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

Tuesday, 25 September 2007


Ledgard Bridge will be down to fix my Calorifier tomorrow. Just as well really it's getting a bit chilly.

One in the eye for JR

Alleluia. Up early this am for the John Radcliffe Hospital. Getting there was no problem, finding the Eye Hospital was. You would think that given most people visiting the hospital have sight problems the signage would be clearer. Nearly all signs at hospitals are blue, and so too at the JR except the Oxford Eye Hospital which is in yellow. So I totally missed it ended up at the wrong end of the Hospital and was 30 secs late for my appointment.

Anyway the up shot is I was wrong and so to the ophthalmologist I saw last week. After a long wait the Dr diagnosed a torn retina, which will be repaired this week. Dontcha just love the NHS. He could have done it today but only under local anesthetic. I don't do locals so tomorrow or Thursday, they will call me.

Monday, 24 September 2007

And again!

Returning from my shopping trip I spotted two young lads sitting on the roof of nb Bones. Though incensed I kept my cool and asked, "Is this your boat mate".

"Er No..... "

"Then what gives you the right to just sit on the roof of someone else's home."

"Fair point", he said.

"I know the owner will not be happy that you show so little respect for her property."

What were they thinking. We should probably move soon.

Service at 6

Oo er. Last night I found my self in St Alldates church. It has been some time since I was in such a place and maybe so again.

Happy Clappy churches are not really my cup of tea, but Mort asked me to go so I went.

I really don't think in this day and age that we can afford the luxury of religion. The preacher though good made a few very basic mistakes that even with my limited knowledge stuck out like a sore thumb, though to the converted it would not have fazed them. The songs sung seemed to be a showcase for the lead singer and took over the whole 'show'.

When asked why I came I replied, "Because Bones asked me to, but I find my self with the opposition these days" (Satan) Not that I am a bad person, but I just can't do the 'I have been saved' routine anymore.

Still having written several songs during the 'Jesus wants me for a sunbeam' phase of my life it would be nice to hear them sung in church once again.

Oh look!

Did you spot the new profile pic?

Sunday, 23 September 2007


Last night on nb Bones we were sat on the well deck waiting for the pink BBQ to produce hot food. Mort being the friendly sort of gal she is said, "Hello", to a girl walking past. The girl said, "Hello", in return. All very pleasant, yes?

Her boyfriend, a lager lout type, walking a few paces behind her then said to her, "Why did you say Hello you fat slag". We never heard the rest of the conversation, but there wasn't much, she seemed to accept his outrageous tirade.

I think she needs a new boyfriend, one who will show her some respect.

People only treat us the way we let them treat us.

Bloody Cheek!!!!!

It never ceases to amaze me that people, mainly tourists, think they have the right to just step on your boat for a photograph without so much as a by your leave. I don't mind if they ask, I will even show them around, but just to walk on the back deck is not on. I said to one group of students this afternoon that they must rember that the boats are peoples homes and they should show some respect.

Christchurch Meadow

There is nothing so nice as messing about in boats.
The guy on the far boat seems to have a better plan than the guy in the near boat.

Taken down stream from Folly Bridge

Sunday Morning

We tried out Mort's new pink BBQ last night. It works quite well. Her land lubber friends from up the canal came for a whistle stop visit with all their children. They couldn't stay long coz dinner was in the oven.

Early rise this morning. I took Mort a cuppa then stood out on my back deck watching a pair of squirrels collecting for their winter food store. Two young lads sat side by side fishing, only one of them caught anything, even though their floats were only a foot or so apart. Nice and sunny but a crisp chill drifts across the boat roof. Autumn is definitely in the air!

The Oxford canal at this end is quite busy with people. Lots of tourists who have never seen a canal like this and of course it is a thoroughfare for the housing estates further along.

Living without running water is not to be recommended after so long with it. I regularly fillup two large drinking water bottles at the stand pipe which fortunately is only a few yards away. At least this way I can still make tea and coffee and use the toilet when necessary, though not at the same time. Hopefully the water situation will be sorted early this coming week.

Friday, 21 September 2007

A good day and a bad day

This morning Mort came and banged on the roof to wake me up, too early! We set off to her place of work where I was to be a guinea pig for one of her experiments. After being zapped a couple of hundred times with a strong magnetic pulse at the back of my head, whilst wearing a strange cap that resembled those worn by Russian Cosmonauts, we had some lunch and later a chat with the cleaners. We convinced them that they too should have a blog! They seemed quite keen on the idea. As soon as there is a URL I will post it here.

The afternoon saw me at the opticians. All I wanted was confirmation that I had popped a lens out of it's location and a referral to the Eye Hospital. This took over 4 hours and involved three Ophthalmologists They had two conversations with the EH in between which I had a few drops which opened my pupil and, though it was overcast outside, gave me the impression of bright sunshine. The end result was that it had not fallen out completely, but had certainly shifted somewhat and needed attention. So I have an appointment Tuesday 09:30 at the EH. I can't see it being fixed without surgery, but then again I can't see much anyway, so it looks like I will be staying around here for a while. I am currently moored at the very end of the Oxford canal on the 48 hr mooring, near Hythe Bridge not far from the city centre, which is a nice spot, so if you are in the area and have an hour to waste please feel free to stop by. I willkeep an eye out for you :)

Sitting watching TV tonight we heard a loud crack followed by the water pump running continuously. Further investigation revealed the Calorifier had cracked around one of the mounting straps. DOH! I contacted Ledgard Bridge, who could obviously do nothing at that time of night so will contact me tomorrow hopefully with a fix program. Good job the warranty is still in force!

So with the pump off and the main stop cock off I went to bed. Funny thing there is no shut off valve to the hot water system that I could find so I can't even flush the toilet! Hmmmmmm!


Last night Mort and I went to the flicks (old term for the cinema). We saw Attonement. Quite a good film, but it did keeping jumping back a forth in time which got a bit confusing.

A beautifully shot British film set in the late thirties/early forties. Worth a view.


Thursday, 20 September 2007

And finally......

This one is clickable
This one was sent to me by Neil Dudman, taken when we were both at the Barge Inn, Seend

More Pictures

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Boat house on the Thames

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They couldn't have done this a couple of months ago

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Claverton Pumping Station

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Clever propulsion system

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The Hill (2hrs 54 mins)

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This is one big weed

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Mooring at The Barge, Seend

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The bay on the other bank is where Milly was moored in the previous picture

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Picture Book

Sorry these pics are not clickable

I like a girl who gets her hands dirty.

Yours Truly
My ageing filmstar look

Mort in a contemplative mood

The talented Dr Bones
Yes she can play!

A white Moorhen seen at Folly Bridge

My eyes again

Two years ago I had my eyes fixed. New lenses were inserted and the cataracts were lasered off. Cool! For the first time in a long time I could see. Just lately I have taken to jumping off the boat roof rather than just climbing down. Big mistake! I think I have dislodged one of the replacement lenses and now can't see much at all out of my right eye. Stupid boy!

Is there a doctor in the house?

Off the Thames

Like it or not I have to leave the Thames today. Both Mort and I need water so late this afternoon we did an about turn and set off for The Oxford canal. Suitably watered we both reversed down to the end of the canal near Hythe Bridge where as it happens is plenty of space for three boats.

Mort did a grand job, I on the other hand tweeked the BT occasionally. Mooring up I hit something in the water. There were two guys at the end trying to get a bicycle out of the water. I said they should try just behind me as I had hit something. Nah! It didnt go there they said. So later Mort and I had a look ourselves. Lo & behold we found the bike exactly where I had said.

I now have a very swish racing bike on my roof waiting for the owner to return.

Nite Puddles XXXXXXXX

Thinking out loud

When you have something beautiful and fragile it is important not to test its fragility too hard in the begining. Sometimes we don't always succeed at this, but we learn, that is what life is all about, isn't it?

So often we forget that we all have a past, but with time we can work out the problems we encounter and build with a lasting strength. I thought I had jumped all the hurdles in my life, but it would seem there are still more that need my attention.

Life, it would seem, is a never ending circle of joy, of sadness, of just living. What is right for one is not right for another. If things are to be they will be, if not then we have to reassess what it is we want in life. I, unlike many, know at this time what it is that makes my life worth having and if it is not to be then I will move on. What I want is not what every one wants. Certain parameters are inviolable, but not every sticking point is set in stone. Not every set back is a heart break. We learn, we progress.

Nite Puddles XXXXXXX

Monday, 17 September 2007

Breasting up

Morts car is in Lechlade, her boat is in Eynsham along side mine and we want to be in Oxford and she has to go to work.

I saw her off on the bus to work then strolled around Eynsham, stopped in the tackle shop and returned to the boats.

After securing the boats together I set out for Oxford. Travelling this way is not unlike normal other than the tiller gets a bit heavy. nb Bones front rope is very stretchy. The rule is to take it slow, think before do, take all the corners wide, no problem. The only hold up was Godstow lock where I waited for the lockie to have his lunch, best to have two people when going through a lock on the Thames, especially when two boats have only one driver.

Arrived above Osney lock and moored both boats in line astern. Job done. Mort is on her way to get her car.

Paint, beef, trout among other things

Today Mort had to retrieve her boat from the boatyard following its sojourn to the boat yard to be blacked (I wonder how long it will be before the PC brigade try to stop us calling it that). We were not up with the larks exactly but there was work to be done. A new coat of paint on the roof was a must so we set off for the yard on Milly early-ish. While Mort was sorting out her dues I filled up with Red 60p/ltr. I am fed up with boat yards telling me, "We don't make much on diesel". B*ll*x I say.

There are many mistakes we make when it comes to our boats. Mort's idea to paint the roof was a good one had there not been any wind. Try as she might the wind had an effect and I spent time wiping off the windsplash. One good coat of paint on the roof and we took Milly back to the lock to moor so we could pester Adam and Lucy again this time for Sunday lunch. Mort and I arrived still covered in paint. For lunch we had the biggest slab of beef I have ever seen. Lorna (the local artist) was a guest as well. I think she is maybe a bit caught up with status, but then many people are. Desert was great but we had to burn it with a blowtorch prior to eating it. Funny people these Eynsham types. It transpired that Miss T collected some bruises yesterday. Such are the perils of a narrow boat, but for the life of us we couldn't work out where she got them.

Off back to the boat to put another coat on the roof. Rather than take Milly we blagged a lift on a hire boat that was just coming up the lock.

With the roof complete I stood up front, something that I do not normally do on a boat and Mort headed off to the lock to breast up to Milly. At this point, breasting up I mean, I decided to take a look at Milly's bottom plate. It seemed like a good idea at the time, no not the inspection, stepping off nb Bones and onto Milly. Doh! Mort of course revelled in my misfortune and took pictures.

Being the good boater that I am I still managed to get out with the rope. I am now an injured little soldier and need TLC.

Tony and Mo arrived at 7 pm. Mo cooked us a really good lock trout supper. We idled away a few hours chewing the fat of another adventure filled day. This boating lark is a breeze if you keep your feet dry.

Nite Puddles XXXXXXX

Sunday, 16 September 2007


So it was that on Saturday morning we awoke to the sound of mooing cows and soft foot falls (squelch) as we made our way to the lock to arrange a mooring for Morts car for the weekend.

Miss T is coming to imbibe of the river back to Eynsham. While we were waiting for her I moved Milly up to the lock mooring, Miss T wasn't far behind. We had a really good trip down the river. The weather was good, sun shone all day long. Lots of laughs, champers and a few glasses of red wine. Please, if you have never done this bit of the Thames, make the effort it is really nice, tricky, but nice. Lots of hard work, very twisty, need your wits about you all the time. Not far from Shifford Lock (upstream) on the right hand side is a mooring enough for one boat. The view across the field is splendid it is quiet, peaceful and just a joy to spend an hour or two.

We moored at the top of Eynsham lock and walked Miss T back home, rather later than we had planned. Yet another night spent under the stars. Life is good!

Nite Puddles XXXXXXXX

Saturday, 15 September 2007


Friday I took Milly to Lechlade, another tick in the box completed. Strange things happen when you are hanging you bare body out to enjoy the sun. Plastic boats creep up and surprise you. I just happened to look over my shoulder during a particularly winding section to see a yogurt pot about 50 yards behind. For the sake of propriety I slipped on my long jumper and waved them past. They each had a smile on their face which wasn't disgust, more amusement. I said, "It's such a nice day I didn't want to miss any of it". To which they said, "Don't let us stop you ". So I slipped the jumper off after they had passed. Later at the next lock I was happy to see the girl go down into the cabin to fetch her camera. This meant she hadn't had it to hand earlier. I saw them twice more over the weekend and I am sure the girl was disappointed that she didn't have the opportunity to get a snapshot. If you should hear at your boat club about a naked boater don't poo poo the story it did happen. Must be something to do with the weather.

As I arrived at Lechlade Mort arrived. She came to do the return trip tomorrow. Moorings were non existent and I eventually moored next to a bunch of beef burgers-in-waiting, in the pitch black. Mort cooked a curry.

We spent the a couple of hours at the back of the boat. Mort likes this end. She sat on the engine step writing poetry while I sat at the computer writing. Nights like this are very special to me all is at peace with my world.

Later in the evening, what was left of it, I called Mort to the side hatch, told her to lean backwards out the hatch. Her reaction was the same as mine 'WOW'. The stars were so bright. Quite an incredible end to an amazing day.

Nite Puddles, XXXXXXX

Friday, 14 September 2007

Eynsham people

Last Tuesday Mort took me to Enysham for a beer with Miss T and her hubby, Adam and Lucy; to you. A short though pleasant evening with topics from choc ices to sex shops in Denmark to Mormon preachers, well this was Enysham!

Thursday again over to Eynsham for dinner with Adam and Lucy. Adam and Lucy are very nice people; very Enysham, but I think Adam has the edge he cooks a fantastic Thai curry. There was another guest at dinner, a local artist Lorna. Lorna is a good dinner guest, but I doubt she will ever have dinner with HMQ.

Topics of conversation visited were almost unmentionable, well not in public, but toilets, that stalwart of boaters conversation; certainly came to the top of the talk list. Mainly because I unlike most men like the seat down. Mort doesn't see the point nor does anyone else apparently.

If this trio are typical of the residents in Enysham, then there is only one thing I can say, be afraid; be very afraid. Midsomer Murders is tame.

A thoroughly good evening which I hope is not the last I will ever be a guest at.

Thank you for the gift, NOT!!!!!!

It is always nice to awake in the morning, stretch out and know that if the wooden sides are still 6 feet apart you have made it through another night.

Then it's nice to find that some kindly person has left you a bag of apples or something similar on the stern deck.

What I find most disconcerting is when a dog has deposited a 'gift' on the deck as happened yesterday at Folly Bridge. It is bad enough that they crap on the towpath, often right near your pin, but on your deck is really taking the piss!. Don't people realise that there is a fine of £1000 for not clearing up after their dog.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

What do I do for love? Cheek!

"What do I do for love", I was asked today. As surprising as it may seem I don't do anything. It was not part of the great plan when I started this boating malarkey and indeed the fact that I have sort of rules out any idea of long term relationships, at this time anyway.

However, these things have a way of creeping up on you when you least expect them and I admit to having a bit of trouble with the whole thing of late. I have become a lovestruck puppy.

I know people say age is just a number and it is to some of us, but not to all, so as long as age is an issue I will have to continue on my merry way. I wont give up hope!

I am, of course, to short and not that far away from being incontinent and ga-ga. so it wouldn't be fair, would it?

More beer Barman!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Still in Oxford

Well today we took a leisurely stroll to the institute that pays Bones salary. Stopping on the way for another Froffee at ATM Coffee. I went to pick up some papers I need to sign to become a guinea pig for one of the departments 'experiments'.

"What if the results contradict all your previous findings", I asked.

"Then you ain't leaving Oxford", she came back, "till we know why".

Cool, I could live with that. If you know anyone else in Oxford who need the services of guinea pig, give them my email.

I had a walk around the park opposite. A very nice place. I sat on Geoffrey Scotts memorial bench and said 'hello' to the huge Oak tree that towered over it then wandered back to join the cleaning ladies, that Bones mentioned yesterday in her blog, for their smoke break. Bones knew I was there she could hear me whistling. I nearly always do. Walking back into town I passed by some of the most beautiful buildings, monuments to long dead days of old when the children of the landed gentry were just about the only incumbents of the university. In the high street stopped in 'The Works' and bought, of all things, a skeleton that was on offer. Silly I know. Lunch at MacD's and a stock run to Sainsbury's wine shelf.

So now I have work to do, on with the computer. 'Tap tap tap on the roof. Ali arrived to visit; he was having a day off. Went for coffee on his boat stayed a while. Discussed doing a degree among other things, Ali said he could just picture me doing it.

I bought some drawing equipment yesterday I supposed I should try and do some new art work for the boat tomorrow. Ho hum what a busy life I lead.

Monday, 10 September 2007


I have spent a nice peacful weekend at Oxford moored below Folly Bridge.This is such a nice inspirational place so much so that I have started outlining the book I have been promising to write for sooooooo many years. I have a plot and two main characters and most important of all time! Which is a good thing because even though I try to encourage her to write her life story Bones thinks I should write it for her. I'm not so sure about that but we shall see how it goes.

Bones in her comentary yesterday said ".......Saying that I am a real boater, in the sense people talk of it, would be like someone in a council house buying a complete Georgian silver service, hosting a dinner party and declaring themselves aristocracy."

A good coment but it struck me as funny that after she wrote that we were sitting on the back of Milly M drinking Champagne like a pair of toffs. ...............It doesn't take much to amuse me!

I got up this morning after an uncomfortable night on the airbed which I think has sprung a leak. Her ladyship demands tea in the morning to wake her up then coffee. There was I 'Captain Maffi' thinking she was the galley slave. We walked to her place of work through Oxford which is just such a cool thing for me to do. Stopping at ATM Coffee on the way we had Froffee (iced coffee) for breakfast. I suffered a brain freeze.

Well enough of this I have a book to write.


Presidential Blunder (Dru, Saudi)

Before the 2001 inauguration of George Bush, he was invited to a get-acquainted tour of the White House.

After drinking several glasses of iced tea, he asked President Bill Clinton if he could use his personal bathroom. When he entered Clinton's private toilet, he was astonished to see that President Clinton had a solid gold urinal.

That afternoon, George told his wife, Laura, about the urinal. 'Just think,' he said, 'when I am President, I could have a gold urinal, too. But I wouldn't do something so self-indulgent!'

Later, when Laura had lunch with Hillary at her tour of the White House, she told Hillary how impressed George had been at his discovery of the fact that, in his private bathroom, the President had a gold urinal.

That evening, when Bill and Hillary were getting Ready for bed, Hillary smiled, and said to Bill:

'I found out who pissed in your saxophone'

Sunday, 9 September 2007

This Old Guitar

There are few thing in my life that bring a tear to my eye. Memories of my father, girls that I have loved of which there are precious few, and music. As I sat here this morning 'checking' emails I came across this link from an American friend. I have been a fan of John Denver for over thirty years. Listening to the story and the song did just that, bring a tear to my eye.

From time to time if I am in a melancholy mood I pick up my guitar and play this song, it brings me peace.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Red Diesel

Whatever happens with red diesel one thing you can be sure of is we will get screwed. What is needed is a new sign for posts which allay to Red Diesel. Might I suggest this one. Download it and start all post with it.

Click here

Brain working overtime

Running around inside my head are thoughts that some might see as radical or just plain crazy, I suppose it depends on your outlook.

Cruising up the Thames this week I noticed an awful lot of 'No mooring' signs on banks where there could be little reason to have them other than it's my land so bugger off. Okay I take that as a reason but not necessarily a good one. Between Wallingford and Oxford there are some lovely spots on both sides of the river that it is just impossible to access. Places that would be nice for a lunch stop or overnight. Many are just overgrown with dogwood

Some of the land found with a watery edge I suspect is 'cash fallow' ie the EC is paying farmers not to grow anything in them. So where does the EC get its money to pay these farmers. Err….. that would be us methinks.

Here is a radical thought why doesn’t the EC insist that if they are paying our money to farmers not to grow stuff in the fields then, by way of reparation to the godly taxpayer, river banks be opened up to the public including clearing away nettles and brambles that serve the farmer no purpose other then to keep boater and walkers away.

They wouldn't have to install moorings and pathways and the like just clear away the stuff that they have allowed to grow to the detriment of the access. Mooring policy wouldn't have to be outlandish and could be kept to 24 hours or pedestrian access only.

Such a request could be tied to 'Cash fallow' payments. No bank no payment. It would be no harder to implement than other radical ideas have been and would benefit many people not just boaters.

Mooring again

Sometime ago I spoke about the way people leave unnecessary spaces between boats at poular mooring places. Andy Denny (Granny Buttons) has taken the mantle and included those out of the way places we like to go to because there is no one there. How often have we moored somewhere nice and quiet only to be surrounded by several boats an hour or so later. Part of the problem is that it is not always easy to see whether mooring is viable, often the banks appear inhospitable in all but a few places. I am sure we have all moored up 'somewhwere nice' only to find that once we step off the stern it's not quite as nice as we first thought. If a boat is already moored it is probable that others could too. Maybe BW should make it clearer which bits are suitable for mooring or better yet make more bits suitable. And bit of dredging might help. Milly has an 18 inch draft and I sometimes have trouble getting in, with a 28 inch draft one would have to moor in the middle of the canal

My own solution is:- when you find that elusive spot put your chair out on the bank and sit out doing what ever you normaly do except do it butt naked, maybe gettin that all over tan on the roof. I think you will find that others boaters will be reluctant to moor near by for fear you might frighten the dog ............... or not as the case may be.

New Friends from Japan

This is a picture of Satsuki (l) and Taketo (r) Shimizu a pair of Japanese tourists who helped with the rescue at Woolhampton last week. Taketo is a professor at the Oberlin University in Tokyo. Taketo can be seen pulling on the rope in the last post, whilst Satsuki was on the other end of the camera.

Thank you both for your help. It was a pleasure to meet you. I trust you enjoyed your stay in UK.


As I promised last week some photos of the near disaster at Woolhampton. These photos were taken by Mrs Satsuki Shimizu. These don't really highlight the impending disaster, but some pics are better than none. All pics are clickable.

All seems well at this point as the boat comes through the swing bridge, but the steerer had already failed to follow the instruction of the hire boat company in that he had not opened the lock before the bridge, so had to tie up.

At this point the boat had already drifted back a couple of hundred yards to the bridge. The young girl in the centre of the roof was the girl I was trying to calm on the front while daddy was busy at the back trying to kill himself. She calmly followed my instructions and moved the rope from the front to the mid 'T' stud which was a great help in getting the boat and them to safety.

Tug 'o'war. Me, Kim, Taketo Shimizu and A.N. Other heaving the stricken boat to a safe mooring while Jim at the stern is trying to keep the boat off the safety boom. Notice the relative height of the boat and the bridge. Mr Steerer placed himself between the bridge and the boat in an effort to stop the boat hitting the bridge. He had already failed to fend the bridge off with the boat pole which snapped and nearly skewered him.

This view from the bridge tells a story. The lock entrance is to the left as is the side flow which crosses over the river to the right hand side. Once the bow is in the tail of the lock power can be reduced.

Of course this might never have happened if he had not kicked the stern rope over the side. tiller pins have their uses.

Still given that the boat company is not that far from the bridge it wouldnt hurt them to see the boats through this quite dangerous section of the river which really isn't a place for newbies.

Friday, 7 September 2007


I was amused to read on NBW an email from one Alan Short who is contemplating having a narrow boat built for his impending retirement.
He is talking about fitting a bath. Personally I could never see the point of a bath in a boat where space and the water to fill it are rare commodities. Alan is planning to fit a whirlpool in his bath, OK so some people might like a bath as opposed to a shower, this of course is easy in a house, less easy in a boat, but please a whirlpool! Alan don't forget the underground car park,
I can see all the traditionalist crying in their real ale.
And before the missiles start coming in Alan has the freedom to have what ever he wants on his boat, but that same freedom extends to me to po po the idea.


A program named Virusprotect Pro has, without my permission installed itself on my computer. It has installed itself to open in the start up box. About every 5 minutes it gives me a warning that I have a problem on the PC. Well it is right because since it appeared I have had a lot of crap appear. It seems to me, though I am no expert, that the crap is channelled through the Virus program.
I have carried out the few tricks I know to eliminate it but to no avail. I have emailed the company to ask for a solution but as yet they haven't had the decency to reply. What am I to do. My virus program is working overtime to remove all the crap but is struggling.

My Friday

Yesterday evening I had a visit from Bones. She came well prepared with two bottles of red wine and her pyjamas. Well that's me on the airbed again! Soon after her arrival we had a visit from Phillip Hanson (the guy with the little inflatable from earlier). He came to say 'Hello' to the now public face of Mortimer Bones from Canal Boat magazine.

While I remember Phillip owns nb Chota Memsahib.

After he left we set about polishing of the wine with some success and another of mine. During this I cooked dinner, Steak & Ale pie. We had a most enjoyable evening which got more ludicrous as time went on.

This morning after a typical lazy start Bones ferried me to the garden centres for some plants for my now fading pots on the roof. She will hate me for saying we stopped by Macie D's for lunch. By 1 o'clock she was on her way to her family home in C******** for a wedding. Ho hum!

I, on the other hand, relaxed a bit, got the washing out of the machine then pootled off in the direction of Oxford. This river cruising is quite mesmerising. The vastness of the river compared to canals is somewhat awe inspiring. Due to the width of the river I was able to dabble in a favourite activity of mine and I will probably be the only boater on the system with an all over tan. I arrived properly attired below Folly Bridge about 6 pm and spent the next 3/4 hours talking to Bones on MSN. Time for supper methinks!

Just like summer

Thursday, 6 September 2007


Happy that I got my fender back last night I slouched around for a while this morning then set off for Abingdon. This stretch of the river is probably the best.

Unless you were involved in the floods it is hard to comprehend just what it was like, until that is you see debris 5,6,7 feet up a tree that is on the bank. Glad I was away on the K&A.

Arriving at Abingdon I met Lucy 2 and Impulse a pair of wide beam boats that were here last time I came. No they hadn't overstayed their welcome just coincidence that we came back here together.

The boat is looking a bit shabby both inside and out. Inside because I haven't done any proper housework since the weekend. And the outside because the trees on the K&A drop crap all over the boat. So there I was on the roof sweeping it down when across the river came a small powered inflatable. the chap aboard said, "Hello Maffi, I read your blog". He saw me arrive and just puttered over in his little boat. Phillip Hanson was his name and he is on his way to Lechlade this weekend which is where I planed to go to. You meet some nice people on the river.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The Thames

The trouble with mooring up in nettles, in half light of dusk, is that in the morning you find out that there was a good mooring a few hundred yards up the river. Ho hum!

I was a lazy boy today, even though I got up early I stayed in my sleeping clothes (yeah not that much at all) till late in the morning. Polished off another chapter of my book (the one I am reading) did a bit of house work, not so much as to strain myself and drank copious cups of coffee with cream having lost a whole bottle of milk to the yogurt department.

The Thames is flowing slower than the Kennet and so feels more like a very wide canal. From Beal Park to my night mooring the river is just super. With me being able to give the engine a good blowout and the Beatles playing at full blast I had a great day.

Now moored about a mile below Day's lock against a high bank I have had a pleasant evening reading, Guinnessing and fishing. I caught the biggest.......... Well the story has to be started properly. Mooring up and setting the plank, tidying up the roof etc I dropped a fender in on the end of a long rope. I had thought about doing the 'feel with my toes trick' again, but decided the boat hook would suffice. Not quite. With just a hand hold on the very end and the hook just touching the bottom it was obviously not going to work. That meant the water was about 9 feet deep and also meant the toe job was a non starter. I found the heaviest spinner I had and went spinning for it. It took about 20 mins but it caught eventually and I now have my fender back.

The night is black and intermittent with the calls of pheasant and owl. The carp stopped taking flies a while back and the river flows quietly by. What did I do to deserve this? And if I did do something to deserve this where is my Knighthood Liz?

Bones is a wuss

Bones tells me she is at the Cape of Good Hope and will be 'doing' the Hatton flight tomorrow. She is not looking forward to this at all. Women! I did this last January on my own, there are three of them.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Leaving the K&A

When I awoke this morning Elemiah was already running its engine. I opened the back doors which signalled Mo Little to appear with Apple Pie. (Keep up I mentioned it yesterday) We said our good byes and Tony & Mo were on their way west.

Getting underway myself was not as easy as I thought it might be. In fairness to the traffic I moved Milly to the bridge mooring. As soon as I stepped off with the centre rope the back end drifted out mid-stream. It took me some time to get it back again. Remember the weir on Kate Bush's land that was sorted some months ago. Well apparently it isn't, the side sluice at the lock and the lock paddles are left open to take the strain off the weir. This keeps the water level artificially low which makes the river run fast and mooring is a problem.

I was just about to open the paddles when along came Cheaddle, being the gent I am I re-opened the top gate to let him in. We travelled the next few locks together, but they left me while I was looking for water past the bridge near the Cunning Man pub. Didn't find any water so off to the next lock. Another boat had rather abruptly pulled out in front of us earlier so he went in the lock with Cheadle. Later at Tesco's MR& Mrs Cheadle told me that the man on the other boat was a total prat. He seemed to think that the first boat in the lock did all the work and as such did nowt himself. Such people get their just deserts. On the stern of his boat there was a hideous scaffolding contraption that did nothing to enhance the boat, which protruded several feet behind the stern button, a bicycle rack! He was probably to tight to buy a proper one. His time will come!

I moored at Reading after an uneventful passage through the town. In the process I learned something new about lining the boat up in reverse as it hurtled through the slalom that is Reading.

Tescos visit took no time at all and I was on my way in 15 mins. Refueled at Caversham took on the much needed water and was away up the Thames. It was several hours before I stopped again, this time near Boring Goring, at which point I learned something else new. Never moor up in nettles wearing shorts. Doh!

Bloody Cameras

You may have noticed that there are no pictures on this site of late. I have a problem, my camera wont down load on to the computer. I did transfer my card to Kim's camera and managed to download that way but when I tried to do it last week even that didn't work. The computer doesn't even see the camera when it is plugged in. I do have quite a few pics to put on the blog and as soon as I can sort it I will upload my pics.

On board internet

When I finally decided that I could no longer live without an Internet connection on the boat I found a shop and signed up for T-mobile modem. This seemed to me to be suitable for my needs. It seems some people are not like me and need to have more than one computer sometimes several and the options are myriad. The language takes on an erie sound and can be quite scary, as is highlighted by this thread on the Canal World Forum. Spooky!

Monday, 3 September 2007


Well today has been one of those days. A text from Tony and Mo said they were three locks away. So after rubbing the sleep from my eyes I strolled down the towpath to meet them. I opened the bridge for the approaching boat which, as it happened, wasn't them. Doh! Closed the bridge after whoever went through and carried on to the lock. There were four people fishing there on the lock moorings, I didn't say anything as they were all sitting in wheelchairs. Tony was in the distance.

Tony eventually drifted lazily into the lock and I was introduced to Mo. Through the lock and then the bridge Elemiah moored past me. Shopping was required so it was off into town where we were accosted by a pub where we spent a lazy couple of hours testing the Guinness. It was good!

By the time we got shopping and back to the boats the decision was made to stay. Their first proper 'holiday' day consisted of 3 locks two bridges and 2 miles. Off to a good start then.

We had bought the necessary for a BBQ and Mo made apple pie from my supply of Russets and a nice desert from some of my damsons. Mo is a whizz in the galley. Meanwhile Tony and I took a walk up the river a mile or so.

This boating lark is a tough job but someone has to do it so it might as well be us. Keep paying your taxes please.

The Littles will continue on their way tomorrow. I just know you will like them they are what we in the boating world call 'Good folk'. If you meet them say hello from Maffi.

Quote of the day from Mo.
"Our boat is level apart from a slight tilt".
Aren't they all?

Sunday, 2 September 2007


Say what you like the Internet is a wonderful tool for the modern world. Information on any topic is available at the touch of a button, providing you know which button to touch. There is even a plan to put on the Internet every book ever published, which is pretty cool don’t you think. Up to date news, weather and a zillion other things you can access.

Then there is email! Email enables us to connect to our friends and family in an instant. It also allows others to contact us even though sometimes we don’t want them to. I get about 150 emails a week some are very nice to receive others are just a pain. I have had countless requests for my bank details so some foreign national high up in the banking world can dump millions of dollars into my account as a favour because they think I am an honest person.

It seems everyone and his dog is selling fake Rolex watches for peanuts and half the world wants to set me up with a hot nubile babe.

Presently there seems to be a plethora of emails claiming to give me bigger boobs and some to give me a bigger 'appendage'. Personally I think I would look stupid with bigger boobs and a bigger 'appendage'. I have tried to explain to these people that I don’t want what they have to sell but to no avail.

Personally I am not a big boob person, mine or anyone's for that matter, the best things come in smaller packages, so those emails are wasted on me as are those for a bigger 'appendage'. I don’t have much use these days for the one I have (other than stiring my tea or scratching my ear) so a bigger one would just take up more valuable space on a small boat where storage is at a premium. Unfortunately the purveyors of these 'miracle' products don't seem to understand you have to turn sideways to get around a boat.

About 30 of my emails are for Viagra or a Viagra derivative. Even in my wildest dreams I can not imagine just how difficult it would be to have a 'friendly weapon' rampant and ready for use 24 hours a day whilst trying to manoeuvre around a narrow boat where comfortable moving space is not a design parameter. I mean how would one stand close enough to the kitchen sink to do the washing up and you could never close the shower doors in safety ever again, though it might help if you wanted to pee out of the side hatch or even a roof vent.

Forget the enlargement pills and Viagra, the 'appendage' I was issued with has never failed me yet. Maybe they should all get together and send me a hot nubile babe wearing a Rolex, carrying a case full of dollars then I could show her just exactly why the bigger/harder pills are not a good idea in a space limited environment, we can talk about the design parameters of a narrow boat then she can report back to head office with her findings leaving behind the Rolex, the cash and a sloppy smile on my face.

I think these people really need to target their wares more accurately and stop filling up my inbox. Ho hum!

Granny Buttons

Andy Denny aboard Granny Buttons recently commented about my 'new style of blogging. I think he missed the point. The reason I was updating every two or three weeks was simple. WiFi isn't as well available as one is led to believe. Further north it is possible to take ones laptop into the local library and get online. Here, dahn sauf, libraries with WIfi are few and far between. This has been a problem for me in that I write up every day and post as and when I can. Rather than make several posts at the library when I do get an hour online I have found it easier to put on one big post. One hour doesn't allow much time when you also have to check emails etc.

However I now have a T-mobile contract and I am able to get online every day, hence the 'new' posting style and my life is so much better for it. I no longer have to scrounge WiFi connections to check bank balances or emails. Life is so sweet with T-mobile. No I am not getting a kickback, but that's a useful idea.

The Napton Banter

What to do? We know what we would like to do, but the banter has already been arranged. We arose late and ambled about till we could no longer waste time. Bones made an appointment to get a hair cut and left. I packed and followed soon after. With Bones suitably shorn we made our way to the station. Train to Reading and then to Oxford. It's a long way from the station to Bones mooring near Folly Bridge. Bones was then able to pack which she hadn't done earlier in the week after she left me.

We made our way to The Plough where we were picked up by our good friend John on the Wey who transported us to Napton. On arrival we met up with Stephen and Angie Suggs who had just arrived at their holiday home. We went to the canal where we found Dave, Cheshire Rose and Mr & Mrs Bottle. Alan & Debbie Jones arrived about an hour later bringing along Blue String Pudding. Tony Collins came later still and Wriggle Fingers arrived much, much later.

Long night, good to see them all again. Dinner was had as and when. I suffered an uppset stomach most of the night, but enjoyed the time anyway. John and I stayed at Steve's villa. Alan and Debbie whisked Bones away long before I was ready to say goodbye to her. I am really not too good at this emotion thing. Ho hum!