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.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Yob attack on the Rochdale

Andy Denny of Granny Buttons reports the Yob attack on narrow boat story as reported in the Rochdale Observer.

Is it me or are BW trying to pull te wool over our eyes with this comment:-

A spokesman for British Waterways told the Observer that the incident was ‘regrettable’, and fortunately didn’t happen often.

"This kind of thing is pretty isolated and we do try to minimise it, but it does happen everywhere from time to time, not just on canals.

It seems to me that 'everywhere' is an awful lot of places so that tells me it 'does happen often', though I have never heard of a narrow boat being stoned on the M25.

I have personally not had a lot of problem in my time on the boat, but then I have a lucky face.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


This boat came past my mooring today. Henpecked boater maybe?



Despite having already crashed into the landing stage this happy boater is still in forward gear going for a second attempt.


Monday, 11 August 2008

The Festival

At Cropredy we met James & Amy nb Lucky Duck, Sarah & Jim and Sebastian nb Warrior, Graham and Jane nb Alnwick and a load of land lubbers. The festival was great.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Do me a favour!

This is from Richard Swan over at Narrow Boat World.

Double standards

VOLUNTEER groups spend hours with British Waterways Health and Safety jobsworths who nit pick over every detail of their safety standards and method statements. Why do they not apply the same rigour to outside contractors?

Look at the picture of the three painters being employed by the contractor who is painting Tyrley Locks. No reflective jackets, only the one on dry land wearing his life jacket, no signs of either wet paint or of the presence of workmen, sorry, work persons. In addition boaters were saying that they were being dangerously obstructed when trying to work the locks.

What point is there in British Waterways making a set of complex rules if it has no mechanism to police them on the ground? It would also be interesting to know why it chose the first week of the school holidays to paint the locks.

I really cant understand what he is on about. Picking holes where there are none to pick.

Why do they need reflective jackets? Is there a danger of them being knocked down by a passing Narrow Boat?

Of course there is no 'WET PAINT' sign. There is no wet paint, they haven't started yet.

Why does there need to be a 'MEN AT WORK' sign in the picture could it not be on the approach to the lock.?

Yes they could paint the locks in the winter when there is no one around but I doubt the paint would last long.

And maybe the dangerous obstruction was that boaters were not giving way to the workers.

At least the job is getting done.

If this is the best he can do then what is the point of "Narrow Boat World the voice of the waterways". Get a proper job Richard!

To see the picture you need to look here


I note that the K&A could be set to close if essential repairs are not carried out, and soon. There are concerns that if a sluice were to collapse the east side of Newbury could be flooded.

I think many boaters could come up with ways of saving money, the bollard fiasco comes to mind. BW are never short of ways of wasting our licence fees on hare brained ideas that do nothing to improve the system but lots to induce anger in those of us that pay our licence in good faith.

£800,000 spent last year to encourage walkers to use the tow paths in the winter, a time of year when the towpaths do not need the extra wear and tear. Was it £600,000 spent on an outside agency to organise it's financial strategy?

However million of pounds could be bought back to the table if such incidents as the Mon and Brec breech (£16 million) were funded from elsewhere. Given the very limited budget that BW has such repairs should not, I believe, come from the normal BW budget. Such damage is catastrophic and should be funded from an emergency government fund. It is grossly unfair with a diminishing budget to expect BW to pick up the tab irrespective of what they waste on trivial 'bollard schemes'.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

How Much?

When we were here in June this service station was the first one I had seen with petrol over 120 a litre. The price appears to be going down.

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Q. What does a young lady do on a breezy afternoon.
A. Get out the BBQ and boil up some old bones.

Here she is polishing up an ex-Rudolph.

And the final tally. Bits of Rudolph, the infamous K&A Heron and an Owls head.

I am sure her Zoology Professor will be proud of the tissue on which the bones are laid. Very professional with it's kite pattern.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Banter at Osney

Three of the eleven that turned up on Saturday, Milly M resplendent in the background.

A good turnout by and large. Three doctors of something or other, a couple of engineers, an EA employee and a couple of other miscellaneous bodies. The food was lovely despite the waiting time. Sarah the landlords daughter-in-law was very efficient even though she had only just returned from Jamie Olivers in Oxford.

And of course the standard Maffi breakfast Egg Banjo. Now would you like Black current cheesecake with that?

No that is not green slime on the plate it's the pattern. I know I didnt believe it either.

Friday, 1 August 2008


Is it me or is this boat tanking it a bit even on the river.


Christchurch Meadow

Christchurch Meadow is a wonderful place to moor up. Apart from the wonderful million dollar view across the meadow you get to see beautiful boats like Brentford passing on their way.