Thursday, February 28, 2008


I am visiting a friend, and they have a bathtub, I just love baths. The bathtub is heaven incarnate and it was with delight that I set time aside this morning to enjoy it thoroughly.

I turned off the taps and marvelled at the steam rising up from the now full bath tub; I was about to embark upon an act of cleanliness that makes my toes wiggle and heart beat faster. I stared at the swirling waters in great anticipation of the dirt and grime being eased from my pores as I immersed myself in its waters forcing the tension in my muscles to give in to the penetrating heat. The mere therapy of staring in such anticipation takes years off one.

I dabbled my toe several times (and eeked a few times) until the temperature was perfect and I lowered myself into the steaming waters relaxation.

The problem with really hot baths is they replace your muscles with jelly and turn ones skin purple. I can't possibly go out until I have resumed my normal complexion.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Any sufferers out there? I have been reading up about it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Moley is 50

I have been suffering from much excitement as the year has progressed, and February as passed, for on Saturday I went to a birthday banter at Stoke Bruene to celebrate Moleys 40+10 birthday. Banters are something of a regular occurrence on canal world forums, and I have been to several including this and this, but a birthday banter is a first. As a result it was an invitation only, fully paid up bash. A wonderful opportunity to put names to faces of forum friends, some who I had met, and some who I hadn't. Amazingly enough, these occasions are always fun and resemble a gathering of old friends rather than strangers. Moleys bash was no exception. There were 40 or so of us in the dining room, and as I looked around I wondered if there had ever been a time where I had been surrounded by so many clearly highly intelligent nutters in a social manner. Probably not. Maffi was even heard to say he wished he hadn't been so rude on line to one of them because 'he's a really nice guy'. This is so true. Forums are often geeky, and people who enter the scene are regarded as low life no-hopers who have no social life who lack social skills. Once again a bunch of boaters in the flesh shoots this theory to pieces at dawn with a pink elephant who has a penchant for buns.

You may remember that I mentioned a visit to the Moles last year; a lovely family to say the least. Thus to be invited to help celebrate Moles half century, and the beginning of the next was nothing short of an honour. The evening was exceptional, great fun, and quirky - why wouldn't it be, you should see them all! You can see other peoples accounts of the evening here: Warriorwomen, Epiphany and Maffi

Fuzzy Duck reminded me of Lock Boy but with a scarier looks in his eye, and it was good to catch up with Eugene. I finally met WarriorWomen albeit briefly, and marvelled at Carlts hands. BigRoj was not alone in thinking I was a bloke until we met (I forgot to beat him - must do that), and I always enjoy seeing Mr and Mrs Bottle. Bazza, who I had met at Crick, looked completely different, and having run through a few names I finally gave in - but was so amazed when he told me who he was that he suddenly found himself in a bear hug (you know, that traditional greeting for old friends). He coped admirably (it took me a while to realise I should have better control over myself and curtsy at people!) ! Chris JW has a great nose - and lovely boat, and Wrigglefingers has socks to die for. I did pop over to see Keeping Up and Pingu the following day and noticed that Wrigglefingers was knitting a new pair. Daniel is still a lovely young man, a pleasure to meet, and I was delighted with the marigolds that the bullfrogs gave me! Everyone made an impression upon me - especially Baldocks new hair cut. Actually, I had best not mention everyone or we will be here forever! I still think I won the who can get their foot on their head the highest competition with Victoria (Sponge) but a re-match may be in order.

In summary, a fantastic evening of quick wit and laughter. Thank you Mole. Happy Birthday and may you have another half century full of fabulous fun and cheer.

Let them eat cake

There I was minding my own business when I received a text from Moley who is celebrating his birthday today. As you can imagine I have been slobbering all day.


Having sniffed and snarled in a previous post I have been watching NABO with some interest. I was getting to the point where I was rather impressed with the work being done by the group, and the chairman, but I hear from narrowboat world that he has resigned. Oh dear.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Punting Bilges Diesel

I recently learnt that I can get diesel from the club whose moorings I am wintering on. Apparently mooring there makes me a temporary member, and thus I can enjoy all the perks – including diesel at cost. Having run out of water, and filled the loo, I decided it was time to take the boat round to the maintenance point and fill up and empty the appropriate bits. I have no diesel so the engine doesn’t start, so I decided to punt it round; something I found to be much easier than I thought. No problem – even one handed. Bones is now back in ship shape and ready for its trip up the Oxford, in a few weekends time, to have the exhaust and diesel system sorted out. I am also hoping my sense of humour returns!

It took quite some time to bleed the system, but eventually the engine roared into life. Very rewarding. I am really looking forward to heading away from Thrupp in 3 weeks time, it will be good to be out on the open seas again.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sitches are out

The stitches have been removed from my hand, and all is well. One of the stitches was a bit tight so the nurse had to gauge it out, but other than that it doesn't look too bad.

LED lighting

As a trial I bought an LED light to try on the boat to see whether I really do want to replace all my fittings with them. I spoke to the company and told them what I wanted, and they said the warm white would do me proud.

It doesn't.

LED lighting doesn't spread, the warm one turnes my cats nose yellow (I abhor yellow), and I certainly can't read by it.

The only other light is a bright white, but do I really want to spend another 20pounds on one to try to find that is no good. I don't think so.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I hadn’t heard of Tom Leary until I sat next to him at a local village hall gig by the cosmic sausages. Tom and Kevin Dempsey, both of national and international fame, played at the Banbury Folk Club last night. What a fantastic evening, a rhythm tapping dream.
I love folk music. Tom is part of a larger group called Feast of Fiddles, and I can't wait to hear them!

I grew up and around music. We didn’t have a television, radio or music centre (although I do remember a turn table that was rarely used), but the house was always busy and with a number of instruments around the house impromptu Jam Sessions were not a rare sight. They hit their peak when mother took up the drums – with a grand piano and a drum kit in the hall, the sound was fantastic; guitar, saxophone, cornet, whistles, clarinet, fiddles, piano and drums filled the room, and as the music you are part of engulfs you are lost in the rhythm.

During my teens, the youth leader lived with Dick Brading of the Cambridge Crofters and with whistle players, fiddlers and guitarists in our midst we’d often end up filling evenings with music.

Music is so unexpected. My sister and I were tinkering around and ended up playing streets of London and my other sister having emerged from her slumber came slowly down the stairs singing the words, and boy could she sing – we had no idea!

I love spontaneous music. Sadly I am not a great musician, but as with all things, that has never stopped me! Living on a narrow boat is not conducive to piano playing, so any skills I did have are seriously rusty. Still, I love going to gigs, and often stop in a passing church hoping to find a piano to tickle; my most distinguished audience so far has been W.Churchill and his family, unfortunately they were all dead.

Pickles no.2

I have been watching, reading and enjoying the rather amusing blog of Pickles no.2 who is fitting out his narrowboat in a month. They move aboard in 10days.

Yesterday Gypsy Rover passed by and Derek lent a helping hand for the day - Derek and Dot are an adorable couple, and this just goes on to prove it! After meeting Derek and Dot in Abingdon,they were stuck in Oxford during the floods so I saw them a couple of times. I keep looking on their itinary hoping they will pass this way again soon, but I think it might be a while.


I went to the garden centre yesterday to have a look at my pet tank, I found one I liked, some weed I liked, but no divers (he will be called Barry). I saw a fish and fell in love, but was quickly distracted by the plaster crocodile head in the tank. Perhaps I need a pet crocodile head instead; the very thought of it makes me wonder whether I will be a responsible owner of a goldfish. I must look up the expense - vet bills could prove to cripple me.

Mark Paris gets a mention

Miss T was rather taken with Helene of Troy on a recent trip to Enslow. Mark is linked on this website too.

NB Debdale

Debdale went sailing by this morning - a fine handsome boat.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Room for two?

Living on ones own is all very well, but I think I might become too stagnant and selfish if I do it for too long. Not only that, but my boat has room for another, so I have been thinking about getting a pet. I am not exceptionally good at looking after myself, and I am not overly fond of pets, so I have for sometime been thinking about the ideal creature for the boat. I am not at home enough for a dog, and cats make me sneeze and wheeze. I did think about a goat but it might eat my shower curtain, and that left a sheep. The advantage of a sheep was that if I found I couldn't look after it, I could eat it. The size of a sheep can be a problem, so I thought about a ferret. Ferrets are cute, but they might eat my electrical cables.
As you can see, this has taken a couple of years to resolve. I am keen for the company, and like the idea of having something to look after - the discipline would be good, and the routine will add some order to my otherwise chaotic existence. After much deliberation and discussion I have decided to buy a fish tank. I am not sure that I will go the whole hog and buy an alive fish to swim in it, but if the tank goes well, I think I might.

Monday, February 18, 2008

one handedness and marigolds.

This one handed lark is a hoot. I have now mastered putting coal on the fire using the coal scuttle rather than the 'tweezers' I have not mastered opening a tin of tuna, that will take some time.

Noticing the huge pile of washing up stacking up, I decided it was probably time to do something about it. Unable to wash up one handed I strolled down to the co-op for some trusty marigolds. Would you believe it - they only stock SMALL ones! Gee's... I thought child labor was a thing of the past.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

licence did arrive

I forgot to mention that my licence arrived at the beginning of February.

These glorious sunny days with magic spring light are superb, but make my mind boggle when I awake most mornings to an iced over canal.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sony Ericsson s500i

I have the above telephone and it goes straight to voice mail after 3 rings. There are no options for increasing the number of rings, and I have done a search and can't find out how to do it.

Do any of you know, and if so, could you enlighten me? It is driving me potty.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Paid to be good

Heaven help society. So, it isn't enough that the youth of today can jump on the benefits bandwagon, they now get paid for behaving, or at least making their children behave. Does this mean I, as a working individual, have a right to have children that misbehave. What on earth happened to prisons? Surely the threat of social services, prison and never escaping the circle of depravity should be enough of an incentive for anyone, without having tax payers money being dolled out for every please and thank you.

Who needs to work, that is what I want to know. We get houses, money to have children, crisis loans that we can never pay back, and now we get paid to get a job which we can lose after a week and then get paid to get another one - good lord, I'll be getting pocket money for being polite next.

No wonder the waterways are in decline, we are too busy paying people not to work and to be polite.

Bilges and engine rooms

My bilges, as I am sure you can imagine, are a wreck. They have needed cleaning for quite sometime, but now they really need cleaning. In March I am going to take the boat up to Tooleys boat yard so they can fix the pipework and exhaust system, and then I will head off on a 10day holiday. I intend to spend some of this time down the bilges scraping and cleaning.

Sometime ago I contacted a company asking them about their bilge paint product and they very kindly said they would send me some samples, this was quite some time ago, but I have given up hope that any will arrive.

Something else I need to do is re-design my engine room into a more usable space. I have done this once, and built a prototype out of 2x2; it has worked quite well, but I need to do something about making it more permanent and adding cupboards.

Something I have noticed when looking through books or magazines about boats is that there is very little focus on the most interesting room in the boat - the engine room. Thus, my ideas are rather limited. So if you see me peering into your trad stern at the engine room you know why!

Feel free to email me pictures of your engine bay!


shipton on cherwell:

a view from the window:
a delicious view down the side of the boat:

mincing around in the mist:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Wound

Changed the dressing today and here it is:

poor Bones.

Jericho Boatyard


I am, as you know, an invalid and being looked after. Last night WeepingCross came to visit and cooked Sausages and veggies with meringues to follow (oh the way to my heart is so so so simple). This evening I am on Maffi's boat for supper and he tells me this evenings dinner is going to be amazing. I am not terribly experienced in Maffi's culinary skills, but to say I am afraid wouldn't be short of the truth - especiallly when he tells me the menu is kangaroo steaks and leeks....

Valentines Day

This morning I discovered that every single valentines card that was delivered during the night has been stolen. Would you believe it! I am aghast that such criminal activity could take place in such a tranquil village to one so vulnerable and wounded. It was suggested that I hadn't had any in the first place - rediculous! Why would that be so - I have been moored here for most of the winter, and I am quite sure the villagers would have clubbed together to buy me card at least - and that wasn't even there.

The upside is that I did get a valentines text, and although I have no idea who it is from, I suspect it is from a friend who has used their girlfriends or wifes phone - which would make them wholly unsuitable.

I suppose the local squire may still be riding across the fields on his stallion... there is hope yet.

If the worst comes to the worst last years card will just have to last another year.

Todays top tip

When opening a plastic bottle of milk one handed, do not grip the bottle between your knees and pull the plastic seal off. It will go EVERYWHERE.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I am allergic to many things thanks to an operation that went wrong when I was 10. When I was in my late teens I had another operation which went well until I was on my way home and collapsed in the lavatory whilst being sick - rather a difficult position to extract a long teenager from with a straight splinted leg!

Despite this experience I was not at all concerned about another operation - not least because I didn't think I would be having one. We arrived at the day surgery unit and were greeted by a rather flustered lady with perfect hair who would periodically entertain us all by running back to her desk from some errand (they were short staffed). After being shuffled and poked, the surgeon decided that surgery was a necessity and I was eventually shown into the most amazing cubical with a chair from space. The lady opposite me had managed to get hers to recline and produce a foot-stool. All I could do was get mine to tip me out. I tried to trade chairs to no avail, but eventually managed to get it to behave. A long wait ensued, where Maffi and I played rediculous games - I love the one 'I went to market and I bought....' then you chose a musical instrument to match the letters of the alphabet. Playing this with a londoner is fantastic. First off we bought an 'arpsicord.

I was given a gown and some socks, got changed and was whisked off into the sunset with the anaesthetist before I had come to terms with my new attire and the reality of the situation. I didn't have time to be concerned or worried about the op. Next thing I knew was I was waking up and ready for some sandwiches.

Anaesthetics really have come along a long way since I last had them. No sickness and no worry.

The hand is expected to make a full recovery.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Oopsie and Stitches

You know I said yesterday that I had planned the week better? I don't think I did!

Last night I managed to cut my hand on some broken glass which was quite deep. Unsure what to do I covered it up, called Maffi who was walking down the road and walked over to the pub for some first aid. Needless to say I was sent up to the hospital and given a lift by a kind lass who was in the bar (Many thanks to Mark Paris for organising that, and Maffi thank you for coming with me). A long night in casualty was followed by an early morning start in surgery to get it looked at before being stitched, incase I needed surgery as the feeling in the fingers was a bit off colour. Surgery followed and I am now at home, The cut only nicked the tendons which is good and the nerves are intact so the numbness must be due to swelling. I return in 2 weeks. Until then I have been signed off for a week and will be taking it easy, I have been shattered of late so this will be a good opportunity to relax and recharge my batteries.

Last night I discovered my squeamish side. I decided not to look at the wound incase I went pale, but when the towel was pulled away Maffi 'squeeked' so I looked. I went most pale, clammy and unelegant, I sat on the floor announcing my need to be sick. I wasn't, but I didn't look again.

As we sat in the waiting room this morning we looked quite a sight; my hand with encrusted blood up the fingers and arm and Maffi wearing a rather stylish red splash of colour in his hair with a slight dribble down his forhead (see his blog). Us boaters are Gucci.

Now to bed to sleep off the rest of the anaesthetic.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ongoing Saga

The boat still stinks of diesel, but hopefully having the engine bay steam cleaned at some point will sort all that out. Steve Mallpas from Oxford Cruisers was regailing me with tails of the most amazing stuff that gets rid of the smell of diesel.. but it has been banned - grrrrr.

Having had a really busy month I completely forgot to plan anything fun or nice this weekend and have ended up drifting in fumes with the odd fun bit. SO, a big thank you to Adam and Miss T for last night, and to Maffi for the quick lunch today. I'll be pleased to get back to work.

Now, back to the grindstone. I have planned the week better! I need to have some fun to enable me to write about something other than diesel. Grrrrrrr.

Dullness cheered by pie

After reading my blog Adam telephoned me and suggested I spend an evening with him and Lucy – what a splendid idea! I had nothing planned, had spent a very frustrating day on the boat struggling with two man jobs on my own, and had a raging headache from the Diesel fumes so I leapt at the opportunity.

Miss T can cook pies, fabulous pies where the flavour dances on your tongue and immerses your brain in satisfaction. This and some fine wine from my parents (thank you) went down a treat last night. This morning as I awoke and gazed over the roof tops from my bedroom thoughts of delicious pie wafted through my mind. This village on the outskirts of Oxfordshire with its stone cottages and tranquil air is exactly what I needed. Today I shall return to the bowels of the boat nad see whether it smells of diesel or lemon cleaner; hopefully the latter.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Boating is not funny.

Today is one of those days where living on a boat seems to sap one's energy. Many people (I am told) buy a new boat so they can enjoy it and not have to do anything to it. Indeed someone who has a new boat sat and watched me struggle and said how pleased they were they didn't have to do that. I am on the opposite end of the scale, my boat needs everything done to it, this is something I usually to love. I have, over the years, learnt all sorts of facinating things; plumbing, electricity, gas, flooring, floating and bailing. My boat is a place of exploration, experimentation and creation. I don't have a television, and I don't need one, the boat provides me all the entertainment I need. I also have more energy than a dulux puppy and rarely enjoy sitting around doing nothing - unless I am sitting in the dark listening to the sounds of nature. Each moment of time is precious, and I just love exploring and learning. Creativity is my relaxation.

This week however I am suffering from exhaustion. I would love to sit on the sofa with my feet up looking out of the front doors at the blue sky. Unfortunately this is absolutely not possible because there is no-where to sit! In a fit of peak I filled the boat up with 'useful furniture' which has turned out to be very un-useful indeed, and takes up rather a lot of space.

I am not sure what I miss most, the opportunity to sit down and listen to the world pass by, or someone on the boat helping me to try and 'make it work' - which usually ends up in all sorts of giggling as it fails and hurrahs when finally it succeeds (or at least enables one to move around the boat!).

Either way, it is a glorious day and unless I sort this boat out, I will not be able to take a walk across the fields and try out my binoculars.

I suppose the up side is that once it is all sorted out I can have a lovely time on my holiday in March enjoying the countryside without having to slave over a hot saw or trip over all the things I seem to have accumulated. Perhaps I will start my afternoon with a good clearout - again!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Weekends are Glorious

Hurrah, it is Friday and thus the end of a long week, or indeed a long month. I am thoroughly looking forward to the next two days of sleep and tidying things up. My bilges are now dry, and the boat smells less diesel like - thank you Maffi for all your hard work!

Last weekend Maffi's chum KH came to visit, and we pootled over with his trailor to pick up some furniture that was being thrown out. 2 sets of drawers for me, and a bookcase for Maffi. Maffi decided he didn't want the bookcase so I now have it. It is well known that the storage on my boat is minimal (unlike my posessions), but I hadn't quite expected to have a boat full of furniture to accomodate it. I have just about mastered the art of the highland fling in order to get from one end of the boat to the other without causing myself an injury, and over the weekend I am hoping to transform my dining room into something useable. Ho Ho Ho.

This boating lark is fun - isn't it?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

More Bilges

The bilges are now empty, and the contents are in 5 gallon jerricans from the army surplace store - there are 4 of those in total, and Maffis clear plastic one too. The majority of this is Diesel.

I often marvel at how my boat ever got a safety certificate - the diesel sedementor had a glass bowl and plastic lug: the glass broke.

As it happens I have already decided to get the diesel and exhaust systems replaced.

I have been extraordinarily tired of late and sleeping 10 - 11 hours at night solidly. Hopefully the weekend will see me with lots of energy to sort the rest of the boat out!

Many thanks for Maffi for all his help with the bailing and going to the shops for the cans!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


So, lent has started. I think I shall take up bailing my bilges and give up looking at them ever again.

Yesterday was shrove tuesday - do not under any circumstances ever make pancakes using gram flour. blah.

Bilge Filters

I spent a comfortable night aboard Milly M but this morning I still have the problem I had last night with the Diesel in the bilges. I think there must be about 20gallons of diesel in there. I still don't know what to do with it, some say filter it back into the tank, and others say not, but hopefully by the end of the working day I will have a clearer idea.

Did I mention that the boot lock on my car has died?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Diesel in the Bilges

This afternoon I left work early to return to my chambers for a snooze. I was most cross when I realised the boat had different ideas. nb Bones has decided to keep its Diesel in the bilges, not in the tank; I don't find this even remotely funny. I roared in fury (the level eyebrow and frown kind) and set too trying to fix it. Maffi was making me a tea, which he promptly stopped and was ordered to stand to attention as I set to bailing it out into endless buckets, and all sorts of other ridiculous containers that I will have to get it out of at some point. Maffi in a moment of inspiration went home to pick up a 25litre container and I filled that up. It hardly made a difference, but at least the oil sump and the bilges are now separate. This is all very cross making indeed. In order to keep my clothes clean I stripped to my vest and boxers and threw my socks away. I switched the diesel off, and like all good responsible boat owners abandoned ship. With nappies wrapped around my feet to absorb the grime and prevent the stench being spread across the rest of the cabin, I strolled through the boat announcing to Maffi that he now has a house guest. He was too busy admiring my stylish footwear to protest.

I think I will start a new perfume series called 'diesel' and when that hits off I will make a shower gel with the profits, I think I will call it swafeagalite. It took a good 10minutes with scrubbers, shampoo and washing up liquid to get the grime off. I think it is about time I got myself a boiler suit.

Fuse Panal

I replaced my fuse panel on Saturday with something more suitable, as usual it took much longer than I expected but I was very pleased when I realised I had done it successfuly!. I also did an energy audit on my lights. My main lights use either 1Amp, or 0.7Amps which I was pleased about but I was horrified to discover the light in my bedroom uses 2.3 Amps. As I only really use one light at a time, if at all, I think I can safely say my light consumption is low. It did get me thinking, and as most of the units need replacing I think I will have a go with some LED lights. All I need to do now is work out which ones to use. I want reading ones, and ambience/atmospheric ones and I would like them all to have a switch on the side of the unit so I can switch them on and off as I please. I have emailed the company for some advice and hope to be enlightened.

It is exciting times aboard the great ship.

St Thomas' Water

All the roads out of London were mapped, and sights along the way recorded so that travelers knew they were on the right road. One such sight is St Thomas' Waters in Surrey, not far from Ripley; a good place to rest and a holy well.

Having clambered over barbed wire and passed through a crisp packet and Gin scene we were met by St Thomas' waters. Weeping Cross is a fan of holy wells so I often find myself admiring a damp hole in the ground in some obscure place. The diversity of the Holy Well is amazing. Sometimes they have beautiful arches, or found in caves and other such underground hollows or marked with a cross and some are forgotten heaps of stone, or a vague remnant of a spring in the middle of a field. Some are looked after and others are homes to floating crisp packets and mud. They are well worth visiting if you can find them in your area (there are a few books on areas available bucks or kent).

So, St Thomas' water looks like this:

Monday, February 04, 2008

Cooking Triumphs

As I eyed up the bacon and eggs on the side I decided that this morning was the morning where I, the domestic godess of the waterways, would be a chef extraordinaire. Stand back England I thought to myself, make way for the perfect breakfast.

Anyone that has had my cooking will realise it is a bit hit and miss. Sometimes I have had to force people to eat in the dark to ensure that the sight before them doesn't put them off eating it. One particularly memorable dish was what became known as 'pink tea'. This was meant to be beef in red wine sauce, but turned out to be luminous pink and I just couldn't bring myself to eat it. James having realised I had slaved over a hot stove was loyal to the cause and settled down. I had cornflakes. He was ill for a week.

This morning however, it was different. The scene was fabulous, I whisked up the eggs for the eggy bread and turned my attention to the cooker. The bacon sizzled, the kettle whistled and in no time at all the smells were radiating around me. I marvelled that the smoke alarm hadn't gone off - this was the first time ever I had cooked without the ceiling screaming at me. I laid it all out on a plate, settled down ate it and sat back repleat.

My friend came over later, and I told him of my triumphant time. He was most impressed when I told him not even the smoke alarm had protested... then he very sweetly pointed out it didn't have a battery in.


nb. no idea how I managed to not have a battery in my smoke alarm. I shan't do that again. Smoke alarms save lives.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Funny Bones

My goddaughter sent me a badge, it is from her new reading book series funny bones that she is rather keen on.

Thank you!