Friday, 24 September 2010


. . . . has been here for a week or so. Having never actually seen this boat or it owner, Andrew Denny, before it is somewhat odd to now see it every day.

I managed to catch this rainbow today with GB in the frame. Could be a contender to hang on his wall not everyone has a Maffi original.DSCF8321

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Useful tip . . . .

. . . . you have thought of before.

Whilst I am not a great fan of DRI-DEK tiles on the walking decks of the boat (it makes small holes in your paint work) I have always found a couple on either side of the back hatch useful for placing the windlass or other heavy stuff on so preventing chipping of the painted roof. Of course you could use a rectangular car mat but they tend to trap water underneath and damage the paintwork.DSCF8216DSCF8318

Vandalism at Dashwood

Two boaters, possibly our day boat hirers, have been semi immortalised in this mindless act of vandalism at Dashwood Lock. This grade two listed structure which was originally built in the late 1700 has been damaged by mindless morons who simply do not deserve to be allowed out. DSCF8315 (2)This ‘graffiti’, a good 3 feet high, has been etched deeply into the wall of Dashwood Lock with a hard pointed implement, possibly a mooring pin, will be clearly visible for months if not years to come, possibly inviting others to follow suit.DSCF8315This second inscription, also in Dashwood Lock, is the correct distance from the first one to have been done from the rear deck while the other was being other was being done from the well deck or visa versa.DSCF8314

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Braunston Junction

I went to Braunston last week to get my repaired canopy, it had been there a while. A J Canopies did a bang up job of replacing two zips and patching some pulled poppers. DSCF8086I have done two of these routes I really must do the Coventry route sometime.

Monday, 20 September 2010

What a great man he is!

There are times when I love living on my boat not least because you meet the most interesting people. On the surface Chris Moon looks like an ordinary chap. The reality is vastly different.DSCF8222 (2) I had let down the chain for Bones to park on the wharf this morning, she had stopped by for coffee. A few minutes after her arrival a white hire van turned up with a film crew. They were filming the exploits of Chris Moon. This month he will run 1000 miles, he has already run well over 600. Chris is running 36 miles a day and it might surprise you to learn that Chris is a double amputee (Right lower arm and right lower leg) He is on a charity run raising funds for Dr Banardo’s. When he arrived at the wharf I was introduced while he had a short break. We shook hands and I asked him about sores on his leg as my brother has the same amputation. It is presenting a problem for him, but then you wouldn't know just talking to him, but this is a man with a goal he wont let blisters and sores stop himDSCF8220DSCF8223.









I also managed to get my obligatory ‘taking you taking us’ picture.DSCF8219

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Angling Rubbish

I hate having to do this, pick up other peoples rubbish. You would think that people who claim to have an infinity with the water and wild life would look after the environment better. This rubbish was dropped by anglers 10 days ago at one spot on the canal.DSCF8079

How do I know it’s anglers? I think the fish bait wrappers tells it all.

DSCF8081This is not acceptable from anyone, let alone those who purport to be of benefit to the waterways.

Agreed not all anglers are culprits but until this stops all anglers will be tarred with the same brush.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

In CB magazine

Oh look I got a picture published in Canal Boat Magazine.DSCF7662 Cropredy Sunday car boot sale.


So called because the canal ends just before Hythe Bridge, at one time the canal carried on under the bridge to the basin which in now a car park, BOO! Many people who come down the Oxford Canal never venture down the HYTHE BRIDGE ARM. This is a shame, there are 48 hour moorings at the end that never seem to be used. The only problem with mooring there is you need to be able to reverse one way or the other. Deep drafted boats will find it difficult to moor on the edge and probably will struggle on the overall depth of the arm, (I will check it out when I go down next month). There is also a water point, elsan disposal and, I am led to believe, laundry facilities (edit: sorry only for residents).

It’s hard to believe that this is almost in the centre of the city.DSCF8205 There is a turning point at the end for boats shorter than 40 feet. And a seating area where people come to eat their lunch.DSCF8207

The pocket park at the end has recently (last year) seen some serious cutting back and trees felled so it is nice and tidy. The over growth at the turning point has also been seriously cut back. DSCF8209 If you want to be right in the city for a day or two then this is the place to park. Yes a main road runs over the bridge but you are far enough away not to notice. It is also far enough from the station so you are not bothered by trains.

The nearest pub is The Oxford Retreat which is just over the bridge then The Dukes Cut across the other side of the car park. There are two cinemas and three theatres within walking distance for evening entertainment and at least five museums for daytime visits not to mention all the old colleges which are worth a look. If you are feeling flush you can have a drink in ‘The Morse Bar’ at the Randolph Hotel.

I have moored there many times and have never had any trouble from the locals, most of whom are ducks. Next month I start my degree course so I will be mooring there again for the enrolment days.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Donald Williams. . . .

. . . . ever heard of him? He is an inventor. He says:- 

Hi, my name is Donald Williams and I want to let you in on a secret. This secret will teach you how to power your home for free.

I want to show you how you can build your own Free Eco Power generator. This perpetual motion device uses magnets in order to generate massive amounts of electrical energy that can then be used in your home as a source of power. When fully implemented it will eliminate your power bills once and for all.

Snake oil or genuine? Check it out yourself at FREE ECO POWER


Whilst taking some pictures for another blog of mine, PORTALS TO OXFORD I took this picture of a stained glass window at WORCESTER COLLEGE from the street.DSCF8172 Wondering what it would look like from the inside I was pleasantly surprised when, on asking, I was told I could go in. DSCF8173Not only was the window spectacular but the chapel was fabulous in its entirety. This picture is of the ceiling.


Worth a visit if ever you come to OXFORD.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Well done BW!

Anyone who has come off the river through SHEEPWASH CHANNEL to ISIS lock must have wondered why there was no lock landing. Though it is only a shallow lock it can be difficult to get your boat positioned to to get off to operate the lock. As a single hander I always found it easy to put the bows gently against the gate and leave the boat in tick over while I walked down the gunnels, windlass in hand, to the front of the boat where I could get off to work the lock. All that has changed now. 

British Waterways has in their infinite wisdom finally got around to doing something about it ISIS lock now has a nice new floating pontoon.DSCF8191

I cant quite see why it needs to be floating, if the river rises enough to warrant it being a floater boats will not be moving on the water, but never mind it has been long over due and is most welcome.They are still working on the bank edge, but the finished article will, I am sure, be very aesthetic and, more importantly, practical.DSCF8190

The city canal

The towpath in Oxford has long been due a make over. Last year British Waterways worked to replace the bank to its original line. In doing so about 4 feet was gained in the width of the bankside. The edge was piled with wooden stakes and the canal was dredged to infill behind the piling. Prior to this work being done mooring pins had to be placed in the towpath.DSCF8198 (2)

That added to recent work the council did, putting in a good path, and the whole place now looks cared for. Of course the nice surface also means more bikes. Ho hum!DSCF8196 DSCF8197

Change in roles

Our Bridge is a lovely bridge. We are coming to terms with the fact that it will be as it is for may years to come. When it was chain operated a boat would stop and let off a little stick of a lady to operate the bridge, while a fat tub of lard based ballast sat on the tiller and did the easy bit. Many women would struggle to open the bridge simply because they didn’t have the bulk to oppose the weight of the bridge which of course is how these balance bridges work. All the time they were struggling  the ballast at the back of the boat usually shouted orders at the poor women. I have on many occasions watched some very valiant efforts to get the bridge open.

Since mechanisation roles have reversed. The tub of lard seems to think the electric bridge is far  to complicated for the ‘little lady’ and we now see the ballast operating the bridge while the little lady gingerly takes the boat through. All the while this is happening lardy man is as usual shouting commands at the poor woman, who, if left to get on with it, is probably a better steerer than the lardass.

I am surprised at this change in roles because operating the bridge requires one to read the operating instructions and we all know that blokes don’t do that stuff! Don't we ladies?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The grand opening of the lift bridge . . . .

. . . .took place yesterday at about 12 o’clock. Only 220 years late!

A BW worker swept the area before the photos were taken of. . . .








. . . . Ron and Mary Heritage on their boat HERON passed under the bridge, they were the official boat to do so despite a couple of hundred a week for the past three months doing the same (Mary is operating the panel.)

DSCF8147Just after  that an ANGLO WELSH boat T-boned Tim’s boat. All hail the Ensham boatyard training scheme. DSCF8152

There were a number of BW dignitaries present . . . .DSCF8158 The Bridge worked!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A wet Halfie

Is it me or do I detect Halfie is spending a lot of time IN the water of late.

Working at the wide

It can be busy at the bridge weekends. This weekend there were no dayboats to prep, they had been moved down to Oxford for their ‘Canal Day’. I was left with the canoes, kayaks and the shop. Not much one might think and you would be right, but its not the work that that is hard but the people. Not that people are difficult, but they do keep you busy. Not every one that comes into the shop buys anything (if they did we would be rich), it’s the queries that does it. Every one wants to know something about the village, about the cottages, the boats, about the shop, the ruin even about me. So I seem to spend my day talking when I am not selling or putting canoes in the water. I soak up information from people who know the area and add it to my list of stuff I know and I increase my working capital so to speak. Often people come who had relatives living in the cottages some going back a very long time.

There are some very nice people that come to visit the water This is Peter a regular visitor to the canal. Peter is, I think, 84. He used to own a narrowboat. He comes here with his electric “BARROW BOAT”. You can buy these in kit form or ready built. . . .DSCF8133 . . . blog readers often stop by to say hello most recent nb Driftwood. Mrs Driftwood is on the control panel in purple. Nice to meet you both. . . .DSCF8121 . . . .and blogging celebrities arrive . . . DSCF8048. . . . the odd pair of doctors, Bones and Kate, in reverse . . . . DSCF8117 . . . . old friends to greet, Joe’s boat was one of the last boats rescued out of the Heron Boat Company back in 2006, Joe was at the Ledgard Bridge mooring finishing off his boat when I returned from Saudi. . . .DSCF8054 . . . . there are always customers that want a picture taken (mmm hot mom). . . .DSCF8130. . . .new boats to see . . . .DSCF8058. . . .I hand out countless flyers for the canoe hire and many brochures for OXNB and at the end of the day when I have put the boats to bed it is the talking that has taken it’s toll the most and I need a serious pint . . . . but that’s another story.

Molly of course takes it all in her stride.DSCF8109

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The incident of the short pint in the night

It would appear from speaking to others that I have been banned from the Boat Inn for ‘abusing staff’. (neither the owner nor the bar manager has had the balls to tell me) I fail to see how asking for what one has paid for is abusive to anyone. Not giving me what I pay for is, however, an offence in law.

The pub trade is unusual in British Law in that it can refuse to serve you and not give any reason whatsoever. It is, I think, very wrong to ban someone and not tell them, even worse tell everyone else that someone is banned.

I find if funny that when I posted this last year no one to my knowledge said ‘this one is on the house’, but then what did I expect?ZOLTAN

One cannot deny that the food in the Boat Inn is really good quality even if the menu is limited, but customer service (not just in my experience) is not a strong point. Customer Service counts for a lot.

Friday, 10 September 2010


Did you ever see the BW DVD of how to operate a boat? It is an absolute hoot! Quite appalling as a training manual, not very well produced at all.  The basis of the DVD is two families set off on holiday, both in narrowboats and one changes to a plastic tub. A member of the company staff turns up at various points on the journey to point out things that are being done wrong (negative teaching is a big no no) and on one occasion to put them back on the right canal. It all ends up with a big finale where both the families go down the PLA water to Limehouse or is it up to Brentford? Either way its dire!

This week two couples hired out OXNB DEDDINGTON for a trip down to Oxford then up to Banbury. They had been joking about when their helpful man from the company was going to appear when they were spotted by yours truly and I duly turned up at the Water Point to see how they were getting on. Well they were surprised I can tell you!

By the time they had been to Oxford and back again they were making a reasonable effort to get it right. They were expecting to pass by Heyford Boatyard that day, en-route to Banbury, they had moored up again at the Water Point to wash the boat down so that, “the company would know they were looking after it”.

Ya just have to love ‘em.

Taking the Michael

When night falls and you haven't found a mooring there could be a case for mooring on a bridge mooring though many would argue against that.DSCF8022The bridge mooring at Thrupp is not a good place to moor due to the number of hire boats coming through the bridge and at this time of the year of course the almost continuous flow of vintage boats coming up from Beale Park. This boat was lucky not to get hit in this location. I did think he would be clever enough to bugger of early in the morning which is what any decent boater would have done, indeed I have done myself on the one occasion I found myself filling up with water in the dark. but no this non-boater decided to stay for brekkers and left about 11. Having arrived before 7 the previous night that’s 16 hours. That really is taking the piss.DSCF8018Of course they were relying on the skill of other boaters to avoid them while they showed scant regard for the rules.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The safety fence

What people don’t realise when climbing off their boat over this safety fence is that this fence is NOT safe. It is flimsy and definitely not the sort of structure one should be climbing on. Even in its primary role, to stop people falling over the edge who are using the facility properly, it is not a safe fence. If ever there was a rickety fence this is it.

It is slowly being weakened by people who show no respect for the waterway or its equipment, and not just hire boaters, so much so that if ever someone trips against it from the ‘proper’ side it will probably collapse and deposit them in the water.

Everyone is entitled to use the facilities but as soon as you use it improperly as this man and many others have done you are trespassing.


I don’t think British Waterways ever envisaged it being a mooring bollard.DSCF5983 (2)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Eight, nine, ten

Did anyone notice the date today was 8/9/10. This sequence wont happen again for another 100 years, but then again nor will any other date for that matter. Although the twelfth of November will have 3 consecutive numbers but in reverse order 12/11/10 and the eleventh of December will have 3 sequential numbers but not in order, 11/12/10.

The next time the date will comprise of 3  numbers the same will be October this year, 10/10/10. It will happen twice more this century 11/11/11,&12/12/12/ then not again for  89 years, 01/01/01.

This post does not apply in spamland coz they do it all different.

Across Tall Trees field Heyford

DSCF8044DSCF8044 (4)

DSCF8044 (3)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Breasting up

It’s a funny old world. We have over 2000 miles of waterways that BW is responsible for. It increases very little in length in comparison to the number of boats that are coming on to the water each year. This of course means that there are more boats vying for virtually the same number of spaces on the canal. I am not talking about marinas just those online spaces used during the season while people are out and about.

This brings about a problem of where to moor when all the spaces are full. The simple answer is to breast up alongside another boat, then twice as many boats can line the banks of the canal. Some canals are too narrow for this so some discretion is required. As good as this solution is there is still a problem. For some reason people don't like having another boat along side. Well I can sort of understand that, but needs must in these days of change it shouldn't be a choice. Maybe it should be compulsory for all boats to carry this sign in their window.DSCF8076

There will always be those boaters that are too full of their own self importance who still don’t want a neighbour, that’s OK they can moor in the middle of nowhere or risk having their licence revoked for non-co-operation. You see every problem has a solution!

Monday, 6 September 2010

At long last

Sunday saw the long awaited arrival of Granny buttons at Thrupp. I had heard GB was at Banbury but he seemed to be there an awfully long time. I had a text from nb ALNWICK saying “Almost rammed Granny Buttons under Bridge 206” at 1.30 yesterday afternoon so the arrival was imminent. A customer at the tea shop said she had seen GB having lunch not far away but that was after 4. Then lo and behold just as I was thinking ‘that’s my dayboat back’ there was GB on the towpath.  After mooring up Andrew made his way to Annie’s just in time for tea before it shut. GB has now migrated from my ‘Bloggers I have yet to meet to my Bloggers I have met columnDSCF8049

The famous Granny Buttons at the infamous Aubrey’s mechanised lift bridge or do I have my mous’s mixed up?

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Just once

I quite enjoy this boating malarkey. Getting the boat ready and polished. Showing people around the boat. Giving them as much instruction as I can without impinging too much on their time. Sending people off on their day out. Waiting expectantly to see if they manage to get back on time.

It is nice to get feedback almost instantly, both before they leave and when they get back. Most have had a really good time and want to do it again.

Just once when they are late back and I have to leave my dinner to see the boat in it would be nice to get a tip!

Incy wincy