Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Today: Friendships

The death of a child is heart breaking, and the funerals are soul destroying; I have just been to James' and I simply cannot imagine the horror the family must be going through. Although the funeral was difficult and traumatic, it was also a tribute to a well loved, and loving young lad, offered by many many people. There was a real sense of the horror of the situation, but also the amazing value of friendship. As I stood at the back with a chum from the CMA (christian motorcycle association) looking across at all the friends and family I was reminded how important friends are and that at times likes this your friends carry and support you.

The value of friendship and the support that comes with it is staggering. Friendships are often abused, misplaced, mis-communicated and misunderstood, but it is quite clear they can be the essence of life itself. I am blessed with many friends, some closer than others, but something I often forget is that friends are always there for us, we just have to ask. Asking is often the difficult bit.

My friends are worth their weight in gold. So, to all my friends I raise a glass of fizz and toast your good health and happiness. Thank you.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow and I will tell you all about the weekends trip down the Caen Hill flight, pulling a scout from the canal, dining with friends and other such joys of boating.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sad News, Bones is sad.

I heard yesterday that my friends son was involved in an accident and was killed instantly. He was only 12 which is simply tragic.

RIP James, may you rest in peace and rise in glory.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Gosh! My sister has just complimented me on my blog - this means she has read it!!!! I was going to write something about such a break through, but I am visiting The Weeping Cross. Under normal circumstances I am sure I could conjure up something appropriate, but I came here for a pleasant relaxing evening.

You will be interested to know that I have spent the evening watching a film through my jumper which made me dash to the lavatory twice.

All hail devoted sisters (I wonder if the other one will follow suit) Boo Hiss down with horror and Hurrah up with lovely holidays (honest, it is going to be relaxing over the weekend and not involve lots and lots and lots and lots of... oh dear.. I feel faint.)


The formatting has gone haywire... I imagine my photos are just too big.... I shall sort it out at some point, but in the meantime OOOps!


Where will I be tomorrow?

HERE! I am not sure that I am looking forward to doing the locks AT ALL! I am going to go and assist Maffi. Althought the day will be hard, I suspect it will be really good fun - it usually is when we are both together.

I have just had a comment added from NB Epiphany
and they have some lovely (sob) pics of tomorrows antics....

Photo: Lock Boy

Lock Boy came to visit, I love the evening light that rests on him:

Photos: The garden

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I have just been to visit the lovely inhabitants of Gypsy Rover who are dealing with the floods admirably. It was the first time I meandered down to the river and I was surprised, considering the news, that there weren’t more of oxfords artefacts floating past the windows. The water levels really are astonishing. I am a visual person and seeing the water levels for myself really was incredible. Thank you for the lovely cuppa and it was great meeting your chums.

White Water has posted Culham Locks new water feature – do have a look. Also check out some other pictures from the green man the one near the pub is where I stopped to moor earlier in the summer and had to climb onto the boat roof to step UP onto dry land!

This weekend I am going to give Maffi a hand doing the Caen Flight…. I saw a picture of it this morning and it has made me feel rather faint

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


As I sit on my advantage point enjoying a glass of lemonade on the terrace looking over Oxford I find my self enjoying the wooded location and lack of water. Houses don't move (or at least they aren't meant to) which is a strange sensation, and the kettle boils really quickly. I am enjoying the hot water, but the cold isn't that bad.
I think this is a good week to be living in a house, but I do think I would have enjoyed the experience of wading my way to work in the morning. As it is, I shall remain on the terrace on one of the highest points of Oxford enjoying my glass of lemonade.

Cruel isn't it!

Monday, July 23, 2007


Trampolining in the woods:

and a BBQ:

What possessed me to buy a disposable BBQ is beyond me... this house lark must be catching! Normally I would build my own and cook on firewood.

A weekend in the *house*

One of the cats failed to turn up for most of the weekend, but finally put a bid in on Sunday evening. The other cat obviously adores me because there was a dead mouse on the doorstep yesterday morning. Both cats are still alive.

Many of my boater chums are wading to their boats after the downpour and subsequent flooding. I feel very fortunate to be looking over the dreary spires from a very high advantage, but I do know that Oxford and Abingdon are in a bad way. The bust river banks have had a huge impact on the community, I am pleased I am not caught up in it, but I do feel for those who are. The boat is moored on floating pontoons so I am sure it is perfectly safe. Having said that, the previous mooring on a pontoon I was on had mooring rings on posts. The rings were fastened around some metal bits which enable the ring to move up with the rising water; but they didn’t actually go up! The back of my boat seemed much lower than I had expected, and after a while I decided to investigate it. The water had risen several feet but the stern rope ring had not moved up the post as it was meant to. Be aware of squared ends on these posts!

The house is situated in beautiful woodland and I find myself feeling as though I am on holiday, after a hectic few weeks since moving back to Oxford, I think I need this rest.

So, day 5 and the boater on land is surviving, the cats are still alive and I now have a dead mouse.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Day 2

Comfortable bed, morning shower and slugs in the cat bowl - blaaaah! Day two in the house is going well.

I caught the bus this morning and discovered that the weight of the water on my trousers exceeds the capacity for my belt. Bones' new look of holding up trousers whilst walking through town is frightfully stylish. Almost as stylish as the only just big enough T-shirt I have borrowed whilst my Charles Tyrwhitt pink check shirt dries out.

Ah - the style is ooozing from my office!

Walking up to the office I was so delighted with this glorious rain I telephoned Maffi - good man, he answered the phone despite the fact I disturbed his slumber.

Thursday - Day 1 in the *house*

Living in a *house* (thanks Alistair for the *'d idea!)

I have just taken up residence in the flat attached to a hexagonal house with a moat. The house was designed by two architects, and lies in wooded gardens on a slope. Everything here is on a slope, peaceful and rather wild like. Being on a slope is rather fun except when parking the car; I put the car in reverse instead of first and nearly backed into the garage (but for a hare’s whisker!) I am feeding the cats while the owner is away, and have taken over a small one-bed roomed apartment attached to the main house. I prefer to live in this small area than the main house as I can make this bit my own. I am not sure how I make somewhere ‘home’ I think that is down to a state of mind rather than things.

I have 3 keys to my section, and anyone who knows me knows that my ability to lose keys is second to none. The difficult thing about this door is that it is one of those that if you go out you are locked out….! Oooops.

I am plugged into mains, using my computer and listening to the radio and the nearest wall is a couple of meters away instead of a few feet. I have to turn a corner to get to the bedroom and there is hot water.

So, boat dweller on land seems to be doing well so far.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Canal Boat Magazine

Blogs are fascinating things, we all write them for different reasons, but I started this one so my family could keep up with what I am doing. Needless to say none of them are avid followers! Periodically I will send out an email to the parents and siblings that goes along the lines of - "dear devoted family, I have recently updated my blog...". This causes immense excitement from them all and I get a prompt email asking what the web address is followed by all sorts of 'ooooh's'. This is all very well, but I send this sort of message to the family every quarter with the same response. One day after sending out an email, reminding them of the address and fielding the 'gosh haven't you done a lot' I thought I would check the guest book to see whether there were any messages. Low and behold there was a private message from someone claiming to be an editor asking whether I would be interested in writing for them. I immediately assumed the entry was from my sister in an attempt to be funny; imagine my surprise when I discovered that this was not only genuine, but has led to me having a column in Canal Boat Magazine. To say I am overwhelmed would be an understatement, but I am delighted - it is rather fun seeing oneself in glossy print!

The family have taken this new approach to getting them to read about my boating antics in the usual way; when I told them that the magazine was out they asked "which one is that then" followed by "ooo lovely" and "would you buy me a copy".

Despite the fact that my parents haven't quite advanced from the 19th century, my mother has managed to master the internet, but my father still prefers his quill pen. I think that between this blog and the mag they might finally be able to keep up!

Many Thanks CanalBoat!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


For some reason glasses never seem to stay intact on my boat, if they are not smashed, tripped over or pushed overboard they tend to walk away of their own accord. Unfortunately I only have one tumbler left and no wine glasses - and even one of the last two wine glasses that survived the longest, one was Maffi's (oops... sorry!) - at least he has 3 left!
This evening I am cooking for James who is going to come over to celebrate my new job (hurrah). I can see the table now, placemats, candles and fine food. I am not sure what we will drink the wine/champagne out of but I think I have two jam jars stashed away. This my friends is what Bones calls Fine dining!

Last night I popped over to see derek and dott on gypsy rover Maffi told me they were great and he was right. I would have liked to have spent longer there but I hadn't been home and it was late. I hope I will see them again!


I have been an avid reader of Maffi’s blog for quite sometime, and have followed it avidly of late, not least because it mentions me rather a lot and is full of the loveliest flattering comments. Much of what Maffi says about us is what I would say about us, but perhaps I should write more about Maffi, what do I think of this guy and what does that mean? Are we the big brother of the waterways? I think I think as highly of him as he does me, so perhaps I should repay him the compliment and tell him?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Stained Glass II

In May I mentioned this well, here is a new picture of the glass installed in the door.

Mooring Musings

After several weeks being on the canal and Thames with Maffi it was time to move on. Maffi headed off to the Kennett and Avon, and I moved onto my new mooring. I only intended to stay one night and head back onto the river again, but after a rather exciting time (see Miss T's summary) I decided to hang out for a few days. The new mooring is peaceful, calming and welcoming with a gorgeous view over a park. I have some lovely neighbours along the way and I am feeling very fortunate indeed, especially as I know I will be in the area for another three years (woo hoo).

Rather a lot has been happening chez Bones over the last 6 weeks, not to mention nearly sinking the boat, or nearly losing it down the river while I stood on the bank scratching my head, but with work, friends and a combination of everything it has been an unsettling time. I always say that boating is ideal for a tired and weary mind, and it is. I have spent most of the last however long being moored near Maffi, and he has provided a welcome break from the hilarity, amusement and downright stupidity on my part, and some sage wisdom when things have gone wrong. All in all, Maffi is a good chap and as the bosun (lock boy) would say 'a thoroughly good egg'. It has been great.

I am going to be house-sitting for a collegue at the end of the week; I am looking forward to seeing what house dwelling is like - I am dreaming of the bath already!!!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mark Paris

I periodically mention Mark Paris on this blog, and guess what - he now has his own Web site

If you need any work done on your boat - check him out! He's lovely and talented!

Friday, July 13, 2007


I have just heard that a grant application was successful!!!! There is funding for the research for a further 3 years!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

photos: splashing around in boats

Whilst sitting on the bank drinking champagne (it is a tough life this boating lark) some scouts came down and starting building a raft. One of the leaders was practicing his canoe skills: (double click on the images to get a closer look!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Living on a boat is such a delightful life, but not one for everyone - or so people keep telling me. So, where would I like to live if fantasy was my reality?

In no particular order:

A castle with en suit pastry chef

A cave - I nearly did this once, but uni told me I needed to have a postal address and didn't seem to understand when I said I was happy to go without post.

I always liked the idea of living in a mud hut too.

Well that is three to be going on with. Considering I live on a boat with a million dollar view (and a full toilet and no hot water...!) I have done well.

Most of the places I like the idea of living in tend not to have neighbours, and that is the great thing about a boat. If you don't like your neighbours you can untie them and watch them float away. (Don't try this at home kids!).

Hmm... having mentioned the ensuit pastry chef I think I would like to spend some time living in the middle of a delicious cream slice. YUM.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Photos: Abingdon

The light last night was simply gorgeous so I took some photos:

Moaning with Milly

Maffi on Milly M is moored in the spot in front of me by a park. We have been having a right old time and I have thoroughly enjoyed the morning stumble across boats to Maffi's kettle and a lovely cup of coffee as I shake the nights slumber into touch. This morning was no exception and we sat around putting the world to rights and deciding the problem with today's society is the lack of community. At that point some 70 school children started to accumulate in the park area and I decided it was time to mend my way to work. Maffi being the kind soul he is took a stroll to the bus stop with me and on route we noticed the kids were hanging around a patch of the park which has water fountains that intermittently switch on and soak anyone that is silly enough to be around. This morning the water didn't seem to be on, so in true community spirit we asked the warden to switch the water on.



Thursday, July 05, 2007

the weeping cross

I was just browsing the weeping cross and came across this I rather like it, the description is fabulous. If you know the film, you may know where it was filmed, which is something the author asks.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I just love 10p and I think everything should be priced 10p. I love conversations that go
'how much is that then?'

yeeeees! I love to bet 10p and I love to win 10p. If something is 10p I often buy it. Not many things are 10p.

The shower at work however is 10p, so I have just been down to have one. It took me several minutes to work out how to open the shower door. What a glorious experience; it is 10p of space, powers and cleanliness. (yes, even I can be passionate about cleanliness....especially when it is 10p).

All hail the 10p


Today I am nervous. I should be hearing about the success or not of a grant application.. I thought I wouldn't hear for ages, but apparently the results may actually be available.

There is another grant application submitted which has me as a named researcher and we should hear whether that is successful by the end of the month.

Today I find the future is completely and utterly unknown, and I rather like that, it is a goooooooooooooood feeeeeeeeeeeeeling!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Granny Buttons

Would you believe it, I have had a mention on Granny Buttons website for my post about moorings. Andrew Denny the owner of the site also writes some rather complimentary comments about my blog - thank you!

Funnily enough just after I wrote that post I had a call from someone offering me a mooring (and it wasn't through the blog because they don't read it!)

Sometimes life is just too funny!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Pride comes before a fall

Having spent my allotted time in Thrupp I decided it was time to head south for some fresh air, new scenery and a bit of a cruise. I couldn't decide whether to go onto the Thames or not (I fancied a night by the allegedly haunted Godstow Nunnery) and asked several people along the way what it was like at the moment.

When I got to Dukes Cut I noticed the red boards and decided to carry on the canal... or at least I did until I changed my mind (I remembered those lift bridges!). I reversed back up the canal beautifully and did a wonderful turn which received a little applause from the line of boats waiting for the lock.

I went through the lock onto the Thames and swept down river engulfed in rain, tranquility and bliss. Boating can be pretty good at clearing the cobwebs, and I was feeling good. With a burst of confidence I entered kings lock and told the local keeper I was going solo and what should I do. After a little instruction I stood on the bank with my centre line and stern rope in my hands whilst the keeper dropped the paddles. After a short time the keeper told me to make sure the boat doesn't drift onto the steps. I calmly looked down and after a little push let her know that the boat had indeed drifted onto the step, and wouldn't be pushed off. Gosh - lockies run fast! A walker also came whizzing around the corner to give her a hand - he thought it must have been bad to see her running! The paddles were closed, and the other paddles opened to fill the lock. I think the lock keeper was a bit tense, and apparently it was a bit touch and go as to whether they had done it quick enough! Thank you kings lock!

I don't think I realised how quickly a boat can go down, but Bones was at a rather exciting angle in a matter of moments. The bottom plate on the stern looked good and nothing broke when it fell off the shelves and out of the cupboards!

So, Bones nearly sank. OOOOpsie! As it happens Bones did not sink, and thus I am still floating around the waterways and haven't had to get a room - life really is good!