Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Photos: The weekend

Martin came to visit and bought me some herbs for the boat

On sunday I went with Mark to the Bloxham steam fair and came across a tent with some meccano models - I loved them.

I love the rain, and as you know there has been a lot of it recently:


I am constantly amazed at how fortunate I am, and today is one of those days. It is staggering, and most enjoyable!

Friday, June 22, 2007


My friend gave me a lift into work yesterday and in the process my keys fell out of my pocket. I didn't realise until I got home last night and couldn't get in. After some highly skilled activity I did manage to get in, but my keys are now in surrey.

I have also just worked out who Digital Don is who left a message in the previous post about getting a proper job - cheers Don! Don is great! We worked together in cambridge many moons ago he did the electrical stuff and I did some brain stuff. Don had some fine motorbikes and we used to go for a spin at lunchtime. One time, I fell asleep and he only realised when he set off from some traffic lights at a tremendous pace and had to catch my legs!!! It was a shame I missed him going really fast!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Another Today

Today is not a good day, my friend The weeping Cross had his bag stolen which had everything in it. Boo Hiss.

I don't have a mooring on the Oxford. There were two moorings available for tender with a recommended bid price and unsurprisingly I didn't get it.

I don't approve of BW tendering out moorings, if they want to put their prices up, I wish they would just do it rather than allowing the rich to put in closed bids of huge amounts. In Surrey I was paying near on 6K for mooring my boat (OUCH!). I couldn't really afford it, but it just shows how the prices vary across the country. BW were suggesting a bid of around 1560pounds (or thereabouts), and although there weren't any facilities at the spot, I don't really need any as I can quite easily manage without electricity so it makes no difference to me. Should I have put a bid in for 4K - it is a bargain compared to the prices I was paying, and a huge increase on the recommended tender. Perhaps I should have, but I am torn with my morals. 4K is a lot of money for a bit of ground to put two pins in, especially compared to what other people on the canal are paying for their moorings. Why should I pay more than others, and why should I be able to. The land should be worth a price which should be set by the owner, in this case BW - surely they know the worth of the area, the money required to maintain it. OR at least I hope they do, far more so than an academic who looks at brains.

What I should have done is asked several of my friends to put the bid in. 1K, 2K 3K 4K and inbetween numbers too and then at least one of us would have won. I suppose the name could be a problem, but perhaps I could change the ownership of my boat to the winner and then back again to my name. At least we know this time that there are people who will play the game and will put in bids over the suggested amount. If boaters don't preserve the price then no-one will. The waterways will be for the rich.... I sense the return of the class system, and it is being activly encouraged.

I find myself being more and more resigned to the boating situation; it certainly feels as though it is slipping away from me and I suspect I won't be on the water for long unless I start breaking the rules like so many already do. I have a couple of degrees, I suppose I am respectable paid up member of the community and I am more than willing to do hard graft to look after an area of the waterways that I may be using (this is what happens in Thrupp which is very well maintained indeed). I am also indecisive, and I don't want to pay more (or less in this case) than the going rate for something, nor do I want to be the person that puts in high bids and outprices those who can't match up.

I have no idea what the final price for these tendered moorings was, but I am certainly someone who will never win anything by closed bid, me and the rest of us boaters. Moorings are a definate problem on the canal - I wish there was an answer, other than to sell my boat.

What would you do?

Monday, June 18, 2007

moving, banter and music

On saturday I had some fabulous crew and we moved the boat further up the canal. It was a glorious trip - not only because I had crew, but also because it rained. I just love it when the rain drops are big, very wet and refreshing:

On saturday evening there was an excellent gathering for another boaters banter from canal world on saturday evening. There was a really good crowd of us, and I always enjoy these events. During the day I am very dozy, but in the evenings I really wake up - and this time it was just in time for dinner at the pub - bliss. What a wonderful way to spend a saturday evening (and afternoon)! There were three of us with our boats there this time Maffi,Keeping up and myself so the banter seemed to continue into Sunday finishing with a lovely curry! On sunday Maffi and lock boy helped me sort out a few bits and pieces on the boat - it is really good having the company when doing things wrong!

Maffi fetched his guitar and serenaded us for a bit:

He is actually quite good - and is one of those rare people who can actually whistle in tune!

Canoe Man (lockboy) suggested we had afternoon tea on sunday afternoon, so I made some scones. As usual I didn't have all the ingredients so I made do with Rye flour. Maffi provided the cream (which was delicious despite having been open for weeks). The scones were a triumph - if you like flat things - at least they were edible (which was surprising all round as I didnt have any scales to weigh out the various ingredients).

Maffi gave me some shoes. He's only worn them once and didn't get on with them so I am now sporting them - thanks maffi!

Friday, June 15, 2007

middle of the night

Last night we had some fabulous rain, and I was awoken by water dripping on my hand. I have NO IDEA where it came from!!!!

When the weather is a bit finer I think I will take down the ceiling and have a little look... this will mean re-doing the whole bedroom... oh well, I suppose it was inevitable.

This morning

Over the last few weeks I have been bicycling around more than usual and as the days go by I find myself reliving the enjoyment I had embarking upon such an activity when I was in my 'yoof'.

As much as I enjoy bicycling I think a sedan chair is more my style.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


The draft on Bones is about 2ft3ish, the draft on the previous boat Wild Goose was less than that, it must have been because when I try and moor in my old haunts I get stuck. It took 15minutes to get to the new mooring, and about 40 to moor up which included getting stuck three times.

My BW key I have discovered is in Surrey.... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I am hopeless with keys.


Having returned to a spot I knew well two years ago I have found it interesting seeing the changes that have occured during that time. Everything seems to be so much more overgrown... or do we call that rural these days.

Yesterday I set off from my mooring and planned to stop by the waterpoint to fill up, and empty the loo - ittiratingly a BW boat was parked up there, but it was short and at the end of the mooring so not too much in the way. Even more irritatingly there was another boat moored up on the water point, locked up and with no-one in. As it happens I even more irritatingly I couldn't find my BW key to open the water tap or elsan point anyway. As I wasn't sure my hose would reach accrossthe moored obsticals to my boat from the tap I decided to give up on the whole thing and continue upstream to a 48hr mooring. It is intensly irritating, but then boating often is. I will have to wait until tomorrow evening before I can resolve these issues when I continue to move upstream.

Cycling up the tow path this morning with a full bladder oscillated between the painful and hilarious. I don't recommend it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Another Drawing

For sometime I have been trying to get this right, and last night I decided to have a go with a biro, no rubbing out and no disguising of lines... this is the result, and is the best so far....although the man looks a bit to peaceful for my liking! A long way to go, but still getting better. I drew it on writing paper and then scanned it in.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Another spider bites the dust

This morning I had another mouthful of web as I walked from the dining room to the kitchen and as the offending article was waving his feet at me, I decided it was time he went for a stroll.

As much as I like sharing my boat with these hairy fiends there is a limit!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Glorious Mornings: Photos

Oh how I LOVE mornings like these - cloudy sky, drizzle in the air and a weekend looming. Absolute complete and utter BLISS!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is Bones resting peacefully in the middle of some other boats... the one at the front is grey too!

And some front and rear views:

Today is gooooooooooooood!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Funky Houses of the Thames I

Wrecks of the Thames I

Just loved the rain when I took this. Glorious!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Bosun?

So, what is a bosun?

tiscali tells me this:

boatswain, bosun
n. ship's officer in charge of crew and equipment; skua. boatswain's chair, seat suspended by ropes for person working on side of ship, building, etc.

I like the idea of the boatswain's char - I must fix one of those up....!

Lock Boy Victory

Did I mention that lock boy (who would rather be called the Bosun) has been building his very own canoe? I have been most impressed by the progress and I think it is a super way to get afloat. So, here is a picture of it on its moorings :

What do you think?

There is a hole in my finger....

I was moored very briefly at a bridge, and last night it was time to move on, but only a short way to a 7day mooring one bridge up. How difficult can this be?

With enormous confidence and puffed up plumage I pulled the pins and set off slowly along the canal whistling happy boat tunes to myself. A few minutes later I started to turn the boat into the space available on the new mooring but just at the critical point (actually, all points in boating are critical where I am concerned!) a lady (Katrina) appeared from a fence on land and asked me whether I would like some wood, a split second later I was stuck in the mud. Much heaving pulling and brow wiping followed by her, her husband (Andrew) and the two small boys (Tom and Alexander) pulling on a rope eventually led to Bones easing of the Oxford Canal mud flaps. I reversed up to their garden and loaded up the tree onto the roof. Actually, I already have an enormous amount of wood in a friends shed, but I just couldn't resist more. Hijaking Katrina I re-attempted mooring in the available slot which turned into a victory albeit a stressed one. I made my way onto the bank and started to bang the pins in to moor the boat so Katrina could get off. As I hammered away I caught my knuckle between the pin and the hammer and off went the skin. BLAH. Oh well, it seemed ok so I carried on mooring the boat up, free'd Katrina and was promptly invited for a drink a bit later. LOVELY! They must have thought I was alright despite the splatterings of blood that were over my hands and up my arms from hammering with a gushing knuckle, and the poor attempts at 'manning' the boat. Andrew even called me Captain - good man!

I washed up, cleaned up and an hour was hailed from their quaters and took a stroll around to the house. The kids were everso excited to have a real Pirate in their midst and I had a lovely evening. Katrina is a fabulous cook and I found myself in the middle of an impromtu dinner party - very very kind indeed! Land folk are great.

Near my moorings is a rocket scientist; apparently he goes for a run each day and then hangs upside down from his climbing frame... sounds rather like a bat. I do like bats. I think I will enjoy my current mooring a great deal!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Are we still floating?

On saturday morning, at some unearthly hour, lock boy (who would rather be known as bosun) came into my room and asked me why the boat was tipping and at such an angle. As I lay and contemplated the possible reasons for this new boat angle lock boy dissappeared. He finally returned and I asked him whether the boat was floating. No he said. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS!

An unfriendly ledge was the culprit. The water level had dropped, and despite the slack in my ropes, the boat got caught. Thankfully it only took a bit of shoving and pushing to re-float it.

I am now on the Oxford Canal - it is much more peacefull than the river, and far easier to manage singlehandedly.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Solar Panel victory

Victory! My unhappy solar controller is now smiling and the batteries are being charged. I am very impressed with this panel and how easy it was to install - even an idiot could do it. Now, I realise I didn't get it QUITE right to start off with, but I was just being stupid. I managed to undo the stubborn screw on the back panel by drilling the head off - I need to get a replacement for it once I have put a pair of pliers onto the remaining stub to get it out.