Saturday, 28 December 2019

Winter Mooring?`

I spent most of the summer painting my roof and other stuff, with an interlude in the house in France. However, as summer faded into autumn I needed to search out somewhere to hibernate or at least make my way to Brum, I haven't been for some years. With the latter getting further away with the stoppages due at various places. I was going to go with the 'lets stay around the Oxford area' scenario.

You may imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, I was offered a mooring at the famous Tooley's. I love Tooley's because it has such wonderful history. Here on the wharf I feel visited by the spirits of bygone boaters. Only yesterday I 'imagined' seeing a young girl standing near the end of my boat when I let Molly out for a pee! It was a fleeting glance that disappeared as I stepped down off the stern, changing my viewing angle. Trick of the light?

I am moored about 30 feet from the lift bridge. After being here just a few days I learned why the previous incumbent had moved on. It seems the operation of the bridge is quite a problem for some. Now I can understand single handers struggling to get the bridge open and they may have to nudge me in the process What I do find unacceptable is crewed boats 'whacking' me, quite unnecessarily. There are bollards opposite to tie up, let off the crew who can then cross the bridge to lift it to let the boat through, but No! Stupidity reigns! I wont complain. 

And why is it that having just passed several moored boat there is a need to throw the engine into reverse at max chat to slow down so they don't hit the bridge. I might complain. 

Susan has been to see the mooring. She says the terrace garden needs attention. Well that's not going to happen!

Sunday, 22 December 2019

The Election

Well, well, well! How did you like them apples? This is now the fourth time we (as in country) have set out our stall for Brexit 2015 2016 2017 2019. We had over three years discussing the 'way out' and still couldn't come to a conclusion. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest the result, democracy at its worst!

I said at the time 'what ever way you voted we must all get behind this result and make this work'. Well that didn't happen!

But now we have another opportunity to do just that, What's the betting as soon as the weather warms up the protesters will be back out on the street.

Will Brexit work? I honestly don't know, but having seen the way the senior EU statesmen have behaved since the referendum and are still behaving even now I do not think we can stay in. We would be punished for having the temerity to say we wanted out. EU members have said on many occasions that they are going to fuck us up big time. Germany has never forgiven us for WW1 WW2, France cannot accept that we kicked their arse several times and saved their ass a couple of times too. I think it was Guy Verhofstadt who said the EU army will march on the UK!

Lets be honest all they want is our money. 19 of the 28 EU states do not contribute. Of the 28 we get the least out.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Open Live Writer

Ok so now I have the answer. It is not the answer I wanted but it is the right answer. Blogger is Google based. Google currently do not recognise OPL. End of story!

Tuesday, 19 November 2019


I spent several weeks under the Langford Locks Bridge during the summer as mentioned earlier in a previous post. While I was there I took a dislike to the god awful graffiti on the walls. However I made an effort to change the scrawl. NO its not  da Vinci or Picasso or even Dahli, but it is different and more important it covers up some of the crap!

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Ooo er!

All this having a woman around is taking its toll. I made a herb box in the summer. Even Molly is disgusted with me!

Saturday, 16 November 2019

New for old!

I found this table all old, battered, and dejected at Annie's. It belonged to Gilly. I swapped it for a bottle of Prosecco. While I was doing my roof it was my paint table. It got a bit more messy, but never mind an hour with the sanding block and a couple of coats of varnish and it came up proper nice. This is now the summer dining table.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Fake Shit!

This graph was shown on TV by Professor Brian Cox during a programme about Climate Change. He put it forward as proof of Climate Change. It is a well known NASA graph (its on their site). It is well known for being fake shit. To Climate Change protesters this is part of the Holy Grail of ‘facts’. It was produced sometime after 2008.

This is the ‘original’ also on the NASA site. It was produced before 2008. Don't just believe me look it up!

Thursday, 14 November 2019

All in a days life on the South Oxford

The Cherwell is seriously flooded. Most fields bordering the canal are full of water. The stop lock at Shipton is locked shut, early for the time of year I think. Here at Lower Heyford the canal level is quite high. A boat past the lift bridge  ‘Humble Bumble’ has sunk. The river at Aynho Weir Lock is well high. And the river flooding into the fields is flooding back into the canal further down.  In Banbury there is an oil spill possibly coming from behind the Alcan factory and collecting in and below the town lock.
I forgot to mention, here at Heyford we have Otters. There are 4 pups and of course mum and dad.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

My Fault?

We all have our own ways of doing things, its what makes us who we are as a boater. As a single handed boater I find it easier to gently present myself at the bottom gate, very slow and just nudge the gate. I then leave the engine gear.

I go up and lift the paddles and when the lock is empty the boat pushes its way into the lock. As the gate opens I drop the paddles then go hop on the boat and bring it to a halt inside the lock resting against the Babby plate with the engine in gear.

After closing the gate I lift the top paddles, watching the front of the boat all the time, until the boat pushes its way out of the lock. Dropping the paddles while the boat is moving out I then jump on the boat and as the back end passes the gate I give it a blast of forward then select reverse tick-over.

I now have time to get off the boat close the gate and wait for the boat to come back before hopping aboard and going on with my journey.

It is simple. It is not dangerous. It is efficient.

And then along comes Joe Hirer. Joe knows all about boating. He's been doing it for a whole week. After working his boat through Northbrook lock he decided to open up the bottom paddles despite, on this occasion having my own crew,

Fortunately this wasn't a problem, but I did brief my crew that at the next lock she was to refuse his help. This she did by saying at the next lock, ”Its OK I have got this.” Macho man Joe ignored her and cranked up the paddle whilst my crew was crossing the lock gate, then walked off!

I was only a few feet from the gate going slowly. The effect of him banging up the paddle was to lift me up and I surfed ‘crash bang’ into the gate.

I was pissed as you may imagine. Once the boat settled down I stepped off the boat to have words. I started by saying, “I appreciate your help but…… When I explained what he had just done he first off tried to blame the crew. When that didn't pan out he said it was my fault because I was too close to the gate. Why is it my fault? I didn't ask him to interfere.

I left with an “In future worry about your own boat”, to his repeated echo that I should learn to drive a boat.

Why is his interference MY FAULT!

I wish all boaters would learn when they are out of the lock it is now my lock. More important it’s my boat!


In the past year or so I have been traveling to France for my holidays. Whilst there I have been enamoured by the system they have for recycling. Those of you who know me will be aware that I am an official womble having collected something like 14 tons of rubbish from the towpath in the last 8 years. So you can see I would be interested in more efficient ways of clearing up.

These boxes are the recycling centre for the streets where I holiday. They are only emptied every couple of months, which might seem not often enough given the size, but if you look they all stand on a 6 foot square.
Come emptying day the truck arrives and using a Hiab crane they lift the box by the ring on the top. This is connected to a 6x6x6 foot steel box under ground. This is then unloaded into the truck. What a neat idea. Its about time we had this system here in the UK.

Friday, 1 November 2019


Took this out of the 5.5 on the way from the Coventry basin. Nice but no use to me.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

It irks me!

I have spent a lot of my time in the last eight years collecting other peoples crap from the canals. the stuff I pick up varies from general litter to the disgusting.

There will always be sweet wrappers and dogends, but when you are in the middle of nowhere and you come across a 6x4 dining table leaning up against a tree, obviously left by a boater, you have to wonder why? Especially when you know there is a disposal point a few miles along the canal. It irks me.

I have in my time collected 8 full cassettes. (the disgusting). It irks me.

I once collected a full minifridge of of rotting food from an an island downstream of Sonning on the Thames. Not a mile or so from the disposal point at Shiplake Lock (equally as disgusting). It irks me.

It is somewhat annoying when, at  pretty spot on the canal, you find a bag for life with empty paint tins in it, unusual colours. What is more annoying is when you pass a boat with a same bag on the front deck and the boat has been recently painted with the colours you found before. How stupid some people are! It irks me.

Now I could name and shame, I have a boat name and I have a person name, but there are people out there who do not understand their place in the world. Who don’t understand I would put this information up to just embarrass the perpetrator. It would not be a signal to attack the said boat/person, much less condone such attacks. So now you will never know who it was and that irks me.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Guess what I did this summer?

Well the summer is over and the Maffster has been busy.

I have a new painted roof,

Mushroom up dated

I have newly painted side door inside with new art work bought in France.

My side panels have been attended to and are now looking very smart. I never did like the curves in the corners of the panels mainly because they were hand done. Now they are sporting a smart angular go faster stripe including shadow,

not to forget a smart new antique brass door handle on the back slide.

Talking ‘new’ I found this in a charity shop, the teapot not Susan.

This blog has taken some time to put together mainly because a very good writing tool has been discontinued by Microsoft. but also because the Blogger editor is crap, it was crap when it started 15 or more years ago and it has managed to live up to that standard!

Open Live Writer

Well there I was I wrote a post. Sue NPXL assured me that Open Live Writer has now fixed its problems and indeed she while I was with her on NPXL she did a test post, it worked. So I downloaded the new version of OLW and typed away. When I was happy with my missive I pressed 'Publish' the publish window appeared briefly then was lost. I checked with the blog and my post was nowhere to be seen. I tried several times and Nada Zip Zero Nowt!

If anyone knows what I need to do for the god of Blogger to make this right please be my guest.

I know what you are thinking, but I am writing this in Blogger not OLW.

Sunday, 14 April 2019


The internet is a fabulous tool. What spoils it is every entity on the net wants to play by different rules. I am sick and tired of trying to find out which programs connect with others. I am sick and tired of finding out that I can do this through that program, but not that. That I can do those things over here, but not them over here, that this picture can fit in here but not this one. For fuck sake get it sorted!
Until we have total connect ability all we have is a cute toy! I gave up toys over 60- years ago!!!!!!

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Live writer

Does anyone else have problems with Live Writer? I can write what I want, but not publish., I keep getting 404 errors.

Are there an other writing programmes available that do the same as Live Writer?

Thursday, 14 March 2019

More Stuff

I've been busy of late. I finally wired up the new socket in the bedroom. You may remember I installed the socket a while back (at the end of the bed) and wired up that end but was not so sure about how to route the cable behind my wardrobe to connect it up to the socket in the kitchen. Well it took some thinking about but now it is all done. Nice and tidy and I no longer have to run the TV cable into the kitchen before watching DVDs in the bedroom. Plus I also get to charge my phone and Susan’s phone at the same time via the same socket.
I made something I have been promising my self since I got on the boat 12 years ago. Ta-Daaaaaaaa!

Wednesday, 13 March 2019


Many of us have done it often in the pursuit of our windlass, or someone else’s. I find this quite acceptable. Tooley’s boat yard are receiving donations of old windlasses to sell on to raise funds for the restoration of Hardy. I donated 15 last year that had been cluttering up my locker for sometime.
What I don’t find acceptable is the latest craze on the canals is Magnet Fishing purely for the sake of dumping crap on the bank. The pictures below represents 200 yards of canal at Wolverton MK.
The argument  that “At least it isn’t on the bottom of the canal”, just doesn’t hold water. Bicycles and shopping trolleys OK but most of the crap was just happy just lying in the silt doing no harm.
Once on the bankside it is a pedestrian hazard and an eyesore! Of those who claim sainthood for taking it out, many are just litter louts who claim that someone will be by to take it away. Well yes that is the same with all fly-tippers, because fly-tipping it what it is.
CRT will tell  you they must have a permit, but ask to see it and they will claim they have spoken to CRT who said it was OK. This is not how permits work.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Journalism 101:

If someone say its raining outside and another person says its not, one of them is mistaken or lying.

As a journalist it is not your job to report both observations and conclude both have a point.

No, it is your job to report the truth, simply look out of the window.

Thursday, 17 January 2019


Have you ever heard of Serco-Mears?  No neither had I until just the other day when it was announced that they have just been awarded a government contract worth £2.9 billion pounds. Now it’s bad enough that the government is giving £2.9 billion to a company not many have heard of, but the purpose will stun you.

This contract is for the purpose of building homes for ‘asylum’ seekers! Outsiders! Now I don’t want to seem uncaring, disingenuous, or perish the thought RAAAAAAACIST, but when was the last time the government gave £2.9 billion to a house building project for social housing to house our homeless or ex-service or those trapped in sub-standard private accommodation? NEEEEEEEEVER!!!

OK on top of that If the company gets 10% profit that’s £290 million, let me put that better way,


And you can bet they get more than 10%

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Connecting to what!

So today I moved from Atherstone down to Nuneaton. Whilst the signal, Internet/phone, in Atherstone was fair (and I by no means use that to say properly useable) the signal in Nuneaton is garbage! No phone very little internet.

Earlier today my phone tells me I am connected to the internet. Yet when I try to google pound/euro exchange rates I am told to make sure I have a signal!

Now I may be a bit old fashioned here, but if I pay for something I expect to get it. As in if I have a mobile phone I expect to take it to different places and use it. I most certainly do not expect it to tell me,


not even emergency services. I mean what if I fell and broke my leg or had a heart attack?

Yes I know coverage is not guaranteed, but I am in a town fer cris’ake not out in the country (where the signal is, for some strange reason, better).

How long have mobile phones been going now 25/30 years? Isn’t it about time the system was sorted to function properly. No, I know there is never going to be 100% coverage, but the system needs changing.

Lower Heyford generally only works with O2, but if you go up on the bridge over the platforms you might OK with several ISPs. Why is that?There should be one company responsible for supplying signal then all the phone companies could sell you phones and packages. You pay them, they pay the signal company.

No its not complicated! Electricity/Gas/Rail they all have a company that deals with pylons/pipes/rails and several ‘suppliers’ that deal with customers. I can’t believe it hasn’t been done before!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

On being able to write

For some time now I have had problems with my laptop. Several of my keys failed to work S G H M didn’t work at all. Several others worked if you persisted. No capitals at all.

If you have ever had a problem with a lap top keyboard you may or may not know about the onscreen keyboard. It is not easy to write with the pointing device, but its OK in an emergency. A mouse would be better, certainly faster.

2019-01-15 It suddenly occurred to me today that rather than struggle writing on my phone then emailing to me to cut and paste, I could buy a keyboard! This I have now done and am able to actually get back to doing what I like, writing.