Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

So here I am in Stoke. It’s New Year’s Eve. And all the pubs appear to be shut. Thank you Stoke!!!


“Following an accident some time ago I lost both my ears. I have today been fitted with new ones so it really is Happy New Ears day today”

Boom boom Open-mouthed smile


I arrived in Stoke-on-Trent today at about four-thirty. The canal here is not a clean canal indeed I will be very busy for the next day or so, but the architecture is fab. Some of the old factories are amazing. Except the one that burst into flames a few days ago. I of course missed the fireworks (gas bottles exploding) and the sudden ignition of a red diesel tank, which I am told turned the whole sky red.

I am 4 miles from the tunnel which will take me to the start, or is that finish, of the Macclesfield Canal. The Macc is the object of my journey. The very reason I came this far ‘oop norf’. Why did I come here? to take a photograph of Milly M in a turnover bridge. Crazy I know, but ‘there ya go’.

No 2 daughter is coming to visit Wednesday so I will have a spell to do a few jobs providing I can find a supplier of electric cable. Ho hum!



Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Second Amendment 1791

I feel sure that we all, or at least most, were horrified at the news of the Newtown, Connecticut gun slaying at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The death of 20 children and 7 adults would have moved most people, but since that day another 277 Americans have lost their lives in gun crimes. In just 14 days, more than 10 times as many people died as did in Sandy Hook (that’s more than 19 people each day). It is right to assume that America needs to wake up. It doesn't help that people like Larry Pratt (executive director of GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA) and John Lott (Author of MORE GUNS LESS CRIME) advocate that if the ‘sane’ people had more guns there would be less gun crime carried out by the ‘loonies’. Their logic does not bear arms, so to speak.

Personally I support the second amendment and support every Americans right under that amendment to bear arms. However, at the time of the adoption of the constitution (1787) gun technology was in its infancy. Muzzle loaders, ram rods and ball and powder were the order of the day. Now I think Americans who want guns under the second amendment (adopted 1791) should be allowed them, but only those weapons built using the technology of the time. In all cases of school massacres a muzzle loading musket would have reduced the death toll dramatically, probably even to zero.

The musket would appease the general populace and the gun happy NRA would have nothing to complain about. Their second amendment right would be enshrined in the technology of the day. It  is simple.

Your move Mr President.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Dormouse project.

Are these people mad? Listen to what this guy is saying. This is our CRT. Since when has the Dormouse been an integral part of the canal system?

Ignorant Northerners.

T’day we wus trea’ed to a reet bit ‘o Northern hignorance. Two elderly cyclists (60s ish) on mountain bikes rather than ride on the grass around us they stayed on the narrow footpath. Of course we were having a conversation ie talking to each other and were not concentrating on our surroundings, just enjoying our walk. These two old gits just rode straight through the centre of our group (3 adults and 3 dogs.) and had the nerve to have a go at us.DSCF6501The old biddy in yellow commented about ‘bloody ignorant walkers’ as she passed at which point I said ‘Well you could have ridden on the grass they are MOUNTAIN bikes a bit of grass wont hurt them..

“You should have got out of the way” she said giving the V-sign. “Well,” says I, “cyclists are supposed to give way to pedestrians. What was wrong with riding on the grass.”

“No they’re not,” more V-signs more bad language. Grand-dad spouted off about enjoying the tow path. Mark said, “We were till you came by”. She seems to have mental issues and he is an engagement freak. Absolute loonies the pair of them. Its always the same some ass doesn’t know the rules and starts telling others THEY are wrong. And for any one who thinks that it might be me read this from the CRT. I have underlined the bit where they were lacking.

Follow these hints and tips for a trouble-free cycle ride.

  • Avoid cycling where your tyres would damage the path or verges (e.g. when they are wet or soft).
  • Give way to others on the towpath and warn them of your approach. A polite 'hello' and 'thank you' mean a lot.
  • We recommend you obtain third party liability insurance and equip your bike with a bell or equivalent.
  • You must get off and push your cycle beneath low or blind bridges, and where the path is very narrow.

I think this constitutes a narrow towpath. There was plenty of room for them to cycle around us. I am pleased to say that not all northern types are ignorant shits.



Tee hee!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Workhouse Bridge

Workhouse bridge in Stone, so named after it’s proximity to the workhouse, was renamed ‘Christina’ in memory of Christina Collins who was raped and murdered by the crew of a fly boat she was travelling on in 1839. Her body was found in the canal by the ‘Bloody Steps’ in Rugeley. There is a sculpture on the other side of the canal. (pictured below)


There are those that would say you can see the ghost of Christina on a moonless night, but I think that is wishful thinking given that she travelled at least four locks from here before she was killed.


Its Christmaaaaaaaas

I got a visit and a prezzi yesterday. Both from nbCaxton. There I was sitting in my office editing a story I had written when a face appeared at the window. Elaine from nbCaxton drove out to walk the dogs and decided this was as good a place as any. I last saw Paul and Elaine earlier in the year in Thrupp as they were on their way through.DSCF6432

Now you might think this was a cake, a marbled something or other, indeed I put it on a plate to make you think just that. It is soap it is wrapped in a felt jacket so it doesn't wear away to fast. The jacket shrinks as it is used and when your soap is gone you can cut it open and put in some more. Amazing.

Elaine makes soap on her boat nbCaxton and has a range of holistic soap for various purposes. and they look like cake. Here is a shaving soap masquerading as a fudge brownie.IMG_2312

Christmas funnies.

Mortimer Bones and her father never cease to amuse me. Whilst they are both highly intelligent people sometimes they are pulling on opposite ends of the same rope heading for the same piece of nowhere. Her latest blog post is a peach. See it here

Sunday, 23 December 2012


I awoke yesterday with the feeling that the general appearance needed some attention. No not the standing to … kind, but the paying … to kind. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work, but having caught my reflection in a window the other day I decided the "’High Plains Drifter’ look was not really going to pull any birds. Not that I want to ‘pull any birds’ but I just felt that it was someone else looking back at me through the mirror.

I took the beard off first  then the ‘tache and finally the hair, but I went easy with the hair. I might have it done again in a week or two.

I arrived at the top of the high street, pushed open the door and was approached by a chap.
“Do you have an appointment,” he asked as I entered the ‘salon’.
“Do I need one?” I said. “I have never had one before and I don’t think I want to start having appointments at my time of life. I turned to go.
“I am sure I can fit you in,” he said.
“What like now", well I didn’t want to be kept hanging about did I.
“Yes now,” he said.
”What right now!” I said, “OK.”
I said to the chap in the hairdressers, “I am a writer and this is my writer look. When I leave here I still want to look like a writer. If I get short back and side I wont pay!
“I think we can help you there sir, GLADYS is a fine hairdresser,” he said (I have changed the name to protect the innocent).
“But she is a …a gi-i-i-irl,” I protested. “I am a boy... ish.”
“Yes don’t worry sir, she wont let you down.”
“It will be a bit late if she does, she cant stick it all back on again.” Oh well if nothing else I get a free haircut.

I got a cup of tea and a mini mince pie.

Can you believe it she wanted to wash my hair. Damn it I only washed it last April why on earth would she want to wash it again so soon. In the end It didn’t hurt at all. The trouble with hair today everyone thinks if it is short it’s styled, Piffle! Sheared is a better description. And the idea of shaving your head to make yourself look ‘Hip’ is absolutely pathetic. That too is not a hair style you simply cannot style no hair.

So this is the end result. Whadda ya think?






I have spoken about this before on this blog over a year ago so we are due a re-run. I know it’s cheaper than hedge-laying. But why oh why should we have to live in what looks like a war zone? There is a very neat well defined hedge behind this mayhem so who is responsible? Would it not make sense instead of smashing them to pieces to just clear the all these trees and shrubs away. This is nothing less than corporate vandalism? This is so wrong. Image1325It is wrong because it is ugly. It is wrong because it gives the wrong impression. It is wrong because it is destroys habitat.Image1326It is wrong because the damage done to the trees and shrubs makes it easier for transference of disease. Image1327It is wrong because this is nothing less than management thuggery.

Image1328It is wrong because it covers up any rubbish making it difficult to clear it. It is wrong because it gives the poo bag decorators somewhere to hang their shit with seeming impunity, because after all “they’re smashing the place up what’s a few poo bags?”

You will by now notice that I have not mentioned the sharp pieces of wood and thorns that are showered across the towpath. The very same sharp pieces of wood and thorns that penetrate our pets feet every year and not to mention the wildlife. There has to be a better way. Though I am not yet sure what it is, I will keep thinking about and keep asking questions. One thing I do know is that this is a nature park you don’t  go smashing around like a bull in a china shop.

It certainly seems totally incongruous the the Trust  is letting this happen while further up the canal they are building housing estates for voles and newts and making butterfly corridors and planting for insects etc. THERE IS NO LOGIC.

Saturday, 22 December 2012


I moved today up the lock. I was getting fed up with the mud on the banks getting in the boat, it’s almost ankle deep. So at about 2:30 I  cast off and went for water, which was only 200 yards away. While the water was filling I went to set the lock. There were two spaces above and a possible third I walked up to see who had taken the closest space. It was nbFERNDALE.

nbFERNDALE used to be nbGYPSY ROVER Derek and Dot Canvin’s boat. The new owners are Ray and Diane. They are mooring down at Aston Marina for the winter as are those other Antipodes, Paul and Elaine, who own nbCaxton aka The Manly Ferry.

I only had time for a short chat as I needed to get back to see to the water which was full as I arrived.

Friday, 21 December 2012


I found this picture on the net. I think it really is a fab picture. Does anyone out there know who the artist is?


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Weston to Stone

I moored up in Weston last night. It seemed to me to be quite a nice place. However on the length of 200 yards of towpath I cleared three bin liners full of rubbish including at least 20 bags of doggie doo doo.

People often say to me “Oh you are doing a grand job.” Which is nice but even nicer would be if they had a carrier bag or two and picked up some rubbish. Then and only then would I be doing a grand job. We all need to get involved. By the time I arrived at Stone I had 5 bags of rubbish and the biggest traffic cone I have ever seen.



Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Herbie!!!!

award shield[2]Well now there is a surprise lil ol’ me winning a Herbie.

I would like to thank every body who was too f*****g lazy to put their rubbish in the right place without those morons this would not have been possible.

I would also like to thank all those conscientious boaters out there who are going to make a point of picking up as much rubbish as possible in the next 12 months.

I have not been out 2 months yet this winter and I have collected 64 bags + plus a number of tyres and a 110ah battery. Lets all make a big effort Thank you!



Monday, 17 December 2012


I think if CRT put as much effort into the canals as they do with some of their rinki-dink projects then maybe the canals will become what they should be rather than what they are.

Plant an orchard on land at Caen Hillside on the Kennet & Avon Canal
Give a vole a home along the Grand Union Canal
Give a vole a home along the Grand Union Canal's Leicester Line
Create a butterfly highway at Fenny Compton
Give a newt a home on the Grand Union Canal
Create a wildlife habitat in Coney Meadow on the Droitwich Canals
Give a vole a home along the Kennet & Avon Canal
Create a community art project in Birmingham's Heartlands Linear Park
Create a wildlife haven on the River Severn
Create an accessible viewing platform for the spectacular Iron Trunk Aqueduct

I get the impression that our native voles are too stupid to find their own homes.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

You meet the nicest people . . . .

. . . . when you are out on the cut. I moved from Penkridge this afternoon and passed through three locks. It was getting quite dark when I came through Shott Hill Lock. Looking for a piece of Armco Piling to moor on I passed nbSOKAI  who as it happens were moored on a rather long length of piling so I stopped. Dave an Beryl have been on board since June last year. I was invited to dine. I took along a bottle, well it would be bad manners to go empty handed. A pleasant evening spent with nice people. Thank you both and Hoobie

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Banks

The banks screwed it all up, big time. They came to the government with bowler hat in hand. The government shelled out billions of taxpayers hard earned money to bail out the banks for which there was to be NO accountability. The taxpayers were up in arms and rightly so. The same banks who the taxpayer bailed out are now foreclosing on taxpayers mortgages and making those people homeless. Of course those taxpayers have let their mortgages get in arrears, well we live in difficult times. As it happens these difficult times were caused by the very bankers the taxpayer had to bail out. Now excuse me but . . . . . . has the word ‘compassion’ been removed from the banker’s vocabulary – YES! Did their mothers never teach them to be thankful when someone hauled their worthless arses out of the mire. Obviously no! It seems that if you are a banker you are not expected to pay for your mistakes, where as if you are a bank helper taxpayer you will be pilloried for being ill, out of work, or less educated, because you’re not a banker. Not being a banker means you are not in David’s Gang and as such are worthless. Just cannon fodder. So now it is time to write a letter to David.

Dear @David_Cameron
We are NOT all in this TOGETHER, you do NOT share our PAIN. You CANNOT possibly begin to understand how it feels to be HOMELESS. Either sort out the banks properly or get out.

Signed the taxpayers.

Towpath Damage

This damage is unfortunate.
It will be costly to fix.

I only hope that it has nothing to do with this, which is directly opposite the damage.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I do like to keep an eye on my wine.


New shoes

I bought a pair of these from Wickes off the shelf marked Walking/work boots. £50 reduced to £25! They are tops!!!!!!!!


Mooring rings or not.

While at Bridge 98 on the S&W I met Madame Cholet (not not the Womble the Narrowboat). She was moored here just south of the bridge.

No she is not this boat. This boat was moored here over the weekend. Madame Cholet took his place after he moved off. The Chap on Madame C pointed out that the rings he had often used during his twenty years on the cut  had disappeared! He pointed them out to me. DSCF6260

DSCF6259You might think it could have been done any time, but it look reasonably fresh to me as was borne out by the other one which had clearly been cut one, maybe two, days before. Still shiny. The previous boat was there when I arrived late Friday afternoon so either he did it or he knows who did it. Perhaps he didn’t like people mooring on ‘his’ place.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Monday, 10 December 2012

To bug or not to bug

I set off for Penkridge today and met my first deep lock for ages, Deptmore Lock. 10’ 3” I set the lock, put the boat in gear and it drove itself in. I checked the forward motion on the centre line. The lock has a old cantilever style bridge  that used to have a gap in it for the tow rope. That's been modified now.

I worked up the lock and pulled over to visit the weed hatch. It took me half an hour to get this piece of rope off the prop. I had to cut it three times before it finally came off releasing a load of plastic bags.
I set off  and before I had gone 50 yards the engine stopped. I started it again, it stopped again. After several tries I set to thinking that I had run out of fuel, No! nearly 3/4 of a tank. This did surprise me. So thinks I this is what happens when the old diesel bug rears its ugly head, BUGGER!!!

Up with the engine boards. I put a spanner on the fuel filter centre bolt and was just about to loosen it when I thought best turn the fuel off first. Looking under the back deck I could see that it was off already. Doh! I must have knocked it off when down the weed hatch. Silly me! Well more to the point silly Ledgard Bridge Boats stupid place to put the fuel tap.

I turned it on and the engine burst into life. YAHOODIE!!!!! and away we went. Phew.

Sunday, 9 December 2012


I saw this in a church in Great Haywood I thought it was amusing, I won’t say thought provoking, because I think
that is a pompous term, but it is interesting.
DSCF6185It is two things. A quick glance it is just a happy face and seems somewhat out of place in a church yard., but look again it’s a trio, maybe an adult bending down to give comfort to two children. Or the church welcoming new believers. See it how you will.DSCF6184What is also interesting, whether by design or accident,
is the two pools of water on the inside (which will, of course, dry up in better weather). Although it is very carefully crafted in side so I suppose it must be by design.
DSCF6183It is a metaphor, a simply delightful metaphor, and
you don't have to be a god botherer to appreciate it.
It is a touchy feely piece if you go to see it you most certainly must put your hands on it.

DSCF6181It’s fab!


It has only just occurred to me this is the wrong colour, there isn’t any/enough sand in this cement.DSCF5893

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Staffs & Worcs

I took a walk out today with a few bags only to find three were not enough. The canal here is disgusting and the main culprit is the fisherman. I found numerous bait bag, hook packets, discarded floats not to mention the obligatory pile of sweet wrappers and fishing line.

I found a new menace today. The weed whacker/brush cutter. Whose idea was it to use these? Whilst very effective at cutting weeds and brush they also shred crisp packets etc. and CANS!!! Making one hell of a mess and leaving some very dangerous debris for wild animals to get caught on.

Sorry you will forgive me for saying this, but the volunteer scheme is not helping the wildlife in this area. It is ill considered and downright dangerous for wild and domestic animals. Why, oh why, can’t they send  someone to pick up the rubbish first then cut the weeds down. Rocket science it isn't!!!

Or don’t they care?


Electric boats

Here’s one for electric boat owners. Just so you understand you are no different to anyone else.

The power source.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Mooring rings

I feel sure some of you may think I chose the worst ring in the ‘More Waste ‘ post, but they are all here, all different, all crap. I certainly wouldn’t have paid £1000 for the lot.