Sunday, 28 February 2010

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Off Broad Street

I do believe this sculpture is another Anthony Gormley.


My favourite Busker



Not much has happened at the bridge this last couple of days. A mounting block was installed for the operating consul, but it seems it was too cold for the cement.



This is Borders bookshop in Oxford. It closed down weeks ago yet the lights burn bright 24/7 Who is paying? DSCF2981  I am very amused at this piece of humour.DSCF2982 Even though it is closed the Circus manage to get free advertising.DSCF2979

Thursday, 25 February 2010

What is a terrorist?

I am pretty certain they do not look like this, well not in Kidlington anyway.


And probably not like this either,


and not like this!


What ever they look like I know for sure this guy isn’t a terrorist. 


What is it about cyclists?

Every one of these pictures contains someone doing something wrong. It is not for me to say they are breaking the law, but they would be the first to claim a motorist was going too fast if they ever get splattered.

The girl in picture 8 on the left in the distance coming through the pedestrian lights is the same girl in picture 9 so if everyone else is a first offender she at least is a serial offender. The girl in picture 11 is doing exactly what the girl in picture 12 has done.

In conversation with a committed cyclist some weeks ago about the meaning of the red light, she said, “Well I tend to use it as a guide”. I wonder if that can be used as a defence?

I took these pictures at two locations about 300 yards apart the first picture taken at 12.08 The last taken at 12.29 I am not infringing anyone’s right with these pictures, nobody has the right to to ride through a red light, they[pictures] could be used in a court of law as evidence, but probably wont.

These pictures in this time scale highlight that, around noon at least, disregard for the law among cyclists in Oxford is rampant. A larger study would be proof positive.

DSCF29131DSCF29142DSCF29083DSCF2912 4 DSCF29055DSCF29026 DSCF28997 DSCF28968 DSCF28979DSCF289410  DSCF289511DSCF290112DSCF289313

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

More on signage

The sign on the top of the post is simple. It fits! The signs on the side are too big so a lump of timber has to be placed down the side of the post. No this is not a one off. Recently BW have been putting these signs all down the towpath and the lump of wood. What was so difficult about getting the signs the right size. More to the point why here there are no overhead cables.DSCF2814

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Towpath Tidy

March is nearly upon us and BW are again organising their annual Towpath Tidy. The first two week of March are given over to an intense regime of volunteer work to get on top of what is essentially tidying up after the local anti-social yobs both young and old. Apart from getting the towpath tidied it gets some BW staff out of the office for some much need fresh air. This has the added bonus of showing them what the canal actually looks like.

There are over 150 events organised all across the system from litter picking to painting to trolley removal. There will be hedge planting, vegetation cutting, bank repair and a whole host of other stuff to get involved in.

For details of what happening near you check out the Towpath Tidy page at Waterscape or alternatively you can go straight to the what’s to be done list. This includes all info about location and even the post code of the meeting places. How cool is that!

I do regular litter trips between here and the lift bridge. I might go down the canal towards Oxford for a change. I wish I could find out whose dog is responsible for all the doggie doo on the tow path, but what really p*sses me off is the McDonald’s packaging! There isn’t a McD’s for ten miles!!!!!!!

Please don’t forget to sign up or the nice peeps at BW will think we don’t care and that would never do.

A wartime relic

I would like to buy one of these, put in double glazing, a door and wood burning stove just for a hideaway.DSCF2796

Out buildings

These buildings are at the back of the cottages. Its only shed size and meticulously built. 8’ x 7’ approx and in fairly good condition. No idea what they were built for could be wash houses I suppose. I wonder if they are old enough to be listed and therefore protected


Monday, 22 February 2010


This is another amateur photographer who was improperly stopped by the police. Anti-terror arrest

It is no surprise to me that this is happening all over the country. There are stories nearly every week of police officers overstepping the boundary. Most officers do not know the law relating to photographers and taking pictures in public, in short there isn’t one. Any photographer, professional or amateur, can take photographs in a public place. Common sense applies, Don’t stick your camera in someone’s face. If it is a close-up you want ask! A curt ‘NO’ is infinitely preferable to punch on the nose.

As for the use of section 42,43,44 of the anti-terrorist legislation it is simply farcical. Mis-use of this valuable legislation simply waters it down to an unusable diatribe of nil effect. Last year over 900 children under the age of ten were searched illegally under section 42. This has to stop!

Every time a policeman struts his stuff and uses inappropriate laws to ‘stop and search’ innocent civilians they demean the uniform they wear.

In my case had the police officer I spoke to originally told me when I asked that they were having a bit of a problem with yobs I would have looked for yobs to take pictures of not policemen. As it was I centred my camera on the ‘action’ I could see, the police officers.

This is now going to press later in the week giving our boys in blue some very adverse publicity.

Superintendant Howard Stone is aware of what happened because the Oxford Times has ask for a comment. Instead of, I dunno, maybe a ‘were are sorry and will brief our officers better on this point of law in the future’. He said “If the man, who was involved in this incident, was not happy with the police officer’s actions then we would advise him to submit an official complaint to Thames Valley Police”. Whatever I think of the police officers involved last week I think less of the Superintendant Stone for not taking the opportunity to sort this out himself. He could have come for a coffee we could have had a chat. I would have highlighted my thoughts for a better briefing we could then have shook hands and it would have been done and dusted, but no I have to make a formal complaint to ensure that the Police Chiefs make sure their officers are properly briefed in this area. The situation is a bit like hiring a professional gardener then going out and pulling weeds yourself. It’s not my job to tell police officers the law!

Taking him taking me

I had a visit from the Oxford Times Photographer this afternoon for the story about my fiasco last week. DSCF2822This is a damn good camera. DSCF2824I want one.

Poor Paw Molly

Yesterday whilst walking Molly along he towpath past the Jolly Boatman she started limping. I took this thorn out of her paw. Molly seems to be OK now but as you may well imagine this 13mm thorn was very painful. It would certainly have bought tears to my eyes. It’s a good job it was attached to the stick otherwise it might have proved difficult to get out.DSCF2813

This is why British Waterways have to ensure that their contractors do the job properly.


And slowly the new birth arrives on the trees.


Short necked Duck


Sunday, 21 February 2010


Long day today started with someone wanting gas from Dusty who as it happens is moored abreast of me. Dusty isn’t around until tomorrow so we pointed him at Tim’s. Then The Bottles and I went off for tea at the Trooms.

DSCF2807Sunday lunch was at nb Oakfield followed by a walk to Kidlington Green Lock. The whole point of the walk was to see if we could retrieve Bones’ horn that she knocked off the roof on her trip down last weekend. No luck in that department, but between us we retrieved 4 windlasses and a nice mooring pin.

I know one of these is from Charlie’s place down in town, but he charges 30 quid for a lost windlass so I don’t think he will get this one back.

Regents Canal



The whole incident with the police was all about the yobs in town throwing stuff at members of the public. The officers arrived to disperse a group of yobs. So why did I have to find that out from a reporter on the Times!

Boat cake

Boat cake on nb Oakfield very yummy.DSCF2760Sorry it was so delicious.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

i before e, but not in Milly

I am surprised that most people get it wrong. I am surprised that given the clarity of the header picture they still get it wrong. The picture at the top was taken by Nick Wall editor of canal boat magazine. I think he may be up set that people are having trouble with the clarity of his picture.

Oh sorry! It’s the name of my boat. It is not Millie M, it’s Milly M! Not difficult to work out. There is no ie in Milly, see there isn’t, yet people still spell it Millie. Why?

My mother has always been a Milly never a Millie and the boat was named after her so I know its Milly. Come on guys get it right!

Robin, ya guessed that one, right?


Snowdrops, did you guess?




Friday, 19 February 2010

Molly . . . .

. . . .  does kind of like being out in the car.


Tut Tut

Looking at the size of these holes it is difficult to see how the control consuls will not affect/change the environment of this listed structure. BW claim it wont and so have not applied for permission to do this work on that basis.



Steel Dragons

There is a place we used to go down by the riverside,
The meadow grass was soft 'n' cool the trees there grew with pride.
We played there all the summer long, in this haven from the crowd.
We'd rest awhile and there enjoy the passing of the clouds.

We would fight the evil knights and dragons we would slay,
'Til twilight came to tell us of the closing of the day.
Life was oh so simple then, no worries did we crave.
At night in bed we all would sleep the slumber of the brave.

Then one day a man arrived with a tripod and a scale.
He measured to the riverbank and back up to the hale.
And when his task was over he took his tools away,
We never thought that he'd come back, but then again he may.

Then late sometime in summer, we heard a thunderous roar,
Steel dragons came into the lane and through the meadow tore.
They started off by tearing the grass from all the land.
By the time that they had finished not one tree did they let stand.

Next there came the lorries with yards and yards of steel.
But no one ever asked us exactly how we feel.
The place where we all went, to spend our time in play,
Was totally destroyed in the space of just one day.

Giant concrete pipes sunk into the river silt.
Steel skeletons erected and to the sky were built.
Piles and piles of tarmac were laid upon the ground.
Then someone deigned to tell us, "This was to be 'Newtown'".

The Dragons kept on eating the grass from off the land,
And still no one ever told us exactly how we stand.
Then one day came the people; we knew just what they'd say,
"We're sorry we can't live here, there's nowhere nice to play."

The buildings are now rotting as the fabric falls away.
Steel skeletons lay rusting in the sadness of the day.
If only they had stopped to think, "What will our work become?"
There'd still be children playing, by the river, in the sun.

Hand crafted by MAFFI

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The continuing saga of the bridge

Yesterdays hole has been filled with the base for the control consulDSCF2690 And the hole that was marked out for digging today has been dug, and the base put in.


All academic now

A couple of years ago BW put rings on the floor near lift bridges so you could chain down bridges if you were singlehanded. Not many have survived the farmers angle grinder. DSCF2694 Looking at this picture you might be forgiven for thinking that the chain will be easily placed to reach the steel loop on the floor.

I can assure you it doesn’t. In fact when the beam is fully down (not quite there in this picture) it is very difficult to lock the chain to it. Anther BW cock up.

Maffi is a terrorist.

I had a nice day out in Oxford. On the way home I thought I would stop in Kidlington for fish ’n’ chips. Then the fight started. Walking down the high street to the fish shop I noticed a larger than normal police presence. I passed one officer and asked “What is going on”, to which he replied, “nothing”. Two police vehicles and three officers is not nothing, well not in Kidlington.DSCF2735 Anyway I took a picture of two police officers. They walked towards me and the girl asked me to delete the picture. I said “No” and that they “were not allowed to ask me to do that”. “Oh yes we can”, said she. “Well no you can’t and you cannot confiscate my camera either”.( I only read the rules last week) You didn't ask my permission”, she said .

“In truth I don’t have to”.


“Who are you”, said constable 1933. “Well”, said I, “given that I have committed no offence you have no right to ask me”.

I set the camera to video and pressed the on button. I told him that I was recording the conversation.

“You are a stranger in Kidlington and you are . . . . .”

“I am not a stranger in Kidlington I have been here two years.”

“Then tell me who you are I’ve never seen you before.”

“I’ve never seen you before I’ve been here two years”

“Who are you . . . . What’s your reason for being in Kidlington.”

“I came here to go to the fish and chip shop and I saw you and thought hello something is going on. I’ve only just seen him (PCSO) . . . “

“I’m not happy with that.”


“I’m not happy with your explanation.”


“I am not happy with your explanation for being here.”

“Well that’s entirely up to you. I’ve just come, been visiting a friend I thought I’ll have fish ‘n’ chips tonight and I saw you and I thought hello what’s going on here.”

“Have you got a car here.”

“I have a car here it belongs to my friend.”

“What’s the registration number?”

“I have no idea its not mine.”

“"So you could really be anybody couldn’t you?”

“You could be anybody you might not be a police officer.”

“Do you want to see my warrant card.”

“I haven’t asked you for it there’s not point asking you for it the same as there’s no point asking me for id.”

“Let’s have a look at what you have in your pockets I’m going to search you under section 1 of the Police and Criminal Eviden acts.”(SIC)

“No! Why? “

“Because I want to see some identification.”

“I’m sorry no!”

“If you don’t consent to this . . . .”

“Are you going to arrest me?”

At this point the officer manhandled me and switched off  my camera, illegally. As he grabbed the camera and switched it off I pushed his hands away. He said, “That was assault”. I said, “you started it”.

I asked if he was threatening me.

“You have been taking photographs of police officers”, said he. “That is not illegal”, I reply.   He asked me to turn out my pockets. I asked why? “I am searching you under section 42 of the terrorism act.” I said, “Your having a laugh”. I asked, “I hope you have the paperwork for this”. He said he would do the paperwork after the search. “OK” says I “and empty my pockets”. He took my name from my bank cards and radioed the office.

I said to the WPC “You don’t have to take my word for it but check it out at the station, you cannot ask me to delete my SD card or touch my camera. Taking pictures of PCs on the street is not an offence.

When the search was over Mr Pc went off to get the paperwork on his return he said he did not have the necessary forms, so I said I would follow them back to the police station to collect it. Which I duly did

At the police station he was as nice as pie even shook hands as I left. Mr PC said that the WPC worked in sensitive places and was unhappy about my taking her picture. I told him if I use it I will blot out her face.

In précis I was stopped for no legal reason. The police officers lied to me, in saying they could make me delete pictures from my SD card.

The wanted to search me under Section 1 the Police and Criminal Evidence Act of and later Section 42 of the Terrorism Act. I had committed no offence.The form they gave me was incorrectly filled out. The out come code was put down as two, that is to say, ‘Advised’ in truth I advised them on points of law that police officers do not normally know.