Friday, 30 September 2011

The Best Prez

One day in the future, Barack Obama has a heart-attack and dies. He immediately goes to hell, where the devil is waiting for him.

"I don't know what to do here," says the devil. "You are on my list, but I have no room for you. You definitely have to stay here, so I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I've got a couple of folks here who weren't quite as bad as you.  I'll let one of them go, but you have to take their place. I'll even let YOU decide who leaves."

Obama thought that sounded pretty good, so the devil opened the door to the first room.

In it was Ted Kennedy and a large pool of water. Ted kept diving in, and surfacing, empty-handed. Over, and over, and over he dove in and surfaced with nothing. Such was his fate in hell.

"No," Obama said. "I don't think so. I'm not a good swimmer, and I don't think I could do that all day long."

The devil led him to the door of the next room.

In it was Al Gore with a sledgehammer and a room full of rocks. All he did was swing that hammer, time after time after time.

"No, this is no good; I've got this problem with my shoulder.  I would be in constant agony if all I could do was break rocks all day," commented Obama.

The devil opened a third door. 

Through it, Obama saw Bill Clinton, lying on the bed, his arms tied over his head, and his legs restrained in a spread-eagle pose. Bent over him was Monica Lewinsky, doing what she does best.

Obama looked at this in shocked disbelief, and finally said, "Yeah man, I can handle this."

The devil smiled and said ........... 

"OK, Monica, you're free to go."

Thursday, 29 September 2011

By ‘eck

It’s been some time since BW did this.DSCF0938 However, I still can’t get my head round it. The cost nationwide must have been phenomenal. There are signs all the way from the wharf to Shipton and beyond. Between The Wharf and the lift bridge there are no overhead cables, so the signs weren't needed in the first place. Think how much this cost and for what! Someone must have decided to move these signs from the front to the side. This would have been a manager I should think. Then once the decision was taken to move the signs the local supervisor would have been informed and the task added to his work list. Joe worker would then have been tasked with doing the job a vehicle would have been allocated to Joe and off they would go. So that’s a manager, a supervisor, a worker and  vehicle. Three salaries, vehicle maintenance, fuel etc  not to mention the new signs. I hadn’t noticed it at first, but there were four signs on the font of that post that were removed and new signs affixed. So what appears to be a simple task of changing the signs probably cost best part of £500.

There was most likely a time scale in which the task was to be completed nationwide and it would have been done on an opportunity basis ie when in the area doing something else so that would have cut the cost down, but this was still an expensive thing to do and for what? Because someone up the ladder thinks that a fisherman does not have enough smarts to read the sign if it is on the front of the post. Well I’ll go to the foot of our stairs!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Now that the pounds are down we can see the effects of speeding boats. This edge is undercut by several inches.





Tuesday, 27 September 2011


I just love the way organisations assume you’re a total idiot when responding to post. I wrote to such an organisation today informing them that… well that’s not important, but their reply I find offensive.

We will do our best to reply general enquiries within five working days. If your enquiry is of a technical nature it could take up to 10 working days. Please note that bank holidays and weekends are not classed as working days.

Its that last sentence (my underline). I know what a working day is. I don't need to be told. I am offended that they felt I or indeed anyone else needs to be told what a working day is.

PS It wasn’t me who left out ‘to’ after ‘reply’ in their first line. Or the mix of words and figures for numbers, bad form.


This is Bridge 234 Perry’s Bridge. Despite being now balanced in the up position, but locked down, it is still necessary for a single hander to use the Bunbury pole to get past these bridges.

BW have still not cottoned on to the fact that the balance changes depending on the water content of the deck. During the winter this will be more common. And the deck will get heavier, making this ‘little trick’ all but impossible


Monday, 26 September 2011


Those people in BW that are better placed to spend our money than anyone else, have decided to install safety rails at this sluice and others on the Oxford canal. This might be a good thing, however, This structure has been here 80 years in this format. One would have to wonder why a safety rail was necessary its not like you would be standing on the edge whilst operating the sluice. I would very much doubt if there are many that could remember this being used.

04092011661More importantly I can’t help but wonder, if this safety improvement was so important, why did BW not insist on the removal of the flower pot, which restricts access to the sluice before you even get to need the safety rails.04092011659

I like the flower tubs I think they are great and wouldn’t have them moved but I have to wonder about the logic of BW H&S policy which at best is myopic at worst laughable.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Who Am I?

If there is anyone who reads this blog who doesn’t know who I am you only have to ask. I am Maffi, everyone on the water knows me as that I live aboard the Milly M and until recently I could be found in or around Thrupp, Oxfordshire. I have been on my boat 5 years.

If you wish to comment here then please have the courage of your convictions and use a recognisable name I shall no longer pander to those Anonymous people who hide behind their cowardice.

I have always had a policy here that every comment gets published, irrespective of how it may make me look. In future if you can’t give your name then I will not post your comment.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Lady something or other.

A lovely couple arrived yesterday on their way to Oxford all the way from Nantwich. They asked about moorings. It really is so sad they just didn’t understand, there are no ******* moorings. She thought she could just flash her eyelashes and moorings would fall at her feet. Lady you are cute but not that cute.

The only mooring available is at the marina in Yarnton and they haven’t built that yet, probably never will. But they didn’t want to live in a marina anyway. There are fifty or more down here looking for moorings that don’t exist. The more that arrive the harder it is for genuine CCers to find somewhere to moor. We have floating student accommodation with no mooring. The only mooring that was available (mine) was taken months ago and given the opportunity I could have sold it twenty times with ease.

He does have a job she doesn't so at least they are not completely without finance. However they are going to have to be continuous moorers.

British Waterways need to get a grip of this place or it will end up like the Lee & Stort, OUT OF CONTROL!

High speed NBW

Oh dear Oh dear Oh dear Not content with assuming they are the voice of the waterways. It seem like Narrow Boat World are trying for the water speed record.

According to my contact up the canal aways, “the voice of the waterways rocketed past us at Wolseley Bridge this morning.”

The operative word here is ‘rocketed’.

I think the boys from NBW should go to the norty step, right now!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The kipper people







This is STILL WATERS and the owner. This man, not the best boater in the world, was upset with my day boat which was moored in the corner where all TCCC boats moor to pick up crew and of course I do on the odd occasion. Mr SW was very rude to my ‘paying customers’. Very rude indeed! Even when they told him that I had told them to moor there, he was still rude.

When my people departed the boat at the end of their very pleasant day, I moved the boat across to the water point I had expected the grumpy Mr SW to have a pop at me, but no all he said was where can I find a mooring for the night. I was very tempted to suggest that the Thames might be a place where he could vent his anger and moor at the same time. But that’s not me. Surprised?

If you look at his boat you will see the sign of the Christian Kipper. That’s a big advertisement saying '”Look ay me I am a good Christian guy” In fact it is bigger than most of the kippers you see on boats. I know some very nice ‘Kipper’ people, but I am sorry to say I know more not nice 'Kipper’ people.

I say he is not a very good boater simply because his tirade against my customers was due to his need to turn his 65 foot boat. From the bridge to where my day boat was moored is about 120 feet I have seen 70 foot boats come through the bridge execute a sharp left and virtually plonk onto the water point. Yesterday I took 74 foot of boats breasted 14 feet wide and turned them in the wide easily. That’s two 36 foot day boats, plus fenders end to end breasted up to a 69 foot cruiser stern. Driving the 69 footer and rotating the ensemble 180o, avoiding an oncoming boat straightening up then reversing back to the mooring I had left. And said boater couldn’t simply turn a a 65 foot boat. Now I am not saying I am a great boatman, I just simply refuse to believe that I cannot do it. I suppose he is the sort of man whose practical skills begin and end with a retractable ball point pen.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Maffi’s Mallard

This grey headed Mallard is something of a newbie around here but there are four of them so they will be regulars here.DSCF0727

I think it needs a proper name so I will call it Maffi’s Mallard

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Paras? Bullshit!

Friday night a College Cruisers narrowboat passed by the Wharf. It was late and at a point where they should have been moored up. I noticed them because my boat lurched violently, I looked out of the front window to see a a stern wave, the like of which, I have only ever seen on a returning boat. Probably the second biggest wave I have ever seen. I went to the back of my boat and remonstrated with them. The man on the tiller was so drunk he could barely stand. His companion was abusive. The drunk said you cant talk to us like that I’m in the Paras. Funny that, I thought the Paras were a respectable unit, I was obviously wrong as was proven later in the evening at the Boat Inn. They not only gave a totally erroneous account  of our encounter. They said that they were surprised that at how many people told them to slow down. They went on to say that they were ‘extreme boating’. By that they meant that as well as excessive speeding they would stand on the bridges and jump onto the boat roof as it passed underneath. This ‘trick’, if you can call it that, was demonstrated in the  Guy Martin series ‘The Boat That Guy Built’. I always said that the last thing that the waterways needed was a pratt like Guy Martin and certainly in this case I have been proven right. These so called ‘brave’ Paras when onto say what they were going to do to my boat on their way back because I had the temerity to tell them to slow down.

I don’t care who they are, they have no right to behave in this manner. Showing scant regard for the waterways, the wild life and the people who populate the canals. When people cant drink sensibly can we really trust them to hold a gun in defence of our nation? When these thugs come into this community and, without any respect at all, ignore the rules and behave like YOBS is it any wonder we think of them as thugs. As an ex military man myself, of 25 years service, I find this whole episode totally offensive to common decency.

College Cruisers need to address this type of situation. They should make it quite clear that if they get complaints the boat will be taken away by the company staff.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Bloody fascists!

I got a PDF today from my bank saying that they were going to make some changes to their terms and conditions. They did say if I didn’t agree I could tell them.

If you are happy with with these changes you don’t need to do anything, so unless we hear from you we will assume that you accept them

If you decide not to accept any of the changes, please inform us . . . . before 1 December 2011. However if you do so, Unfortunately this will mean closing your account(s). Of course there will be no charge for this, or for closing your account(s) for any other reason before this date.


There are lots of lovely people on the canal. Some it appears are destined to become entrenched in our lives.Geoff & Gill on nb PETROC are such people. They came through on their way to the K&A earlier this summer.

Then they came back this month. It was very nice to see them.


Go slowly come back quickly.

Geoff you are not on your own.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Molly the wonder dog.

Molly the wonder dog was run over today by some stupid woman in a car. Fortunately after going under the car she came out unscathed, but a bit shook up. The damned woman didn’t even stop! What was most annoying was that when the woman moved off from the traffic lights there was no where for her to go given that the traffic from the airport road was still coming.

Muddy Waters 17 & 18 September 2011

Muddy Waters and Jolly Boatman will be at Thrupp ( OX5 1JZ) this weekend. You can read more about it here


Jolly Boatman & Muddy Waters

Jolly Boatman & Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters and Jolly Boatman will be at Thrupp THIS WEEKEND – Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September.

Join us for a fantastic weekend full of fun things to do

There’ll be special area where a story-teller will be reading some of your favourite tales. Story-telling sessions will be on the hour and last 20 mins. Plus there’ll be a large selection of Muddy books signed by the Author, Dan Clacher for sale.

The Zorb Zone will be here all weekend – referred to by many as the human hamster ball on water, waterzorbs must be amongst the most fun activities you can take part in on water without actually getting wet! To see what fun you can have visit The Zorb Zone’s website.

Find the ladybird

Find the ladybird

Those of you who’ve read the stories, know that you have to find the Ladybird on every page. We’re going to be having our own Ladybird Hunt with prizes for every child who finds five ladybirds around the gardens.

Two lovely ladies will be here doing face paintings – choose your favourite boat for your face! Not only that, we’ll be demonstrating the classic canal art of Roses & Castles painting, Annie’s famous Ice-cream bike will be out and about, Tom the Pirate will be selling his special T-shirts and there’ll be books, pens, cross-stitch kits and lots more Muddy and Jolly items to buy.

Come for a ride on Jolly Boatman

Come for a ride on Jolly Boatman

Come for a ride on Jolly Boatman

Best of all, we’ll be running trips on Jolly Boatman for all the family – just £1.50 per adult and £1.00 per child. Jolly will leave from Thrupp wide for a 20 minute trip every half an hour BUT you’ll need to book your spaces in advance – simply email and we’ll confirm your booking.

Have a holiday on Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters will also be at Thrupp so you can come and have a look around this specially-designed family-friendly holiday boat. To book a holiday on Muddy Waters, go to the Oxfordshire Narrowboats website or ring 01869 340348 for more details.

Muddy, Jolly and all their friends

Muddy, Jolly and all their friends

If you’ve not yet met these fun, vibrant and colourful characters, then you’re in for a treat. These wonderful books capture the imagination of children and adults alike through rich language and beautiful illustrations. Whilst the initial stories are set in and around Oxford, later adventures take them from tranquil Thrupp Wharf to some of the most spectacular parts of the UK’s Waterways. Visit Muddy and Jolly’s website for more information.

Chosen Charity
Raffle tickets will be on sale all weekend and we’ve got loads of fabuous prizes lined up. All proceeds from the raffle will be going to this year’s chosen charity – SSNAP (Support for the Sick Newborn And their Parents). SSNAP is a locally based charity which supports the Intensive Special Care Nurseries (Neonatal Unit) at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. It was set up in 1982 by the parents of babies who had been cared for in the Special Care Nursery at the John Radcliffe Hospital

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The Bridge Stop

I am at a loss to understand why, when the bridge is only a hundred yards away, do boaters go speeding up to it, slam into reverse, bow slams across the canal. Don’t worry about the ducks, they might be able to get out of the way. Unlike the fish who are sucked into the propeller.

Out of control, a crew member jumps an impossible gap nearly falls back in the canal and only just gets their foot out of the water before it is crushed by the boat. The clouds of black diesel exhaust dissipates slowly.

Surely it is better to arrive in a calm controlled manner looking like you know what you are doing, than in a flurry of boiling white water maiming, killing, destroying and upsetting the peace and looking like a total pratt, but so many seem to want to look like a pratt.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Red Wheel Barrow

During my course  at Ruskin we dealt with this poem We spoke about it for over an hour in tutorial. My argument was the old “Art isn’t art just because the Artist says it is so.” For which I scored nil points. Poems rhyme, poems have rhythm, poems have words lots of them and substance and body and… all that stuff.  “So,” says the tutor, “what do you see here.?”

Here we have a poem of 4 stanzas each is the same as the others. Each has two lines. Each has three words in the first line and one word in the second line. It has balance and metre it is real and has imagery. So I was wrong!

The Red Wheel Barrow

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

This is what Wiki says about it.

The Red Wheelbarrow is a poem by, and often considered the masterwork of, American 20th-century writer William Carlos Williams. The 1923 poem exemplifies the Imagist-influenced philosophy of “no ideas but in things.” This provides another layer of meaning beneath the surface reading. The style of the poem forgoes traditional British stress patterns to create a typical “American” image.[1]

The subject matter of The Red Wheelbarrow is what makes it the most distinctive and important. He lifts a brazier to an artistic level, exemplifying the importance of the ordinary; as he says, a poem “must be real, not 'realism', but reality itself." In this way, it holds more in common with the haiku of Bashō than with the verse of T. S. Eliot.

Load of bollocks really, but I am not one to pussy foot around the issue. I like the poem not because I think it is the thing to do or because it is ‘highbrow’, but simply because it nice. It is a snapshot of a simple image.

You know its important because ‘so much depends upon’ it.

You know what it is and what colour it is

You know it looks shiny and wet

You know there are chickens nearby

There may even be chook poop on the wheelbarrow.

What does surprise me is that these people can say so much about it!

Friday, 9 September 2011


According to NBW the new fund raiser at BW, Ruth Ruderham, is paid £70,000 p.a. I am at a loss to know why she is in post when the decision to  turn BW into a charity is still to be made. The New Waterways Charity which doesn’t exist employs a fund raiser who shouldn’t exist paid for by a quango who wont exist to prise money out of peoples hands which for the most part doesn’t exist.

A DEFRA consultation is intimating that with the best will in the world the giving of money by the public will be less than £1m a year for the first five years (2012/13 to 2016/17). However much the figure, out of that will have to come Ruth’s wages and the cost of a professional fund raising company which she says will be employed. A BW manager could have made that decision and saved £70,000. A pilot scheme which will be tendered for will run from April to July this year! Its a bit late now, how much are you getting Ms Ruderham!!! That’s already £70,000 well spent. NOT!

It is not yet known whether the NWC will come into existence by the projected allfools day, 1st April 2012, if ever. Currently legislation is slothing through the parliamentary process and there are still major issues of how it is to be run and funding that remain unresolved. Government have yet to respond to the last consultation made, and yet another will be taking place in the not too distant future.

It is a distinct possibility, that is not acknowledged by either DEFRA or BW, that NWC may not go ahead, as it is financially unviable. If it does go ahead, it could be substantially delayed.

And these people are in charge, I don’t believe it!

Thursday, 8 September 2011


Just the other day I need to open a PDF file from my bank and was told I needed Adobe Reader. I was surprised because I thought I already had that installed. However I clicked on the button and the process started. I missed the tick box that said MacAfee would be installed. It was half way through downloading both programs, in about 10 seconds, when I realised so I pressed the cancel button.

No problem went back and started again. Unticked the box and selected download. Well, now it only had one program to download, it shouldn’t take long at all. WRONG! Five minutes later and I was still waiting. Why should it take longer to download one program that it does to download two?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Agenda 21

The whole point of Agenda 21 moorings is that people can live an alternative low impact life style. No one lives on this boat it is a shed, no really a shed, just storage, and as such is nothing to do with Agenda 21. I know the owner and he lives in a house. In fact many of the boats down here on the A21 moorings have little to do with low impact living and more to do with making a profit. A sort of low impact capitalism.$RA7DIJXAgenda 21 is an action plan of the United Nations (UN) related to sustainable development and was an outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. It is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans directly affect the environment.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tree Down

This was our view of the downed tree that held us up for four hours yesterday. When I took this picture we (Myself and Ocelots crew) had removed several branches and chucked them back in the field. We probably took out about 5% of the tree and cleared as much of the towpath as we could. When the wrecking crew came they had less work to do and so we were able to get on our way sooner than if we had just sat and waited. Other boaters came to watch all but one just watched while we sawed and chopped and pulled branches out with a rope.DSCF0489DSCF0493DSCF0497DSCF0524DSCF0512DSCF0544Those two boats were moored there at the time of the fall, so lucky.

About four hours after the fall we were able to get on our way. I moored in Oxford at eight thirty. Over eight hours after I set off from Thrupp 7 miles away.

Soft Banks

It doesn’t matter how you tie your knots it will NEVER stop this. This is caused by an ever increasing band of boaters that have no concept of the damage they themselves are doing to the canal banks and the cost of repair! After passing a boat whose pins they have pulled out, should they look behind they will probably say, “It’s their own fault for not tying their boat up properly.” As you can see from this picture the knot is not the problem. This boat ‘Gibraltar’ has been re-pinned three that times I know of.  A fancy knot would have made no difference.05092011663Today on my way to Oxford I came across nb Knight No2 across the canal ( a hire boat had just squeezed past and left it drifting). The owner was on the bank unable to retrieve his boat because all five pins (springs were set) had been pulled out. I was able to gently nudge alongside his boat and then retrieve a pin still attached to a rope which allowed him to pull the nose in and get aboard.

He said, “I have just spent a couple of months on the Thames and not had one pin pulled. I came back here yesterday, went to work this morning and this happens.”

He is not the only one. Many people I meet on the canal complain about the speed of boats. It is the Thames/Hire syndrome. People coming off the Thames simply refuse to slow down to canal speed and no one at the nearby hire base ever bothers to tell them the consequences of speeding. There is no excuse EVER!