Friday, October 31, 2008

Another one for Tortoise

Simon is looking into small spaces at the moment and commented on Hebe in my picture book post. Here is another one for him...

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I am rather fond of this boat and always enjoy seeing it around. I particularly like the cratch/cabin combination at the front. The steel roof combined with the soft windows is something I really rather like!

I passed cascade again last week and noticed it was for sale.....

Picture Book

Last week I moved my boat north to prepare for winter, and here are a few pics from the journey:

Here is the hydrolic works lift bridge under the A40 that so many people are getting stuck near - they have to wait for the workmen to raise it so boats can pass...

And I loved the line of boats just passed Dukes Lock:

Especially this little cute one:

and Maffi following behind:

Moody Sky

I like the moody sky over the old chapel... it looks so tranquil and embracing.


On Sunday we were blessed with a visit from the good Miss Barnes who embraced the local culture in style and join in with the conker championships. Ocelot, Maffi and I went out in Ocelots dinghy scouring the local area for winning conkers - the first tree was a triumph, but they were deemed by the conker assessor to be 'too small' so we dumped him off on the bank and sent him off to the church yard for some bigger ones. While he was muttering away amongst the leaves Steve decided to do some dinghy maintenance and check out the floatation tanks... they were FULL of water! After a bit of bailing out, Maffi returned back to the boat with the looty we zoomed home to prepare the conkers - it was rather fun on the way back seeing how far over we could lean the boat before it turned over... it lent over at a rather alarming angle so I stopped that game quite quickly!

Claire and I seem to have escaped the long primary school education of conker smashing, so we spent quite a lot of the first round trying to hit the opponents conker, Claire managed to make it through to the second by hitting mine more than I hit hers in a run of 9 attempts. She made it through the second, and the third, and it was only in the fourth round that she was thrashed - sterling work young lass, maybe you will win next time!


It isn't always very easy accessing the bits on the engine one needs to access, and I find it very easy to suffer from defeat as I try and stretch myself into unnatural shapes and extend my fingers at angles that aren't quite comfortable. My father always taught me that ease is irrelevant; things are possible so the best thing to do is to just get on with it - the more dithering that takes place, the longer it takes to do the job, and it is rather demoralising having unfinished jobs around the place!

One of the frustrating things about living on the boat is time. When things go wrong it isn’t easy finding time to fix them, and living without power or heat can be difficult. I had time to fix this problem, but by the time I got home from work and ate it was cold, wet and dark - not my ideal environment when it comes to playing with metal.

The good thing about boating however is the community that comes together when there is a problem - even people walking along the tow path who say hello! Maffi spent the afternoon sorting out the bolt holes, with the tap Mark had left for me and when I arrived home I just had to do the alternator. After a few frustrated sighs and breaks for breath, I looped the belt around the alternator and other bits, wrapped a rope around the alternator and passed it up to Maffi. While he stood pulling, I bolted everything up, and hey presto, problem solved. (You may be wondering what the rope was for, but many alternators are adjusted by stamping on them to get them to move position, but mine is on upside down so it has to be pulled upwards!)

It as time for the engine to roar into life, so I turned the key, heating the plugs and it failed to start.

Sometimes I think my engine has a sense of humor akin to something very unpleasant. It coughed, choked and spluttered and refused to roar. I sulked, it carried on, and eventually it got bored and roared to life.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Hurrah! A kind person (thank you Mr Paris!) left a tap on the front deck, and Maffi has very kindly spent some of his time this afternoon sorting out the pully! One hole still had part of an old bolt in it, but he was able to sort out the other three bolts without too much trouble.

All I have to do is put the belt back on and Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrm!

Denise Leigh and Stefan Andrusyschyn

Today in an attempt to be a bit more cultured, and support someone I know I went along to one of the lunchtime recitals in Oxford today. I love the acoustics of the chapels here, and today was absolutely glorious. Stefan and Denise are the only classical accordion/soprano duo in this country, so it was a real treat to have an hour of their talent as they led us through an excellent program of music. Classical accordion sounds rather like a chamber organ; something I have always liked. If you ever get to hear these two, DO! Their remit is impressive.

Monday, October 27, 2008

kerpang wiirrrrr ping splat ...

...went the engine yesterday as I slaved over a hot stove. I went to investigate only to find that the alternator had stopped whizzing, and that 'thing' on the end of the water pump was having a lie down in the bilges. Not only that but in its fit of whatever it had, it had pinged all the bolts holding it on across the engine room. I found two; one had its thread stripped, and the other one looked like it was going to a fancy dress party as a nail.

I didn't find this remotely amusing, indeed, I still don't. However, despite my levelled eye brows and oil on my cheek and slight growl as I explained the problem. A kind person left me four new bolts on my front deck last night.

This evening I returned from work, donned the rubber gloves and set to putting the 'thing' back in its place. Nothing is simple on my boat, the bolts fit two of the holes, but not the other two. So, still the problem exists, and still I have not fixed it. My eyebrows are very level indeed, so level my nose is feeling threatened by their proximity.

Who said boating was romantic? Pah.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

NB Oakfield

OOh Look! The lovely Mr and Mrs Bottle have started a blog on their boat build! I am looking forward to seeing the boat take shape as they realise their dream!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

twas a bit brisk

It was a trifle brisk this morning, so much so that when I reached into my wardrobe for the temperature gauge I was expecting to discover it was below freezing and I could rename myself Hercules of the south for being able to survive extreme weather conditions and still move, but no! It was a palatable 10degrees C (compared to 13 last night).
I am officially a wimp.

Are knives wrong?

There I was in the pub last night having a lemonade, when the chap (who must have been in his 70s) on the table on the next table pulled out his penknife and opened his bag of peanuts. Once he had eaten the contents, he threw the wrapper on the floor and put his knife back. It reminded me of my grandad who always carried a penknife (but he would never have thrown an empty packet on the floor!).

And then we say todays youth are bad!

I wonder how many old aged pensioners have a penknife in their pockets, and I wonder how many are arrested when they pull them out in the public place? The world calls for respect from our young people, but are they just following their role models. What we need to remember is there is nothing wrong with carrying a penknife, they are useful, but if we neglect our young people and don't teach them values and how to use them, nor their danger they will find out by themselves. Don't blame the old people, don't blame the youth, blame my generation who are too complacent and think it is everyone else's job to do something about it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bones' top tips

1. Make sure HE takes his glasses when there are subtitles at the french film
2. Take the car, the bike IS too cold
3. Always carry a torch
4. Adjust the gang plank so gravity doesn't have its wicked way
5. Use butter in the pan when making an omelet

Is it wrong to laugh?

A few days ago I posted a lovely picture of the morning glory chez bones and in the comments Nev pointed out my 'see saw' gang plank and the delights of its time saving abilites when it comes to disembarking. I pondered about whether elfandsafety would mind about this, but decided that I knew it did it, and Maffi (my current neighbour) knew it did it, so what could go wrong.

Well, this evening these two clever boaters (me and him) were coming back from the cinema down the dark towpath without a torch. He was having enough trouble as it was, but oh how I laughed (on the inside only) when he stepped onto the gangplank and walked along it until gravity took over.

tee hee (don't tell him I laughed because I was very serious at the time - on the outside - but it did take me a while for my eyes to clear from the tears of laughter so I could get the key in the keyhole)

Boarded over deck

You may have noticed, on my previous post, that the front deck on the boat is partially boarded over, here is another pic:

I haven't fixed the planks down yet (as Steve discovered when he lept onto them and fell straight through!! It was SOOOOOOOOOOO funny!), and haven't found any J bolts big enough to do so (the J curve has to be about an inch wide!). I have a couple of other ideas, but for now they are 'resting'.

Contrary to Dusty the coalmans ideas, I have not taken up clog dancing. This is all part of my grand scheme of having a successful way of carrying my motorbike!

Dinghys are FUN!

On Saturday afternoon Steve (ocelot) texted to enquire whether the kettle was on, and was strolling down with Dennis (the dog). I decided the kettle would be, but he walks much quicker than I had anticipated and I was caught mooching around in the bushes with Maffi, the outboard and my dinghy. Returning to the great ship Bones we sat around drinking tea while Dennis chomped his way through Maffi’s firewood. It was a glorious afternoon, but something was missing – a little bit of activity. Unfortunately I had left the plans for the oars at work, so I was left to improvise, and as this really was an emergency (no time for fine sanding, care and consideration), I grabbed the old boat pole, a piece of ply which I sawed up to size (sharp corners included. I did ask those at hand how the shape of the oar would affect the hydro/aero dynamics, but they told me I was being too scientific). Steve Hammered, I sawed and Maffi rescued his fire wood from Dennis. I made a paddle instead of Oars because I don’t have any rollocks, but when I do get some I shall saw the paddle in half and row into the sunset.
The excitement was at an all time high as we walked down the towpath to the dinghy. I stepped in as gracefully as ever and Steve Followed. Maffi decided to stay on dry land to take pictures of us falling in (so NOT going to happen!). I was at the front paddling, Steve was at the back ruddering - a fine peice of team work!!!

Fun Fun Fun.

Next stop – I think we will take the dinghy sailing.

Insurance again

Well, that is ominous. I have just received a letter from the insurers about THAT bump, and they tell me they ‘have appointed the services of a surveyor’ they go on to say ‘Regrettably the surveyor is committed until mid week, however, will contact you regarding arranging an inspection towards the end of next week’
The bit I like the best is where they say ‘Please ensure the vessel is ashore if required’. I wonder how much notice they will give me to get it out of the water or do they think good old Hercules here is going to do - get some rubber gloves out of my hand bag and just pick it up and put it on the bank ‘if required’.

Another email to the insurance company me thinks!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mornings are Good

A morning last week with the sun rising, the trees glowing and the mist rising.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shower, Water, Mooring

After bleeding my coolant system I ran the engine for some hot water, and as this is such a rare delight I had a shower. A delicious long soapy shower with two big soaps. I even washed my long straddly hair twice. Gorgeous! Squeaky clean I stepped out of the shower, got dried, dressed and decided to rehydrate myself with a glass of water.... but no water. I had run out. Well, that WAS lucky!

So, it as the next day, and I pulled the pins to move up to another of my favourite spots and filled up on the way. During the fill up I had a clear up and put my old trolley near the bins hoping someone would pick it up. The poor trolley looked so forlorn I just couldn't leave it there, so I apologised to it, and started to walk it back to the boat. Having a complex, I told the trolley it just had to go - I don't need two trolleys. Perhaps I should have thrown the new trolley out instead? Rewarded faithfulness and loyalty? Oh dear.. you can imagine my quandary. Thankfully it all came to an end when a chap walking past looked like he needed a trolley. I asked him, and he did! My trolley is now in safe hands (although he probably sold it for a fiver to the nearest boat).

After filling up, I set off again and by Jove, the sun goes down quickly these days! I arrived at my new mooring in the pitch black, but thankfully Ocelot was there to meet me and help me moor up. Maffi set off from the water point after me, and when I checked my phone I noticed a missed call from him, and a message on the answer phone saying 'I have lost my boat...' I see he has confessed on his blog!

Friday, October 17, 2008


I am growing rather fond of my dinghy as it follows me around the cut sitting faithfully by the side of my boat. I think the leaves suit it.

I now have some plans for some oars, and as I have a new boat pole arriving today, I am planning to make some oars out of the old boat pole and some pieces of ply I have. Should be fun - and with any luck I might get them done in time for Weeping Cross' visit tomorrow evening, and take him for a short trip on Sunday (mainly around in cicles if my previous rowing experience is anything to go by - but in my defense that was in flood water).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How do they work?

How do gas level indicators actually work (and I don't mean you put the magnetic strip on the side of the bottle!)?

How do those gadgets you fix on the OUTSIDE of your water tank to tell whether there is water INSIDE work?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bones has flowers

The saga continues

I am still in the process of trying to sort out the damage done to my boat in August. After the last letter from the insurance company, I contacted two yards who came down to give me a quote for repairs.
Having received a quote from one company, I sent it off to my insurance company telling the other would follow. The quote says the boat needs to be taken out of the water and a survey needs to be carried out to investigate the damage.

The reply

"If you need to instruct your vessel to be lifted for your repairer to inspect damages and compile their estimate you must give your own instructions at this time. Please note, however, if the appointment of a surveyor is required we will arrange a survey once estimates are prepared and have been made available"

They dont make it easy do they!

Criggo Wordpress Blog

I have just been browsing around and came accross this blog. Here are my two favourite enteries:

Neighborhood watch at its best:

and if you need a job:

There is one on there about a duck - I just love that one too!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bones likes the Tortoise

Several weeks ago, when I was moored in Abingdon, the Tortoise was in the vicinity. This made me smile a lot as I have been following his blog, and his travels and we had tried to meet up a few times, but failed. This time we did meet, and how glorious that was; we gathered for curry as the sun set behind St Helens church. Simon is a chatter and we had so much to chat about there weren't really enough hours minutes or seconds in the night, it was one fun evening. Despite having raided his shopping bag on the towpath for the ingredients for supper, he still arrived with a gift:

I couldn't believe how kind it was to be given a present and such a lovely one at that. Simon told me he had a box full.... but even so, he gave ME one. This made me smile alot. Now the tortoise sits next to me on the table with a nightlight in (given to me by the delightful Miss T)

Despite being immune to fantastic science, I enjoyed the evening with Simon - thanks for stopping by!


I have my post delivered to a kind friend who opens it and tells me if there is anything important. Recently I had an email from him, and he sent me the following email

"I've just checked the only mystery item of post and was confronted with a letter reading 'Dear M, What will it take to make you join the IWA?' which I think is a bit of a cheek really. You could write back enclosing the letter and saying 'a lifetime's supply of biscuits', or something like that."

I rather like his approach....

Weekends and Dads

I love spending time with my Pa, and this weekend I had the opportunity to do so again. We took the car out for a trip through the Oxfordshire countryside, and stopped off at one of his old colleges. As we tip toed through the corridors and halls, I turned back and saw this:

Which reminded me of this:

I wonder whether the former was an inspiration for the latter? The latter is from nb Leviathan

We also spent some time at Waterperry Gardens where they had an apple weekend. Dad managed to get three of his four mystery apple trees identified which was really good. The gardens were absolutely glorious, it was wonderful walking around looking at all the different plants.

After a drive around and a stroll we returned to the boat and I took dad out for a short trip in the dinghy before dinner.

It was fabulous, lovely food, lovely company, and he didn't go home until Sunday afternoon which was even better!

Thanks Dad.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thanks Jen!

People are lovely to me, and when I went to the ancestoral seat in the middle of last month, Jen gave me this:

Thanks Jen!

Mother isn't a robber - PHEW!

I sent Pa home this weekend with some baclava (a delicious sweet sticky piece of heavenly cake). Ma wrote me a thank you note thanking me for the balaclava.

I have to be thankful that my mother has not chosen armed robbery as a trade - most people wear black masks when robbing people, but my mother, it would seem, would wear a sweet sticky continental cake on her head.

You just have to love parents!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tender Care

This morning a lady gave Maffi a pigeon and asked him to ring its neck as it had been attacked by a dog or a cat or perhaps even the lady. Maffi looked at said pigeon and decided he would nurse it back to life. He put it on the roof of the boat and gave it readybrek and water (don't ask). Here he is:

You'd never guess that two hours later he did ring its neck as he said it had taken a serious turn for the worse - although I did wonder whether Maffi was qualified to tell the difference between pigeon dying, and pigeon having a snooze..

Eating Donuts....

My dear learned friends, this is not me eating the donut in this way... it was RJ! He has style.

Monday, October 06, 2008

A perfect end to a perfect weekend

As I sit here I was reflecting on my perfect weekend listening to Maffi playing his guitar. AS I was writing my blog I realised that I didn't need to worry about my next magazine article, I could write about it for that!!!! We had a great time, full of adventure and fun with new visitors (keith aka Jelunga) and a trip along the canal on Ocelot (Steves new boat) as well as an attempt to turn my new dinghy into a submarine.

This morning Mr Cool, who decided he was too cool to mess about in the dinghy until saturday night, couldn't get his hands on the dinghy quick enough. I was told he would do the taxi and he would deliver me, by dinghy, to the bottom of the Oxford so I could walk up to work the short way. I did suggest that I was quite capable of walking from where I was (and walking was perhaps quicker), but that was not acceptable, and I was summoned. There I was in my best clothes trying to look professional in a lifejacket and a boat half full of rain water, being delivered through the mist to the bottom of the oxford with a grinning baffoon on the tiller talking to the ducks and trying to get passengers. I have never been so pleased to get out of a boat in my life!

Actually, it was really good fun!

Bring On Another Thousand

I have had a reply from the company I insure Bones with in relation to my claim form against a certain narrowboat that bashed into me.

“In order that we may progress your claim we await sight of two written estimates for the repairs required from your preferred repairers and photographs of the damages. If the appointment of a surveyor is requires we will arrange a survey once estimates are prepared and have been made available”

I despair. I suppose this means I have to pay to have the boat taken out of the water.

OK, so it is YELLOW

I have been rather reserved about putting some pictures of the dinghy on the web because my passion for yellow precedes me:

"yellow is evil,
it hurts my eyes
makes my toes curl
makes me cry.
580nm is hell on earth
yellow is evil
the devils curse."

and I really do not like yellow AT ALL.

Anyway, it is so much fun, I just have to fess up so here is a picture:

I was delivered, by Maffi, to the bottom of the Oxford canal so I could walk up to work - it is rather fun sitting at duck level cruising along as the mist rising up around one. I am going to put some duck boards at the bottom of the boat, and when I suggested to Ocelot that I would paint it he told me I had other more important jobs to do...! I think he might be right.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bones is HOME!

Bones is HOME!!!!!!!! HURRAH

Today I am going boating. HURRAH again.

Friday, October 03, 2008

You have got to love 'em

This rather amused me at lunch today - especially the get away transport!


This evening I will be mending my way from Durham to home and I cannot wait! *houses* are all very well, but the novelty of hot water on tap is beginning to wear thin!


For any Tom Leary fans, he isdoing a gig with Kevin Dempster at the Banbury folk festival next Sunday 12th October.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The things people do.

Some people are just so fanatically against any form of religion that when things like this happen, I am just amazed.

Day 4 in the hills

Today marks the penultimate day of my delightful programming course. By 4pm tomorrow I will be a 'programming genius' - I just know it!

Last night I went to visit some friends in the country for some supper and natter. They are lovely, and the youngest daughter gave me a ukulele lesson. I took such a shine to the instrument that Rob decided to continue his introduction of weird and wonderful music to me (his last introduction was about 20 years ago and involved the BonzoDogDooDarBand), and we watched some of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain - they are FANTASTIC! If you ever get the chance to go and see them, DO. I am certainly going to be tracking them down to see where their tours are, and go.