Monday, 30 September 2013

Dem new Rools

Narrow Boat Worlds August poll about the £25 overstay charge was pulled because someone found a way to ‘fix’ it. This in itself is reprehensible, equally so is the editor, Tom Crossley, trying to make make out that the [incomplete] poll was conclusive when it was not allowed to run its course. I do not believe that any web site should be running polls on such important issues.
I do whole heartedly agree with Tom that visitor moorings should be just that moorings for visitors and not just parking lots for Continuous Avoiders, however, since the introduction of the ‘new‘ rules I don’t believe anything has changed other than CRT have abrogated their responsibilities to police the old rules and handed over the job of policing to a bunch of volunteers.
The moorings here at Thrupp are now, late September, not so chocca and moorings are available. I don’t think that has anything to do with the new rules. More to the point it has to do with the nights drawing in. Many of the hire boats that come on Fridays cannot now reach Thrupp before dark, instead spending their first night aboard at the Rock of Gibraltar in Enslow. Hence Thrupp doesn’t have to find births for 4/5 69 footers coming down from the north. Now if College Cruisers can make their customers stop before it gets dark Thrupp will be come quiet again. Of course the fact that all the marina moorers who clutter up the canals in the high season have gone home and their boats are tucked up for the winter has helped a great deal too.
I think the new mooring rules are a ‘sledge hammer to crack a nut’. The Cycling and Running Trust will tell us that the new system is a great success, but they will say that whether it is or not so that they can justify the money already spent. I of course, being against the whole scheme, am bound to say that that there appears to be no change. I may not be an expert on these things but visiting the canal once a week or once a fortnight is not as good as seeing it every day (between April 1st and now I have only been away 10 days).
Quite a notable problem that I doubt the CRT even know about is the privacy moorer. You know the guy who leaves a twenty-five foot gap between him and the next boat for ‘privacy’. With the number of boats on the system today we don’t have room for privacy, but do you ever see the volunteer police ask people to move up or notices asking to share rings/bollards? No! I have seen enough space for three sixty-foot boats wasted at Thrupp for the sake of privacy.
Maybe people should be licenced by ‘attitude’. If you want privacy you only get licenced to moor in the middle of nowhere. Or if you only want to come out for two weeks of the year you should be issued with a licence that only allows you to moor in December/January/February. Of course the solution to full visitor moorings and increasing numbers of boats is to increase the visitor moorings. Here in Thrupp we have lost four visitor moorings in the shakeup, three of which have become part of a ‘much needed’ conservation area (not).

Leak Fixer

Last year one of my office windows started leaking profusely. The problem was due to some poor construction. When my boat was built many of you will remember it was shown on the WWW due to the fact that I was in Saudi and could not visit. Well whilst watching the camera one day I noticed the windows had been cut out, but the wrong shape, square at the top as apposed to curved as per the windows which annoyingly were there in the workshop at the time of cutting. This was just one of several balls ups that the builder managed to commit.

Well fillets had to be fixed in to re-shape the window hole. This is where, last year, rust first appeared and fortunately this is the only window to cause a problem so far. The fillets can be clearly seen on all the windows, despite assurances that this would not be the case.

Anyway despite all the shall I, shan’t I dithering I did over the summer I finally set to to stop the leak. I removed the window. This revealed more rust than I first thought. I then removed the rust as much as I could then treated it. The thing I noticed was the thickness of the original paintwork was phenomenal. I put on two coats of primer then 4 coats of International TOPLAC that I originally bought for the gunnels. It wasn't a bad match for colour given that I bought it because it was the ‘blackest’ green I had seen.

I used roofing sealant to re-fix the window and now have a very good looking repair. I need to work on my painting technique a bit, but I can practice when I do the gunnels.

Winter Itinerary

Thames/ GU/ Paddington/ Regent/ Hertford/ Regent/ Paddington/ GU/ Wendover Arm/ GU/ GU Leicester Section/ Soar/ T&M/ Erewash/ T&M/ Caldon/ T&M/ Macc/ PF/ Aston/ PF/ Macc/ T&M.

Might be a bit ambitious.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Oxford Canal

If you are coming down the Oxford Canal you will need a BWB key for several of the lift bridges including Thrupp. You will need a windlass for only one lift bridge and by the time you get to Thrupp it’s 20 miles behind you in Banbury.

Monday, 23 September 2013


There are some people who really need to be castrated to stop them breeding because they are simply unfit to be parents.


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Radio 4 this morning. . . .

. . . . in a segment about the correct ‘proNUNciation’ of words the presenter said proNOUNciation probably ten times maybe more.

The world will come to an end very soon.

Godfrey is innocent!

Godfrey Bloom made a bit of a faux par when he used the word slut in a joke last week but not because of the reasons banded about by the other political parties or the press. What he said was only offensive if your education is lacking and you have a propensity to be offended at everything.

Slut may have one meaning today that may offend, but it has several meanings and was completely in context with what Godfrey Bloom was asked last week.

If you look at the etymology of the word you will see my point.

slut (n.) c.1400, "a dirty, slovenly, or untidy woman," probably cognate with dialectal German Schlutt "slovenly woman," dialectal Swedish slata "idle woman, slut," and Dutch slodder "slut," but the ultimate origin is doubtful. Chaucer uses sluttish (late 14c.) in reference to the appearance of an untidy man. Also "a kitchen maid, a drudge" (mid-15c.; hard pieces in a bread loaf from imperfect kneading were called slut's pennies, 18c.). Meaning "woman of loose character, bold hussy" is attested from mid-15c.; playful use of the word, without implication of loose morals, is attested from 1660s.

Our little girl Susan is a most admirable slut, and pleases us mightily. [Pepys, diary, Feb. 21, 1664]

Sometimes used 19c. as a euphemism for bitch to describe a female dog. There is a group of North Sea Germanic words in sl- that mean "sloppy," and also "slovenly woman," and that tend to evolve toward "woman of loose morals" (cf. slattern, also English dialectal slummock "a dirty, untidy, or slovenly person," 1861; Middle Dutch slore "a sluttish woman").

Overall what can be gained from this is Godfrey Bloom was in context and not offensive. He has been wrongly punished for nothing. What happened last week was a victory for political bias bought about by the Government and the press to slur UKIP probably because these Tory twats could see their position being challenged by better people than they are.

What is sad is that Nigel Farange fell for it and played right into the Tory hands. What a sucker. Oh wait a minute that word ‘sucker’ could that be misconstrued as some sexual deviation? Yes if you want it to but check up on the etymology first before you go shouting the odds.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


That chemical weapons have been used in Syria is, without doubt, a fact. As far as I understand it who it was that deployed those weapons is as yet undecided. Either it was President Bashar al-Assad or it was one of the myriad pockets of rebel forces.
Who would you plump for? Initially it would make some sort of sense the Assad was the likely culprit. He does have the weapons to use.  Arabs have a different psyche to us in the ‘west’ and Arab Presidents different again. If we in the west ran to form we, UK/USA/France/Germany etc, would have bombed the crap out of him. What would he have gained? He would certainly have been ousted, probably killed; and he would have been aware of that.

However, if you were the leader of a group of rebels who were having their ass kicked by a tyrannical thug, wouldn’t you want the west to come in and bomb the crap out of the tyrant and his forces? Of course you would. How would you achieve that? Well you could ask for your friends to intervene, but if they are apprehensive about that then you have to make them want to help.

Setting off a chemical weapon and killing women and children, in the most barbarous way, would certainly tend to push your friends into action. Many people both here and abroad are horrified that the west is not going to stop the tyrant from committing further atrocities, but if you are not sure who the ‘tyrant’ is then, surely,  it is right to hold back.

Yes a thug is killing women and children, and ‘he’ needs to be stopped. As soon as we know who ‘he’ is then I think we will probably go in to help.

I can hear you ask why would the rebels kill their own people. I will quote my own second paragraph, “Arabs have a different psyche to us in the ‘west’. . . .”. Now I can hear you saying ‘that’s a very racist thing to say’, but my experience of the Middle East is that this is the case. Life in the ME is cheap. Women and children are commodities, to be used as the men see fit. If killing a few hundred, or a few thousand achieves the objective then so be it.

I do not say this lightly. I have received a few emails in the past that I have felt the need to report to the police. I have written about the M E on many occasions, I know that there are those who would rather I didn’t. I have lived in three M E countries for a total of five years and whilst I would not say I am an expert I at least have a greater knowledge than some politicos who might only visit for a few days.

By all means have an opposing view but do not tell me I am wrong, only history will be able to do that.

Thursday, 19 September 2013


If you don’t want me to tell you what I think don’t ask. I watched a boat do something very stupid today. (Apart from standing on the gunwale ten feet forward of the prop in a high wind). With two boats breasted up on the water point the Anglo Welsh decided to moor up behind them. This meant that their bow was touching the bank on the other side of the bridge completely blocking boats traveling through the said bridge.

The chaps at the water point told them that they couldn’t moor like they were, blocking the bridge. “Well how long are you going to be?” We’ve got two tanks to fill up says the man on the water point. They, AW, told them, water point, they were not being very helpful. Well they were filling up with water, they were moored as far up as they could be (which is unusual here). So the AW boat tried to move elsewhere and bounced off the edge with his stem post several times, all the while the wind was blowing him sideways. One of his crew started pulling hard on the bow rope instead of just tying it to a bollard and letting the wind blow the boat around. Well they are ‘hirers’ they cant be expected to think of this stuff.

But as I walked past on the towpath the man on the rope said , “There’s a lot of windage on these boats isn’t there!” Just there that word ‘windage’ should have been the clue. A normal hirer wouldn’t have said that.

Well I just said, “It takes a bit of forward planning,” as I would have said to anybody on any boat having a problem.

He took umbrage and proved me wrong. He wasn't just a ‘hirer’ “I’ve sailed boats all over the world,” he said, “Not just on these canals. I don’t need blah . . . blah . . .  blah.” So there you have it an expert who wasn’t.

Sorry but if I was an ‘expert’, which I’m not, and making a balls up; which I often do, I would not admit to my experience. If I didn’t want a smart-arse like me to state the bleedin’ obvious I wouldn’t say ‘owt in the first place. And I certainly wouldn’t return with how good I was.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Well Well Well

Its that time of year when talk of ‘budgets’ and ‘bonuses’ is all the rage. To be completely accurate any time of year is time to talk about bonuses, especially those of the CRT.

Alan Richards seems to be of the understanding that CRT directors and other workers (by that I am assuming managers) received in the region of £800,000 bonus collectively.

CRT being a charity aside, I am having trouble with the concept of ‘rewarding’ people, on sky high incomes, if they do their job  properly.

Surely the better motivation would be to cut their salary if they didn’t perform. Tie a man down to a long term contract (that he cant wriggle out of)  and cut his salary every time he fails to produce the goods. If his salary reduces below 75% then fire his arse. No pension. No Golden handshake.

It is preposterous that people are rewarded again for doing what they have already been paid handsomely to do. Especially in a charity organisation. More especially if they have fucked up elsewhere.

We are in a recession. We can not afford to pay workers a living wage, and yet across industry the double reward scheme for the higher echelon is epidemic.

You never hear of a Street sweeper or a toilet cleaner getting a bonus or the guy who drives your bus to work.

Yes it takes men of vision to build up an industry, but they cant do it without the workers.

One thing you can be sure of is we are NOT all in this together.

Oh dear!

Last week I mentioned that the CRT were spending £25,000 softening the banks of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to make it easier for water voles to burrow into the bank.

This week I see that:-

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Rishton, Lancashire, has been hit by an emergency closure after a length of towpath collapsed.

It would seem to me odd that while at one place they were softening the bank and at another they were having to repair it because it was too soft.

Let’s hope CRT learn something this week. Hopefully how to save £25,000

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Every once in a while I go to my junk mail box and sort through clicking on the unsubscribe buttons to stop them dumping their sh!t on my PC.

It varies how long it takes to put a stop on. Sometimes its immediate, sometimes one or two days, it can be as much as 14 days.

I unsubscribed from HYDROLYSE today and received this message:-

Your privacy is taken seriously. If you have received email from this organization after unsubscribing, forward the message to


It will be investigated.

Well that is on hell of an email address

PS Hydrolyse is an anti-wrinkle formula so why do they advertise with teens modelling the product effect? The closest a teen has ever got to a wrinkle is kissing grandma.

The Stevens

Marianne and Steve are both hard working people. Marianne used to drive the OXFORD TUBE buses. Steve, ex-Royal Navy, drives for a local coach firm, two weeks on days then two weeks on nights. Marianne now runs Annie’s Tearoom taking a 50% pay cut to do something she had always wanted to do (bake cakes). She works about 12 hours a day.

They own a car and two big motorcycles and they live on a narrow boat. They are not by any stretch of the imagination continuous moorers. In fact they can’t abide continuous moorers. They do have a winter mooring, November to March, but the rest of the year they are on the move. Oxford canal, on the Grand union, the Thames and the Regent. Even at times when they have been ill I have known them to move their boat because they wont over stay. They are both respectable members of a variable community, Steve does the Santa bit at Crimbo time, Marianne helps out with charitable causes where she can. Indeed they are two very nice people who care about the canal and boating and their friends.

So you will probably be able to understand that Steve was a bit miffed when on one occasion as a boat sped by their boat and he asked the boater to slow down the boater said “At least I move my boat you old soap dodger.” Steve was in fact not a bit miffed, he was ‘head tearing off’ furious.

We all judge people wrongly. I do it a lot. Just because a chap wears a red bandana on his bald head, to stop it burning in the sun, we should not make the assumption that he is a ‘skankey soap dodger’. Steve may not be your idea of a svelte drain pipe cleaner, but when the canal breeches he could single handed stop the flow by sitting in the gap! In short he is the sort of chap you always want on your side.

I know a lot of people don't particularly like me to the point of lying to others and making up stories on blogs/FB etc. I am fortunate I have many good friends who see the ‘me’ in me and know I am essentially a decent sort of chap. I am also thick skinned and I don’t care what people say. While they are talking about me they are leaving some poor unfortunate, who would suffer the ignominy, alone.

Of course if your name is Norman I am coming for a chat.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Phuq off Pixer

I do on occasion look into face book. I have an account where I can see how my old mates from Saudi are getting on. I get to see their families grow up who I knew, their new homes, cars, motorcycles etc.

Just lately they have been using PIXER for uploading pictures. Why they changed I don’t know maybe it the big thing in the Philippines. I no longer see those things as I used to see them because PIXER says when I click on a picture

Pixer would like to access your public profile, friend list, email address and your friends' photos.

So they are asking me to turn over all my contacts details just so I can see my mates new car or his son playing football. Sorry but I will not be harvested by such people. Why do they need this access so I can see one friends pictures. One can only assume that they are not a reputable company as in deed many are not.

Maintain the rhythm.

When we set out on a journey we should always be as prepared as we can. Water tank full, fuel tank full, Maps, food, change of clothes, BWB key. Yep you heard that right BWB key. It is pointless setting off on your journey without all of these things. Without water how are you going to wash? Without fuel how are you going to travel? Without clothes how are you going to smell nice? Without maps how will you know where you are?

If you come up the Thames onto the Oxford Canal you will need a BWB key. Without it you cannot get water so you will end up stinking. Without it you cannot operate the lift bridges so you will have to wait for someone to come along. Further up the system shower blocks and laundry require one and some locks.

The canal has a rhythm that is governed by the locks. If the rhythm is broken by a lift bridge key then the next lock has an automatic queue when the two boats from the bridge arrive. That affects both up and down traffic.

If you are coming onto the canals make sure you are properly prepared including the BWB key.  If you cant be bothered to sort it don’t be surprised if we cant be bothered to help.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Its only a fish who cares?

A lot is said about speeding boats. Indeed I mention it often here. A lot of what is said is bollox concentrating on the effect ‘of rocking a few moored boats’ only and totally missing the damage  and injury that can be caused inside a boat, but more important the destruction of our canal and wild life.
Operating a boat within the published guidelines it would seem is very difficult, because so few try doing it, yet the canals we purport to love will last longer if we all took greater care.
Yes a speeding boat rocks other boats, but it also erodes the bank and kills wildlife. If I see you speed on the canal please don't ever tell me in a later conversation that you are a vegetarian.DSCF8843
This is a dead Rudd it is a very pretty fish not unlike the Roach in its colouring but the scales are coarser. Along its back you can se the reason it is dead. A large cut, probably made by a propeller, runs best part of half the length of its body. Now you may think that fish are able to swim away from such a dangerous thing as a propeller and I would tend to agree. Providing we operate our boats safely we will have a minimal impact on the fish in our canals.
However there are times when even the most experienced of us gets it wrong, we are after all only human, but some things I see are so obviously wrong. People coming through the lift bridge here at Thrupp  drive slowly through until their stern is past the bridge then put 2000 revs on the engine to get around the corner. This has two negative effects. First off the fish cant get away and end up minced on the bottom of the canal or floating whole, as per the picture, on the top. The other effect is the so called ‘rooster tail’ that spews water all over the towpath. Here at Thrupp the towpath was recently renewed, not by BW/CRT but by the TCC Club that manages this area. The path was not cheap, yet ignorant boaters, with their high revs, wash it away. They care not for the canal or the hard work of those who make places like Thrupp what they are. Don't get me wrong there are people in the club who need to pay attention to their boat handling skills and how they affect the canal. We could all improve how we drive our boats to the benefit of the canal and wildlife and other users.
High engine speed is not commensurate with good boating skill. Funnily enough the biggest boats do not seem to have a problem turning after the bridge but the smaller boats do. Why is that I wonder? I recently had a word with a hire boat crew who were apparently using 3000 revs to turn their boat through 180o. When I ask why they were using so much engine speed the girl on the tiller said, “I’m trying to turn, its a big boat.” I told her that they come bigger than hers and said to use the little and often principle because she was damaging the bank with her prop wash.
When she finally moored up I went and spoke to the girls aboard. I pointed out that if they used all the engines power to move a 20 ton boat then they would need all the engines power to stop it from hitting the bank and that they didn’t have the skill to judge when that should be. I said if they used a small amount of power then the boat would move slower and it would be easier to judge when and how much to reverse the boat to stop it hitting the bank I also pointed out about all the minced fish on the bottom of the canal. They hadn’t thought of that!
I see many ‘competent’ boaters using far too much throttle to execute the smallest of manoeuvres. Just stopping at the water point unleashes plumes of prop wash where a slower arrival would have been more controlled. Coming south towards the lift bridge you are confronted with a concrete edge in front of you before turning under the bridge, which you have to stop for, and yet people still come down the canal at speed which requires them to go into FULL reverse in order to stop before they hit the edge. Many of them hit the edge because they have no idea how long their boat is! That should be one of the first things they learn. The edge, being continually pounded with a 10-20 ton hammer, is being bashed away. I don’t think it will be long before the edge collapses into the canal and if it does that then Annie’s could be flooded, that would be bad.
Other boats wanting to make the turn are too far to the left, have no room for the back end of the boat to go round then assume that more revs will cure the poor situation they put themselves in! This only serves to bounce their back end off the legally moored boats on the private mooring. A proper boater would of course approach the turn in the middle of the Wide at SLOW speed. This would reduce the minced fish on the bottom of the canal and also leave room for the stern of the boat to manoeuvre in safety without using excessive engine revs or bashing moored boats.
There is no need to use excessive engine revs unless the prevailing winds dictate otherwise. On a normal day even using a winding hole can be done at or near tickover. Tickover can be used to perform most manoeuvres in your boat. There is after all no hurry. I don't care how many qualifications we have there is no need for engine speed on a canal. We simply need to think ahead and understand how our boats impact on the environment if we get it wrong.
You may well think I am wrong in what I am saying, that is your prerogative, but I would suggest you spend a weekend in the summer at Thrupp watching the Wide. It is a real education in how not to drive a boat.

Water voles Why?

I am absolutely amazed at the antics of the CRT. I read that the CRT are planning to spend £25,000 on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal softening the banks so that water voles can burrow easier into the sides of the canal.

Now I may be wrong, and often am, but if you soften the canal banks to allow such creatures to burrow is the bank likely to collapse? If the bank collapses will it not cost a fortune to repair it? If the collapse takes place in an embankment will the canal flood the surrounding area. costing more in compensation? Do the waterways authorities in this country not understand a thing about the system they are paid to protect.

In 1700 there was not a water vole living in a canal because we had no canals, ergo they are not a native species. To introduce or encourage non native species in the canal is tantamount to vandalism. Those who support this practise should be fired for failing to protect the waterways they are paid to protect.

Such schemes, whether it be voles or reed margins or any of the other plethora of hair brained ideas, are a hazard to canal users boater, walkers, fishermen etc. Collapsing banks, narrowed navigation, over hanging trees, all add to the dangers met on the canals.

Either CRT stops this corporate vandalism or maybe we the people will have to stop them!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Oh dear!

Funny things happen at Thrupp. It was just a week or two ago that I had a visit from Mark. He sat on one of my rear seats. Gilly came out to talk and Mark turned to face her sitting precariously on the seat. An OXNB customer came and asked if they could moor on the bridge mooring. Gilly said, “No!” I said, “No!” Mark had other ideas and said for all he cares he could park where he likes. Mark rarely helps the situation. I nudged him in the shoulder and told him to “Shut up.“ At which point he lost his balance and fell off the seat, straight into the water. I hadn’t intended to push him in the water but Hey ho!

The customer said, “Nah it’s alright I think we will move!”