hour, which is something I suppose. Ho hum!

Nite Puddles XXXXX

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Many thanks for all your best wishes.

It is very difficult writing when someone has been poking you in the eye with a sharp stick so this will be quite short.

OW!!! that f***ing hurts.

Monday, 1 October 2007


I don't often agree vith Victor Swift NBW, but I have to agree when he says that employing contractors to cut grass at Watford and Foxton Locks when the lock keeper does it for free is senseless. A contractor will not care for the job as would the lock keeper and they have to pay more money, which they don't have, into the bargain What is the point!

In these days of stringent financial constraints BW cannot afford to waste money on such ill concieved ideas.

Come on BW get a grip!

Busy day

Sunday is a day of rest for most, especially of you have a detached retina....... er no. We took a trip to Halfords for oil and filters which they didn't have, but found them at a motor parts shop in Kidlington. I was not really in a position to change my oil, but was able to offer limited assistance to Mort. Unfortunately while bleeding the fuel lines after changing her fuel filter the good Dr cracked a union and had to stop until a new one could be obtained.

Graham and Matilda came for a visit. Graham is a member of the Canal World Forum and on a visit to his girlfriends digs in Oxford. While Mort cleaned up I took them on board Milly M for coffee. Graham is looking to get a boat up this way to make life easy for their relationship.

Late afternoon Dusty arrived. Dusty is the canal coal and fuel supplier on this stretch of the canal. He should have been here yesterday and commented, "They don't call me Day Late Dusty for nothing." Between Mort and I we handed over £220 to Dusty for 20 sacks of coal and 120 ltrs of diesel. Dusty is one of the good guys, he manhandled all the coal onto the roofs of our boats because he says that's what we pay for, cool. This was a great help coz Mort was cooking dinner and I can't really lift anything in my present condition. Thanks Dusty! Dusty used to be a graphic designer. His claim to fame was was the merchandising for the Telly Tubbies.

Adam and Lucy arrived prompt at 6 pm for dinner. A huge lump of wooly lamb had been cooking in my oven since 3.30. Dinner was fab and we eventually said goodnight to A&L about 8.30 pm. 'Twas a long day all in all.

Nite Puddles XXXXXX

Eye Eye

Well here I am at Aristotle Lane Bridge still. I was supposed to have heard last week about my eye op but someone at the Eye Hospital forgot to pass on the message. Saturday night I was experiencing some double vision with colour changes in the right eye. First off I thought 'wow' what a trip, very LSD, but after Bones had spoken to a colleague of hers who started life working with eyes he seemed to think that it should be sorted soonest. He suggested that Dr Bones use her title and call the hospital herself on my behalf, which she did. "Eye casualty is closed call back in the morning" Doh!

Sunday morning she actually got to speak to someone who after taking all the info down said she would get back to me. It is a little know fact that some ex-servicemen, because of their contract with the MOD can ask for priority treatment, my contract included treatment in a military hospital for the rest of my life, now there are no military hospitals as I understand it from the Royal British Legion, that has now been passed on to the NHS. Bones mentioned my service to the person on the other end of the phone, but that was met with "We treat all patients the same". I think I need to get the written word on this for future use.

Fortunately the doctor who is going to do the op came in shortly after and a return call was made less than an hour later. He said that I was supposed to have been informed on Friday that I would be in for the op Tuesday morning. Well that's that sorted at least now I know what is happening. This is the second call I should have had that was 'forgotten'. I will sing the praises of the NHS till the the angels herald my arrival at the pearly gates, they do a very difficult job under very difficult circumstances, but not passing on important information, important to me anyway, is really unforgivable.

Anyway sometime tomorrow I shall have the sight in my right eye restored to normal. Yippee!

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Ten Bob Note

Thursday I moved Milly to the Aristotle Lane Bridge and Bones came up after work mooring in front of me.

Friday afternoon we were passed by Ten Bob Note on their way down to Oxford.

This morning on my way to get water a couple shouted to me, from the bridge, that they had put a photo up on their blog of Milly & Bones. It was Ernie and Rhonda from TBN. I knew of TBN but didn't realise they had a blog, hence they are not on my Boaty People Blog list, I will fix that soon.

The picture is here.

How far?

I was under the impression that I had managed to travel about 400 miles and about 600 locks, however, after a spell with Canalplanner it would appear I was wrong.

In total I have managed, at less than 4 mph, 1332 miles and 1088 locks in one year, and that doesn't include all the to-ing and fro-ing I have been doing. Not bad for a newbie.

In that year I have had 12 weeks of enforced stops.

Now I do feel tired I think an afternoon nap is in order

Thursday, 27 September 2007


Some of you may remember Nick and Diane Smith who were painting their boat while I was waiting for Milly M to be finished back in October. Well their first summer cruise is over and they have placed a comentary and pics on their diary at the LB site. You can read it here Nick & Diane

This pic was taken at a time when paint brushes and rollers were begining to grow into an arm extention.

From the Government

The e-petition asking the Prime Minister "to Allow the Red Arrows to Fly at the 2012 Olympics" is ongoing. This is a response in advance of the closing date from the Government.

It is not true to suggest that the Government has banned the Red Arrows from celebrations to mark the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The organising committee of London 2012 will decide what to include in the celebrations - but with five years to go, decisions are yet to be made on what the celebrations will look like, although you can be assured that they will be a spectacular showcase of Britain's best.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Time for a shower? Oh yes!

Keith and Lyle of Ledgard Bridge boats set out from Mirfeild at 0800 and arrived here at Oxford around 1130. They moored their car some distance away looking for the canal so had to bring it to the old basin carpark in order to off load the tool boxes and new Calorifier.

The whole job took about 4 hours which included some remodeling of the woodwork around the old calorifier coz it wern't gonna come out otherwise. Added to that if it had come out they would still have had to cut the wood coz the new calorifier is 75 litres where as the old one was only 55 litres.

However the boat is now equiped with the hot water it deserves and dare I say 'I deserve'. Milly is back up to spec + a bit. The extra 20 litres of water helps to balance out the black water tank which is nearly full, Milly had been showing a pronounced list since the water tank burst.

I had a shower tonight and I think I will have one tomorrow as well and then maybe the next day and . . . . . . .

It is easy to be flippant when you have hot water, but it is no laughing matter when you don't.

What TOSH!

The world-famous Red Arrows have been banned from appearing at the 2012 London Olympics because they are deemed "too British".

Organisers of the event say that the Arrows military background might be "offensive" to other countries taking part in the Games. The display team have performed at more than 4000 events worldwide, but the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and stupidity have deemed the display team "too militaristically British".

Red Arrows pilots were said to be "outraged", as they had hoped to put on a truly world class display for the Games, something which had never been seen before. Being axed from a British-based event for being "too British" is an insult - the Arrows are a symbol of Britain.The Red Arrows have been excellent ambassadors for British overseas trade, as they display their British-built Hawk aircraft all over the world.

The Arrows performed a short flypast in 2005 when the winning bid was announced, but their flypast at the Games was to have been truly spectacular.

It is to be hoped that common sense prevails.

If you disagree with this decision, sign the petition on the link below

Red Arrows Petition


To be fair I should point you at this link Red Arrows