Sunday, 28 December 2008

And so it continues

The Boudior is coming along nicely. There are some differences of opinion as to what is right/wrong/asthetic and not achieveable with my meager skills, but nonetheless we are getting there.

I felt I should put this picture here coz I think I didnt do too bad.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Boudoir pt II

Morts boudoir is coming along apace. All the insulation is in place and the battening out is complete. The walls were delivered this morning. One was returned damaged. It may have been OK it could probably have been trimmed in the waste, but that is not the point! The first wall went up this morning. Her ladyship thinks it looks fab. Pictures can be found on the Dr Bones Blog.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Caen Hill Cyclists

People are complaining that cyclists are racing down the hill beside the locks. This is since the towpath was upgraded to a cycle track by BW in conjunction with Sustrans. People are being knocked down by the cyclists and often they don't stop.

The latest victim was a 79 year old lady dog walker. The rider didn't stop! Well that's them sorted file that under 'bunch of bloody cowards'.

You know if you open a path at the top of a hill that runs for about a mile it will attract a bunch of prats on wheels. What didn't BW understand about that?

They have put up 'SLOW DOWN' signs on the hill which have been ignored, Oh really! The have threatened 'stronger measures', but BW are keeping that to themselves for the time being.

Maybe they are going to install a Garrotte halfway down the hill. That would take them by surprise!

The answer is very simple a number of cycle gates spaced at a distance that hardly makes it worth while getting back on their bike.

I don't suppose anyone has any idea where one could lay ones hands on some redundant bollards they might do the trick.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

La Boudoir

Work on the Good Ship Bones (GSB) continues apace. The entire bedroom, except the bathroom bulkhead has been Vactaned (rust treated). This done it was necessary to paint over the whole shebang. Using up old pots of paint the room in now mostly blood red. This is a mixture of Crown gel paint, Hammerite, and rather than open a whole new tin of something else red, some ahalf empty International Mid Blue to finish. The floor is ordered and will arrive tomorrow. I can't get it in the boat until I have cut it. With my luck it will be pouring down with rain. Happy Days!

Yesterday our tame engineer built and welded in the brackets which will allow the bed to pivot upwards. Very smart job. Pictures will be available later.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Cheeky Hire Boaters (edit too harsh)

Yesterday we took the good ship Bones up the canal to near the maintence point. A simple task that has her ladyship on the tiller in reverse and me at the front with a shaft. Before we had gone very far a hire boat came alongside overtaking us. The lady leaned across and said, "I read in a boook recently the the best way to go in reverse was to open the throttle to max and then you will be able to steer". The bloody cheek of the woman.

Says I, "so I can forget our 5 years experience then?"

"Oh sorry, I didn't realise" says she.

Didn't realise! If she had read further she would have read the bit about not overtaking a reversing boat and the bit that says who the F*** are you!

It later transpired that she is a teacher and finds it very hard not to be in teach mode. I could show her how it is done with a shove in the water. That will learn her.

The trouble with reading it in a book is a book doesn't give you hands on experience. I have seen fleet owners reverse in a straight line at top speed but they have been doing it thirty years, and anyway what's the hurry?

Thursday, 11 December 2008


I am sure somewhere in the past Tom Crossley told me "Don't do forums". Now I see that NBW is to have its own. Originally only specially invited members, the great and the good of boating. were allowed to participate. Now I read "Forum has gone through its technical trial, it will be open to the public tomorrow—Friday." (that's my bold).
NBW says "This is by no means in opposition to any established forum, but one that will be better regulated and will allow readers to comment on narrowboatworld's content and have contact with its contributors." (that's my bold).
The most popular Canal Forum at this time is owned by a policeman (who is very mindful of the impact his forum could have on his career) and has some very diligent moderators. Better 'regulation' means if the mods don't like what you say it comes off. We already have contact worthiness contributors and can comment on NBW content so what are they offering us?
Further NBW says "But please be aware that though controversy will of course be allowed, controversy will of course be allowed (I said that bit twice because they did) as it is in narrow boatworld itself, personal attacks, bad language and copyright material will not. There will not however be pages of unenforceable rules and regulations, in fact except for the three above there are no rules whatsoever". (that's my bold again).
BS I say, time will tell.
I wonder how long it will be before the Continuous Cruising thread is blocked.


I have had an ADSENSE banner on the blog for just over a year. This has earned me the princely sum of £21, thank you. Yesterday I took the banner off and the blog template went to scrap. I will get it back again but it will take time, meanwhile all the links, if you cant see them, are at the bottom of the page.
Word to the wise dont fiddle with the blog before doing a backup. DOH!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

What a good idea.

This was a comment from Area D in the last post. I felt it needed a airing on its own.

There are no wheel clamps in France. This is because when they were introduced the French public put super glue in the locks. Within two weeks they were withdrawn. Single-use wheel clamps simply are not economic. The French public acted together and stopped the scourge. We allowed it to go on and so we still live with them.

Whatever you think of the French they do tend to stand up to bureaucratic claptrap more than we do.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Pay up sucker!

A 76 year old grandfather was issued a £60 littering fine after his cigarette, which he had only just lit, was knocked out of his hand. The over zealous warden called him away from where his cigarette had landed so he was distracted from picking it up, he had only just lit the cigarette so it wasn't a case of just leaving it. He wrote to the council and asked for them to investigate. They said, "Pay up or the fine will be increased to £80". Maybe if he had punched the warden in the nose he would have just got a caution from the police and not a £60 fine.

Abingdon Council operate in a similar way in their car parks, as do most councils, if you over stay the fine is £80 but the noticeboard says 'if you are a good little citizen and pay within ten days' the fine is reduced to £50. This of course is an attempt to make you think you can save thirty quid and pay up without argument. The wrongness, if there is such a word, of this is that it is a faulty edict. The fine is £50 if you do not pay up with in ten days it is increased to £80. It's a bit like saying if the dentist smiles it wont hurt.

The Abingdon system relies on the fact that people people don't want to over pay for their parking and by the same token cant always guarantee when their business will be concluded. Pay and display car parks are a con often robbing the public by not giving change and not allowing people to pass on tickets by insisting you type in your car number before you can get a ticket. There you could pay for 4 hours finish in two and the council wont give you a refund but overstay 5 minutes and WHAM! Pay up sucker!

This is not really about paying for what you get it's about controlling people and making a shed load of money. Who owns the car parks? We do. So why are the councils fining us for parking in our own car park? The answer is a simple one. WE LET THEM DO IT!

Is this how fascism starts? Have you ever wondered where all those school bullies went to? I think they become councillors and MPs.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Last year I didnt have a mooring. I travelled up and down the South Oxford to a greater or lesser degree. This year I have two moorings and I am having trouble getting rid of one. Please don't tell me there is a shortage.

Busy busy

Last Thursday I drove to Lower Heyford where I met up with Graham (nb ALNWICK) and cruised down to Thrupp arriving at dusk. A really nice day. Added to this Bones cooked dinner for G&J and us.

Halfie (nb SHADOW)came to visit Friday we had lunch at the Boat Inn with him and dinner at the pub later with the Alnwicks. This was also her ladyships birthday which started with opening of the prezzies ceremony.

Bones (nb BONES) had her new side hatch installed on Saturday and of course there was the banter in the evening. Probably the best one yet!

Sunday at 9 we were awoken by Alnwick to accompany them on the journey back, we were also joined by Simon (nb TORTOISE). What a good day out despite the cold and the rain. Bones and Jane and Simon left us at Heyford and Graham and I continued on. The girls had gone off car swapping and, arriving back at Aynho, walked sown to Somerton Lock to meet us. We managed to make it to Aynho. Jane cooked us dinner before we settled down to watch some very informative vids about trains. GC fell off the book case and tried to look nonchalant with that 'I was trying to do that' look. Graham took us both home about 10ish.

Busy busy.

Friday, 28 November 2008

I don't believe it!!! EDIT

I watched with incredulity yesterday as two BW workers, who were filling in holes down the side of canal, committed an act of theft. The holes were filled first with clay then a coarse gravel then the topping (soil). The soil was removed from the flower tubs, all full of bulbs, that are placed there by members of the Thrupp Crusing Club. In effect these workers stole the soil and probably could be charged if TCC wanted to make a point of it. Well done BW!

One of the filled holes and the flower tub.



Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The refit

It was nearly two weeks ago that herself started to dismantle her bedroom. Then the royal 'we' took over and I was invited to help. The cupboard/wardrobe above the bed is now no more and that is as far as we have got (unless you include the light fitting in the ceiling).

Progress has been curtailed for a number of reasons, too flimsy to go into here. but this weekend will see the last excuse sink into oblivion. The Banter will have been and gone the new side hatch will have been fitted and a shed has appeared to hold the contents of the bedroom while it it is stripped.

We are still waiting for some pictures and drawing of a bed hinge, but with the fitting of the hatch we can get on with the main job of emptying the room for de-rusting and re-lining.

One of the reasons I bought a new boat is so I didn't have to do such things, got that wrong didn't I. Still if I am to do such things I couldn't do it for a nicer gel.

Better and better

Last night was a triumph and a first. A triumph because dinner was very good and a first because I had never seen Bones use a recipe before.

This morning the sun is clattering in through the window, extremely bright and warm.

This little gem appeared in my inbox this morning. I just couldnt resist posting it here.


(Actual AP headline)

Lisa Burnett, 23, a resident of San Diego, was visiting her inlaws. While there she went to a nearby supermarket to pick up some groceries.

Several people noticed her sitting in the car with the windows rolled up with her eyes closed and both hands behind the back of her head. One customer who had been at the store for a while became concerned and walked over to the car. He noticed that Lisa'a eyes were now open and she looked very strange.

He asked if she was OK and Lisa said she had been shot in the back of the head and had been holding her brains in for over an hour. The man called the paramedics who had to break into the car because it was locked and Lisa refused to take a hands from the back of her head. When they finally got in they found Lisa had a wad of dough on the back of her head. A Pilsbury biscuit canister had exploded in the heat, making a loud noise that sounded like a gunshot and the wad of dough hit her in the back of her head. When she reached back to find out what it was she felt the dough and thought it was her brains. She initially passed out, but quickly recovered and tried to hold her brains in for over an hour until someone noticed and came to her aid. Lisa is a blonde

Monday, 24 November 2008

Picture book

I kinda like the mechanism that hinges the lift bridge.

On a recent visit to eldest daughter I thought I would visit one of the many houses I have lived in. This tree is one of two that I bought many years ago when it was in a 3 inch pot and measured just 4 inches high. I kept them in a bucket until they were about 2 foot high then planted them out at the end of the path. One of them had to be cut down because it was lifting the paving but this one still survives though for how long is anyones guess. No it is not Leylandii it is a Thunbergii.

Here is our favourite new resident Dennis. Dennis is a Lab staffie cross, daft as a brush and steals our wood pile.

Friday, 14 November 2008


I WON!!!

Today I won £500,000 on the UK National Lottery. I am getting tired of winning all this money. Every week I win a couple of million, it really is monotonous. You know and I know that these emails are fake but there are some who don't. The real lottery commission have a web page about these 'wins'. and it is worth a look.

Lottery Commission

If you think you know someone who might be vulnerable to this sort of scam make sure they read the link.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Red diesel

So now that the deadline has passed there is still some confusion about who is responsible for what and what the ‘split’ actually means.

According to those who make the rules Red Diesel is sold with a 60/40% split. That means 60% (extra duty will be paid) for propulsion and 40% (no extra duty paid) for domestic use. A lot of boaters would argue that this is wrong because they never move their boat,they then can declare 100% Domestic. HMRC say '60/40 is only a guide'. A boater may if he so desires declare 50/50 as long as he can support that claim.

It is up to the individual boater to declare his Propulsion/Domestic ratio. Any supplier who insist on charging the increase on all fuel supplied is breaking the law. If a boater says to a supplier that his consumption is 10/90 then the supplier has to accept that and pass that extra duty on to the HMRC. He cannot insist that you declare 60/40. It is not his job. The responsibility to make a correct declaration lays with the boater not the supplier.

The supplier is merely a tax collector, the hard work has been done by HMRC, so he does not need your name and address. You on the other hand need to keep records of cruising and fuel bought so you can justify your declaration to HMRC. No one is going to slap the supplier if you make a false declaration.

The extra duty brought about by the deregulation of red diesel, 40.66 p per litre, is only due on that fuel used for propulsion other fuel used for heating lighting (charging batteries) is not subject to the new surcharge. This new duty will also incur 5% VAT so most suppliers will round up to 43p per litre

Should a supplier want to charge you 60/40 on all fuel purchased then you should only buy enough fuel to get you to a supplier that knows his responsibility. And don’t forget to report errant suppliers to the HMRC so they can receive a slap. I have heard of one supplier that is making a £15 surcharge if you declare other than 60/40. I personally would say this is illegal, not because he is charging, but because this may encourage you to accept 60/40 when this is not true. Hence the errant supplier may possibly be aiding and abetting you in making a false declaration, this is against the law.

HM Revenue & Customs has specifically stated in its briefing notes to sellers that they are not responsible for questioning what percentage a customer declares, nor for verifying the customers name and address.

So thats' it then, simple as V-A-T.


I think Jamie Lucas is dumb!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

And the rest of the Weekend

The rest of our weekend was spent in the company of the ALNWICK's, Graham and Jane. Bones being Bones had emailed them to ask if they would like to invite us up for the weekend, which they did. However they were spending the weekend in their house not on their boat.

Not a problem we were feeling down so a weekend in a house was quite the change we needed. The stairs didn't seem to be a problem and Bones got to have a steaming bath.

Graham and Jane were very welcoming and fed us well. We left late Sunday following church and lunch, feeling very relaxed.

More from Didcot


Saturday we had the opportunity to visit the engineering sheds at Didcot.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Book Launch (+pic)

Friday evening saw us at the Ashmolean Museum for the launch of Bill Hine's new book. I have never been to the Ash before and had a thoroughly good evening. Bill is probably better known to most as the man with a shark in his roof. He came to Oxford from America 20 years ago to study law and never left.

At last the camera gave it up! Hurrah!!!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Autumn . . . .

. . . . advancing at a pace.

Visiting friends

As age creeps up I tend to forget things even things that are/were nice. We often meet up with passing boaters who through the inet have become mates then later friends and I simply forget to post about the meetings. I helped Tony Little bring his boat down the river from Lechlade to Enysham and completely forgot to blog it and that was now several momths ago. Tony and Mo have been around quite a lot of canals since and I met them again at the Anchor just off Aristotle Lane Bridge a few weeks ago where he reminded me that no blog post was in evidence of our trip. Sorry Tony my brain seems to be ageing faster than yours.

Two weeks ago we recieved a call from nb BOBCAT. Can we meet up? It was arranged that we would join them for dinner at the Brasenose Arms in Cropredy that Sunday evening. So we grabbed Proper Job (henceforth called PJ) and set off for Cropredy arriving fashionably late following Bones' attempt to make the car fly . . . . she bottled out!

Dinner was fab. I had the Salmon followed by Apple Strudel. A good night was had by all and we are looking forward to our invite to the launch of the new boat.

Rob and Kath were joined on their holiday with their friends Yvonne and Bryan. Bryan will be fitting out Kaths boat when the hull builders are finished with it.

It was finding this pic on my computer that reminded me of that meeting so consequently producing this post. The old grey stuff aint what it used to be.
From l-to-r Yvonne Rob Bryan Kath

Thursday, 30 October 2008


Well there I was minding my own business. Morts engine needed attention and I dont like the cold. A flutter of eyelashes and I was ensnared. Fix the great ship Bones it was then.

Tapping holes is not difficult especially as I used to teach people how to do it. what is difficult is adjusting the alternator after. There have been two great loves in my life, computers and the guitar. Both take a toll on fingers wrists and arms. I am left with little arm strength. Oh I can grab a rope and pull a boat but that is using body weight in the main. Other stuff is more difficult. I tapped out the holes (3 - one still had a bit of bolt in it) and bolted the pulley to the engine. Trying to finagle the alternator so that I could put the fan belt on was more spannering than I could muster. So her ladyship had to finish the job when she came home from work. I was able to help by heaving on a rope to pull the alternator back into place while she did the bolts up.

On trying the key the engine ran a short period-Verrrrooooommmm- then-kersplat- and died. This was only a temporary kersplat- after trying a few more starts it eventually roared into life. The great ship Bones can now charge batteries and heat water. Life for Mort has been dragged back from the cold and dark ages into the modern world once again.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Kidlington Green

Not far from Thrupp we moored up for lunch. Just outside the Sheriff of Kidlingtons house as it happens. This is a 14 day mooring, but one would never believe that. The grass cutters had been this far but, as you can see from the pictures they only managed to trim down the side of the track and not the by the water. This means that walkers who do not pay a licence have the path trimmed and boaters who do pay a licence have to hack their way through a jungle to get off their boat. Walkers also allow their dogs to s**t in the jungle making life for the hapless boater unpleasant.

The sad thing is that there is Armco piling here and it is a nice place to moor if the vegetation could be cut back. It would be interesting to find out if the local inhabitants on the other side of the canal have anything to do with this. I know of at least one who complains regularly about boats mooring there.

Mindless morons

We moved up from Wolvercote last Friday to Thrupp. I set off for the lock to set it for Bones and after seeing her through I hauled my boat into the lock. It was as my boat was sitting in the lock that I noticed the bicycle was missing. Doh! I had left it chained to the fence.

Leaving the boat in the lock I trotted the 100 yards or so back to where the cycle was. I tilted the machine away from the fence to get at the lock. Imagine my surprise when the cycle came away from the fence lock an' all.

Some joker had cut through the cable. This reminded me that earlier in the morning another boater had asked me if I had heard anything in the early hours as she had had two cycles stolen in the night. This I found curious as she was moored up about a mile away why would I hear anything.

However I can only assume that the tealeaf had spotted my bike and decided to 'prep' it for collection later. So we are short of a bike lock. What I don't understand is that it not the sort of bike anyone with half a brain would want to nick. It rusty as hell and looks like it was just dragged out of the canal. Still I suppose it was dark. The mind boggles.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Of Aardvarks and stuff

Trawling through the site meter I see someone was searching Google for 'Aardvark trimming machine'. The mind boggles untill you click on the link.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Directors Bonus

I found this link on the Canal Forum It was taken from NBW

It is a must read for all boaters. The Directors Bonus

Yet another fine idea

One can always rely on Bones (the woman) to come up with some wonderful ideas. Thursday Dusty came and delivered Coal, fuel and two rather long boat poles she had purchased from the chandler up near Dusty's home base. This left her with a dilemma, what to do with the old pole.

Saturday saw her franticly sawing oblong sections of ply and Steve (nb OCELOT), who had just innocently sauntered down hoping the kettle might be on, ended up nailing them to the old pole.

So now Bones has a paddle of sorts and is wanting to try it out. What surprises me the most is that Steve actually got in the 'Banana' and let her take him to the lock while standing up!

I used to think Steve was alright but now I wonder about his sanity as I am sure he does.

Her ladyship now encouraged buy the success of this venture is planning her next experiment venture in the Banana this time with a sail which somehow she thinks we will assist her with, time to visit my mother in London methinks. I wonder if Steve might like to come along?

Monday, 20 October 2008

Veg Pledge PAH!

Last week the contractors came to trim the edges of the towpath. I should have done it myself.

Just north of Edwards lift bridge are the remains of another bridge. Even if you ignore the tables it is difficult to understand why the rest is so . . . . . CRAP!!!

I think I just may know what the problem is. Those who are employed to do the grass are CRAP at doing their job, but then again who do they have as a role model?

This is a mooring. Note the neatly trimmed something or other. The overhanging willow is almost blocking the canal. The contractors started at the bottom end and as far as I know continued on up the canal. We are at Wolvercote and they certainly came this far.

At last!

OK so it took a while but I finally got a new phone 200 minutes and 500 texts £18. That should save me a few shekels.

I am a Nokia phone fan, they seem to me to be much stronger/hard wearing than all other phones I have had, but this time I went for an LG. I may live to regret this but I do live in hope.

My phone package included the hand set for free, which is quite amazing really Especially as it has a built in 5 Mega pixel camera. I had been looking to get a new camera but won't have to now.

I wonder if it floats?

I knicked the pic

Friday, 17 October 2008

Real boaters do it with a rope!

Any boater worth his salt knows there are somethings that are 'gospel'. Such as no matter how long a rope is it will at some point be just that little bit too short. Or no matter how slow you are going someone will tell you to slow down. Or even if there is smoke pouring out of your windows someone will always ask if there is a fire. One more:- in any group of non boaters comprising of 2 or more people someone will ask if it's cold in the winter.

Likewise any boater worth his salt knows you don't get off a boat single handed without a rope. Well most boaters know. Last night I did a short run in the dark. The tunnel light was pointing too high so at a convenient rail bridge I placed the bows on the bank and stepped off to adjust the lamp. Not realising that the contrast between the bright lamp and the dark behind it would stop me from judging distance at the front of the boat and I couldn't see to step on to the boat.

The front of the boat drifted away across the other side of the canal following the stern and laid itself neatly against the wall. Oh dear what to do?

Well I cursed a bit then I cursed a bit more and if that wasn't enough I cursed louder like that was going to elicit help from above. There was no way to get across the canal unless I shimmied up the bridge and climbed across then jumped down in the dark . . . er I don't think so.

After about ten minutes the boat started to move very slowly backwards not a lot of good because even a suicide mission off the bridge would soon be out of the question, but lo and behold (do people say that anymore) as the boat drifted back the bow came away from the wall. Using all my 'mental power' I willed the boat to come to me.

It took about 20 minutes all told to from when I stepped off until I stepped back on again which given the stupidity of the situation wasn't bad.

In Abingdon . . .

. . . a few weeks ago I took a tumble on a protruding access cover in the street. I broke my wristwatch strap in the fall, the spring pin that holds the strap on. No problem take it to a friendly jeweller and he will fix it, which he did for £1. Cool!

I must have damaged the other pin because shortly after that broke too. Yesterday I went to get it fixed. Not being in Abingdon (who were now known for their strap fixing) I paid a visit to the metropolis of Oxford. The first shop Samuels were very helpful. "No problem Sir that will be £1". Unfortunately he couldn't find the correct one but did apologise and tightened up the one that had already been repaired. Thank you.

The next shop said, "No problem Sir that will be £1". Unfortunately he couldn't find the correct one either but did point me to the kiosk in Debenhams where I duly went (its tough being a boater).

It took me a while to find said kiosk, but when I did I asked, holding out my watch, "Can you fix this".

"Oh yes," said the girl, "that will be £6!.

"No just the strap pin".

Yes Sir, that will be £6".

"Are you serious?"

"Yes sir".

"Don't you know there is a credit crunch on", I said rather pointlessly, "that is 500% more than anyone else is charging"

Yes sir but we use special pins not like the other people do".

"What you mean high grade titanium with built in GPS tracker", I said, "are you serious?

"It wont take long", she said, failing to understand that I thought she was robbing me.

"I would rather keep it in my pocket than pay that extortionate price", with which I took back my watch and left.

I eventually had it done in the market but even they charged me 3 quid and I had to go back in half an hour. On arrival I was told "Sorry I'll do it now". It took 2 minutes. So if anyone wants a good paying job you could do worse than watch strap fixer they make £90 and hour in some places £180 in others (supply your own pins).

I missed this . . . .

. . . . from my post last Sunday:-

Increasing the cost of continuous cruising (which includes continuous mooring)by a significant sum—so as to provide an incentive for people to seek permanent moorings elsewhere, and to raise income which could partly be used for enforcement of continuous mooring.

Tell me if I am right. This possible proposal is suggesting that CCers have their licence fee hiked to raise funds to deal with continuous moorers. Why is that something CCers should sort out.

The number of itinerant moorers has steadily increased over the last 5 years. BW has had the temerity to take their licence fees and do nothing to stop them. This problem is mis-management. The funding for this should come out of the fund put aside for senior execs bonuses, who often by their own addmissions have failed to do what they are paid for. When I failed in my job the only thing I got was my cards.

It would seem that we live in a society where screwing up is OK if you sit in a big fancy chair because you can shaft some other poor bugger to correct your blunders. Well its about time boaters stood together. All (all boaters) make a point this weekend of writing to at least three government officials including your MP.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Medoc or Mobile

It may come as a surprise to some that I, the Maffster, have a pay-as-you-go phone. It cost me about 40/50 quid a month. I ask myself whats the point? What I need is a £15 a month phone deal with hundreds of minutes and texts absolutely free!

Today I went out to find the deal I could ive with. I went to 3 I went to Virgin I went to phones4you even O2 and the carphone warehouse in fact I went everywhere I could with the exception of Vodaphone (who once tried to charge me 13 payments for a 12 month contract I did suggest that they were welcome to come and get their money but they declined when I told them I lived in Al Qaeda central Riyadh).

The trouble with mobile phones is there is so much choice. So after a day in the Oxford metropolis I came back with a nice bottle of wine. Good choice methinks.

Bloody email pirates

In the last few months I have been having problems with internet pirates stealing my email address and sending my contacts junk mail purporting to be from me. This is really pi55ing me off and no doubt the people I know who receive these posts.

Many of those who were on my contact list now have me blocked this means each time my email is used by these bastards I get a hundred or more 'DELIVERY FAILURE' emails back. It would seem that I cannot redirect these to my junk box.

I did go to one site which had nothing to do with what the email was selling and emailed all the directors with copies of the email I was getting and the perps name and I never heard from him again, hopefully he got sacked.

I do every once in a while return an offencive reply. One chap replied "I am only doing my job". "Strange job", said I, "pi55ing people off".

I have changed my password on several occasions but still they use my email address. Changing my password usually results in losing my contact list which is a bit like losing your mobile phone . . . . . devastating!

As I understand it it is illegal to use other peoples email address for this purpose, but that doesn't seem to apply to the Pharmaceutical trade or the Chinese for that matter. Maybe what is needed is a space station that can pin-point these jerks and zapp them to dust, perhaps a few public hangings might do the trick.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The trouble with computers is. .

. . . . . . you have to take what 'they' want you to have. My old computer was a Fujitsu Siemans. I bought it in Riyadh. It had an Arabic keyboard and was set for Arabic language. I insisted that the chappie at the compstore should remove all traces of Arabic (except the keyboard) which he duly did, but not it would seem 'all'. Eventually the licence collapsed and I was left with an invalid copy of XP. I have always liked 98 and had the system set as 98.

My new computer is also a Fujitsu Seimens (stick with what you know). The spec is just about the same as the old one which was designed for XP, however, this machine has Vista Basic installed. It does nothing I ask it to do straight away. Whereas things should happen in the click of a button it seems intent on showing me its little "wait I'm getting to it" sign. It does loads of things I don't want it to do, but most important it does them slowly which is not what one would expect from the latest 'sh!t off a shovel' system.

Getting to my hotmail should be easy but Vista no longer supports web based HTTP email. And for some reason when I installed Live Mail, as it says I should to get hotmail, it didn't bring my contact list with it. MSM Messenger also lost it contact list so I have a list now with only Bones on it.

Of course it could be that Vista was not meant for this spec computer, but all the computer sheds seem to insist on giving you what you don't want or need. Free with the computer is a disk 'worth' £12.49. it is in essence a taster disc which will let you have a service for a short while then charge you to use it after the expiry time (which is probably about the time you have uploaded all your pics onto their system for 'safe' keeping). So its an advert and not a freebie at all.

I wonder why when a company says, "WE HAVE WHAT YOU WANT" they don't add "AS LONG AS YOU WANT WHAT WE HAVE" it would make life so much easier. It would also help if they stopped box shifting and offered a bit of flexibility.

I think I will install my legal copy of XP if I can get Vista off completely. Life was so much easier then, but I seem to remember saying that about 97, 98 and even 3.1.1

A leafy Oxford towpath

So here we are again in autumn.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Continuous Cruising again

Once again the Continuous Cruiser is likey to get an unwelcome bashing. According to one report just out from the BWAF.

Increasing the cost of continuous cruising (which includes continuous mooring) by a significant sum—so as to provide an incentive for people to seek permanent moorings elsewhere, and to raise income which could partly be used for enforcement of continuous mooring.

We had this two years ago where a 'significant' sum was deemed to be 247% increase.

Agreed this is only one suggestion but of the five listed this is the one that will most likely be accepted, the others in the text already say they are not really an option.

The BWAF is not representing the Continuous Cruiser. If they were they would not include CCer in the same sentence as CMer. And they would most certainly not suggest that a CCer should seek permanent moorings elsewhere. CCers do not need a permanent mooring that is the whole bloody point. Are these people stupid or just incapable of understanding simple English. A Continuous Cruiser cruises continuously what good would a permanent mooring be.

Sure if BW want to penalise someone the penalise the right people, err that would be the ones in the brackets.

I have said it before and I will say it again charge a CCer a mooring fee and he will not see time limits. Then the BWAF (which includes the APCO and many other commercial bodies) will have lost their argument completely by making the problem worse.

In the same report it says:
In the absence of agreement about a workable strategy for differentiating continuous cruisers and continuous moorers, British Waterways must continue to treat both groups in the same way.

I would suggest that if BW cant find a way of diferentiating then resign and let someone in that can. One stays put the other moves. It aint rocket science.

Lieutenant Pigeon

Let's get this sorted. The said Lieutenant was, when bought to me, rather sad and dishevelled. I could not however wring its neck without trying to give it succour and comfort. This I did with sweet words, water and oatmeal (ok readybrek). It seemed to be doing OK as you will see in the pic below. He even flew off the boat a couple of times.

Bones didn't think my 'oatmeal' was suitable and gave it something sweet and sticky. It was after this that the Lieutenant started to go down hill. He collapse in exhaustion unable to stand, breathing heavy and eyes rolling. It was when his heart stopped beating I decided it was not snoozing.

The Lieutenant, now bereft of life, lay in my hand completely motionless. It was at this point I thought that now might be a good time to practice wringing a birds neck in case I should ever have to do it again.

The bird was definitely dead. It was an ex-pigeon. It had ceased to exist. And just in case it hadn't, with a wrung neck it wasn't going to cooing classes anymore. End of.

Which reminds me, Why is a pigeon superior to a Merchant Banker. Because he can still put a deposit on a Ferrari.

Apologies to the boys of Monty Python

Saturday, 11 October 2008

BOO! Back again.

My computer went tits up last week hence no posts. It had been promising me it would fail eversince it fell off the shelf in the kitchen. I should have backed up all my files as I used to tell every one when I worked in IT. I now have a new one. I promise when it tells me 'You can't do that' for the umpteenth time I will not punch the keyboard.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008


Maybe I am just sensitive, but I cannot abide umbrellas. The owners of this dubious fashion accessory seem incapable of understanding the damage that can be wrought with the rib ends to anyone's eyes let alone mine.

Umbrellas have a simple function to keep the rain off ones head and shoulders, so why, oh why, oh why do some people carry umbrellas that could house a circus. A golf umbrella is for the golf course not the city.

I am surprised that H&S of even the EU have not outlawed them yet.

I can only say that the morons who wield these dangerous weapons should at least be compelled to have insurance lest they injure anyone especially me!

Maybe this is the answer

Sunday, 28 September 2008


We had a visit today by a plastic hire boat who thought it would be great fun to come under Abingdon bridge as fast as possible. Not only did he send all the plastic boats around on a white knuckle ride on their morings, poor old Tapper was thrown off balance in his boat and cut his head open. Don't let me hear anyone say speeding doesn't do any harm.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Love the Gov

What a caring government we have. In response to a petition for separate service hospitals they have said this:-

The Government is entirely committed to providing excellent medical care for the members of the Armed Forces and for veterans and we share the aspiration of the petitioners to see Servicemen and women and veterans receive the best medical care possible. However, we do not believe that this would be achieved by attempting to create a separate military and veterans hospital in the UK.

Then they said this:-

“The principle behind the decision to move from stand-alone military hospitals to facilities which co-operate with the NHS was the right one, from a clinical, administrative and financial point of view.”

So its not about money then?

The former UK military hospitals, which have been progressively phased out from the mid 1990s, increasingly failed to offer the range and volume of cases that military doctors, nurses and allied health professionals needed to remain at the leading edge of their professions. This is a pre-requisite for providing the best possible operational medical care which is at the heart of
the Defence Medical Services.

It's about the career path of the clinicians. Oh well thats alright then.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Doo Doo again

One thing the Rochdale seems to have a lot of is doggie doo. Lock surrounds seem to be a favourite place to unload ones dog. The signs BW have put in place are yet another waste of money. There is no policing. Maybe there needs to be a shotgun policy!

Monday, 22 September 2008


Sometimes the water level on the Rochdale is less than adequate as seen here in the pound before the summit.


I picked up a hitchhiker on the Rochdale. Kate thought it was great.


Finally a reason for those damned bollards

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Another little change

Milly's back end looked rather swish when I first took her out on the water. However it soon became apparent that the circuit breaker panel was not best placed. Not only was it on an opening door, but it was in the entrance so CB's were often switched off as people came in or went out.

A little bit of jiggery pokery and it is now mounted on the forward panel of the electric cupboard.

The old position is being formed into a place to keep current maps.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Emails are not from me.

If you got an email from me about a company, it wasn't from me at all.

Sorry folks.

Oh Ship!!!!!!!

I don't really understand all this ship shit. My boat is not a 'qualifying ship', but then it isnt any kind of ship. It was never intended to be any kind of ship and it will never be any kind of ship.

I had my boat built specifically for me to live on and to this end I sold my house to finance it. It is my home it is not a ship it is the only home I have.

I did not pay VAT on my brick house. So why should I or anyone pay VAT on any house they buy. There is no law that says I cannot live on my boat full time so I do.

As long a God makes little apples I will never understand why HMRC insist that this is a ship but doesn't qualify as a ship for living on.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

So wrong!

This is a Dutch Barge converted for living on. The owner, Lt Cmdr Colin Stone, recently won a landmark decision in the courts against the HMRC and doesn't have to pay VAT on the boat. Why I ask is Milly M not subject to the same ruling. It is after all my only residence

HMRC v Lt Cmdr Colin Stone (The Kei)

HMRC has lost its appeal in the
High Court, against a Tribunal decision that a sea-going Vessel (a reproduction Dutch barge) qualified for zero-rating within the meaning of Schedule 8, Group 8, item 1 Value Added Tax Act 1994.

The appellant (Commander Stone) was applying to bring in a houseboat which was capable of self propulsion. However, he was intending to use it for a residential purpose. HMRC argued that VAT was payable but the High Court confirmed that it qualified for zero-rating.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Continuous Cruisers again

If you should look in the email section of NBW you will find a string of emails about, once again, Continuous Cruisers. I, of course, emailed my thoughts, but Tom Crossley decided enough was enough and didn't publish it, that's fair he's the boss, but not wanting to be unheard I thought I would put it here.

Sympathies my a**e

Of course Gillian Stokes was 'Harrisioned' about her comments re Continuous Cruisers and Continuous Moorers.

There is a difference and she fails to see it.

Although in her last email she does leave out CCers when she says "That Di, is how I knew they were continuous moorers. I would have thought it obvious." If she wanted it to be obvious she should learn to differentiate.

A Continuous Cruiser pays the same licence fee as a marina moorer and as such has the same right to moor on a visitor mooring as a marina moorer which ever store they may be near.

She may come out of her secure mooring once in a blue moon and have problems mooring outside Sainsbury's but genuine CCers have the same problem irrespective of the colour of the lunar orb.

Being a CCer is not a 'privilege' as she says, it is a planned for life choice. It is also absolutely legal due to an Act of Parliament.

She needs to remember that if a CCer is charged a mooring fee they may well just stay put and ignore the limits.

She also needs to remember that a genuine CCer is not taking up space in a large pile of bricks that can be better utilised by a family.

If you feel you have something to say on the topic I will gladly publish it here.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The Rag Doll (edited)

Someone on the Canal World Forum was asking after The RAG DOLL of Rosie and Jim fame. This reminded me that I had seen her several times moored up near Aynho Bridge on the south Oxford canal. She was looking in a sorry state. Maybe she had fallen on hard times after she was replaced by a cartoon. Or perhaps it was those fat ugly Telly Tubbies, with less English than Bill & Ben, who usurped her crown. Who knows? Ask Dusty the Coalman.

Clickable for larger image

According to the site Rag Doll is not currently on air at this time. And if you ask if you can visit Rag Doll the answer is no 'The Rag Doll is not open to visitors a the moment'.

Addendum: I am told this is not 'THE' Rag Doll. B*ll*cks!

Monday, 25 August 2008

New visitors old friends

It has been a while since I said 'Goodbye' to Jaynthie. You may remember, if you have been reading this blog for a long time, Jaynthie used to work for me in Saudi. She left Saudi Christmas 2005, that was just before the Tsunami that devastated the southern seas and her home country Sri Lanka.

I have spoken on the phone a few times since and was very pleased when her now husband Steve Clarke called and said they would like to visit this weekend.

They arrived at 9 am with Jaynthie's sister Chandry in tow and after the usual pleasantries we set off up Abingdon Lock for water and a pump out. The queue was enormous and it took about two hours to get sorted. Following this we set off down stream heading for Clifton Hampden to go for lunch at the Plough, up the weir stream. On arrival there were three plastic boats moored up on the only available moorings and the kids were all playing around more plastic boats. They weren't eating at the pub just playing.

I turned around and made my way down to the bridge past the lock where we moored and went to the Barley Mow for our lunch. I was surprised to learn that both Jaynthie and Chandry remember my youngest daughter Kim, from photos, and the fact that she had graduated from Uni.

After lunch I had a call from Kim (funny that?) asking where I was and could she visit ....di da di da di da. We arranged that she and Jim would catch up with us at Culham Lock. Sure enough when we were in the lock K&J arrived. I checked out with the locky if it was alright to stop for half an hour. "Yes, but right on the far end." So we did.

It was a surprise that they should want to come down but not so much as the surprise I got when I discovered the reason. Introductions were made, I think J&C were quite pleased to meet Kim.

Kim and Jim have been together for ten years. They lived in my house while I was away globe-trotting and eventually bought it. This weekend they decided to make it official and Kim was toting an antique engagement ring. I am so happy for them both. And glad I was the first one they wanted to tell. Woooo Hoooooo!

K&J left after about half an hour and we continued on our way to Abingdon. Arriving about 6:15 and mooring up in the same place I had left 9 hours ago. It was great to see them all again. Steve seemed more relaxed after a day on the boat, and the girls were happy that they had seen this old buzzard once again.



Sunday, 24 August 2008

Nite Puddles XXXXX


Surprise! Surprise! We went to the IWA festival yesterday. One would have thought that there would have been signs, but no, they didn't bother.

We stayed over in Wolverhampton so we were close to the airport for Bones' trip to Holland. Funny hotel, there seemed to be no staff on over night. We got up very early, well early for us anyway, and left by the back door ( which locked behind us) to get the car in the carpark, only to find the carpark was locked and we had to wait over half an hour for some one to come and let us out. So we wasted that time getting wet.

We wont stop there again!

Bones is now in Holland drinking coffee in the local café.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Some are just unprepared

Jim and Melanie, bless 'em, usually do their boating on the sea. I met them up at the marina this morning while I was sorting out some things. This afternoon they arrived at the bridge and moored up. Unfortunately Jim was not prepared for the river and was mooring his boat with what I can only describe as tent pegs. I loaned him a proper pin, weeeeeell Jim doesn't usually do rivers so it was all new to him. He did promptly go off and buy two proper pins and a replacement for his rubber hammer. Good man.

They are all out today!!!

Today we have had one bozo who not being able to see the front of his boat ended up thumping Mort's boat. I'm sorry but when people who are at fault, and he was at fault, call it "an accident" saying "these things happen" and then have the nerve to say "the insurance will deal with it that what its for" then seemingly wash their hands of it I get f***ing mad. It wasn't an accident! It could have been avoided if he had turned where he had enough space. And then to blame his son for not telling him how far to the island that really takes the biscuits. The man in charge of the boat is the man with the tiller in his hand. The accident was in my view total incompetence.

Then later we had another idiot came along who wanted to put a 60ft narrow boat through a 4ft high bridge. By the time he decided he wouldn't go through the hole he barely had enough time to select full reverse. He was lucky! Funny old thing he was the second twat to try that today.

Later this evening I went to the Londis shop, we had run out of milk, I came back to see another boat moored behind Jim. A Tupperware called Charlee. Not to worry that it is a NO MOORING place it's his choice really. What really annoyed me was I tipped over his rope. He didn't have any pins and, wait for it, he tied his boat up with black ropes, it was dark, to the NO MOORING sign. He must take the award for twat of the week, but it gets worse. his son then came up and breasted up along side him and between them they closed off half the bridge.

You just know he knows how wrong he was when he called me a "pathetic little person" for taking a picture of the situation. Sorry if he thinks I was wrong but F**k mate you need lessons in basic stuff like reading. He left saying he was not welcome. It has nothing to do with not being welcome there are some things that you just don't do and he did several, any boater has the right to display righteous indignation when these people are out and about plying their stupidity.

Krash again!

So just about noon the nb Lady Grace came steaming down the river and tried to turn on the island. Big mistake! His bow hit the island and with full right rudder his stern, caught by the stream, slewed round and he became firmly wedged between the island and nb Bones. After some time we managed to free him from that situation and then as he slid off the back of nb Bones he hit me. I have to wonder who lets these people out on the river.

He is not new to boating and not new to the river. At the very least I think he needs his eyes testing if he couldn't see his proximity to the island. He was relying on his 12yo son on the front to tell him where his bow was in relation to the island, who of course couldnt hear and might not of appreciated the stream of the river.

Salters Steamers do the same manoeuvre he was trying several times a day with out problem and with a damned bigger boat. Obviously not a man to be near on the river.

Always remember you can't turn a 60ft boat in a 59ft space.

Abigail: the report

Many of you will remember the incident last month when the Abigail got stuck in a lock. BW have produced a report. This is just the conclusion.

“The conclusion of the report is that brickwork in the lock was not protruding or in such condition to have been the cause of the incident.

Using information from engineer reports, photographs and an eyewitness statement, it is considered the most likely cause of the incident was that the crew of the boat concerned, regrettably, did not manage the locking appropriately

“British Waterways is confident the lock remains in sound condition and is safe for boaters to continue using in accordance with good practice.”

I fully understand that it is possible that those locking through 'may' have been in attentive, but "Did not manage the locking appropriately", does not explain why this boat ended up. . . up ended. . . does it?

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Some people you just have to love

The wonderfully named Yvonne Umpleby related in an email headed Stoned at Wallingford on NBW the story of her clash with 'bandits'.

She then goes on to berate CCers 'who are multyplying by the day' and 'it's enough to make a person weep'.

'Another question', she says, 'why do these 'continuous cruisers' have to be so scruffy (lack of paint, wheelbarrow, logs, bike, their worldly goods and not forgetting the blue tarpaulin'.

I am not sure what CCers have to do with being 'Stoned at Wallingford'.

I assume that she has never been on a council estate. Though most residents are upstanding members of the comunity there are always those who 'appear' not to be. It doesn't make them bad people just people you would rather not live near. (I could tell you stories)

In my time on the canal I have met many people. Some with smart boats, some not so smart, some in need of a good lick of paint. One thing that amazes me about positively 'mankey' boats, well those I have been on, is the outside isn't always a good indication of whats on the inside or the people that own them. I suppose it's all about priorities. When the choice is 'eat' or 'paint' I know which I would do.

Not everyone lives on a boat because they want to, some do so simply because its all they have.

You have to love her, but I think Yvonne Umpleby neads a reality check!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


Eyes are funny things. Of all the senses you could lose sight would, I think, be the worst loss.

Since having a second operation for a torn retina my eyesight has improved a lot. The bubble that is inserted to aid healing is now receding, but unfortunately not fast enough.

Shortly after the op I booked to fly to Amsterdam for the weekend at the end of August. Some one then queried whether I would be able to fly with the bubble in. I wish they had thought of that earlier. I queried that with the doctor during my last appointment and he said "definitely not". Bugger! With the take off time getting ever closer the bubble is still very much in evidence. Though considerably smaller than it was I don't think the bubble will be gone before the end of the month. Damn and I've paid for the ticket already!

However he did say I could drive which is surprising coz most people I know say I can't drive for toffee!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Just a little change

If you study the picture below you may spot two problems. The first is the varnish, which is water based, is slowly being washed off and the sapele trim is going grey. This requires a lot of sanding before a new coat can be applied, but this time I will use yacht varnish. The second is the close proximity of the Morse control to the ignition switch. This caused me some problems in the past though I have now got used to it and I no longer knock the switch off while operating the Morse. However others that use the boat do have problems and it can happen when it is most inconvenient, dangerous even.

So while I was rubbing down the old varnish I decided to recess the engine control panel. This I did on Saturday and the key switch is no longer in danger of being switched off. There is an added bonus in that I now have a place to keep my mobile phone and camera.

There is still a lot of rubbing down to do below the engine control panel down to the floor, but at least I am well on the way.

Saturday, 16 August 2008


It's not often you get to see a swim out of the water when the boat is still floating.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Abingdon Bridge, morning mist

Bones aways manages to catch the light.


Wednesday night I recieved a call from James on Lucky Duck. He was moored up just below Abingdon lock being buffeted around by the weir stream. "Are there any better moorings down near you." Well of course there are but unfortunately they were all taken. I offered them a mooring breasted up alongside Milly M.

The Duck arriving late.

They stayed all of Thursday and left Friday morning.

Pic stolen from their BLOG

James & Amy are a couple of uni grads who have just recently bought their boat the Lucky Duck. They are travelling down to London on their way to Cambridge. The system need nice people and these are nice people.