Saturday, 31 December 2011

Friday, 30 December 2011

Signage! Signage! Signage!

The Electric Wharf Footbridge which has a span of 30 yards across the Coventry Canal and was completed in August 2006. It is about a 1/2 mile from the basin.322eIt is very impressive. Unfortunately it leads from the back of a skip storage yard on one side and an industrial site on the other. The bridge spans a about 40 foot of water, and the end to end walking distance is about 150 yards. It is a lot of bridge for such a narrow piece of water. BW are to be applauded.
This sheet of laminated A4 paper screwed to an odd size piece of ply, fixed to the bridge using cable ties is how BW chose to inform the canal user (boater) about the bridge. I don’t know who paid for this bridge but I would have thought that the signage would have warranted a bit more money spent on it than £0.30p. Perhaps some senior member of the BW board might consider using some of his unearned bonus to put up a proper sign.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Amazing . . .

. . .  the temperature in Redmond, Western Australia is 48oF/9oC exactly the same as here in Oxford.


Have I discovered a rare Pygmy Push-me-Pull-me in a field near the North Oxford Canal.


New rolling stock

I see that Bombardier, not Bombardi-ay, have just been awarded a contract worth 187 million quid to build 135 rail carriages. Now I know that train carriages are not cheap to make, but £1.4 mill per carriage for what is simply a redesign of seating lighting heating on a set of wheels which has not changed in a long time is rather overpriced don’t you think.

What gets me is that they made 1400 people redundant, many of whom the taxpayer is now supporting due to the loss of an earlier contract that was awarded to the Germans. This new contract comes with an £80 million taxpayer subsidy.

Sorry but I cant afford to subsidise this as well as support those that were made redundant and the excessive increase in fuel cost and coal. I am not a charity! The Government need to understand this before the populace rise up and take back control of their lives.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


We live in strange times. The internet gives us the opportunity to reach far peoples we could never have reached in the past unless we were international journalists. I have on many occasions written about the Middle East, Islam and from time to time received threats of violence even the ultimate ‘death’ threats. Last July I felt the need to report one such threat to the police. Christmas Eve I wrote on this blog about the Middle East, something I don’t normally do (I have other blogs for that). That post only received two comments. One, No Direction, agreed with what I said, no ifs ands or buts. The other probably did agree with me, but being the sceptic I am, I didn’t read it that way.

This is the first time i am visiting this site. Thanks for sharing your information. Its a reminder that you need to stay sharp in everything you do.

The first line says, to me, that this is someone for whom English is not their first language. That’s fine I have visitors from 174 countries, at the last count, they can’t all have English as a first language. I love it that people from across the world come here to see what I have to say.

However the third sentence might be worrying. You or I would probably have said,

‘Its a reminder that we need to stay sharp in everything we do.’

He, however said,

‘Its a reminder that you need to stay sharp in everything you do.’

This is in keeping with other threats I have had. I am sure in this case that it is simply semantics, but it does worry.

Top ten visiting countries over the last 21/2 years are:-

United Kingdom


United States






New Zealand












Azerbaijan has been here on 9 occasions in the last week, that is scary, as is Iran, which turns up from time to time.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Middle East

So the troops have left Iraq, and the terrorists have waged a bombing campaign. I am sorry, but If you show me anybody who did not expect the bombing in Bagdad after the troops moved out I will show you an absolute idiot.

That any politician could believe that it would all work out belief beggars. It is simply not the Arab way. Now that is not racist it is a simple statement of fact. The Arab nations have vastly different ideas to the west and will not come easily to the table. While there they will talk the talk because that is what they think the west wants to hear. After leaving the table they will decide what they want to do  and if that is in opposition to what was agreed then so be it. The western politician who can sort out the Middle East has not yet been born. Or if he has we are still waiting on his second coming.

Across the ME the Arab Spring has given rise to demands for Democracy. That is not to say Democracy as we know it but as they know it. The two do not compare.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Best wishes to Tom and Jan

When it comes to the old Bulldog spirit you just have to applaud those  Antipodeans, Tom and Jan at Waioru.  Despite the many problems they had with their builder who’s name will not be mentioned here again, Kiwis Tom and Jan have set to getting their hull back to its original state and rebuilding their boat. Many of us would have given up when confronted with the destruction of the boat that we had lovingly designed for our retirement together, but not Tom and Jan.

Few of us can imagine what it must be like to  be so badly treated by a builder, yet despite all the heartbreak, they have shed their tears screamed their anger and started again. Currently the blog talks of the construction of the black water tank, the gas locker, and the diesel tank. Instead of talking about how they are building it they should have been able to talk to other boaters they meet around the system about how long the b/w tank will last and how many hours the engine will run on a tank of diesel, how they are enjoying the life they chose.

It must be a gut wrenching sight to see the vandalised paint work every day, but Tom and Jan plod on relentlessly following the dream. A life on the water is what they wanted and a life on the water is what they are damn well going to get, and the builder can go to hell!. No rogue builder is going to stop them. I have not met them, but hope; when they have finished their long task, to meet them out on the cut. 
I wonder what happened to that asshole.

In Rugby


Pig Sty Rugby. All these pictures were taken within the same few feet


I was told today about a boat that pulled over under the rail bridge at Enslow and dumped a load of wood on the off towpath side.

If you see a boat dumping rubbish take their number. If you dont want to report it then send it to me because you know I will. We must stop this wanton destruction of our environment.

I found all this between Nadkey Bridge (near Banbury) and Thrupp.


Traffic Cone, Waste Bin, 1/2 a Table, Dustbin, Plastic Bucket, Dog Basket, 20 ltr Container, Sheet 2x3 Hex Board, Several bags of litter (two were dumped together in the hedgerow below Dashwood’s Lock)

And I wasn’t even trying. I could have picked up 2/3 times this much if I hadn’t been so angry with the skankey bastards who do this.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

OHGood Lord

Its been a whole week. I bet you were all worried. I thought I might be having yet another detached retina and so I went off to Oxford to see the specialist eye hospital there at the JR. All clear! I did however leave my laptop charger on Bones' boat and have been powerless to use the laptop despite having several chargers on the Milly M. DELL are odd in that they have an hexagonal connector, which none of my others have ergo no Internet.

Here I sit in the Internet room of Banbury library hence this diatribe. Ah! I hear you say 'Banbury is not oop norf' and you would be right, although it is norf of Oxford. I thought I might go home for Crimbo being as I have a few things to deal with down there in the new year. Not least of which is a driver awareness course in Heyford. Naughty me got caught doing 35 in a 30 zone. Poo!



Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Any old iron?

One has to wonder how this washing machine got here.The clue is of course in the steps which lead down from a housing estate.


What is it that make people think this is acceptable behaviour? Well it could be that Local Authorities charge too much to dispose of old Washing Machines.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011


If this notice is so ‘important’ why is it on the off side and why isn’t it on a proper board instead of laminated. British Waterways might just as well have thrown this sign on the fire for all the good it is doing.


All Oaks Wood

I was very disappointed to see this today. I have previously taken 7 bags of litter out of here.


Big brother

An innocuous looking old fashioned lamp. Well no it’s a video camera. You can’t do anything these days without someone watching. There is a similar one where I am moored.


Watch the old ‘uns

I watched this dog have a dump. Clear as day. I throttled back and asked the old biddy if she would like a bag to clear it up.

“What?” she said.

I repeated my offer and she said, “He only had a wee.”

“No mam,” says I, “I definitely saw lumpy stuff coming out of his bum.”

“Oh no,” she says, “he was peeing.”

“Madam you are required to clean it up.”

She ignored me. I am not surprised. Obviously an ignorant old biddy.

DSCF2322This took place in Nuneaton just a few hundred yards north of the Boatyard.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Someone has some sense


Endless task

Spent the morning collecting three bags of litter down the first 5 Atherstone locks add to that the 4 I collected earlier in the week and that equals a very dirty Atherstone (although now its clean).
My total in the last weeks since Napton is 72 bags +1 TV + 1 porta potti + 2 traffic cones + one lid of a wheelie bin and one mooring pin.

DSCF2262There is an increasing amount of prop foul. It seems that few, if any, once they have cleared their propeller ever bother to take away the rubbish. They just dump it on the towpath. This is folly. Some yob will come along and kick it all back in where it will await for the next unsuspecting boater to come along. Often the contents of your weed hatch will fit in a carrier bag. So why not bag it and put it on the roof and dispose of it at the proper place. It isn’t difficult!


I wrote some time ago about a site called ‘Litter Heroes’. Just looking at their site today I came across their ‘Cotswold Litter Heroes’ page. This is something that could be adapted to the canals. I think it would also be a thing that local authorities could fund being as it is mostly tax paying locals that seem to litter the canals.The cost to the LA would be quite small for the amount of work done and there would be no need to employ anyone to organise it. The Cotswold Litter Campaigners are supplied with bags, litter pickers and Hi-Viz vests by the LA and insurance. Volunteers can go online see what areas are not currently being cleaned and select one that suits them. It is so simple.

For the canals those boaters who live in one place should be able to keep their area clean (they could even help with cutting back the overgrowth). Other boaters could make a point of clearing up the towpath where they moor, up to half a mile in each direction. Anyone else who wants to take part could simply take a a bin liner or two with them when they go out walking.  I paid a couple of pounds for a pair or those red rubbery drain gloves today, so you don’t even have to get your hands dirty. How easy can it be? So can we give it a go?

I reckon if I could get 100 volunteers we could clean the Coventry Canal from Hawkesbury to The Basin in one or two days. Yes the whole lot! I am not just talking about the towpath, but all the rubbish you can see from the tow path. All the bridge surrounds, all the little pocket parks, the civic art works the lot! But then the Everly Brothers come to mind …..Dream, Dream, Dream.

But we can try can’t we? We can all try! Please.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Remember, remembering this.

Well do you?


I had an email this week from the Traffic Department. Well I would because I wrote after the last email to ask them if they had understood my concerns about the sign post.

They said:

I believe the priority signs were installed over 10 years ago. Since then the responsibility for Highways has changed Authorities and there has been much staff turn over. Consequently, I am unable to trace any record as to why the sign was located exactly where it was. However, the presence of underground services can often influence the exact position of the post.

You may notice that the post is planted in a cut trench, so there is a man that can talk out of his arse.

They go on:

As you are probably aware the sign itself gave westbound traffic priority and as such needed a sign and give way markings to halt eastbound traffic. However, since the sign’s erection the former factory access has been upgraded into a full junction. Consequently there is no room for the necessary give way markings. We were therefore concerned that retaining a sign telling westbound traffic they had priority, without indicating where eastbound traffic should stop, could have more serious consequences.

As a result we felt that it would be prudent not to indicate any priority especially since visibility over the canal bridge has improved since the construction of William Lucy Way.

I hope this answers your query.

That’s a ‘no’ then

Yob’s nest, Nuneaton

This pile was in the corner of of what looked like an elderly people’s home where it met the canal. Beer cans and trash just lobbed over the wall by the towpath.05122011883

Thursday, 8 December 2011

New to me


Misplaced intentions

Some well meaning old biddy thinks this is the thing to do to help the wildlife through the winter. Well Its not really winter and the only thing they are helping is the rats. The rats here will take out any cat stupid enough to pick on them. They are near as big as ‘orses.07122011896So what does the best fed rat eat these days? Well here there is a collection of bacon sandwiches and on the other side of the bridge is more bread. People really are stupid.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I am making a habit of this

Panic entered the boat yesterday as I came to the realisation that my wallet was nowhere to be found. Now if you know me you will know that I can lose anything on the boat. So even after two searches of the boat I wasn’t particularly worried. I did retrace my steps after deciding I might have lost it on the tow path when out with Molly. Off I went back down the locks to see if I dropped it while taking pictures but to no avail. I passed a Thruppian’s boat, Jim who is also on the CC circuit at this time he wasn’t home. Having now walked a few miles I decided I needed some refreshment and stopped off at the Kings Head.

Jim the Thruppian was sitting in the corner of the bar. We had a long catch up, after all I haven’t seen him since Rugby. While there I received a phone call from Mark Paris of Thrupp. Mark had received a phone call from a chap at the marina that was the limit of my walk this morning. The chap asked if he knew me? Well Mark of course said “No” mainly because the name on my bank card and the name everyone knows me by are not the same. Eventually he caught on and took a number which was the reason he phoned me. I was reunited with my wallet. I shall be eternally grateful to the wife of an American chap who found the wallet and to him for making the effort to find out who I was and get  in touch. There are such nice people on the cut!

Maid Of the Mill

I am moored at Bridge 41 on the Coventry Canal. For those of you that don't know that's in Atherstone at the top of the locks. Alongside the canal is an old mill/factory (hats) alongside that is the Maid of the Mill. Maid of the Mill is a well known piece of music by Schubert, the connection might be a bit tentative, I don’t know for sure but there is a framed copy of the sheet music up in the bar.

The Maid is a hatters pub, no no a proper hatters pub. It is a pleasant Olde Worlde pub but not the sort of thatched roof and cottage garden type pub, but a typical working class pub. Probably been there as long as the mill.  It is a warm friendly pub and I quite like it. The pub has a pool table, dartboard, skittles and a book/video library. The furniture is maybe getting a bit worn but the place feels comfortable. The floor has a mix of carpet and  quarry tiles, and the windows hung with red velvet curtains. There is an enclosed garden at the back.

I am most impressed the Guinness is £2.90 a pint which is the cheapest I have seen so far. Even the pork scratchings came in proper sizes bags and at a proper price of 65p. OK the head on the beer is a bit on the large side but I did already have a slurp off this one.

Other delights from the brewery, John Smiths Extra Smooth
Green King IPA, Abbots, Brew XI Best Bitter from the Mitchell and Butler brewery, Stella, Carling and Strongbow.

One chap in the bar, a Ronnie Corbett look a like, says he has been drinking all his life and if beer goes over three pound a pint he will give it up. (I remember saying that about ciggies as they approached 50p.) I said that £2.90 was the cheapest I had paid and that I had paid £4 down in Oxford. “Well,” said Ronnie, “your an arsehole then.” On that score I am inclined to agree with him. One customer called the local Taxi firm to get him some cigarettes. He was quite impressed that the delivery fee was only £3.70 on top of the price of  the fags, but but that one packet of ciggies still cost him  £10. Yes I know what you are thinking, as did the others in the bar . EDIT: Funny thing was they had cigarettes in the bar.

A conversation set up in the bar about the Mill next door after I asked about how long it had been closed (15 years). Various people said their relatives worked there. One chaps uncle and grandfather worked there. The girl behind the bar had a relative that worked there, well he robbed it, I suppose you could call that work. What did he steal? Why hats of course.

Atherstone has a ship named after it HMS ATHERSTON what else. There is a picture up in the bar.
05122011888The present HMS Atherstone is the third to bear the name. The first was an 810 ton paddle minesweeper built in 1916. The second HMS Atherstone was the first Type I "Hunt" Class Destroyer of 1000 tons displacement to be built in 1939. The current HMS Atherstone, launched in 1986 is one of the most expensive ships (per cubic metre) ever built. And is one of the largest warships to be built with a GRP hull.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sh*t Sh*t Sh******t

I just cannot seem to find the words to express what I feel about the stupid moron who did this. I took this picture a week or two ago on the Ashby in the middle of nowhere. Who do they think will clean it up? If this is not touched it will probably still be there when their grandchildren are drawing their pensions.

DSCF2112I must have picked up over 500 bags like this dotted around the countryside and towns I have visited. I really want to go and stuff it through someone’s letter box.

Stamps foot and exits left.


I am in Nuneaton between bridges 19a and 20. The mooring is clean………NOW! I have never seen a stretch of towpath with so much doggy doo on it. Not just on the grass edges but on the path itself. I have so far removed three bags full of rubbish. I know that boaters are apt to dump their rubbish in places they shouldn’t, but the sheer volume of rubbish is certainly not down to boaters, not to mention the dog crap. I think I will write to the council and suggest that as their taxpayers appear to be such a dirty disgusting bunch of social misfits, that they should help to clean it up.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Friday, 2 December 2011

Country Crust Tearoom

This is the Country Crust Tearoom. It is situated in unit 12 in the Coventry Canal Basin not far from the BW facilities which are part of the garden in the background. It is a nice Tea Room for such a place on the edge of the city centre.

Don't miss Breakfast Lunch or Cream tea at Coventry Canal Basin’s Country Crust Tearoom.The prices are very good. Soup of the Day and a baguette a mere £2 that's good value. In fact there are only a few items on the menu that are over £3


They have a Country Crust Tearoom in Hinckley also.

Thursday, 1 December 2011


When we walk around a town/city centre we find the bits we can walk on in safety are different to the bits that we normally can’t. As can be seen in the first picture the edge of the walking bit is light grey, the vehicle bit is dark grey.  We have an awareness of the edge because of the contrast. 01122011856There is a very definite line between the two areas and we don’t have to walk around looking at the ground all the time to make sure we don’t fall off the curb which is about 4” – 6” high.01122011857However although this pavement  below looks as if it would be the same, it is most definitely not. The two rows of slabs at the top of the picture are level with the red road surface.
The curb is also only about 11/2"".


I have marked the edge of the curb in this next picture. There is a 11/2" drop a full foot before the contrast tells you to expect it. Today I met this problem and suffered great pain. And many of the people who came to my aid said they had done exactly the same thing.01122011858aIt is only a matter of time before it is more than a twisted ankle and some one is suing the council for broken bones or worse death, I fell forward when I went down this step. Had there been a bus coming I would have been squished.

Yes we could walk around looking at the ground but we would all be bumping into one and other, not to mention lampposts.

Now add to this that with a 11/2"" deep gutter heavy rain water will not be carried away to a drain as it would with a 4” – 6” gutter is but will flood over the pavement causing inconvenience to  pedestrians and possible flooding to shops.

Who designed this? What level of incompetence is required to be a designer? I think the council need to take a serious look at this. There is a lot of rebuilding/ remodeling going on in Coventry it would be as well to sort it before it is all finished and the claims start coming in.