Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Solar Panels

It is about time I installed my solar panel! I have had it since november, but with one thing or another I haven't managed to set them up. You will remember I bought them from the lovely Rumi at sustainable systems. At the weekend I had assistance and wired everything together in truimph. However, I screwed the waterproof on the back of the solar panel on and then realised I needed to unscrew it to put the wire in the right place (doh!). For some reason I simply can't undo the screw. I must have cross threaded it in a fit of excitement or something, but it now looks like i need to do some screw extraction! If anyone knows how, please let me know. Next time I will be more careful!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Photo: Abingdon

Thursday, May 24, 2007


The other evening I had two visitors:

Nice to see them smiling! The one on the left is affectionatly called 'slave' a name earned when we were cruising the waterways on the first boat I ever lived on. She was with me when I picked up the new boat and told me on her recent visit that it is much much much better than it used to be. This is a good thing! At least the work I have done is a)noticeable and b) an improvement.

This is an old picture of what the bit by the door used to look like:

or like this (without the chap in the hat... a splendid hat and indeed coat for that matter!)

Mr Kipling Hedges?

As we were pootling up the Thames the other weekend on our epic journey to new quarters I spotted this hedge:

it may just be me, but it really reminded me of Mr Kiplings Fondent Fancies - those lovely cakes that are full of badness in pink, yellow or brown forms. Strange design for a hedge, but it takes all sorts.


Since moving I have found myself having a lovely time chilling out and catching up with old friends. People are more inclined to 'drop' in where I am now, and being out of a marina and onto the waterway itself leads to more nods, smiles and casual conversations; something I had completely forgotten about. I don't have a television and although I read, I am rarely seen in public with a book attached to my nose. I also don't have the internet on the boat, so I don't while away the moments surfing the net finding out all sorts of information that seems important at the time but turns out to be pointless! There is something to be said for the internet becoming the rival to the television. So, what do I do?
As I said before I am not a minimalist but rather a maximalist. This sort of behaviour is not condusive to boat habitation and thus I spend much of my time (when I am not re-building bathrooms, sorting out the engine, screwing things together or fixing something) re-organising my storage or slimming down on my 'stuff'. The stuff has mainly arisen from a pre-boat period where I lived in several places at once and had various clothes etc at different friends houses. I now have most of this on the boat and I STILL need to make room for my fishing gear, meccanno and a few bones. It is a rewarding process; I wonder whether I will become a minimalist?

I simply don't have time for a hobby.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


This morning I walked through into the kitchen to find myself engulfed in spider. Why oh why did the spider think a web JUST THERE would be a success... do I look like a fly? I put him outside.
I have also run out of water which means a trip up the lock this evening to fill up.

Monday, May 21, 2007

More Photos

spider wine: I love these hands and the way they are holding the glass.

I love the rain! We had plenty of that along the way; beautiful big drops and the camera actually caught them! Wonderful.


Bones is having a lovely time nestling against a concrete bank covered in purple and white daisies. Not only that, but I have discovered a jumping spider in the bedroom - he is very cute and wiggles his legs in a way that reminds me of the honey monster. I hope he doesn't grow into a monster...

Now I am 'out and about' away from my home mooring for a long period of time, I am having to relearn the delights of travelling to fill up with water and empty the loo. I also have to think about how long I am prepared to leave the boat when I go away. I have never really been bothered before, but I find myself feeling a bit edgy about leaving it for several nights.

It is a strange world that I find myself in as I explore this 'new' life. I have learnt a great deal over the last week as I have travelled up the Thames and started my new job (which I love). I have many friends here, and it is great to be able to catch up with them again. I am still a nomad and perhaps moreso, I wonder whether I will ever settle anywhere, or indeed whether I will need to! For the moment I can be whatever I please, my contract is short, but I hear about a longer one in July. Until then I shall work hard, float and grow into a noble hermit. I hope it doesn't make me too hairy in the wrong places!!!!!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Made It

Phew! I have made it through the towns and waterways of the south and arrived safely with my new life, new job and new location. It was a fabulous journey cruising Bones up the river through cloudy skies, heavy rain and bursts of sunshine. We met a man in a lock with a fabulous moustache:

a lock keeper who played the ukele - we were lucky to catch him when he wasn't working and he serenaded us. Lock boy has a photo and I must see whether I can put it up here.

Lock boy cruised:

and I fixed the bathroom.

Lock boy has returned to his northern waters and I gather his newly built canoe (by his fair hand nonetheless) is undergoing sea trials this evening. I think crewing the boat has certainly given him a few tips on how to man his own vessle. 16tonnes of steel must be comparable to a 'sling it over the shoulder at locks' canadian canoe.

It is very good to be back.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


The gearbox is fixed
The oil is changed
The weather looks less windy
and I am away........ I pull the pins imminently and then I am away. If you see Bones along the Thames give me a wave!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Tomorrows wind predictions have gone down from 26mph to 16 mph - this is GREAT news! I hope it continues to decrease!!!!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

will I go?

Yesterday I was wondering whether I would be leaving at all!! The gear box had clearly had it, it is a hurth HBW100 and was reconditioned in 1991. 16 years out of the box really isn't that bad by the sounds of it - but did it have to decide to develop a fault NOW?! Yes. Grrr

I have been very fortunate indeed thankfully someone was able to come and have a look at the gear box this afternoon. Unfortunately the gear box has had it, but victoriously a new one is in the post! It should arrive tomorrow, and the lovely Chris tells me he can sort it out in time for my travels.

The gear box is bolted onto the back of my BMC1.5 and followed by the flexi-coupling. I watched Chris take it off - a very simple job, and next time I will do it myself. I would quite like to have had a go at reconditioning the box but a) I don't have time, and b) there is little point as the professionals are far better.

I did rebuild part of the gearbox on my 400/4 so I don't always wimp out!

I have also noticed that the wind speed for thursday is set at a steady 26mph. This is not good; my mooring is difficult enough to get out of and the wind doesn't help. I hope the 26mph is in the direction that makes my boat point in the right direction rather than veer towards the plastic boats on the other side.

So, at the end of today it looks as if I will be leaving the county, and with any luck the trip will only take 4 days...although someone told me today that it is at least 5! I suppose this ought to be weighed up with the person yesterday who told me it would take 2.....

Monday, May 07, 2007

Boo Hiss

Boo Hiss down with boating... and why am I storming around with a frown and furrowed brow? My gearbox is playing up. snort. If smoke could come out of my nostrels now would be a good time, it is exceptionally sulk inducing when a gear box decides to play up just a few days before the grand cruise!!! I am meant to be leaving for pastures new on thursday, I have a member of crew to assist me and the gearbox has decided to attention seek.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Photo: New Coat

My new boating jacket has come back from the cleaners!

Glorious Tuesdays

Sun shinging, water lapping, birds singing and the sky is blue. Today I feel like the luckiest person alive.

I think I will do a skip.