Sunday, 29 August 2010

Its a stream

This is a 40 foot wide canal so why does it look like a 7 foot wide stream. These reeds grow like this  because they are not being managed. Hold on! Management isn’t that BW’s remit to ‘manage the canals’?DSCF7974DSCF7973DSCF7971

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Little Boxes

In my Junk mail box I get a message when I empty it saying:-

You don't have junk here (hooray!)—Microsoft SmartScreen is working to keep it out of your inbox, too.

Apart from being poorly written I find it annoying when these people use language/tone that is better suited to a five year old. So I have don’t have junk mail, I know I just deleted it, it’s hardly a cause for celebration, is it?.

Another classic is ‘Congratulations you have just written your name in the riht box’. Congratulations should be saved for when you do something good like find a cure for the common cold not for clicking something that you had to click anyway. I wonder what is the mind set of the writers when designing new programs. Why do they put these boxes in. Why cant they just say “DONE”. Or maybe “Doing that is going to screw up your day”. Do they not know the audience is going to get pissed off with ‘Congratulations’ ‘Hooray’ etc.

I have never seen a box that says, ‘Idiot you have just deleted that report you have been working on’. That might be more useful. Or how about "Ha Ha You didn't wanna do that"

Friday, 27 August 2010

Lunch! Yummy

DSCF6016DSCF6021DSCF6022If you don't like the thought of eating this cuddly rodent (which is a violent predator when stocks of nuts are low) then try this Squirrel This has to be seen (you girls don’t have to look).

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Well well well

This was seen in a pub in Nottingham today and was sent to me by Big John nb Epiphany.DSCF9001

Humpback Bridges

On the subject of motorist damaging bridges, there are a lot of surplus speed cameras soon to be coming on the market which could be triggered by some sort of shock sensor to activate the camera when a bridge is struck. It might be worth a try!

Speeding motorists damage historic canal bridges

British Waterways is asking speeding motorists to slow down when crossing the 200 year-old hump-back bridges that span the nation’s historic canal network. Each year, British Waterways spends up to £2.5 million fixing the damage caused by irresponsible drivers, diverting vital resources away from maintaining the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in its care.

The majority of hump-back bridges were designed in the 18th and 19th centuries to carry horse-drawn carts over canals and are now synonymous with the inland waterways. British Waterways looks after 1,800 historic bridges and estimates that at least two are struck every week by modern vehicles, which are much faster and often larger than the traffic that engineers such as James Brindley originally designed them for.

The growing number of bridge strikes comes at a time when there is reduced funding available to look after Britain’s 2,000 mile network of canals and rivers which includes the UK’s third largest collection of Listed structures, more than half of which are bridges.

Nigel Crowe British Waterways’ head of heritage, explains: “Whenever you go over a hump-back bridge in Britain you are likely to be going over a canal. Often officially listed as being of special architectural or historical significance, these bridges have to be painstakingly repaired at considerable cost.

"Defacing our heritage on a day to day basis

“We’re working with the County Surveyors’ Society and local authorities to improve signage and road markings, but frankly, if motorists just slowed down a bit and took more care and attention then we’d not be defacing our heritage in this way on a day-to-day basis.”

Instantly recognisable windows into our industrial past, humpback bridges were built using traditional materials such as lime mortar and locally sourced stone or brick. Damaged sections of bridges are replaced with like-for-like materials, using skills passed down over many generations.

In practice, having hit the bridge, most drivers leave the scene without reporting the accident meaning that British Waterways cannot recoup the cost of the damage from the driver’s insurance company. Nigel concludes: “Every inconsiderate driver who ‘hits and runs’ in this way is costing Britain’s valuable heritage dear.”

Of course it might be cheaper to install humps or other traffic calming devices near the bridges~Maffi

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Body update

Well the body in the canal has caused a disruption here. No water was allowed to move until about 13.00. This meant there were a lot of boats above Bakers Lock, below Roundham Lock and many in between.

With so many boats waiting to get through to the IWA festival and many hire boats waiting to go the other way back to base, bubbling wash is the norm as they speed along the canal hurrying to join the already long queue at the lock. I have already been hit a few times by private boaters and saw a hire boater bounce off others.

Yes I know the body has caused hold ups but the rules of the waterway still apply. Speeding boats damage the canal, damage the wildlife and make life unpleasant for others. There is no need to speed.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Body in the canal

Sirens were blaring this morning when a number of police cars and motor cycles headed north to Shipton.

A local man fishing just north of Shipton Bridge thought he saw a plastic bag floating by, suddenly it occurred to him it was a body. Some time sometime later this afternoon we heard it was the body of an elderly lady who had fallen in the canal.

According to BW the canal is closed between Bakers Lock and Roundham Lock until later tomorrow.


If you must stuff a cat in a wheelie bin please make sure there is no CCTV to watch you do it

Now don’t laugh! The solemnity of the reporter is painful.


It has been about 18 months since I bought my HAND PUMP OUT machine.It has paid for its self and is now in profit so to speak. Moreso given the price of a pump out has increased from £10 to £12. If you have a pump out tank and want to save a few sovs I can recommend this unit from Mailspeed. £190 Why pay for a machine to do what you can do for your self.

A musical interlude

Sunday at the Old BW yard at Thrupp just across the bridge and fronting Annie’s Tea Rooms, the local community held a fund raiser for the First Responder programme. Local talent entertained a crowd of walkers, day trippers, and tea room customers. Two first responder Ambulance were on site to show where funds go to and  demonstrate the work they do. The smaller vehicle left the site twice during the day to attend emergencies and the larger left once.


Off on a job

Music was provided by several locals, old and new, young singer Abigail works in the tea rooms. She she san show tunes to the accompaniment of Tom who used to work at the tea rooms. Tom also sang, duets with Abigail and a few solos.DSCF7953 DSCF7937 After the young folk came Bruce and his pals.DSCF7947Followed by some lads whose names I didn’t get DSCF7949 Children were kept out of trouble by a ‘Zorb Pool’DSCF7939

A raffle was run by Gilly (her with the frontage) which included as prizes a trip on a narrowboat, a trip in a Jag sports car, a trip in a Canoe, cream tea at Annie’s and a meal at the Boat Inn.

All in all well over £300 was raised for the charity.

This was just a small event but great oaks from little acorns grow, watch out Cropredy!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Look very closely . . . .

. . . . and you will see that this boat is from the  SEA OTTER stable. The owner said there were only 8 of these craft built.

DSCF7927 Can’t quite work out if it is another concept boat a la Whitfield with the seemingly plastic boat rail at the front and the centre cockpit on such a short narrowboat.DSCF7928 Quite impressed would have liked to have had a look around but being Sunday, a working day for me, I just didn’t have the time.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Dumb dumb dumb

British Waterways went to great measures to ensure that this bridge, once mechanised , was idiot proof. Here on the Oxford canal we have a special kind of idiot. They spend their life finding ways to make things difficult. They should be put down at birth. Personally I think his licence should be revoked he is to stupid to even own a boat let alone drive one. How can anyone be so stupid with only one head? I should have knocked him on his arse, I could have pleaded extreme provocation.

And before anyone says to leave him alone, should this idiot fall his best chance  is the water but if he doesn’t make the water first he will injure himself on the hard concrete edge or the hard steel of the boat. He may even try to sue BW! I have the picture of stupidity to save your licence fee rise.DSCF7922

Stealth Boat on the canal

This little goodie is a BAIT BOAT. I cost in the region of £200. DSCF7907

Its function is simple the boat is loaded with bait and the fisherman remotely drives the boat out to where there are fish. The operator then pushes a button and the mini skip on the back raises up and deposits the bait where the fish are. Now I am thinking for two hundred sovs it really should be special.


So what does this boat have that is so special? Well . . . .

DSCF7911    . . . . the hand controller, that’s this bit, receives a signal fro the on board sonar and displays the fish location. No wonder it costs 200 quid!!! Yes it does seem to be cheating but even so if the fish ain’t hungry it ain’t hungryDSCF7914

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Bloggers and chocolate cake

Paul Blamer (nb Waterways Routes) snapped me yesterday at Allen’s lock while I was working. I had just sent my charges off on their way when I got a phone call to say two more boats were on their way. Well as Waterways Routes had just come through the lock and moored up I took the opportunity to shelter out of the rain and scrounge a cuppa. Today I managed to reciprocate and snap him and Christine at Annie’s Tea Rooms eating chocolate cake. Paul is the producer of the excellent Waterway .Routes DVDs

Really must give him his brolly back!


Friday, 20 August 2010

Boat Inn (update)

I have not been to the pub since I wrote about them last week. For no  other reason than I have been very busy and very tired. In fact I have only been to a pub once in the last 12 days, The Jolly Boatman, [the beer tent at Croppers doesn't count] and then only because I was too tired to walk all the way to the Boat.

I might have been hard in my comments about the Boat Inn but every word is the truth [and I left out some salient points] with the exception, I suppose, of the last sentence. Though that was how I felt at the time, I still find that when people ask me where to eat that I do recommend the Boat Inn (don’t get me wrong The JB is a fine pub but I personally feel the Boat has the edge). In fact there are probably 8/10 covers in the Boat tonight I have recommended today and tomorrow there will be others.

Yes there are other ways I could have dealt with it, but at the time, rightly or wrongly; that’s the way I chose. I tend to choose that way of expressing myself because that is how people tend to talk to me. Of course you don’t think I am right, but then you don’t have to live in my head, more to the point, you wouldn’t want to.

I did email some days ago and ask if I was to be barred as in the cold light of day I felt that was likely to be the result but as yet I have received no reply so I suppose I must assume I am not , . . . Sam?

I have however noticed that my pockets are heavier since a week last Monday and working in the low paid boating industry I do find that somewhat agreeable so I may stick to the status quo for a while.

Charity Event in Thrupp


One for the girls

Can’t remember where I found this pic but it’s worth a viewing.DSC_0003

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Portrait of a real working boatman

This is Dusty our coal/fuel man. Though Dusty has been at this for some time his previous life would surprise many. Dusty always has a cheery story to tell and will have you in fits of laughter at some of his often incredible anecdotes. His centre of operations is Lower Heyford Wharf. He plies his trade south to Oxford  and north to Cropredy. He might not be the cheapest fuel on the cut but the cheaper one is never open when you need him. Stop him if you see him he rarely says no. You will be really surprised at the measure of this very amiable man.DSCF7883

Time to change

You would be hard pressed to realise that a few minutes before this picture was taken a very expensive BW contractor came along with their machines to cut the foliage at the side of the canal.



I found this rubbish not far from my boat. It was just under the bridge at Langford Lane. As far as I could see it could have been either boaters rubbish or landies rubbish, which is sad. Were it boaters rubbish they were only a few hundred yards from a disposal site. Landies would have had to bring a car to dump this.

What is daft is that if one must dump rubbish, and there really is no reason to do so, leaving it on a street corner usually works. Often conscientious ‘bin men’ will stop to retrieve it.

It now resides next to the litter bin at the top of the steps. The bin was just about full so a collection should be imminent.


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Suspect Arson Attack

In between Roundham Lock and Kidlington Green Lock a small fibreglass boat caught fire last night and was totally destroyed. The Fire Service was called to the scene but were unable to save it. The craft about 20 feet in length burned right down to the waterline and is now resting on the bottom.

The Fire Service suspect arson as a petrol can was found nearby and youths were seen running from the scene. Fortunately nobody was aboard.


DSCF7857The pointy end DSCF7858The blunt end


Once upon a time not far away I met a man who, though he claimed to revere books, openly said he would burn ‘Mien Kampf and other books of that ilk.

I could not get him to understand that, even if he didn’t agree with the book, its presence meant that he could get an insight into the mind of such men. He wouldn't budge. Fascists burn books!

Some time later his wife was sat in the bar and when we entered started a conversation with another customer about smelly boaters. What was sad and most unfair was that the other customer though normally friendly to me was agreeing wither her.

If a man wants to burn books (this is censorship) that is a choice he is allowed to make, but he simply cannot then complain if others censor his writing.

PS Just over a week ago the book burner threatened to kill me because my dog smelled his wife’s ‘very expensive’ shawl. Fascists kill people for trivia!


Monday, 16 August 2010

Security? Bah humbug!

There I was looking up the London address of a 419 scammer on the internet when I saw a box that said Report an ERROR. Well this was not an error in the fullest sense of the word but I felt it necessary to inform the company, one of the many directory websites, of a potential problem, which I duly did. When I hit the send button it returned with this message.

N.B. For security purposes, your IP address: has been logged.

Well I was surprised that my IP should be logged for ‘security purposes’. It’s odd really that because I took the time to report a problem I was logged. Had I not bothered would my IP have been logged because I had just visited. Surely the casual viewer is more of a security risk than some one who bothers try and help?  What could they hope to gain? More importantly it was not my IP. If the pseudo ’police’ must do this they must get it right. Such inaccuracy could end up with someone going to gaol when all they did was look up an address. The mind boggles!

It’s all a load of sphericals!!!


Recently I wrote a comment in reply to a reader. The URL is below. It is longer than the comment. How wonderful that I can write such a small comment and generate such a large URL. I wonder how much storage across the world is filled up with these Urls.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

College Cruisers Reply

I did, just before I went away, receive a reply from College Cruisers.

Sorry for any inconvenience, we continue to strive to pass on all the necessary information at our handovers and the great majority of our hirers comes and go without causing problems to the canal community in general. We welcome information about those incidents when they transgress and always take appropriate action.
College Cruisers

I did make a tentative enquiry as to what that 'appropriate action' was, but received no reply as yet.

The Cropredy Festival

Been away at Cropredy. What a weekend. It pissed down a lot, but the music was great. Pictures to follow. Meanwhile I am off for water and pump out. Ciao!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

From a non boater!

Remember this picture?


Well I sent it to the APCO, that’s the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators along with my complaint. The reply I got was obviously not written by a boater, my response was!



Hi Maffi,

Thank you for your email.
Unfortunately from the photo it’s not that easy to work out how fast the boat was going. snip

Thank you for bringing it to our attention however.

Kind Regards, Charlotte


Charlotte it simple

Bloody fast!!!


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Short Measure

I am surprised that publicans across the land make extra millions p.a. by short measuring. Publicans are in business so you cant blame them. Who you can blame is the government. A number of times times in the last thirty years a bill has been before the house to define what is and what isn’t a pint and they have consistently failed to pass it. They have instead settled for self regulation and that doesn’t work. The simple remedy to the pint problem is to use lined glasses. Make it law to use lined glasses. Then no one can argue. I remember many years ago a lot of pubs had lined glasses. Why not now?

Selling beer in unmeasured glasses is illegal without a calibrated pump. Anyone that tries to do so will have Trading Standards down on them. So there are three options to ensure the punter get his ‘pint’.

1. The beer pump. A machine that delivers a pint of liquid into a glass The advantage of the beer pump is that glasses do not have to be calibrated and so are, presumably, cheaper to buy.

2. The lined glass. This glass is larger than a pint and has a line engraved on it indicating the pint level. These were common place once right up until the government stopped ullage. (this was an allowance for wastage, pipe cleaning etc).

3. The brim measure glass. That means the glass has a pint (20 fluid oz) when the glass is full. This is the preferred vessel for the publican because he never really serves a full pint of liquid. Assuming he buys 1000 pints from the brewer he sells up to 1050 ‘pints’.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out which option the publican takes. Who can blame him?

During the 1997 General Election the current Government promised that if elected they would “guarantee drinkers a full pint” and that under Labour, drinkers would get what they pay for. Thirteen years on pub goers are waiting for this promise to be fulfilled, during which time consumers have been short changed to the tune of over £5 billion.

In 2008 CAMRA visited No 10  to hand in a 23,361 name petition calling for an end to short beer measures in pubs and other licensed premises. CAMRA launched the full pint petition that year in response to research showing that:

One in four pints are short measure by over 5%
Short beer measures cost consumers a staggering £481 million a year
81% of all adults support new legislation to ensure pub goers are served a full pint every time

So why do we not have the proper legislation in place to ensure we get what we pay for? It isn’t difficult make the brim measure glass illegal. That way when we  put our cash on the counter and the beer is put on the bar (the point at which the transaction is legal and binding) we are getting what we pay for!

Yes I know we can ask for a top up, but why should we? I for one don’t go to the pub to help the publican short measure his customers because that is what happens. We have the right to ask for a top up but how many of us do. Placing the onus on the customer to ask means the Landlord can legally fleece us. I don’t want to keep having to go back to the bar when there is a solution to this. Putting a pint into a glass is what publicans do, It’s their job. It is for them to ensure that they comply with Trading Standards. In no other business are Purveyors and costermongers allowed to short measure you at the point of transaction, except of course the government who promise you the earth to get your cross in their box and never deliver.

Look at it this way If I go to any pub 4 times a week and drink 2 pints  52 weeks of the year with the ‘allowed’ short measure of 5% I am paying for this many beers that I don’t get

images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2images2In the pub I was in last night that’s £68! The landlord makes a profit out of that and the government gets a cut but how often are we given a ‘free’ pint?