Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Monday, 19 April 2010

At Pigeons Lock

I suppose there is a chance that the next time they change a gate here they have two chances of getting it right, but then they had two chances the last time too.


Sunday, 18 April 2010

This is not good

The cable indicated, from the start battery to the first BT battery via the CCT Bkr is about 50 ft long. It is the charging line for the two 110 ah bow thruster batteries which, as can be seen, are charged at the same time as the start battery.BATTERIESThis cable was supposed to be arc welder cable. It is probably a 10 mil sq cable but the bad installation (see picture below) has reduced that to about 7 mil sq. The wrong size crimps were used which resulted in strands of the cable being removed to make it ‘fit’. This is a seriously bad practice and could have caused a fire. Had the correct crimps been used the cable was still the wrong size for the job. The cable should have been 25 mil sq as a minimum requirement. The builder told me that there was a split charge relay installed to ensure the start battery charged first. He lied. This is the CCT as built by the builder. Three of the four connectors on that line have now been replaced, the last one will be replaced as soon as access can be gained. DSCF3582If this is the best a builder can do then they shouldn’t be in business, well not building boats anyway, maybe selling ice creams.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


This sign can be found at Heyford station. What I don’t understand is if you are ‘Mobility Impaired’ how do you get to Oxford or Banbury if you have just arrived at the station. The nearest bus stop is a mile or more away most of which is up hill, a very steep one.

There is an enquiry box above this but I would think it would be difficult to reach from a wheelchair.

DSCF3507  DSCF3507

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Magnetic attraction

Armed with a sea searcher magnet I go fishing at the locks near by and have collected a stash of windlasses and a couple of piling hooks. People, especially hirers, are particularly errant when it comes to boat equipment. It is my plan to give them a coat of smooth “Hammerite” and flog them on.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Blacking Bones

I am away at the moment. I thought I would go to Heyford, not for a holiday you understand, but so I can walk to work for a week or two. This week Bones’ boat has been in dock for blacking. It looked quite sad when it came out of the water


DSCF3466When it went back in after  couple of days it was a different story. After two days of working my magic it was near pristine.


DSCF3477The water line before and after



Anodes (right) are in good condition compared with spent one (left)

DSCF3465And after pressure washing and blacking..


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Breaking and entering.

The wharf I moor on is owned by Oxfordshire Narrowboats. OXNB rent it to me and Bones with the mooring comes with 4 parking spaces 2 for each of us. So in effect we pay to park there. If anyone else wants to park there they are told to contact OXNB and ask. Permission will probably be given for a fee, which is only right after all we pay, OXNB pays, nothing is for free!

We have directed many people who have enquired to OXNB but not one of them has called to ask. We do get a bit miffed when itinerant boaters and holiday makers ‘tell’ us they need to park so they want us to drop the the chain, like it is their right to park there. It is not and they have to put up with parking illegally on the verge. Yes we only have one car and one motorcycle but this wharf is our security it forms part of our home. So when we are away from the wharf we still have our rights, we still pay rent. The car or the motorcycle is still parked there and a bicycle or two. So we are right to get indignant when someone does this.


Using a tool to gain access to someone else’s property is a criminal offence, yet there are those that think it is OK because, as one itinerant put it “All property is theft”. He obviously doesn’t think stealing my parking space is theft, but these people are very one sided in their views.

One chap who owns a day boat nearby undid the bolts so he could park his van and trailer there while working on his boat. He said he would put it right when he had finished. Not a very good defence plea I wouldn’t have thought. “ Yes yer ‘onour I did take the money from the bank but I will put it back when I have finished with it” Sorry but it is just not on! It doesn’t matter what the reason, theft is theft and this perp stole the wharf (that I pay for) for his own personal profit. Short of being actually convicted he is a criminal, though I am sure he wouldn’t see it like that.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Blog reader Ahoy!

Its always nice when someone comes up and says they read the blog. This happened on Saturday. I moved the boat up to Heyford just for a change. It would mean I could walk to work for a week or so.

A text message from Kim and Jim said they would like to come to visit. “Be here by ten”, says I. Kim doesn't know how to be on time. We set off closer to 12 than 10. We had a good trip up. Only 5 locks two lift bridges. At Northbrook I fished out a nice new windlass, one of Charlie’s as it happens. This brings my total to 13 (more of that later).

At Dashwood we met up with Dave Parry who works at the boatyard. He’d been walking across a field waving when my daughter pointed him out. He was making his way to the bridge by the lock, his mooring being 200 yards down short of the lock. When he arrived we passed the time of day, as you do, then when the lock was ready I stepped back on the boat which, being  in gear, was beginning to make its own way out of the lock.

A boat from Heyford could be seen not too far distant and a number of people were arriving at the lock. Half way out of the lock a lady in the locking crew came and asked if I was Maffi, to which I answered “Yes”. “I read your blog avidly every day”, she beamed. “Oh! Thank you very much”, says I “but you really shouldn’t, its not been very good of late”. “I like it”, she says. We passed a few pleasantries and I suggested that if they had ‘gone northwards’ she would have seen Mortimer Bones’ boat. “I know”, she said, “and Piston Broke is down here as well.” . . . . . .  “Not that I’m an anorak or nuffink”. I always enjoy it when this happens, it brings a little extra sparkle to my day. It was a pleasure to meet her and I do hope I am on shift when they  get back so I can find out how they enjoyed their boating holiday.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Ignorant Bastard!

Few around me can fail to know that I have a problem with people who do not treat lift bridges with respect. Today I was well miffed when, not only did a boater drop the Thrupp bridge, but before it had bounced the second time the postman was half way across it.

That it its self is, in my view, unforgiveable. Only half an hour later as I was letting the bridge down after letting a local boater through a walker stepped on to the bridge while I was still hanging on the chain letting it down. When I took him to task about this he laughed and asked if I had been lifted off the ground. I fired a few expletives at him and off he went oblivious to the fact that he was a total tosser.

What is the mentality of these people?

Thursday, 8 April 2010


Spring has sprung the grass is riz I wonder where the birdies ziz.

’Twould seem spring is here. The whole countryside is making its way out of the winter gloom and in to some spectacular sunshine.


The Jolly Boatman has its hanging baskets out  . . . .DSCF3395 . . . . and the mornings are spectacular . . . .DSCF3398 . . . . wild flowers of some very strange types soak up the early morning sunDSCF3425and slowly the bridge is coming close to being finished.

OK I know the last comment was bullshit but hey ho! 

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Stupid is as stupid does (edit)

I love this, but I wonder if anyone thought about the law and insurance issues. I recall reading somewhere in the Maritime Act that it an offence, punishable by £5000 fine, six months in prison or both, to cast adrift any boat belonging to a British citizen.

Should a nb cast adrift in this manner cause damage, say to a plastic boat whose insurance pays?

This is a bit like releasing the hand brake of a car that has overstayed its parking ticket an absolute no-no!

And I’m guessing you think I didn’t know that it was April !st. ;-)

There ya go!

What is wrong with that? No space wasted, no offence caused. This is nb Otter moored up behind me last week. He didn’t stay long, but he does moor up neat and tidy.


Monday, 5 April 2010


I found these growing on the tow path up near the water point outside Rose Skinners house. I wonder if these are genuine wild Primula Denticulata (sp) or hybrids given that they are two different colours.

DSCF3350 DSCF3362


If you can only park this good maybe you should take more driving lessons.


Comfortably Numb

Comfortably Numb came past Sunday morning and said hello. They are friends with our friends Smudge and Purple Fairy from oop north.


Sunday, 4 April 2010

Oh dear it’s not difficult

I have to wonder why this bin is not emptied as much as others in the area. There seems to be no rhyme or reason. There is a car park nearby which would explain why it fills so quickly and I contact the council when it is full to get it emptied so I suppose in reality they should have worked out that it fills quicker than others. If they only emptied it as often as the other bins around the canal it would be something, but no it is always left until it is overflowing and as the weather improves it will get worse.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


On a wharf just north of Shipton can be found this little scene.


Cats eyes

We have all seen them, some of us may have had our lives saved by them. The Cats eye is a simple mechanism. Designed in the thirties these units consisted of a cast Iron base, a rubber insert and 4 reflective lenses. The cast iron base protected the rubber insert from the rigors of traffic while still allowing the rubber to be depressed performing a cleaning action on the lenses. Absolute genius. There were millions of them sunk into the roads all over the country. Provided they were installed correctly they would last a lifetime.







The modern equivalent is this is . . .


. . . a cheap plastic reflector stuck on the surface. Lifetime less than a year as can be seen from the fragment below.DSCF3339 Of the ten or so reflectors installed on the Heyford bridge last year only the one above remains. The rest have have been taken, in pieces, by the road sweeper. I think that’s called progress.

Percy Shaw would be turning in his grave.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Yeah rite!


It’s not like there wasn’t 50 feet behind this hire boat and more rings. Sometimes I just do not understand their logic.

Spoil Sports

Its one of life’s little pleasures, your parking ticket still has an hour to run but you need to go. As you leave the car park you pass the ticket to an incoming motorist. He now has a free hour of parking.

It was not morally wrong to do this, not really, it didn’t matter that you were going an giving the ticket to someone who hadn’t bought a ticket. The time was paid for irrespective of who was parked there.

Now some petty official in a council office has taken that little pleasure away. Before you can park here you have to enter your car registration number, which is printed on the ticket. This prevents you passing it on


They didn’t even have the decency to use a QWERTY keyboard to make it easy. No, just a bank of buttons in the middle 1-0 and A-Z in newspaper style columns, very confusing if you are me. And all this because the council are too lazy to put a pay on exit system so you only pay for what time you are in the car park and not have to guess how long you may be there.  The council make more money out of this system than the P-O-E system. Highway Robbers is one way to describe them.

Bones At Banbury

As you will no doubt see over at Bones’ blog I finally managed to retrieve her bike from the Rozzers. Bones in Banbury, surprisingly under the footbridge.DSCF3317 There is a set of these at Thrupp called the Heron which I cannot understand. Funny ol’ thing this is not that understandable to me either.DSCF3315


The Greek who said you could never step into the same river twice hadn't dreamt of the slow seepage of canals with their oil and graphite sheen liquid packed solid as a pencil lead where time is cased in a long cabinet stowed with the ownerless archives of two centuries of weather. The lump of coal from Warwickshire, the tipcat, the fender, the bleached horse's tail once tied to a painted tiller.

My favourite art in Banbury is this pirate constructed from wire.