Thursday 30 December 2010

Dear Dog

You can bet these two were not here admiring the scenery together.DSCF9393


If you are a fan of ‘The Apprentice’ You may be interested in Alan Sugar’s book What you see is what you get. It’s been out a while. Personally I haven’t read it maybe I should, but I find the sub-title annoying. My Autobiography!!! Well who else’s autobiography would he write?


Which Christmas?

BW said they were going to get this finished by Christmas. What they didn’t say was which one.  The toilet is being refitted completely with new tiles as well, The elsan is being refitted also which according to the contractors will include a nice stainless steel hopper. The unfortunate thing is it will be higher than before presenting “members of the bog emptying brigade” with a very nice health & safety hazard. A box full of s*** is not light.

It transpires that the portable toilet is not for the inconvenienced members of the public or for the boaters, but for the workers (the BW key don’t fit). So 4 guys get to use a toilet that is costing hundreds of pounds a week,, for the last two weeks they haven’t been at work, they don’t appear to work on Fridays. This must be the most expensive ‘penny’ BW ever spent. More reason for replacing the top echelon of incompetence.DSCF9389

Tuesday 28 December 2010


I received this card from the Wrens. Very nice! I was rather intrigued to read the back, given that the card is about 5” x 5” I was wondering how the manufacturers thought a child of any age was going to choke on it let alone a 3 year old.DSCF9369DSCF9368

Monday 27 December 2010

The Glibich

Is watching you


Getting sorted

Waterstones, what a wonderful bookshop that is.

I looked up the books I need for the new term and not only did I get the first two books on my reading list, but they were new and only £1.99 each. No luck on the others though, C'est la vie.


The Jolly Boatman


The Jolly Boatman at Thrupp now has its own web site. Click here! Since it was taken over by Andy Cannon a little over a year ago this lovely pub has upped its game. The menu is not only of a high quality but is also larger than other pubs in the area. The shoulder of lamb is fab and the salmon some of the best ever. They include a children’s selection, which not all local pubs do. If you wish there is a menu which you can download. Andy the owner is himself a boater and lives on his boat further down the canal. If you stop by mention me.DSCF8950Around the pub can be found good examples of handcrafted canal ware (some for sale) and pictures of canals across the system.DSCF8953While the Barn dining area is rather intimate, large parties can be catered for if they have advanced warningDSCF8946In the The Barn dining room and in the snug you will find a number of ex-church pews.DSCF8945

The small snug is quite light and airy. I find it a nice environment to do my homework.DSCF8952You will also find a cash machine should you need cash.

Friday 24 December 2010

The reading list for next term

These are the books we will be reading through next term. The numbers relate not to the list but the week number in which the book will need to have been read by so we can work on them in the class during that week.

1. Ford Maddox Ford, The Good Soldier.

2. Virginia Woolf,  Mrs. Dalloway.

3. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea.

4. James Baldwin, Another Country.

5. Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus.

6. Raymond Carver, selection from What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

7. Annie E. Proulx, selection from Close range: Wyoming Stories.


The Boat Inn is up for grabs.  If you have £37,225.00 you could be on a winner with this pub. The Green King Pub has been in the hands of the current owners for about three years and he is on his way.

The ad says the pub is next to the canal well that all depends what you call ‘next to’. The other local pub is next to the canal The Boat is ‘near’.

I can see this pub being turned into another village bistro/dining room and failing dismally. I hope the new owners don’t decide to go the way of the bistro. The high priced bistro excludes the local boaters. Local boaters make the pub in the winter. It would be folly for any pub owner to disregard the locals.

Thursday 23 December 2010


The Dis-Honourable
Vince Cable

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Dr Vince Cable sat in an office at his constituency with two people who he believed were constituents He made certain statements there about how how was going to deal with the BskyB situation in contravention to the terms of reference that accompany his job as Secretary of State. He bragged about how he could "bring the government down" if pushed and that being in coalition was like "fighting a war". These are things you do not say to strangers who you have only just met. He is now saying the tactics of the reporters have ‘completely undermined the work done in the constituencies”. The old saying ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ comes to mind.

Cable says he is "embarrassed" after being recorded suggesting “he could walk out of the coalition”. EMBARRASSED!!! Embarrassed doesn’t even come near. He proved he is a most incompetent man and not fit to hold State office. And definitely not fit to represent his constituency.

Vince Cable has dishonoured the post he fills in this government, he has dishonoured the Prime-minister, he has dishonoured the coalition, he has dishonoured his constituency and he has dishonoured himself.

Now is the time to shut up and not start giving the country lessons on how to behave in an honourable manner. Despite what he may have achieved in his long life honour is something he, apparently, has no knowledge of.

What is sad is that he will probably get a Lordship when he has finished being an arse. I seem to remember a previous incumbent of that post being a less than an honourable man, Peter Mandelson.

And just for a larf

Boss: Hello.

Employee: Boss, I won't be in today. The doctor says I have anal glaucoma.

Boss: What the heck is anal glaucoma?

Employee: I just can't see my arse coming into work today!"

Wednesday 22 December 2010

The Good Soldier

Isn’t it odd I want to buy a  book. Amazon have 11 copies 7 new and 4 used. The new ones start at £3.98 and the used ones start at £8.25. It doesn’t really make sense to me, but hey go figure!

The book I want is The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford.  If anyone out there has a copy  they are willing to part with, email me for a phone number and we can talk price.

It is required before the start of term January 10

Strange goings on

I arrived home tonight to find a sprig of mistletoe in the sliding hatch handle. No idea who. Not a boater obviously, they would have had to stand on the deck to put it there and a real boater wouldn’t. But please come back later. I don’t bite. Much!

Slack news week

Granny must be having a slack news week. I got two mentions one Sunday one Monday. Comes to something when I am all there is to write about.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Monday 20 December 2010

The Second Coming

The return to our midst of The Saviour is imminent. I know this because today I had a sign. Today something I never expected happened. It was out of the blue. I would bet most of you would feel the same if it had happened to you. Through the driving snow came a vision of change (well OK it wasn’t driving snow, but it was thinking about it). I was stunned. It took me completely by surprise. I had to turn and say thank you. I had to ask another traveller on the road if what I had seen was true, something he himself found hard to believe. I cant tell you what he said it’s not important anyway, but he did speak. Thank you Dom. Merry Christmas!

It’s a hard life

To BanburyDSCF9311 To OxfordDSCF9312

Sunday 19 December 2010



Working Boatman

Dusty arrived Wednesday which was a good thing. We were nearly out of coal, Bones was out of water I was down to less than one shower and my black water tank was causing a substantial list. Dusty came breaking ice all the way from Heyford much to the relief of the community here. He did a twelve hour day Wednesday when lesser men would have given up.

Now here is a name that needs to be lauded and glorified for all time.

Watch out for him in Canal Boat magazine this month he has done the twenty questions on the inside back page.


Saturday 18 December 2010



We seem to have a lot of snow, does anyone want any?


The Lazy Artist

There are a couple of new continuous cruisers moored just up the way. Ex of Teddington they have bought their boat up on to the Thames to Oxford for the winter all paid for. They are on nb Perros which Dale says is Spanish for dog, don’t ask me I don’t speak the lingo.

Dale and Annie are nice folk. We spent last evening in the pub along with the new owners of Dragonfly and Kelvin and (????)  nb Columbia. Annie has been reading my blog for a number of years. Annie has a blog which is worth a few minutes of any ones time. The Lazy Artist

Through the side hatch



Soft the fall of winter snow.

Darker Days

Summers gone, autumn's here, winter's soon to come
Leaves are falling on the ground in the absence of the sun
The frosty mornings sharper, still spreading o'er the ground
For brighter days we search in vain, never to be found

The snow is falling gently now settling thinly on the ground
The robin sings, the eagle flies and cold is all around
The fire burns within the hearth, the sparks fly far and wide
Onto the floor they tumble and they glow until they die

And darker days are here to stay
For we are only here to be
The summer gone now far away
Come here and rest with me

Within our cosy cabin we are sheltered from the cold
We can live our lives here peacefully while we are growing old
Do you feel my hand rest so gently on your thigh
Come with me and I will show you how to fly.

Friday 17 December 2010

Laud and Glorify this name

In a response to an email I sent to BW the respondent said

My Christmas wish would be to receive at least one email from you about excellent work BW has achieved!!

I would love to oblige. The truth of the matter all we ever seem to hear about is the cock ups. Stupid things like the oyster beds off the east coast and the silt curtains on the Caen Hill flight and the £40K hydraulic bridge that has to be raised by hand. And the pontoon that removes a boats manoeuvring space. I could go on. Oh you know I can!

But wait! I have it. The bank along from the turning point at ISIS LOCK up to the pedestrian bridge, that section which passes the front of College Cruisers. It has been so badly eroded by itinerant boaters to the point where mooring pins had to be placed in the towpath. BW not only reinstated the edge to about 5 foot away from the towpath but in doing so they created a void into which the dredging spoil of that section of canal could be placed. Solving two problems at one and the same time. Added to that the innovative work by OCC to put a good surface on the path has left the area in fine condition. It has really made a difference. Yes BW do sometimes get it right.

Hurrah for BW. Henceforth these moorings shall be knownsts as the Marriot Moorings. And the good name of Marriot shall be entered in the annals of time as a name most worthy of great Lauding and Glorification from now until the end of time.

(Sorry but I did actually promise this lauding and glorifying thing.)

Today is the day

Today is the day. December 17 2010. It is a special day for me if you count exams as special. I have worked on my end of course paper for a few weeks now and at long last it is finished and ready to hand in (well it was ready two days ago). It is only 2500 words but I am well pleased with it. If I dont get a good mark there is no justice in the academic world and I will stamp my feet, you just know I will do that. I have spent this morning helping those new to computers make their work look good. including making a dotted line disappear for which there was no formatting information. One of the girls left part of her assignment at home and had to re-write 500 words.

This morning we sat in the library by the window and watched the snow gently falling, dusting the lawn with delicate crystals. The sun came out and they faded into the grass, they were gone.

Fw: Thrupp lift bridge

Dear BW

Me again! I had a very interesting experience today at the bridge which was mechanised to make life easy for single handed boaters, of which I am one. The bridge lifted 6 inches then had to be lifted up by hand while the button was still being held in. So for a single hander, (of which I am on. . ) to open the bridge which had been specifically modified to make it easy for single handed boaters (of which I am o . .) it actually took one single hander (of which I am  . . ) one other boater (of which I am one when the need arises) and a passer-by (which I can also be when the need arises) to do that which has been made easier for the single hander (of which I am still . . .).

I am not sure what the problem is but I would hazard a guess that the deck is saturated with water making it too heavy for the hydraulic equipment let alone the single hander (of which I a . . .). The cure is I think to add weight to the beam. The problem with this idea is that when the deck dries out the weight will need to be removed. This will actually put us back where we started before the outlay of £40K. ie Adding weight when the deck was wet and taking it away when it dried. I am not quite sure but I think this was something that Aubrey Jones did when he was the local BW man. You will of course know Aubrey he was the nice BW employee who lived in the end cottage across the bridge, the one we are having trouble lifting today

You will no doubt gather from this that I am a single hander as are many of my friends and acquaintances. Being single handers (of which I . . .) we could be forgiven for wondering just which single handed boaters (of which . . .) were included in the consultation before this flawed plan was put into action. I ask this because knowing a lot of single handed boaters (of whic . . .) I am yet to meet one anywhere between Hythe Bridge and Napton who was actually consulted included . Given that  there was a perceived benefit for single handed boaters (of whi. . .) One would have thought the single hander (of wh . . .) was a suitable person to include in this project. So just which single handers  (of w. . . . ) did you consult?

Oh did I mention that I am a single hander?


PS Please can you fix the bridge.

Monday 13 December 2010


I have inadvertently deleted my recycle bin. Does anyone know how to get it back.

Insurance is daylight robbery

I think it is about time the insurance industry has a complete overhaul. For too long they have been robbing us all blind. People don’t make claims because they don’t want to lose their NCD. And the insurance company knows that. It is tantamount to legalised thievery.

The whole point of insuring your car or boat is cover any damage that may occur. So the company puts an excess on the policy and that means the things you would most likely want to claim for, computers,TV’s, glasses etc are not covered.

You pay them for bugger all. Then when you do claim  they pay out reluctantly then recover what they paid by putting up the premium. It’s  win-win situation for them! Robin Hood had nothing on these people. He was an rank amateur compared to insurance companies.

One boater recently:

claimed for some £300 glasses that went overboard. With a single item limit of £250 and an excess of £150 she was able to claim only £100. Her renewal came before the claim was paid out. She found it to be excessively high £160 (£250 over three years). The company told her that if she dropped the claim the premium would not increase.

Surely that is demanding money with menaces, a criminal offence.

Another boater says:

Craftinsure were v fair and helpful when I had to make a claim because of theft. The rate did go up, but they say it will go down again once I am 3 years no claim. I have asked others and I think Craftinsure premiums are very competitive.

What they meant was that the premium would go down when they had recovered the payout cost. Craftinsure are competitive they rob you as much as all the others.

Insurance companies are nothing more than legalised thieving agencies. The government don’t care cos they get a cut either way- on the tax paid on the premium or the stuff you purchase to DIY.

What gets me is we put up with it. We allow them to shaft us every year and say thank you for f***ing me up da ass.  We are all dumb asses we deserve to get Fuqt. I would rather have the squits for a week than breathe the same air as an insurance company man.

30,000 boaters writing in to the ombudsman complaining they were being robbed would press a few buttons. 30 million car drivers doing the same might have an effect on car insurance.

I wonder what BW would do if every boater refused to insure their boat this year. Would they refuse to take the money for the licence? That would be 13% of their budget. They couldn’t section 8 all boats on the system. Having lost 13% of their income they couldn’t afford to.

We need to take a leaf out of Popeye’s book ‘That’s all I can stands cuz I can’t stands no more.

Nah sod it let’s assume the position and think of England. Brace yaself!

Sunday 12 December 2010

Is this a Buzzard I see before me

This could be a Buzzard I would like to think it was a Red Kite but I saw the Kite two fields away going in the opposite direction. The Rook kept chasing him off, the Heron just watched on oblivious.

DSCF9148 This is the same bird.


Saturday 11 December 2010

College stuff

This college stuff is so unnecessarily complicated. Administration whether by the tutors or the admin staff is abysmal. It doesn’t matter how you wrap it up we as humans, who in my case the better part of 60 years, have always done things by date. Today is the 11th 24 hour period of December 2010. It is not the last day of week 9.  It has no real reference point if you say Week 9 it doesn’t relate 9 to something you know i.e. tell you what the reference is, it’s not the way we work. 11-December-2010 has three reference points we all know what they are and how they relate to each other.

Books about the course, and there are two, are very good at saying which section contains what, but not which page that section starts on. This means when you need to find out something relevant you have to hunt through half the book to work out where it is.

Our tutors are very encouraging of the students to get them to join the protests against the cuts. But what they haven’t realised is that when a student is paying 9 grand for a course out of his own pocket (and he will) he/she is not going to accept poor administration, he/she is not going to accept understaffing, he/she is not going to accept inadequate classrooms and furniture, he/she is not going to accept poorly photocopied handouts in lessons, he/she is not going to accept members of staff losing the plot. The student is the customer and poor customer relations will have to become a thing of the past. In short when a student says “I am not happy with this.” The faculty will no longer be able to say, “That’s the way it is take it or leave it.” They will have to respond to a customer complaint.

So it’s not just the funding that will change but the whole way colleges do business. Those colleges that don’t shape up will go under. It is no longer about what the college will give me, but what I want from the college. If one doesn’t provide a proper service there are plenty who will.

Hello Hello Hello

What’s all this here then? British Waterways are carrying out improvements to the toilet block at Thrupp. This is a surprise considering we have already had £40,000 spent here this year.DSCF9123This is the workers hut a far cry from the huts of yesteryear. There is no brazier to roast their toes on. But it has a toaster, a new one!. There was a sad lack of workers there today. I don’t think they work on Fridays.DSCF9123This is the imported toilet to act as standby while the work is carried out. I think it might have been cheaper to come to a deal with Tim at the Tea Rooms rather than fork out what ever this costs.DSCF9130They have repaired the ceiling and painted the doors and are re-instating the drain which as far as I can work out was lost 11 years ago when the wharf edge was renewed. Since then any spillage of black water has had to be washed away over the wharf. DSCF9132This is where the drain exits the wharf. The area to the right is ice (clue for later).DSCF9129This is the elsan. Note the hole where one sticks all the s**t has gone.DSCF9126It has been temporarily replaced with this makeshift elsan.DSCF9125Close up.

Well you might think how cool is that! I don’t. This all came about not because it was a good thing to do but because the contractor wouldn’t come and clean it. The reason given was that because a couple of tiles were off the wall it wasn’t a safe working environment. F****in pussy!

There is an issue of stupidity here on the side of BW. Anyone who cares would, in this weather have thought about the boaters who have been iced in for the last two weeks. The boaters who, as soon as the ice thaws would want to empty their black water tanks before the ice comes back.That temporary elsan is too far away for from the waters edge. Maybe BW will send a pump out truck to empty us but I don’t think so.

Back to the hut. There was no one working today. So the hut is hired by the week to be used only for 4 days when there is a very suitable cafe 50 yards away. I get a 4 day working week because I am a student and no one pays me. BW will be cryin’ in their beer about the government cuts. I think that their people should at least put in a full 5 day week. I cannot see how BW are getting value for money, when those who are supposed to do it right f**k it up and still get a bonus that would keep me sweet for several years.

I suppose I can simply pump my tank straight in to the canal. It will sink to the bottom and not cause any problems. Well it wouldn’t cause any problems if BW dredged the canal to its designed depth but given that many boats scrape the bottom here I guess they would simply be stirring up my s**t and spreading it out.

Friday 10 December 2010


It was the next big thing and it will be around for years to come.  It will never be replaced by a more sophisticated system or any other program of its type. Facebook was the first and is probably the best. If it isn’t the best who cares, 500 million people are using it.

In the eighties it was CB radio. In the nineties it was computers for some but not for the majority. Computers were to complex and expensive. The mobile phone was the next big thing a few years ago. Some people can text at the speed of light. As the price of the PC came down then the email and messenger became the opium of the masses. Now we have face book.

What ever you say will stay on record for 30 years. How ever innocent you think it was said ,others in the future will twist it out of all recognition of the truth (trust me on this no one ever reads what I write only what they think I write). When you apply for a job your facebook entries could well be a deciding factor in getting employed. And its not just what you say but when you say it. If you spend the small hours on FB are you likely to be punctual, bright eyed and bushy tailed for work in the morning. Probably not! So why would any one employ you?

FB was never meant to be literature and it never will be. This can be seen in the way people no longer punctuate with .,’:;?! instead they use lol pmsl roflmao and others. Children talk to their parents in this manner via FB,  and parents to their children. A short reference to a member of one’s family I read recently seemed to use lol as a comma and pmsl as a full stop. I wonder how these people communicate face2face, maybe the don’t.

I heard someone getting off the bus the other day say to their friend, staying on the bus, ‘facebook’ me. So two previously unconnected nouns joined are now a new verb. Inbox me is yet another ‘newspeak’ term 1984 is here just a few years late.

I feel sorry for literary types because there will soon be no one about who will be able to understand what they write, unless of course they write it in newspeak.

FB consumes my time. I am 60 I don’t have time to spare, ergo I shut down my face book account. I didn’t really need it. I used to pop in once a month. Lately its been everyday. I might only have a few years left I have wasted enough time without FB.

Thursday 9 December 2010


I am something of a luddite I never could see the point of face book. I am now no longer on face book. I have 14 day to change my mind if I want to. We shall see how it goes.


Wednesday 8 December 2010

Museum of Modern Art

I felt Mort Bones might like this. DSCF9099

Museum of Modern Art
30 Pembroke Street
01865 722733

11-12-2010      20-02-2011

Snow flake

Now that is a snow flake.

DSCF9089 (2)

Taken from the middle of this picture.DSCF9089

Frozen in.

The ice has been here getting on for two weeks. My black water tank is getting full and my white water tank is getting empty. Now if everyone opens up their doors and windows they might raise the temperature out here enough to melt the ice then I can go to the water point and empty/fill. This sounds like a plan are we ready?