Thursday, 31 July 2008

Well finally!

Last night we tootled off to the Cricket club in Banbury, for the auction don't you know.

I was very tempted to to bid for a parcel of land that went for £5000.

The point of our visit, Bourton Lock Cottage, went for a song at £86,000. Not bad for a burned out shell with no land.

Didn't catch the buyers name, but he is a boater so it will be in the 'family' so to speak.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Common sense

If the bin is full take your rubbish elsewhere, this is not a pretty sight!


We met up with nb PENELOPE on the Oxford. I hadn't intended to highlight any new blogs here, but, this one is worth a look. Not the Blog, it has only just begun, but the boat. Steve has done some stalwart work on the fit out. However if you see it on the canal take time to look at the all teak top box (collapsible and beautifully made) and the huge sliding hatch. Steve also has a build website.

Friday, 25 July 2008


Since we have been here at Bridge 224a painting has gone on apace. nb Bones is looking in top form and is nearly done. Our neighbour Mark nb Woodsman has a pet cat, though looking at his tattooed face you could be forgiven for thinking he might own a Rottweiler. The cats name is Tyson and for an old 'un he is quite spritely. He often comes to visit scrounging food. If you pay him attention he is a happy little soul, but stop the stroking and he will sink his teeth onto your nearest soft bits.

Bonehill Bridge

According to Granny Buttons Councilor Mathew Ellis poo pooed BW's suggestion that it would cost £7000 to clean Bonehill Bridge saying that "a local grafitti removal specialist could clean the entire bridge for around £300".

Well here's a radical idea Mathew put your hand in your pocket!

Painting Bones

Sam from the Boat Inn said it right when he passed yesterday. "Oh I see when she said, 'She had a boat to paint', she meant, "You had a boat to paint". Given that I was weilding a paint brush when he happened along the tow path I suppose he was right.

Lots of painting was done yesterday whilst Bones was in London enjoying the sights. I particularly like this bit.

Bones however didn't and it is now light grey.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Auction and Khayamanzi

Well what a nice day today. Andy Edwards (nb Khayamanzi) passed by this aftrnoon on his way down to the K&A. I walked along the tow path with him to Roundham Lock and helped him through. I gave him a quick description of how to use his boat hook to prop the lift bridges he would encounter while he moved his boat on down to Isis Lock. It later transpired that a helpful farmer decided to come to his aid and snapped the pole trying to remove it.

This evening when Bones returned from work we set off to the auction of the Bourton Lock cottage which was being held in the pavillion at the Banbury Cricket Club. It is a very nice location built with Lottery money and a grant from the Sports Council.

I am sure we woud have enjoyed the auction if only we had turned up on the right day moreso if we had turned up in the right week. We did however manage to get the right month.

The good news is that next week, at the auction proper, the bar will be open.

Returning from the 'auction' a text from Andy said he was moored up outside the Waterman's Arms above Osney Lock so we stopped by on our way home for a few beers and a chat. Bones recognised the hands of a passerby through the window and said, "That man has hands like Magnetman". Oh yeah right! Strange old thing Magnetman came by just a few minutes later on his new boat and stopped for a chat. So she was right.

Andy presented Bones with three mealworms because he felt sorry for her not being a suitable 'parent' for a goldfish.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Lift bridges

Earlier this year BW installed concrete blocks under the balance beams of the lift bridges, down this end of the Oxford, in order, I assume, that the bridge could be fixed open for boats to pass through. Well I can tell you someone doesn't like them. All those I have seen are like this one.

Note the absence of the ring/hook.

The Jolly Boatman again!

I went to the JB earlier today to deliver a letter. Whilst there I had a pint of the black stuff as you do. As soon as the girl pulled the tap it spluttered and spat, empty barrel. Barrel changed and away we go. No! the chap had forgotten to put the gas on. It was sometime before I got what I had paid for although I didn't get it all. It seems that the bar staff, even though they know to pour a pint with the glass tilted, have been instructed to pour Guinness with the glass straight.

The end result is that not only does the pint take a long time to settle it ends up with near on an inch of head on it which, to my guess, is at least 10% of the pint. This cannot be right a pint is a pint. I am quite prepared to accept some head but at 10% that means every tenth glass is pure profit for the publican.

A bitter drinker wouldn't accept it nor a lager drinker so why do they think a Guinness drinker should. Grrrrrrrr!
The JB now has no room for drinkers unless they eat as well, with the old bar taken out of the 'new' dining room there is only an 8 ft bar for the normal drinker. That seems to be frowned on because there are no bar stools either. What was the Carvery area is now filled with tables. In fact the whole pub is a dining room. Is this what the locals really want? I don't know, but I would hazard a guess, that it is not.

The only good thing I can say about it is that now there are boat related pictures, even though they seem to be on the Thames, whereas Steve and Joan didn't have any that I recall.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Jolly Boatman

Last February I wrote about the good service at the Jolly Boatman at Thrupp.

Well Steve and Joan have now long since departed to sunnier climes. The Temporary managers changed lots including taking the Carvery out. Boo!

The now New managers have changed even more. What used to be the 'boaters bar' is now a dining room with no warmth or character. The bar in there has actually been taken out. The old carpets though worn have been replaced with laminate flooring.

The menu is more expensive and now overall not a patch on the 'family' atmosphere that Steve and Joan brought to the pub.

Last night we went there for dinner and met up with Wendy and Nick who were having a beer with Jim of nb Black Pig.

As always Bones is very specific about her allergies. There was only one thing on the menu that she could in all honesty eat.

When our meals arrived she was assured that the gravy did not contain any tomato based ingredients. Bones said to Nick, "This looks like it has tomato in it".

She had been assured that it hadn't so we started eating. One mouthful into her meal and the waitress rushed through the door and shouted STOP!. "Sorry," she said, "I thought I would check myself and it does contain tomato puree".

Give that girl a prize she didn't have to check but she did and that is a good thing.

So now there was a predicament. Should I continue with my meal while the pub sorted out a salad for Bones or should I return my meal and wait. We decided I should continue, but expressed our annoyance at the 'oversight', we did after all go out to eat together.

Bones' salad was FOC, but she could have stayed at home and had salad so a nice evening was spoilt. What would have been good is if the whole bill had been scrapped. Even better it would have been nice for the boss to come to our table to apologise, Steve would have done it. Shane at the Boat Inn up the road would have been beside himself if it happened there. Seems that the new people have not yet learned about the towpath telegraph and the effect it can have on their business.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Are you having a bad day?

It could be worse

SO yesterday I moved my boat up from Frenchay Road to Kidlington. On the way I wanted to stop at Wolvercote for the shop and get milk and lunch. I tossed the pin and the hammer on to the bank and tried to get Milly Close when I found I couldn't (very shallow and I wasn't about to jump) I decided to continue on my way.

It wasn't until I reached my mooring place that I recalled the hammer and the pin on the bank at Wolvercote. Do I feel stupid? Bones was in the area so I called her and ask her to stop by an look for them. She found a pin that wasn't mine and a windlass all without the help of a magnet. Clever Old Bones

Saturday, 12 July 2008


Well well well local councillor up in arms over graffiti. Andrew Denny posted a story about a council who are complaining that BW didn't clean up all all the graffiti off a bridge recently.

So my bit

Dear Councillor Ellis
Excuse me but does the council contribute to the up keep of the canal? It is obvious that some locals get a lot of pleasure from walking the canal. Given that it is local gangs that are responsible for this graffiti should it not be the job of the local council to clean it off .

By all means get the council to clean the bridges but as to charging BW for the job please remember that these morons are the progeny of your tax payers.

I pay my £850 annual licence fee to BW to maintain the canal not to clean up after these arse wipes have spewed their total lack of education all over the heritage that is the canal system.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Body pulled from River Thames

The body of a man pulled from the River Thames in Oxford could be that of missing boater William O'Neil. Police and forensic science officers have cordoned off a section of towpath near Great Clarendon Street in Jericho.

The man, in his 60s, has not been formally identified and police are currently treating his death as unexplained.

A man from the area remains in custody while being questioned by police in connection with the death.

Source BBC

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Good humour afloat?

Tony Haynes, (Canladrifter NBW) says:
I HAVE just finished reading Narrow Dog to Carcassonne. As a reflex action I have ordered Narrow Dog to Indian River, too, both by Terry Darlington. I am a glutton for such.
I am yet to meet anyone who likes either of these books. Tony must have a different way of reading.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Oh the Pain

Yesterday I went into the Oxford Eye Hospital to have my retina stitched back in place. Being the brave man that I am I elected for local anesthetic. I had a local for the lens realignment last year following another torn retina. Eazy peazy.
This time it was a mistake. Though the operation was a success the last 5/10 minutes were extremely painful. The doctor used both laser and cryo to repair the retina, the cryo was the painful bit. The local was supposed to stop the pain but not the feeling of pressure. As it happens too much local and the eye closes up, not enough and it hurts like hell.
There were nine applications of cryo and of course 9 stints of searing pain. I don't suppose the doc felt anything, but then they rarely do.

All done now and the doc was pleased with the results. He did say " If you ever need eye surgery of this magnitude again elect for a general anesthetic. Thanks for that doc.

Eye OP

To the Doctor who did my eye op yesterday.

If you cant find your bag of spanners I think you left them in my eye!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Miss Vanity has a public

Tea this afternoon was very nice as it always is. Just as we were finishing nb Guinevere passed and we heard the occupants say, "I wonder if that boat belongs to Mortimer Bones who writes for Canal Boat", at which point Miss Vanity stepped out onto the front deck.

They were surprised to see her in the flesh and shouted the question back to us. "Yes," she says, "where are you heading".

"Warwick", they say.

A short while later while taking the remains of a dead Mrs Donald to the skip I said to the chap, who was at this time watering his boat,"You have made her day"

He said, "She made my wifes day she is on the phone to her sister telling her they spoke".

She was there for half an hour!

Magnet Fishiing

So there we were at Duke's Cut Lock. I got the old Sea Seacher out to have a dabble while Bones was locking when she says, "Me, me, me I want to play so I can win a prize". With that she dropped the magnet and after a few 'casts' up came a windlass. Clever Old Bones was beside herself with excitement.

Oooh and again.

Yesterday I was in BOOTS the Chemist where I was having my eyes tested. The optician was somewhat disturbed with what he saw and needed some clarification. A few drop in the eye and all was revealed. I have a torn retina in my left eye. DOH! That is not to be confused with the torn retina I had in my right eye last year

Not to worry he wrote me a report and sent me off to the JR hospital. There I was seen by the very same doc who saw me the last time and he confirmed that I did indeed have a torn retina. Arrangements have been made to fix it on Tuesday.

Given that I will be 'taking it easy' for a couple of weeks I decided that now would be a good time to fill up with water and empty the doo doo tank. So with Morts invaluable help we set off to Eynsham. "Should only take about 3 hours", says I. Five hours later we arrived back at the start point duly filled, emptied and soaked to the skin. Aint boating grand?

Friday, 4 July 2008

Expensive Contractors

This story from Narrow Boat World made me think. I thought the idea of using contractors was that it was cheaper than employing your own staff

Weaver police patrols
SO BAD is the vandal situation on the Weaver at Runcorn, that police have mounted patrols on the outskirts of the town to attempt to diminish the problem.
Vandals have also damaged other facilities using power tools and destroyed fencing with cutting equipment.
British Waterways have told police that repeated attacks on its property have reached unaffordable levels, and demanded police patrols.
Even minor damage now needs expensive contractors to repair.

Secret Gardens

These gardens and many more can be found along the Oxford canal

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Bourton Lock Cottage

Yesterday we went to see the lock cottage at Little Bourton. I am saddened that it has been left in such a state. Who ever was responsible for the fire should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. It will probably be sold to a developer who will undoubtedly make it into a nice home to be sold on at a vast profit. This is a shame because Bones really has the cottage in her heart. Still it ain't over till the fat lady sings!
BW say if it doesn't make the £85k guide price it will not be sold. So can we assume it will be left to rot? That will be a shame.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The waterborne motor bike

We returned from our hols on Saturday to meet up with Bottle and Mrs Bottle (Keith and Ann) at Aristotle Lane Bridge. The boat was lovely and tidy which is not the norm for Milly M. Many thanks are in order to the Bottles for bringing it back in one piece, moreso because it was correctly floating on the water and not sitting on the bottom. The Bottles had a nice week away and confirmed their wish to live on their own boat.

After they left we made our way down to Abingdon to meet up with Snibble (CWF) nb ISIS who unfortunately had passed through not long before we bought nb BONES out of storage. With that meeting now defunct we took nb BONES to Oxford and moored up at the Waterman's Arms.

Sunday morning the plan was simple we would go to the launderette with a large load of washing I would catch a bus to the car park in Abingdon fetch the car, collect her ladyship with washing done decant that on to the boat then go and swap the car for the motor bike and bring it to the boat, simple!

And so it was that we found ourselves on Sunday afternoon with the bike beside the boat with no plan and a need to put it on the well deck.

The boarding plank was, to put it mildly, aged and not up to the job of supporting the weight of the bike. A rather large sheet of 18 mm ply was commandeered for the task. This was only good for getting the bike half way on the boat. At that point the plan, had there been one, baulked and we were left in a precarious position with the bike neither on nor off the boat.

A neighbouring boater asked, "Do you need a hand?"

"A plan would be a good idea", says Mort.

With much grunting the bike was soon lifted on to the well deck where it was strapped down for the journey to the Oxford Canal.

It was at this point, in her well educated dulcet tones, Mort said, "How are we going to get it off again". There comes a time in everyones life when it is necessary to to view ones past achievements and ask if an engineering degree wouldn't have been a more useful qualification than zoology or neuro whatsits.

Again, once on the Oxford, the 18 mm ply was bought into use and much grunting and groaning the bike was at least horizontal and being supported by flesh and bone. With no firm grip on reality Mort said, "It's easy we just need to lift it another inch or so then bring it to the vertical and it will roll down the board". Yeah right!

Fortunately a kindly gent out for a peaceful stroll offered help and was not refused. Grunt, grunt, grunt, roll and the bike was deposited on the towpath. Yet another triumph for brute force and ignorance.

Meanwhile it occurred to Mort that her mobile phone was in the car at Abingdon. Doh!

Bloody Kids

I watched with incredulity yesterday afternoon as, while standing on my gunnel, a hireboat from Oxford Cruisers aimed straight at me and crashed into the side of MILLY M. Several items were dislodged off the shelves on the inside of the boat including my TV. I was ejected from my vantage point off the gunnell on to the towpath.

There were four young people on the stern and there seemed to be no discernable effort to stop the collision until it was too late.

There was no need for this to have happened the canal was straight and wide enough for them to pass.

Yes they were apologetic, but that is not the point. Had I not been on board would they have stopped? I doubt it.

Is a half hour instruction session really enough? Do Oxford Cruisers spend enough time with the hirers?

Am I cheap

Well I am back. For info on the holiday see Bones blog