Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ghost of Thames

After yesterdays posting weeping cross sent me an MP3 and I have no idea how to link it to this blog! Apparently it is a tradition song called either 'have you seen the ghost of tom' or 'have you seen the ghost of john' with variations upon the lyrics too.

I prefer my Uncle Simons adaptation in the previous post, I wonder where he got it from!

I am trying to decide what to do over the easter weekend. I have been invited to join anbother boat on a cruise to Windsor, or I may take the opportunity to go up the Basingstoke, or the River Wey... if I can convince an approved member of crew to join me as the beloved is busy then.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ghost of Thames

My parents have exceptionally good taste in vehicles, and as children we were transported around the country in a vintage car. In car entertainment in those days was provided by sleeping (we always left in the middle of the night), the odd number plate game, and singing. I particularly remember two songs (perhaps there only were two) which we sung as a round. The first was a traditional song called life is butter:

Life is butter, life is butter,
melancholy flower, melancholy flower,
life is but a melon, life is but a melon
cauliflower, cauliflower.

and the other, which was my favourite, was 'the ghost of thames'. I cant' find reference to anywhere. I wonder if anyone else has heard it?

Have you seen the ghost of Thames
Long white bones with no skin
On (*you sing thhis like a ghost for a bit)
wouldn't it be chilly
with no skin on.

I still sing the second, and particularly now that I live on the Thames.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Breakfast Axe

Sean came over at the weekend and on monday morning offered to chop some logs with his feircly sharp axes (which you can see in the corner of the photo). While he did that I did what I do best and lit a fire to cook some breakfast - bacon and eggs. What a gorgeous way to spend a morning in the sunshine - deck chairs, tea and breakfast, bliss.

Thanks Sean!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Photos: Windlass beer balance

Allan from keeping Up was at our boaters banter on sunday and took some pictures two of which I thought I would post here.

first: balancing a beer glass with keys and phone on a windlass:

second: balancing beer on the windlass!

I really love these banters, they are an excellent opportunity to meet up with boaters from the area (or there abouts).

Sore Foot

I belong to a canal forum, and periodically we meet up for a 'boaters banter'. These occassions have proved to be really good fun. This sunday we all met at Thames Court near Shepperton Lock on the River Thames, for a lazy afternoon by the riverside. At the banter I was so overcome by kissing a forum member on his arrival that I swept my glass of lemonade off the table in the excitement; thankfully it wasn't full. I decided to use my foot to sweep the glass away from the 'aisle' before going to get a dustpan and brush. I lost my balance and fell on the side of my ankle which already has weak ligaments. I rested yesterday in a kind of trying to walk around without grabbing the nearest person for balance kind of way, and by the evening I had mastered the 'I look as though I have wet myself' selubrious walk. I was told by some to rest, and others to walk, so I decided this morning that i would pop along to our walk in centre (cue hiliarious laughing) for some advice. Despite protestations on my part, I have to return to their x-ray department shortly to check whether it is broken or not.

On a plus side, I went to Snowy Farrs funeral on friday which was a joyeous affair (he lived until he was 88, and was much loved), and I was fortunate enough to be given his top hat, fez (is that the right spelling!?) and red jacket. I am now fully kitted out in stylish boating geer and can't wait to set sail and get cruising again!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Photo: End of a long journey

If you look close enough (or double click the image) you can see the big rain drops on the water.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I have just bought an ecofan for £76.38 it seemed to be the best price I could find, and includes postage and packing and a full money back guarantee if I don't find it satisfactory. It is rather a lot of money so I hope it does the trick.

Eco Fan

I am still toying with the idea of an ecofan. The sitting room and stove are at one end of the boat, and my bedroom is at the other. Flapping a newspaper does help distribute the heat, but is an eco fan better? Are they REALLY as good as the sellers say they are? What is their RRP for 2 blades and 3 blades?

RRP is something I am rather interested in. I bought a whale gulper recently, its RRP is 89.99pounds. I paid 89.99pounds for mine from Uxbridge Boat Centre. Other chandlery centres charge anything up to 140pounds. OUCH.

Mental Notes to Self

When it is freezing outside and inside, light a fire and SHUT THE WINDOWS.

Half a car wingmirror mirror is too easy to lose - get a bigger one.

Try waking up BEFORE arriving at work

Keep your toothbrush seperate from the one you use to clean the edges (BLAH!).

that should do it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


If you have a pen infront of you, always check whether it is permanent before drawing a moustach on yourself. Alternatively, draw, check and if necessary frantically wash it off before it sets.

My upper lip is a bit sore.

Maffi and the Milly M

Many of us have followed Maffis boat build and his story as he tried to get from Saudi to the UK to start his life afloat. It hasn't been an easy journey, but he is full of joy at his life afloat and as far as I can gather, it was certainly worth it. Maffi is welcoming, easy going, chilled out and chatty and the ideal person to visit! I had several failed attempt to see him, but we finally met in Uxbridge Boat Centre (the best place on earth!). I strolled in, recognised him, said hello and that was all that was needed. Maffi is a guy who appreciates Hello, it means "hello, how are you doing, fancy hanging out for a while", which is exactly what we did. After a chat in Uxbridge we wondered back to the boat for some tea. Tea is big thing on Milly M's schedule. Make sure you have tea out of the cupboard, and NOT out of the useful tea caddy labelled tea (this tea is some new fangled leaf which smells of a beauty parlour and looks very very pale; NO!!! adding coffee does not help). Maffi has coffee, milk and 2 sugars. My top tip is the biscuit tin... digestives are in, and most delicious!!!!
My top tip of the day is bang on the door and ask for tea, or take him for a pint probably the latter). He won't impose on you, but I am sure you will enjoy talking to him and sharing boat tales (even if you don't have a boat!).

Hampton Court Milly M

Maffi has made it to our quaters and we are certainly making the most of him. I went over to his boat with my friend Claire last night to cook him dinner, but I did not triumph. It took HOURS by which time we had almost lost our appetites, and if we hadn't the sheer quantity of food abolished it quite quickly! Despite this small hitch, Maffi still seemed keen to go for a cruise to Kingston for the day with us in tow. We had hoped to go down the river wey, but Thames lock is having some work done on monday. Another time perhaps.

This morning we set off from the Anglers at Walton with Claire and I on the front, and Maffi and Johnonthewey on the back.

Here is Claire counting the swans before pulling the pins.

Claire is thinking of taking up rowing so she grabbed the camera when this group went passed. We heard quite a lot about the various rowing clubs as we travelled.

It was really good to be onboard Milly M as she chased her way through the water to Kingston.

I really like the look of this boat, and as it caught my eye I took a snap:

As we were looming into Kingston I flung some dinner in the pans to get it ready for our arrival. After last nights fiasco I knew they wouldn't let me cook, so I did it in secret! I had marinated the chicked in various spices mixed with a little oil, and it was gorgeous! Even Maffi agreed! Claire is already converted to the Curry de Bones so I knew she would like it.

Kingston is a fabulous place. If you go you need to find bon bon patisserie and have a custard slice recommended by me, or a chocolate eclaire as recommended by the boys. The cakes are exceptionally GORGEOUS!

After cake, we had a stroll around the shops for bits, met up with Claire (who was shopping for some interview clothes) and pottered off to the riverside pub. Maffi had already warned us that it was over 3pounds a pint so my heart was beginning to palpitate as we neared the watering hole. We bypassed the expensive pub and went into the next which looks breath takingly expensive, but as it was Maffis round I felt slightly better. When he paid, 4 pints came to 7pounds 87pence. After the audible gasps and near fainting by John and I, I wished I had paid... not to worry, I had my chance later! Amazing. It has to be the cheapest pub in the whole of the Surrey.

An amazing day, really good fun.

Friday, March 16, 2007

River Wey

Maffi is in the area! We (John, Beloved and myself) met up with him at the anglers in Walton last night and it looks like we may be looking to go down the Wey this weekend. There has been some work on the lock area at Town Lock, Weybridge which involved draining the pound - I don't know whether they have put the water back yet! I am not sure how to find out whether the Wey is accessible at the moment, but the first ports of call are here and Dapdune Wharf.

If anyone knows any info DO let me know!!!!

I think Maffi will be around this area for most of the week which will be good as we are having a canal world boaters banter next Sunday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Photo: Cliveden

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


This evening I have cooked myself a curry; a preliminary tasting has demonstrated that were I to eat anymore of it my head would fall off.

I wonder if a head is essential when boating?

I am rather hungry...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Photo: River Wey

Bones going through a lock last summer during a face lift (hence the white on the bow)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Snowy thoughts I

Here is a picture of Snowy Farr, who I have discovered is on the front cover of Eccentric Cambridge.

It is funny when someone you have grown up with is classed as an eccentric and features on a front cover declaring so. On reflection perhaps he was, but he was always snowy to me and my chums; he liked baked potatoes cold, and I remember looking out of the kitchen one day to discover snowy popping up wearing his new scarey mask - I screamed the house down so it was clearly good (but I was only 5, although I would probably still scream today)!!!
My mothers birthday is one day before Snowys, and this year he gave her card but said he didn't have time to write in it, and handed it over to her in its cellophane. We all think this is a super idea, normally we write cards in pencil so they can be reused, but keeping them in the cellophane would actually preserve them for longer!

Snowy used to have a quite sizeable vegetable patch and each year he grew either potatos OR leaks. The quantities were astonishing, he didn't actually like leeks!!!

I am looking forward to visiting the parents and hunting out those old photographs of my sister and I playing on the lawn with some rabbits and Snowy standing nearby in his usual atire helping us.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Spiders Again

A couple of posts back I talked about my fake spiders web and spider which now has a dead spider in it. The spider is intact except for an exploded abdomen. Well, Jaytee from Cosmos left a comment which I thought was so excellent I would post it here to draw your attention to it.

"Your real spider may have been got at by an Ichneumon Wasp! (seeIchneumon_wasp). There are many species some large, often very tiny - but most of them lay eggs in spiders or insects (many catapillars are prey to them)...the baby ichneumon grubs eat the creature from the inside and then bust out one day, the lovely things, before pupating and then flying off as an adult "wasp".

I'm sure you wanted to know this!
From your local bug-geek.

Nature is facinating isn't it!

Snowy Farr RIP

I wonder if anyone who reads my blog remembers or knows of this unique character. Snowy Farr MBE raised money for the blind, and had a penchant for 19century military wear. He was most famous for his top hat where a cat would sit on the top and mice sit around the rim. On occassion he would have a mouse in his mouth. The buttercup buskers series was based on his lifestyle and was a childrens book and television series.
Sadly he died yesterday. He was 84 on 2nd March this year and seemed perfectly well!

I have just found this picture of him on the web: AndyJM Flicker photo of Snowy Farr

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

wireless internet

Where I am currently moored, we can pay 10pounds a month for unlimited access to the wireless system from our home computers. After much head scratching and the assistance of a knight in shining armour, I managed to get connected. The connection isn't ideal as I have to keep an eye on the signal and periodically stand up to wave the computer around when the signal dips out, not ideal, but ok.

I went to visit Maffi a couple of days ago, and he showed me his Belkin wireless USB Adapter. It is a natty gadget that you put on the roof of the boat, and then connect the USB cable into your laptop - hey presto you can get signal that may not have been detectable before. So impressed was I that I bought my own G+ version. It arrived today and I am mightily impressed, indeed, I am writing this from my dining room which never normally detects a signal. I can now sit and type in tabletop leisure with my roof top arial. Well, I could.
Unfortunately the cable isn't quite long enough so I am sitting on the table with my laptop perched on 6 books shaking with every typed letter. The arial is indeed on the roof - but it does not look slink and sleek; I was afraid it might fall into the water, so I have wrapped it in a plastic bag and weighed it down with my boating pole.

my system lacks a slight pzazz but I think it might catch on.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


I am sitting on the sofa looking down the boat with this view:

On the far right wall I have a cross with some fake spiders web around it and a lovely fake plastic spider perched in it. However, it has been pointed out to me, that there isn't just one spider, the one and only one I put there, but two:

The second spider is dead, and I have no idea how it got there. It looks perfectly tranquil until you have a closer look and you can see that his abdomen has burst. Apart from said disruption he is totally intact.

The second spider adds a certain finesse to scene, I shall take great delight in pointing it out to guests over dinner.

blogger sidebar?

When I looked at my page this morning, I noticed the sidebar had slipped down and is no longer directly to the right of the posts.... I can't work out why, so I thought I would post again incase it rectifies itself!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Leaking Door: temporary fix

I took the door step/base of the door frame (which is what it is) off yesterday and discovered that it is pretty rotten: (the white stuff is not mould but spray foam insulation - I have NO idea how it got there, I can only persume the previous owner had used to to try and seal the step up in the past!

and thus the metal it attached to was rather rusty:

I decided that I really need a new peice of wood, and the metal work needs attacking with a wire brush to get it all clean, then repainted to protect it. This is a job for the spring when the weather is better. I will also take the opportunity to service the doors while I am at it. they need taking off and painting properly as water is coming in to them causing them to swell and stick. I might even get some metal doors, but I am not sure yet.

As a temporary fix I put the door step back and inserted some new screws which won't do very much as the wood is so rotten, so I rummaged around in the tool box and found a couple of brackets which will hold it in place. I put sealant around the metal/wood joins. It seems quite secure and survived me skipping on it, so I think it has done the job for a while at least:

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Water where it shouldn't be

When I arrived home yesterday I found water in the boat, on the floor in the sitting room. This caused me great puzzlement - the roof was dry, as were the walls, the gunwhales and the books in the bookcases. The kitchen floor was also dry, as was the dining room (gosh, this description is making the boat sound extraordinarily spacious...) and the bathroom and bedroom. As you will remember, I am 'fitting out' the bathroom at the moment, so I was relieved the problems didn't lie there. Back to the sitting room armed with a torch, a towel and determination I discovered the source of the problem was my door step.


Today it is sunny, and I am armed with a wire brush, some paint, a lump hammer and some screws. By this evening I will be carpenter extraordinairre, my speciality will be door steps.

Lets hope I don't manage to seal myself in in the process.