Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Bridge

The cable pipes have been laid and the ground made good.

DSCF3205 DSCF3201

A further Console stand has been constructed.


The Hydraulic rams will be mounted in a big hole in the ground.


The Bridge will look like this for some time.


BW have had all winter to do this.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Muddy Waters

Book 5 in the Muddy Waters series is now on sale.oloneeye4

You can buy it here.

Yet another book from Windlass Publishing. An exciting tale of Skulduggery and suspense to add to your collection.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Prop troubles.

Saturdays trip to Dukes Cut found me on a sand bar below Roundham Lock which in turn generated this pile of rubbish.DSCF3233

That’s a white bicycle tyre and what appears to be a bed sheet.

Saudi rules

I was amused to see this piece of information on the net today. I have written about it before.

Apparently, Saudi Arabia has been more strict when it comes to incoming passengers and their baggage. Since July of this year, all electronic devices are required for check up. This includes laptops, flash drives, mp3 players. A “special” tool will scan content of these electronic devices and anything that violates Saudi rules will be confiscated. So it’s possible for someone who will bring in storage media with pornographic materials or laptops with pirated software to face deportation or jail terms.

This was found in the Pinoy news page at PINOY-OFW.COM

What amuses me is the “anything that violates Saudi rules will be confiscated” this includes pornographic material or pirated software.

Saudis have the most heinous porn freely available on their internet and mobile phones. The computer market used to be staffed by Pakistani immigrants who would have access to every program ever written. When the Saudis worked out that there was a lot of money to be made the Paks were moved out and Saudis were moved in. When I left in 2006 you could only sell pirated software if you were a Saudi.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

A34 Road Bridge

The A34 Road bridge spans the River Thames flood plain the Railway and the Oxford Canal. It is currently being replaced, I made a trip down the canal to Dukes Cut last night because there was going to be an incredible engineering feat take place. Many hundreds of tons of concrete and steel road deck were going to be slid sideways to mate up with another road deck.

DSCF3240Travelling along the canal this is the first indication you get that something is about to happen. You can see it from some considerable distance. this is not a small crane though I have seen bigger in Dubai. DSCF3257

This was the gap to be traversed, from left to right. There are steps in the scaffold tower to give some scale. The pipes you can see on the decks just under the railings will be side by side in the morning.


This 16 amp lighting cable hanging off the bridge will become more relevant later.

Here the civil engineers are jacking up the deck on one of the supports to a height of 12mm. There are 6 or 7 supports so this is not just a bit of road but some distance.


This shows a closer view of one of the vertical jacks and the horizontal jack. DSCF3249

The crane is at one end of the deck to be moved and from where I am standing there is a greater distance to the other end behind me.


At this point in the proceedings my batteries went flat and I popped off to get more and a cuppa . . . . . well I woke up at gone 3 in the morning. Ho hum!

However the job was done when I finally condescended to make the journey back to the site. Note the 16 amp lighting cable hanging downDSCF3266 The remaining structures will removed.



Inconsiderate Boaters

There are some things you just don’t do especially when out in a canoe. One of those things is :-you do not put a canoe through a lock and waste 27,000 litres of water. Another thing you don’t do is take it back up the lock and waste another 27,000 litres of water. But if you are this pair of brain dead wombats that is exactly what you do because your mother failed to put you down at birth. Mr Bottle assures me they did it at Kidlington Green as well.

DSCF3265 I just cannot believe that they thought it was an OK thing to do!

Making a difference

You may remember at the beginning of the year my plea for everyone to make a difference. I cited FIX MY STREET as one avenue to follow. Well I have managed to get a few things sorted myself. The doggie doo bins seem to be emptied more regularly now, the odd drain and pothole have been sorted and the biggest event so far was trying it get this mud bath sorted. It is outside the co-op store at Langford Lane. The council called me and asked what I thought should be done and I said either make it into a proper lay-by or put up a barrier.


Last week the barrier arrived, well I suppose it was the cheapest most effective option.

 DSCF3229 DSCF3230

I think the puddles may have been left for the local flora and fauna,

DSCF3231So much nicer than before. Now to clear up the mess on the village boundary.


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


The police arrived in Thrupp to deal with a break in.DSCF3165

Thy must have seen me because they were hiding behind the tea rooms, probably hoping I wouldn’t see them.DSCF3169  Then they moved over near the other vans trying to blend in.DSCF3173

This must have been the SOCO, Scene Of Crime Officer, on her way to liaise with the constable.DSCF3170

Monday, 22 March 2010

Bridge update

Work on the bridge restarted today with the continuation of the civil’s.

Here a local septuagenarian, Martin, poses with the concrete smasher. Martin of course doesn’t drive the machine he just likes posing. I hear his ASBO is nearly spent so he can get back to a normal life, well as normal as can be at seventy. He has promised to stop terrorising the old dears.DSCF3166The trench cut by the workers today will eventually contain a 4 inch pipe with the electric cables in that will power the hydro-electrickery.DSCF3174

Although the work will be finished before Easter and the bridge ‘will be functional’ Easter boaters will have to operate the bridge the proper way using the chain. It was decided not to risk the possibility of a breakdown causing hold-ups at such a busy time.

There is still some uncertainty as to how the bridge will work once it is switched on. The Thrupp lift bridge (proper name Aubrery’s Lift Bridge1) is a ‘change over’ bridge.

These mechanisations usually require the key to be locked into the consul for the whole of the operation of the bridge. Problem being that you will be on the wrong side of the bridge to retrieve the key once you have gone through. Ok if you have crew but not OK if you are single handed. Given that this bridge is being put in ‘for the benefit of single hander's’ this is not a lot of good.

Why they simply couldn’t use two hydraulic hand pumps of a similar design to the one in the centre of Banbury I don’t know but we often get what we don’t want from BW. In fact no one I have spoken to knows any one who wants the bloody bridge mechanised in the first place except BW.

At a meeting last year with concerned users here at Thrupp, I have it on good authority that BW said the IWA were all in favour of the mechanisation. That ‘good authority’ called the IWA and asked why they thought it was a good idea to do this, to which the response was “No one has asked us”.

My question is if BW are prepared to tell us porky pies to get this bridge mechanised what other porkies are they telling us. How much of the limited funding is being wasted just because some suit thinks it is a good idea and doesn’t like to be challenged.

There have been two accidents recorded in the last couple of years. One involved a drunk boater who ‘didn’t bounce’ when jumping off the raised bridge and the other was a non-boater who one can only assume was assing about with the bridge. It is difficult to assertain how many other accidents, if any, have happened on lift bridges in the last 250 years, but based on the recent two accidents I cannot see any legal requirement to mechanise this bridge under Health & Safety Law. If there is a danger BW are to limit the danger “as far as is reasonably practicable”. £20,000 is not reasonable.

As a single hander I operated both of the local bridges, Shipton and Thrupp, at the weekend successfully and with out risk. The only hard part about operating the bridges is the positioning of the hold down ring which BW put in the wrong place as I pointed out in this post.

1 Ref Nicholson's WG1 2006 pg 142

I see no ships


Saturday, 20 March 2010

A second first

I have never seen a bottle bank being emptied until this morning. I was always under the impression that that moles came in the hours of darkness and spirited the bottles away, but that wouldn’t have accounted for the bottles by the side of the road.DSCF3117

I did think that it was all a bit improper putting all the bottles into one container but the bottle collector demonstrated the dividers in the truck by banging the bottle bank against them.


And no they don't all go into land fill! According to the operator chappie the green glass is crushed for use in road surfaces the brown glass goes to America (they can't get enough of it) and the clear glass is used to make double glazing. I'm none to sure about that, but that is what he said.

Friday, 19 March 2010

A first

There are few things you can ever say you have never seen. I have never seen a mole well not a live one anyway. but  last Wednesday morning whilst we were out walking the dogs, as we crossed Sparrow Gap bridge, there on the crown of the bridge against the wall were not one mole but two of them, larger than I thought they were. They popped up out of a hole, scurried around for a bit then disappeared back down the hole.


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

You are here

There is a little black spot at the bottom of the main white panel that tells you where you are but try as I might I can not see those two circles with 90 in or the arrows.
According to this chart Heyford Station is 75 meters and 20 ch from somewhere, but where?

Surely the abbreviation for miles is ml or mls. If ch is the abbreviation for ‘chain’ then 20 chain is 440 yards so given that 440 yards is a quarter of a mile shouldn’t it have said 75 1/4 miles or 75.25 mls, so much more understandable. I wonder which moron at Network rail is responsible for this signage.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010




If you are going to moor it might be polite to moor and leave no space between you and the next boat, therefore eliminating those annoying spaces between boats or at least double up on rings/bollards . These boats seem to have the right answer. The other guy on the ring wont mind and if he does, tough! I have moored in a number of places where if this was the norm an extra two or three boats could have easily fitted in.

Leaving 10 to 20 feet between  boats is inconsiderate and selfish. Why is that space so necessary?

DSCF3092Let’s all make an effort this season to moor up close, who knows it might mean we meet some very nice people.

Of course if you really want to moor with a large space between you and the next boat you could try the North Sea.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


In the window of this bus stop in Deddington Village. Now they really are taking the Michael!



Where did I find this sign?

DSCF3081DSCF3082 (2)

Answer at 6 tonight.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Scampi Fries

I was rather interested in Bones’ picture off the back of a packet of Scampi Fries. Not the fact that they don’t contain any Scampi, but that they are ‘suitable for vegetarians’.

With all animal/creature sourced food there is the responsibility that the eater, whether for pleasure, enjoyment or just to sustain their life is ultimately, though indirectly, the killer. We all (meat eaters) have that responsibility.

Why should veggies be allowed to have the taste without shouldering the responsibility. Surely being a vegetarian means only eating non-animal products so why would they want their food to taste like it could have been meat. This must defeat the object of the exercise.


Bridge update!

Nothing has happened in the past week regarding the electrification of the bridge at Thrupp. If British Waterways want to avoid screwing up peoples holidays they will have to get a move on. The season opens soon and there will be a lot of unhappy boaters about if they cant get past the bridge.

Perhaps BW don’t know the season is about to start!

déjà vu



Dogs in action

I love the way Boots’ front legs seem to be tied in a knot and Molly’s ears are spectacular.


Fix it

There must be lots of leaking taps on the system which are costing BW a fortune. A couple of turns with a spanner and it is fixed. If I can do it we all can. There were 4 taps at Thrupp Wednesday that needed a tweak now there are none.DSCF3066

Thursday, 11 March 2010


This bike was dumped here, near the wharf, about 6 weeks ago.DSCF3038 Such a waste its in good nick except the saddle.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Just like new

Last year Kim sent me this picture of a tired rusty old bridge restriction plate. It was due for restoration.

!cid_1_2250832943@web87115_mail_ird_yahooNow it is almost complete. Getting the plates with the weights on to finish the job might be difficult. Anyone know where some might be found? Obviously a relic from a bygone era. The slower pace of life in those days would have allowed time to read the notice. The name at the bottom of the plate is:

Great Western Railway Co. Paddington Station London


Hunting around the net I have found one other similar but a rectangle. More or less the same wording but the axle weights are cast in with the whole plate rather than as separate plates bolted on. This one can be found on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.