Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lord Have Mercy

Thank You

Thank you everyone for your birthday greetings! I had a splendiferously lovely day!

Amputational Advances

There are quite a few things that excite me, but today I came across more researched geared towards the amputee. The very idea that it is now possible to link an artificial limp to areas of the brain, and thus give the individual an 'experience' around the limb, even to move it and be able to use it with the power of thought is fascinating. It doesn't stop there, now scientists have been able to restore the sense of touch see here. Losing a limb must be a horrific ordeal in itself, and to live with an artificial limb is not an easy process not least because of the risk of infections where the artificial joins the flesh. If advances such as these continue, I imagine it will make a huge impact on this community. Hurrah. Where technology and science meet in this way not only astounds me, but also delights me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


What a glorious morning it is when one can awake to an extra year of wisdom, excitement and fun. I am not the only one that gets excited about birthdays; Wrigglefingers (from CWF) and I share a birthday, so I texted her late last night ‘just one sleep until our birthdays’. The reply came ‘Sleep! You need sleep at such times?’.

I sit here on my ‘turtle mat’ with my new ‘pencil case’ by my side learning how to ‘fossilise your hamster’ whilst sucking on some ‘grog flavoured pirate mints’ (and mopping up the mess with my ‘pirate napkins’). I am warming myself on my ‘pirate hot water bottle’, and playing with my new ‘spanner’ as I dream up ways to spend the ‘money’ I was given. This morning Bones is a happy Bones. I just LOVE birthdays!

Happy Birthday Shep.

Monday, November 26, 2007


What do you keep in your gas locker? I keep a herons head and neck and leg, I also keep a crows head there,and on sunday I will be the proud owner of a deer neck.

Anyone got a saucepan I can have to boil it all down?

TowPath Safety

If BW auctions off its moorings, will they be inhabited by residential boats, or will leisure boaters occupy them. If it is the latter, I wonder how the security of the canals will change.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Quill Pens

Every time my pen needs sharpening I take it to my parents house, and my father wields his special cutter on it. When I have worn a feather out, I am awarded a new one - it takes quite a while to wear a feather out, but it is a proud moment when I drive home with a new feather!
Relying on my parents is no bad thing, but sometimes it is a while before I will see them again, and my Quill sits in its stand (through a camels eye) waiting for my trip. Weeping Cross sent me a good link on how to sharpen your own quill, so for all you quillers out there, here it is

Thursday, November 22, 2007

In the event of an emergency

If my boat catches fire, the firemen will come; if I am attacked or need assistance, the police will come; if I have an accident, the paramedics will come. Living on a boat is made so much more secure knowing that wherever I am the emergency services can get to me and assist. I wonder how much they all get paid?

A Policeman earns 32-36K (40hrs per week)
A Fire Fighter earns 34-37K (42hours a week)
A Paramedic earns 18- 24K (39 hours a week).

Did you know that Paramedics are not part of the emergency services? They are a service provided by the NHS.

The AA claim to be the 4th emergency service ( I wonder who the third is):

A Nationwide Roadside Technician earns 25K but with perks this can be boosted to 35K (about 40hrs per week)

If I had to put another category into an emergency service it would be someone who could make cakes. Perhaps this is the missing 3rd emergency service?

Pastry Chefs earn about the same as paramedics, but I saw a job advertised for 35K for one.

Some how the maths just don’t seem to be fair.

The very idea that a Paramedic is paid less than the police or the fire service is bad enough, but the fact they aren’t an emergency service turns my stomach. I for one rely on an ambulance service just as much as the police and the fire.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


This afternoon I was sitting with the Cleaning Ladies (and not Nathan) and I noticed they have a rather swanky pen, the sort without a lid. I picked it up to play with it, and couldn’t get the pen bit out to write a message. I was getting more and more baffled when they said ‘it’s a highly technical pen’ ... ‘you take the lid off’


Boating Site

Looks like the link has started working again. Phew. Although I think I might ignore it now.

Monday, November 19, 2007

NABO and A New Group

I too went along to the NABO (not NArrow BOat owners, but rather National Association of Boat Owners) meeting on Saturday morning. I am not a member, but I wanted to see what sort of things NABO are involved in. In all my years afloat I have never heard of their activities, nor that of RBOA and although I did look up the websites once, I didn’t get beyond the first page.

Nowadays I wonder whether I should belong to one of these organisations not least because the waterways seem to be getting a hammering, and in turn the boaters are too with increasing costs being piled onto the boaters. Not only have standards on the Oxford Canal dropped noticeably in the two years I was away, but we are being asked for more money with increases in licence fees and the like, yet where that money is being spent on this waterway has not been obvious. What is obvious is that BW are coming up with all sorts of strange plans - 3 bollards at locks, more ladders and this controversial, and bound to fail, mooring tender scheme they have thrown at us.

Moorings have always been a rarity, and the new ‘tendering’ regime that BW has instigated is only causing discord amongst boaters; the rich will get to moor and the poor will have to move on. This tendering process is already a shambles.
As things decline there seems to be little unity, little information, and little action concerning our waterways (I ought to be a bit more reserved on the latter, as people are active, but I am sure we should be MORE active considering the situation). Not only that but boaters are inclined to be an independent self-sufficient bunch and to get them all together to protest or even as one voice is a hard thing.

Boaters are a small proportion of the total who use the canals, yet we are paying more and more each year to maintain this vast leisure service in licence fee’s and the such like. To make a difference we need one voice, so I thought I would investigate the groups that are meant to stand up for our rights.

My conclusions? I think I should start a Scruffy Boat Brigade. This group of people are prolific on the waterways, we live in half sinking boats some of which we are doing up, some of which are the nearest to four walls we will ever get. Inside these heaps, tips and off casts of society are people. People who have (had) dreams, who have opinions, and people who no-one cares about (other than to put down and make themselves look better). Yes, they/we may be the poor of the waterways if you look at our boats, but who knows what is held inside. If we are the poor, the outcasts, the scum of society then bring it on. If you look out the window you will notice it is these very people that the government open their eyes to, that councils get tired of listening to, and who have the unadulterated guts to challenge society, and fight for what they believe in – a roof over the heads.

I think the scruffy boat brigade should be the voice of the people, I am sure there is more substance in a pile of bridge-hopper boat dwellers than can be found in any polished society. They know no-one will do it for them; they have to do it themselves. The criteria to get into this no-membership fee group? - how loud you shout, it doesn't matter about the state of your boat or whether you have one.


Have you noticed how the top 100 boating sites doesn't work anymore?!?! No Problem and Epiphany say I broke it.... OOOPS!

Actually, I feel quite proud of myself.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Children in Need

As much as I loath to advertise anyones' blog while I am trying to catch up with No Problem on the top 100 boating sites (and stay ahead of Maffi) I feel their current posting should be linked to here.

They are donating 5p for everyone that leaves a message on their blog in the shout box which they have added.

So click here and do it.

It is a lovely thing!!!

Miss T

The occasions where one meets someone unique, quirky, special and enlightening are not as rare as I often think. What is rare is meeting someone who is loyal, faithful, loving, kind and a good friend. Being the loner I am I don't have many really good friends, but there are people who make it just so easy to like. Not only that but Miss T is bright, witty and completely off the wall. Love that girl.

Miss T - you are one special lady and I hope you are having the most wonderful birthday!!


My rankings have gone sky high... not as sky high as No Problem, but I am sure we will get there eventually! This little war game of mine has even made it onto Granny Buttons I rather like his comments; they're good for a chuckle.

I fixed the water leak eventually. I sealed the pump up installed it, along with a filter on the inlet side which it never had, and then found the accumulator had decided to spring a leak. This is why boating jobs are never straightforward, they ALWAYS take longer than you expect and the problem you THINK you have to fix usually turns out to be the start of far more.

I am now trying to dry out the area under the front deck.. it smells rather damp at the moment, and I don't think the air is getting down there. I have a guest coming this evening so I suspect this evenings activities will be lying on the floor after a sweeping movement from the ceiling wafting newspaper around to get the heat down there. Thankfully weepingcross is quite used to the bizarre antics of boating. Thankfully his only experience is my boat so he doesn't know any better!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Hmm... you know I said I have fixed the links... please don't click on Maffi's to check!

Another blog!

Wel, you may have noticed from the comments on my posts (noteably the oh dear one) that I have been getting confused with my Adams...

So - check out the boating Adam of the two Adams

Do you wanna see some trim?

I think I can safely say that a wee bit of trim around the ages makes all the difference.

Of course, the sink would be so much better if I hadn't run out of water the otherr day. People often ask me how I know when I have run out of water, and it is usually because the tap stops supplying water. Well, this happened at the weekend.

I am taking the pump to Uxbridge today to see whether I need a new seal. While I am there I shall pick up a chimney for Maffi, he lost it in the trees at the weekend.


Hmmm... Bottle and Liam say my links don't work... So, I have done something to fix it - did it work???

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

OOOOh Look

Look what I have found!

Another Blog......

Liams Blog - its on the links on the side too.

Water Pressure

If you have read my recent article in Canal Boat Magazine you will notice that I have learnt all about water pressure, of course I knew the theory - but with many things theory doesn't quite filter through to practice.
It would seem that even practice doesnt' filter through to practice! This morning I moved the boat to the water point and started to fill up with water. At the same time I decided to check all the connections under the front deck including the water pump itself for any leaks. I squeezed in and had a good rummage and came to the conclusion there was indeed a leak. I localised this to the pump and after some deliberation decided the best thing to do was take the pump out and have a look properly. Knowing all about water pressure I isolated the water, and knew it wouldn't go everywhere because I had already run the tank dry. Oh dear... how so very wrong.

I undid the connections and had completely escaped to consider the accumulator in the process. OH MY, water really does come out exceptionally quickly. I thrust the pipes back together, but because I was trying not to giggle and couldn't really see anything I couldn't quite get them straight and every now and again a high pressure spray of water would be released in the confines of the small space I squeezed into.

After gaining some composure I was very releived when I managed to attract Maffi's attention to come and hold the torch while I amended the situation.

Boats and girls are a complete and utter triumph!

Oh dear....

Oh dear. 'Gypsy Rover' has overtaken me and 'Maffi' is STILL in the lead on the top 100 boating sites of the three of us. Cosmos is still not a threat, but with the increase in postings it won't be long before he is in the running too. Warrior hasn't joined in yet....!

As for 'No Problem' they are running around the late 20s CONSTANTLY, hrmph.

Perhaps you could all do me a favour and NOT look at Maffi' blog today..... and get all your friends on their computers to look on my link chuckle!

Oh dear... that might be cheating? Och well, if you can't beat 'em join cheat!

(i haven't linked the other sites in this post so as not to tempt you to explore them!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Claire and Elspeth

Claire and Elspeth came to visit at the weekend so I took them to the local museums to look at bones:

Elspeth wasn't so keen on the shrunken heads, but she was keen on her luncheon:

I always enjoy watching people laugh, and it is always fantastic when people are laughing on my boat:


Carrie on Blackbird has got a blog! Thank you Granny Buttons for telling us about it. I am especially interested in Carries blog because she is making her own compost lavatory and I would just LOVE to know more!!!!!

Working and Boating

Well there I was aboard the great ship last night with the temperature set at a steady 5degrees as I tucked into a tin of rice pudding waiting for the fire to warm the boat up. I ran out of water a couple of days ago, and having returned home after dark there was no time to move the boat and fill up. This raises one of the problems of boating and this working malarchy (which occupies the daylight hours); there is little time to move the boat or, as is also the case this evening, charge the batteries. As a result of this latter issue I had to make a decision - the fridge or the lights. The fridge won - not least because it could provide emergency housing if the boat got any colder. All hail the ecofan was my cry for the evening as its magic warms the dining room up quicker and that is important because it is the only place I can sit with my hurrican lamp and not set fire to a hat, book or scarf, or heat up some tusks. There are times when boating makes one feel so alive, and last night was one of them.

I was wondering how to get warmer, and was thinking of taking advantage of the fact that heat rises and clear the kitchen worktop so I could put my chair up there, but thankfully there was a knock on the door and a chum arrived. Unable to offer him tea he made do with beer. My friends really are very kind - he sat at the table doodling, not complaining, and we had a lovely evening.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Family Visits

I was delighted when my neice decided it was time to check out her 'Auntie Fruitcakes' residence, and came for luncheon. Unfortunately she was more interested in the inside of her hat when I got the camera out....

Friday, November 09, 2007

Spoon Race

I was in the John Radcliffe Hospital this morning and came across this:

It is called the spoonrace and you can read more about ithere

Bones Made Apple Pie

I went to Lower Heyford Church not so long ago, and after the service (and a glass on wine) the good people of St Marys told me to help myself to Apples left over from Harvest. I filled Maffi's pockets and home we went. The other day I finally got round to being a domestic goddess and I was amazed that the pie looked and tasted so good! Weeping Cross came for a visit last night, so I gave him a bit. It was rather triumphant watching his eyes go from 'oh dear what has she done now' to 'oh no, must I try it, thank goodness I have a cold perhaps I won't be able to taste it' to 'Good Grief, this is actually really really really really delicious'

Lower Heyford to Thrupp II

Maffi and Grahoom in the lock

Matilda and Grahoom in charge of the great ship

Maffi sporting my new portable moustache.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lower Heyford to Thrupp I

I have however managed to download some pictures from my camera from the great move of NB Bones from Lower Heyford to Thrupp on saturday.

I was very lucky this time because Grahoom and Matlida came along as crew. Grahoom is going to get his own boat if the survey goes well, and needed to get some hands on experience, and as Maffi and I were moving we decided it would be great if they took one of the boats themselves - nothing like a baptism of fire to enhance ones boating skills! Maffi took Grahoom to start with, and I took Matilda. I have only ever taught two other people to drive my boat. One, lock boy, took to it instantly, and the other, Weeping Cross, is still learning 2 years later (but suddenly seems to have got the hang of it!). With this 'extreme' experience I was not sure how well Matilda would grasp my instructions; there is a lot of information to take on in one go.

I was not at all worried about Matilda taking charge of the great ship and I think I managed to drum it in that her life and health was more important than the boat, and as long as she found it funny when she sank it we would get along just fine. Matilda was a fantastic pupil and I spent most of the time gushing with pride as she moored up and took it into the lock - the paintwork remained unscratched and she seemed to be having a good time.

After 2 locks it was time for her and Grahoom to take my boat onwards and eventually we lost sight of them. After sometime we made it through Enslow and saw them moored up just before Bakers Lock - it was lovely to see they had managed to navigate through the chaos of Lower Heyford, were still talking to eachother and hadn't abandoned ship!

Grahoom and Matilda are excellent company, not only are they both faciniating individuals but they came armed with a picnic including smoked pigeon!

Here are some pictures from my phone. I have some more on the camera which I will download in time.

Grahoom loooming up on Milly M:

Maffi Locking Matilda through on Bones:

Matilda leaving the lock:

Maffi and Grahoom looming up:

Bones is Poorly!

Oh dear. I don't feel very well today. This is a great shame.

Maffi in Hospital

Monday, November 05, 2007

News from Maffi

Maffi went to the Drs today to see whether his eye was progressing well, and it turns out that the inflammation is still quite high, but they think this is due to his slipped lens. He tells me they are putting it back in place this afternoon. Poor chap, he has had a rough deal; hopefully he won't have to lie on his front for the next 2 weeks!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sore Nose

Did I mention I have a sore nose?

Chocolates, Cheques and Gin to sooth the agony can be left in the bow of my boat.


Hat Stand, Eyes; Door hatch and Noses

It is with great sadness that I have to say that I think the hat stand is going to have to go. It would be a shame if someone did some serious injury on it - unfortunately the average boater is not 3ft tall. Shame.

Maffi's sliding hatch on the back of the boat is another hazard. The number of times I bang my head on it, he bangs his head on it and visitors bang their heads on it is unbeleivable. In an attempt to avoid banging my head AGAIN I decided that I would reverse out of his boat. Unfortunately I stood up too soon and wacked my nose on it - the agony was quite exceptional. I did scream a blood curdling scream that would make even ghosts go pale, but no-one came to my aid. As my eyes watered and I felt poorly I screamed another, slightly hollow but still rather pain filled scream and STILL no-one came to sooth my quivering brow. After sometime the pain subsided and after even more time Maffi minced his way up the boat saying 'are you alright'. ALRIGHT?! was I alright. His ears weren't by the time I had finished my polite if not elegant tirade at him. Why did he not come? Apparently it was simple - EVERYONE bangs their head on the hatch. I banged my NOSE I insisted... and this was FAR more painful and my scream could have been the final exsperation of my life.. but NO he remains unconvinced. I didn't hear anyone scream about my deer head... yet it seems that has to go. I think the back end of Maffi's boat should have to go.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Coat Hangers and Hat stands

Having hung up and speered myself with my hat stand ignored the pain and generally regarded the warm 'deer' welcoming as something of an honour I have been living happily ever after. My friends however have not. My word, people DO complain - first it was the blue bucket, and now it is my new friend that is getting the flack. I can't possibly repeat the words used, but surfice to say that the deer has a new home:

As long as I remember to reverse, when I peer at the book shelves, before standing up things should work out just fine!

Who said boating was cold?

Claire did!

Fire roaring on a lovely Tuesday evening, we were in T-shirts and here is Claire:

It was really lovely to see Claire for the day, she is a very good visitor!

SealSkinz Gloves

The Canal Boat magazine asked me to write my Christmas list for the next edition (coming out soon) of the mag. I decided to include some SealSkinz Gloves as they were recommended to me in the past for boating. I wrote to SealSkinz on the off chance that they would send me a free pair if I mentioned them, and they did! I have a pair, and I have one pair for Maffi - I am really amazed and delighted that the company did this.

We ordered the Ultra Grip gloves which are waterproof, breathable and close fitting. I am looking forward to trying my pair out tomorrow. - a friendly and communicative company!!!!

Photo Shoot

Periodically I do a 'photo shoot' with whoever is handy, and although lasts nights is not the best of them all I thought I would share a few piccies of the delightful depiction of beauty

Best Boating Sites.

I have noticed over the last few weeks that several of these boating blogs have a link to the top boating sites. As I didn't have one I thought I would add one and see whether I could beat Maffi, Gypsy Rover and No Problem. Beating Maffi was barely a challenge (chuckle), and I enjoy the flirting dances with Gypsy Rover, but the chances of beating No Problem are highly remote. Whereas Maffi, Gypsy Rover and I are batting around the 50s, No Problem is in the 20s!

Not only that, I am flustered and stressed... having beaten Maffi with little effort, he has now beaten me... I can't take the strain!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Greyfriars cemetery: Edinburgh

Weeping Cross has put up some pictures of this gloriously spooky church yard. I love the way he manages to capture the light and beauty of what is otherwise quite dark. I remember my trip up there this time last year and just loved the place.


The bathroom has more trim and I have finally cased in the electrics which tidies things up a bit. It took me ages to decide how to do it, and I think I have it right, so I will do the rest of them over the winter.

I also have a lovely table top from the skip which will be ideal for the dining room. The current one is square and takes up a bit too much space, and although it is ideal for dinner square isn't a very good shape for working - which is something I need to do a bit more of at home, and that involves spreading all sorts of things around. If I manage to do it properly, I will be able to attach the table so that it folds away easily which will enable me to use my dining room as a garage over winter; it is about time I got my BSA bantam back on the road! Then, in spring it will be time to tackle a dinnette type arrangement.