Saturday, 31 December 2016

Wolverhampton Flight

I moored Thursday afternoon at Aldersley Junction. I have now been up the flight 6 times, but I have never been down it. Yesterday I cast off at 9.15 and set off up the Wolverhampton lock flight.

On the way I had an altercation, at Lock 18, with a chap who let his dog shit on the towpath and refused to pick it up when I asked him. He threatened to give me a thumping if I didn't mind my own business. I reported him to the police.
2016-12-30 16.54.49
Its amazing that people try to pick a fight with a chap holding a steel windlass.

Around about lock 10 I had to stop to clear a jumper off my prop.20161230_125034_resized

I moored up above the top lock exactly 5 hours after I had started, at 2.15. Not a bad run considering I only opened one paddle on each lock all the way up (I had a bit of a scare a while back). However all locks were in my favour except the top one.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

A stack of potions

Molly has a stack of potions for what ails her. The vet is not 100% sure what that is, but is working on it. This pic has been added to today following  positive blood test. They know she is not absorbing  protein but they don't know why. suffice to say I have been unable to pick up after her for several weeks. I have a builders shovel and take of the top turf with squidge on it and turn it top down. Poor Molly!


Molly of course is taking it easy. You can see her mid-riff is a bit naked at the moment following her ultrasound scan, but it is growing back.


Her protein levels in her blood over the last few weeks were:

16, 13, 19, 17, 20. Normal should be 22-28.

Her weight went down to below 13 from 15+, but has risen to 13.5 which is about what it was when I first got her eight years ago.

The Nantwich Veterinary Group have been really good but the bill is about £2K so far. Good job I am insured.

Friday, 23 December 2016


You know when you sometimes dream something and a day or two later it actually happens. Well I was in Braunston a couple of months ago and I dreamed of a mother and child in Brownsover park on one of the picnic benches. She was a young Indian woman and the child was about 3/4 years old.

Well I arrived in Rugby, mid October, at Brownsover Park and who should I see but this mother and child exactly as I had dreamed.

DSCF1942The picture is intentionally blurred.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Sunset Silhouettes

You can see from the time stamps in these pictures they were all taken in a  three minute time period. Other than changing the zoom at the time of taking and some cropping on the Lappy, I have made no changes at all to the colour, contrast or brightness of these pictures. And yet there is such a range of reds/oranges/yellows.



Tuesday, 20 December 2016

I learned about boating from this

It was a bright Saturday morning. I had moored below lock 13, near the Shroppie Fly last night. I proceeded up lock 13 and moored to take on water. I could have done that below the lock, there was a tap not far from my bow. Maybe things would have turned out different had I done that, who knows?

Whilst filling with water I went to the Co-op for milk, I also bought a bag of doughnuts. When I returned to the boat there was another boat reversing from lock 12 back under the bridge. He moored just in front of me and waited for me to finish (about another 15 minutes). I moved off and left him to his task. He had left the bottom gates open and in I went. Between lock 12 and 11 I saw “nb Cousin Jack” and sounded my horn. He heard and waved through the window.

In Lock 11 I watched as a guy lifted a bottom paddle on lock 10 and walk down the tow path. As I was coming out of 11 he said he would close the top gate. At 10 I eased my bow onto the lock gates and pushed them open. The pound above lock 10 was low as were several of the rest of the locks.

My locking method, when locks are this close, is to ease my bow onto the lock gates and gently push them open, however many of the locks were against me and I had to walk the gunnel to the steps to let the water out before I could go into the lock, most locks were set against me.  At lock 7 disaster struck!

I made my way into the lock and closed the gates. Raising the paddles at the top lock I stood and waited for the lock to fill. I spoke to some dog walkers (distraction). After they left it occurred to me the boat was very nose down, but for  some reason the alarm bells didn’t really start ringing until the propeller started screaming in the air. OH SHIT!

A 1 1/2 inch overhang of my base plate had snagged the top cill. It took a long while to sink in that I was going to lose my boat.

I quickly dropped the top paddles and ran, I don’t do running, to the bottom gates.   All the time repeating my mantra f*** f*** f***ity f***. Lifting the paddles dropped the water level in the lock the propeller settled back in the water sending a rooster tail up in the lock and the emergency situation seemed abated. Walking up to the bow I noted water flooding out of the gas locker vents.

However the nightmare continued. As the boat came free it slid up on to the cill (engine in gear) and the water level in the lock was still falling (bottom paddles still open!) A classic cilling incident, but I was going up, not down. Arrrrrghhhh!

At first I didn’t notice the bow on the cill, but the stern was falling in the water. I jumped down onto the stern deck put the engine in neutral and grabbed a rope. f*** f*** f***ity f***.  By this time the rear fender was half under water (that’s the bottom of the top tunnel band. Climbing the ladder I tied the rope to a bollard. Back down the ladder to get the centre line, which I also tied to a bollard, at this point I was on automatic pilot, (anything to save my home)!

Suddenly the penny dropped and I ran to the bottom gate and dropped the paddles. This simple task checked the sinking of the stern. I couldn’t see if the side vents were under water. (I was rapidly running out of ideas. I remember shouting ‘somebody help me’, there was no one). Again running, I went hot foot to the top gates,  and opened the paddles. I had no idea what would happen! Slowly, oh so slowly and much to my relief, the stern began to rise. And within a short time the boat was level in the water and floating free. My heart was pumping a million bpm.

I had averted the worst disaster a boater could have. Just a few more seconds at any point of the incident would have been disastrous. I was convinced at the start and again in the middle that my boat was lost. I checked my heart bpm at the next lock and it was still raging at 96 bpm. It didn’t settle down until much later in the afternoon.

The whole scenario probably took just a few minutes, maybe 3 or 4, maybe 10, but at the time it seemed like it would never stop. What amazes me was how long it took for me, initially, to realise what was happening. I have averted sinkings of hire boats in the past, but that didn’t prepared me for this. I was terrified. My home was sinking, everything I own was on board. All I could think was “It’s gone, f*** f*** f***ity f***, it’s gone”. But even so I had to do something. Fortunately what I was able to do was enough, but at my age it could have been so different 

I learned about boating from this.

1. Don’t let your self get distracted.

2. Be aware, once a disaster had been averted watch for the next one.

3. Riding up the top cill is not necessarily a bad thing to do, I have been doing it for years, but it only takes one bad day……

4. When the chips are down you will be surprised what you can do. I was.

I took this pic after it was all sorted, but at the second ‘oh shit’ point the chains on the fender were under the water.


Not one drop of water entered the boat, but  the well deck was wet all the way up to the front door!

As I pushed the top gate open my hips and knees let me know I had abused them, and for once I didn’t care, my home was safe and I don’t think I mentioned God once.

Monday, 19 December 2016


The display advert.


The reality!



After repairs and varnishing to my side hatch I was left with these top and bottom of the frame. They were doing no harm, but like me  they weren’t worth keeping so they had to go.
DSCF0425(this is pre maintenance and varnishing)

I chiselled out a rebate being careful to knock off one of the corners.20161214_153332 

Then I took this old piece of brass bus bar (which I had been saving for just such an occasion)………….

………and, loping a piece off the end, cut and filed one of these, bevelled all round of course, and a brushed/satin finish.

After drilling a couple of screw holes it looks just fine.20161215_144543Yay me! Now I have to make one for the top.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Chester gardener.

If you live in Chester and your house backs on to the canal, you might like to stop dumping your garden rubbish over the wall, or I will have to mention it to the fly tipping police.


Friday, 16 December 2016


Earlier this year.
The House of Commons voted 6-1 (557-93) to, “Let the people decide”. Later in an information paper produced by David Cameron at a cost of £9,000,000 we were told:-


So we voted.
Admittedly by a small margin, to Leave. The government hadn’t bothered to place limitations on the vote size by count or percentage! Why would that be? Could it be that the government were so arrogant thinking that the vote would be to Remain that they didn’t bother? They were so certain we would vote to stay in that they insured their mis-judgement of the British people by appointing Boris Johnson, that well known blunderer, to lead the Brexit campaign. Putting this buffoon in charge of anything is an insult to democracy.

Yes the out campaign did say some very misleading things, but then so did the in campaign. The £350,000,000 to fund the NHS was always going to be a no-no. Whether or not it will happen is doubtful, but we are not out yet! Even if that money was written in stone for the NHS it is currently still being paid to the EU and will be for another two years at least. So all the shouting about why is the NHS waiting is pretty pointless.

We currently have bigger problems! Problems generated by the cowardly action of the exPM David Cameron in his resignation. He reneged once again on his promises. He resigned because, like a child having a tantrum, he didn’t get his own way. His resignation let in Teresa May who is totally unsuitable to be in charge of the negotiations. She hasn’t got a clue, totally out of her depth. Added to that she campaigned to stay in, so she is the opposition.

Exit plan.
So why was there not an exit plan? Given the importance of the referendum why did the government not have a strategy for leaving the EU? Even an outline plan would have been something!

The lack of an exit plan, of any kind, is proof positive of the government’s contempt for the British people. Their belief that we would settle for a corrupt regime rather than change the status quo. So contemptuous that they blatantly insulted us, all the British people, by giving the Brexit campaign to an incompetent buffoon who couldn’t tie his own shoe laces without a map!

PM’s Job
I think the PM should have held a neutral position during the run up to the referendum. He should, as the leader of the government, made sure both sides played fair. In this he failed to understand that he is a public servant, and as such he had a duty to the whole British population, not just the 1% who largely comprise his mates.

I think.
David Cameron showed utter contempt for the post of PM and left the UK in the mire when he spat his dummy out. It is unbelievable that he now not only continues to draw an MP’s salary, but is entitled to a PM’s pension as well!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Strat for Sale

This is a left handed Strat. It is made under licence in China. It carries the Fender name under the SQUIER logo. To the best of my knowledge it has an ash body, Maple neck with a rosewood fret board. It sports a CBS head stock (post 1965), Three alnico pick ups. 5 position p/u selector switch, it is built with a tremelo bridge unit but the whammy bar has been lost. The finish is good, but has some chips. I have given it a good clean and fitted new strings. Were I good with varnish the chips would have disappeared also.


I own a genuine USA Fender Strat and can confirm that this guitar looks and feels like the genuine (USA made)article. Playability, I don’t know as I am a righty, but it sure feels good. If it were a righty I would keep it.

The model pictured usually sells for in excess of $260 which I think is about £160. £100 for this excellent low budget guitar is a fair price. Any takers? No case! A small 10/12 watt practice amp can be arranged £25.

The headstock contains the words Standard series, STRATOCASTER, Squier, by FENDER
, s/n CY00073576. Crafted in China.



…..on a rare outing in a car.


She’s miffed because its a Skoda

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


While I was in Ellesmere I took it upon myself to take some rubbish out of the canal basin.