Thursday, 30 June 2011

Breaking wash!

It really doesn’t matter where you are, on the canal system, there is a golden rule about speed. ‘If you are breaking wash you ARE going to fast’. It really isn’t a case of ‘I think I am going at the right speed’. Breaking wash damages the bank. You must slow down. I have underlined must for emphasis, not should or could but MUST. No if’s ands or buts. MUST.
Of course if you don't want to slow down you could always take the other option and catch a bus. The canal, anywhere, doesn’t need speeders.
The speed at which wash breaks varies with the width of the canal, so there is a need to be constantly aware especially on the Oxford and other narrow canals.
If you don't know how fast you are going the solution is simple look behind you. Unless you see your wash you wont know if it’s breaking.
I see on the Thames there are notices at all/most the locks saying,

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Braunston and the Milly M

It would seem that Braunston was a runaway sucess this year with around 120 historical boats taking part. I am led to believe this is a record.

I was thinking I might enter Milly M next year, she is after all a historical boat. Those of you that were around when she was built will know that she was built on line. By that I mean that there were webcams set up in the workshop so I could watch from my distant location in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. Gary Peacock at Legard Bridge Boats set up the webcams and a web page so I could watch the progress.

As it happens there were over 10,000 hits on the site. One other boat had been built at that time with webcams in the workshop but I think it was a private affair and not online as Milly M was.

Video Capture courtesy of Gary Peacock

Sunday, 26 June 2011

No, no, no, no, no.

Yet again today someone rammed the bridge at speed. That will be the second time in three weekends. Guess who’s boat it was! College Cruisers yet again.

“I thought it was in reverse,” he said.

Whilst the tiller may operate in an odd manner the throttle doesn’t. Its forward to go forward back to go back. Now what part confused you?

I think seeing the speed he was travelling at if he had been in reverse at that speed he would have hit the boat behind him who was travelling far too close.

And then it was my fault because in my efforts to shout at him to REVERSE! I let go of the button. He would have hit the bloody bridge anyway.

Bloody typical Americans arrive at a fight late and blame everybody else when they get it wrong.

I suppose they could be forgiven for not appreciating history given that we started building Canals long before there was a US of bloody A!

Friday, 24 June 2011


Last Saturday as I was going about my business cleaning boats and emptying toilets a convoy of cars came up the road. There would have been at least ten of them. One of the disadvantages of Annie’s is the limited parking. All of these cars, mostly big 4x4s had one person in. They were all from the same fishing club. The fact that they all arrived together would indicate that they had met up somewhere and came here enbloch.
There are two problems here one being the lack of parking, two being that it took forty+ seats to bring 10 people. Fishermen will often claim they care for the environment, but I cant see it. All the gas guzzling to bring 10 people to to maim fish, very caring. Not to mention parking on a no parking area.

This is irony

Is it me or is it ironic the canals that were usurped by the WHEELS of the railway are being awarded Red WHEEL Plaques in an effort to promote tourism.

The Transport Trust which awards these Red WHEEL Plaques has as its logo a Locomotive WHEEL. I wonder what bright spark thought of that one. It’s like one more kick in the guts for the canals.


Thursday, 23 June 2011


If you have never seen one before  this is a TATRA T97 made in the Czech republic. This is an aircooled rear engine car. The designer was friends with the Beetle designer and each borrowed something of the other car
There are a whole host of models which can be found here
Note the doors both use the same hinge pins
This is the Tatra 907

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


It is not difficult to understand. There are signs all over the place.





The one sign they didn't put up was the one that says

What the hell was she thinking?
What is such a person doing at college anyway?
She is obviously too stupid for anything that involves being sat near me!
Will you be QUIET!!!

And then some girl came in and sat next to me with a cup of coffee.
"You are not supposed to bring food and drink into the library," I said pointing at the notice that was right in front of her workstation
"Oh I always do," she said.
This college is wasted on some people.

Status QUO

Not the best pic but these two  are flying.


Ricky P still getting the best out of his bypass


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Toe rag

I have had this plastic pennant in my swan neck for a number of years. When I take the tiller arm off I place the pennant there to stop the oil lamp coming off.  I know which thieving little git took it. Whether he took it away or just threw it in the water I don’t know, but had it been the water I am sure it would have floated, I think that’s how I got it; fishing it out of the canal. Even something as minor as this, of no value is not safe. One thing I do know he wasn’t big enough to nick my generator. The thing is where these thieving oiks are concerned, you ain’t allowed to shoot the little bastards.


Hands across the sea

Often people don't like what I write here. Well I am sorry for that, but it is MY voice. The only trouble with what I write is that people think that is me in my entirety. And nothing could be further from the truth. Most who meet me are surprised. They don't find a grumpy old git slouching about with his own personal storm cloud over his head. I can imagine this can be quite disconcerting if you travel 12,000 miles to see me and I am not what you expect,  maybe it is a nice surprise.

I cannot surmise what Deb thinks. Deb lives in ChristcurchWellington NZ, that's not too far from Lower Hut (home of Derek and Dot). She has travelled to the UK on four occasions for holidays. Both she and her husband love narrowboating. I was very surprised when this lady came up to me in the tearooms and asked,"Are you Maffi? I'm Deb I live in New Zealand"

Deb reads my blog, has done for over a year. They are here in the UK doing the Big Ring GU/Thames/Oxford. We had a bit of a chat.

I am gobsmacked that people, who have come all this way, stop to say hello to me. I find it very warming that anybody actually thinks about me anytime and more especially when they are away on holiday.

Deb it was a pleasure to meet you, I hope I wasn't a disappointment. Let me know if you come over again and we can all meet up and share a few beers.

Week before last a boat flying the Aussie flag passed the mooring and the chap said "Hello Maffi" I didn't know him from Adam but he made the effort to say hello. He went on to say he was a member of the CWDF. What a nice chap.

I have over the years met many people from Aus, NZ, South Africa, America, Holland even one from Brazil and a University Professor from Japan, who read my blog. It is a constant source of joy that these people take away with them an image of me as part of their holiday. I of course am on my very best behaviour.

Thank you everyone!

Monday, 20 June 2011


British Waterways
Many charities - including the former quango British Waterways - will be trying to compensate for reductions in government and other funding by developing fresh sources of income, writes Sophie Hudson in our Fundraising Extra

Why do these people make a point out of stating the obvious?

Oh dear

I noticed this morning that I am now being followed by the Suicide Hotline. I do hope they don't intend to suggest that 'no matter what your problems it could be worse'.

Friday, 17 June 2011


£2.05 p in the coop no special offers so why is it £3.80p in my local?


The landlord has to make a profit but the Brewery is robbing everyone.


You see not all Jubblies have pink noses.


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Found on the towpath

I found this tooth while at Northbrook Lock, from a sheep I think.


Bridge Closure

Lift Bridge 233 on the Oxford canal is to be closed from 28th June for 2 weeks for essential maintenance use Bridge 234.

This notice is for pedestrians.

As I understand it the very heavy bridge under the A34 is to be replaced. Long overdue because it is quite impossible to balance it correctly.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Well done BW




I informed BW that the bridge had been damaged over the weekend and they were on hand effecting a repair Monday afternoon when I arrived back from College. Well done chaps!

IMG00328-20110613-1345Pics from BW


Thank you Jane Marriott for a quick response.

Please can the ‘IMPORTANT NOTICE’  be put on solid boards?

People are still trying to pull down on the balance beams, ignoring the IMPORTANT NOTICES that flap about in the wind.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Titter ye not!

At the end of the tax year,  the Tax office sent an inspector to audit the books of a local hospital. While the Tax office agent was checking the books, he turned to the CFO of the hospital and said, "I notice you buy a lot of bandages. What do you do with the end of the roll when there's too little left to be of any use?"

"Good question," noted the CFO. "We save them up and send them back to the bandage company and every once in a while, they send us a free roll."

"Oh," replied the auditor, somewhat disappointed that his unusual question had a practical answer. But on he went, in his obnoxious way. "What about all these plaster purchases? What do you do with what's left over after setting a cast on a patient?"

"Ah, yes," replied the CFO, realizing that the inspector was trying to trap him with an unanswerable question. "We save it and send it back to the manufacturer and every so often they will send us a free bag of plaster."

"I see," replied the auditor, thinking hard about how he could fluster the know-it-all CFO. "Well," he went on, "What do you do with all the remains from the circumcision surgeries?"

"Here, too, we do not waste," answered the CFO. "What we do is save all the little foreskins and send them to the Tax office, and about once a year they send us a complete prick."

Helloooo long time no see

Well Monday saw the arrival of nb Chota Memsahib. We haven't seen Phil and Trish for ages, ‘09 at least. They are on their first trip on a narrow canal, up from London-ish. Phil was not happy with the  ‘decoration’ of the Oxford canal.

Molly normally a ferocious cat chaser is pretending not to notice Bosun sitting on the table above her head. Her partner in crime was nowhere to be seen, Boots being cosily wrapped up in the good ship Bones.


Very nice night night in the Boat Inn peeps see you when you get back next week.


Oh dear Geof and Gill moved on this morning. They were kind enough to mention me on Petroc's Perambulations when I was doing a bit of reversing just the other day.

They are off down to the K&A. Missing them already. Sad smile

‘Bye Open-mouthed smile

017Photo nicked from Petroc's blog

PS not to forget Barney the wonder lab


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Incident at the lift bridge

This is Brasenose from College Cruisers. It is moored on what the TCCC call a winding hole. Behind it is another College Cruiser Boat. So two College Cruisers boats are breasted on a NO MOORING SIGN. There is a reason they are there. A total inability to read. These two boat came past me the other night, the first sounding the boat horn like they were at a football match, which I doubt they would have liked outside their house on a peaceful Friday evening, and you can bet I let them know. The second, Brasenose, struggling to drive the boat properly and engine smoking profusely. All appeared to be drinking, drivers included.


They spent the night here.


Brasenose had trouble stopping at the bridge and so caused this damage. I think it is unlikely they damaged the main structure of the bridge and this broken joint can be pushed together and screwed. They were lucky that no one was killed. Fortunately the two guys on the front deck ducked just before the collision that could have almost certainly crushed their heads. Their friends on the bank thought this whole fiasco was highly amusing.

DSCF0093 The crew of the boat asked two locals to give names for witness purposes. The locals refused. That said one of the locals did call the company and tell them what happened. A number of the crew were extremely rude to the two locals, one of whom was a woman.

Now the overriding reason this collision happened was because the gear cable broke and reverse could not be selected and you could say that was an end to it. However the crew had called the company earlier with a problem and were told to stop at the Jolly Boatman. They didn’t so one must assume they couldn’t read. Secondly, given that they were moving a dangerous boat they should have been going slower. Third had they not been under the influence of alcohol they may have been able to deal with this situation with out hitting the bridge. Easy to say, I know, but it is a possibility.

DSCF0094The inexperience of the crew, the inability to of the crew to follow instructions given over the phone by the company, the alcohol content of the crew, and the broken gear cable were all contributing factors. They all add up to what is, on the surface, a minor incident, but this is a reportable incident under H&S legislation. Someone could easily have been KILLED! I don’t think either the crew or the company realise this.


Morning tea at the tea rooms.

Bones says, “Can you move the table?”

“Why?” says I.

“My hand is trapped”

Looking down I see this. Only Bones!


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Add to not nice neighbours list

I was very surprised to see nb Celendine moored up on a part of the bank that said NO MOORING. Part of my boat is in this area, but then I pay over £2K a year to moor here and BW are refusing to allow me to move elsewhere while awaiting a fix.DSCF0092Like I said I was surprised, however when they started to run their engine at 07.40 I was no longer surprised. They obviously cared little about their boat so why would I expect them to care about their neighbours.

Why is it that people are all smiley and nice one minute then piss you off the next?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

At school

At the beginning of term this appeared out side the college. From whence it was nicked we don't know, but no one has turned up to claim it so I suppose it must be ours by default.08062011446

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


So I took the folder back today and it was swapped for a folder with the correct number of pockets. Unfortunately I had to take out all the pages I had inserted, because they wanted the defective one back. This of course means that I now have to put the pages back in the new one, which means I did three times as much work as I should have done and was offered no compensation for time wasted. Pah!

Monday, 6 June 2011



This is the book I have finished. It contains 68,000 characters, 13000 words,1000 lines, 301 paragraphs and 48  pages. It has had its first edit. I have rewritten parts. I have agonised over content and have, now I am happy with it, just spent twenty minutes putting the 48 pages into a 24 pocket folder so that it nicely presented.




I bought a 24 pocket file because my book would fit. 24 pockets 2 pages to each pocket (printed single sided) = 48 and that is the number of pages I had to go in it. I know it is a 24 pocket folder because it says on the spine. And I believe in the quality because it has a good name ‘Snopake’. Well you would wouldn’t you, they have been around for years. And it comes with a five year guarantee. So why, when I inserted my 48 page book, did I end up with 4 pages left over? A: There only twenty-two pockets.



I was done yer ‘onour. One is not a happy bunny. Not only did it take 20 mins to get them in, but I now have to take the pages out again and if I can get another, with the right amount of pockets in it, put them back in again.

At 60 I cant afford to waste another 20 minutes. W H Smiths is not my friend. Boo!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Bent pins

To all you people coming on to the Oxford canal. Some of the banks here are very unstable. You can do a lot of damage if you don’t slow down, not to mention pull peoples pins out. It’s not big, it’s not funny and its not clever. Of course if you don’t like slowing down to tick over for moored boats you can stay on the wide canals.31052011430This was from one of three boats I had to rescue on Tuesday. Its not about mooring the boat tight. Boats will stay tied up if passing boaters don’t drag them off the bank. If you don’t understand what effect your speeding boat has you could try the bus.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

CCing again.

I read with interest todays blog post from nb Starcross his neighbour is going to give up his mooring to be a ‘CCer’ purely to save on the cost of his mooring. which means he will be hopping up and down the canal so he can go to work

Here at Thrupp there are one or two boats for sale belonging to club members. nb Sir Reginald, nb Cock Robin to name but two. If you buy a boat the mooring comes with it IF you are acceptable to the TCCC.

A couple of weeks ago a chap came by the wharf asking about moorings. He said he was thinking about mooring his boat here. It transpired that the was thinking of buying nb Cock Robin. I said he should apply to join the club then he could stay on the mooring not a problem. He didn’t think the club would take him. Well say I there are no mooring around here. Mooring are as rare as hens teeth and as soon as they appear they are taken. If I move off my mooring, as I plan to do in the not too distant future, I have a half dozen numbers on my phone who will take it and not even think to ask how much.

I will have to get a touring licence then.

I said that the CC ‘licence’ wasn’t for hopping about the same stretch of water it was for cruising around the system.

He said, “I have no other choice!”

Erm run that by me again?

I have since learned of his circumstances and yes he is in a bit of a pickle, but BW is not a housing association!


In the early morning sun.


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Tonight’s sunset



It's one thing to throw bagged doggie doo doo in the hedge, totally unacceptable yes, but I suppose at least it is in a bag. These three bags, found beside the towpath where it abuts the car park, were filled with babies disposable nappies. Some people just do not deserve the good things in life.


It’s a what?

I asked Bones, “What is in the case under the table”.

“My Cornet,” she said at which point it was retrieved and displayed.

Bones fingered the valves in the way that ‘brassists’1 do, then proceeded to give a short demonstration, the Trumpet Voluntary I think.

“So it’s like a trumpet then?”


“Nothing like a trumpet,” she said.


“OK,” says I.

Boots said in his own inimitable way, “Cornet? Trumpet? sounds like a racket to me”


1. This may be a new word. William Shakespeare invented 1700 new words so I have a few to go to catch up.