Friday, November 27, 2009

I need my sleep! Grrrr

  I am currently moored next to this boat.


This morning, and yesterday morning they started up their engine at silly o’clock. The rules on the waterways are that you can only run your engine/generator between the hours of 8am and 8pm. Silly o’clock is not during those hours.  I didn’t realise it was them that woke me yesterday, but today I investigated. GRRRRR 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Films from the sick bed

When I was a small and poorly I used to lie in bed listening to the family pottering around the house as they went around their daily business. At break time I could hear the shouts of children playing in the school play ground and think of my friends going about their day.  Throughout the day my mum would come to see me to make sure I had everything and would bring me up lemonade, honey and lemon (with cider vinegar) and other treats that would comfort me and make me feel better. My dad would come in and make noises and I would love listening to him playing the piano.

Now I am a big I don’t have the parental wings to crawl under when I am poorly, but the memories of those times still seem to travel through time and I find myself still wrapped up in them.  Maybe I am soft, or maybe I was just ill all the time and those moments have been imprinted in my brain, but I like it.

So, I am poorly. I am rubbish at being poorly on a boat (and a house), but that is when friends are so brilliant!

On Sunday  Dr Kate Saffin came to visit, it was the beginning of the lurgy, but it was lovely to sit down and have a chat about her recent graduation and while we did so Maffi pointed the RCR man in the right direction.  All week Maffi has been shopping for me, making me lemsips, telling me to sit down and rest and making sure I eat.

On Tuesday night Dusty came over and Maffi, Dusty and I sat and watched what has to be the dullest film any of us had seen for a long long long time. It was the Assassination of Jesse James. Not only was it shot in brown (sepia) it was soooo slow. Indeed, it was so poor that Dusty has lent me some films to watch. There is nothing like a good session of film watching to pass the time and sooth ones brow!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Craning Boats in

This morning we had to move our boats so Oxfordshire Narrowboats could crane two new boats into the water.  I have never seen this done before so it was rather exciting.

First the crane arrives


then the boats..


My heart was in my mouth as the lorry reversed – look at the offside tyre! It was only after he stopped I noticed that the entire length of the lorry has tyres on it, but still!


Then they tie the straps around the boat


And the crane starts to lift


And for a moment hte boat is flying – I would have loved to be standing on the roof looking at the view


Then it gets lowered


and you wonder whether it will be launched on the concrete instead of the water, but the boat gently moves over the wet stuff

 DSC05593 DSC05594


And sinks into the water, and then floats.


The boats were then towed up to heyford.


with the second new boat behind the first new boat behind the towing boat


I have never seen two boats towed so it was rather fun to see them snaking past in beautiful control


Sunday, November 22, 2009


Oh dear. The things I thought needed doing, do. But the reason the engine wouldn’t start was much simpler…

I called the RCR this morning and they sent out a lovely chap called Ralph Kitts who came all the way up from Watford. I left him in the engine room for a matter of moments and the engine fired into life.  He cured the problem with a small squirt of Easy Start in the fuel intake.  I then noticed a dangling wire – the connection on the heater plugs had come away from the wire – no wonder if wouldn’t start!

I still have the intermittant problem with the starter solenoid where it clicks and doesn’t roar I think it needs to come off and get cleaned up.  I am going to have to stop avoiding the engine and start giving it the TLC it deserves.

Many thanks to Ralph and RCR. My engine is roaring and I am sitting in my arm chair nursing a lemsip and croaking at anyone that visits.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I have been neglecting my engine, I have been tinkering with it, but not really doing anything serious.  I have lost first gear, well, it is there but not all the time and I suspect this is because the gear box oil needs changing. It is hurth gear box and they like their oil to be changed regularly.  I have the oil ready.  I also have some leaking back doors which means the rain comes in and my bilge pump isn’t on an automatic float switch.    I did have a bilge pump wired in, but it had a disaster and doesn’t work – I am using my back up one (everyone should have a back up bilge pump).  I also can’t start my engine.

This is not such a big problem because I can short the terminals and the engine roars into life. I have done this twice before, but this evening I was exasperated to discover that the engine wont start again.  The first time I had the problem I thought I would wait and see whether it happened again before I started replacing bits.

The second time was only yesterday.  I can now get the engine to turn over but it wont start.

I have a dilema.  The engine wont start, but I am a member of RCR and could ask them to come and sort it out. The problem is, I am pretty sure I know what the problem is, so can I really justify asking them out.  If I cant justify it, then I really shouldn’t have an RCR subscription because every time the engine has failed me I have found out what the problem is and fixed it.

So – whats wrong?

There is probably water in the fuel and there isn’t any diesel coming through the engine so the water needs emptying and then the engine bled.

The terminals on the starter motor need a jolly good clean.

You may wonder why I dont just jump start the engine and hope for the best – I did, well, I tried but there was a small fire.

I just cant be bothered to fix it, to contort myself into the angles necessary to do it, but I am not sure that is why I have RCR!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dear Granny and Grandpa

I thought you might like a quick guide on how to sit comfortably.

SCENARIO 1: The lap

First you have to stare intently at the lap you want.. ears back helps:


Keep at it for a while and then… RESULT


SENARIO 2 The other half of the chair

This is a bit more difficult, especially if occupant of the chair doesn’t make room. First of all you have to just get on the chair (here the occupant is asleep so you have to be careful not to step on their head)


After a while it is possible to get comfortable:


Beware of Mums though – sometimes they think they can fit too – they can’t.


In other news, I have a new chair to sit on – sorry about the picture, I don’t like to have my picture taken in the morning, mornings make me a bit shy.  Mums bag has a chair too – that is the one on the left. 


On Tuesday night we went to the quiz in the local pub and we won!  Everyone was being ever so funny and covering their faces in some sort of silly game. I sat very close to Uncle Douglas who was positively hysterical all night and kept pointing at my tail. Uncle Douglas loves my tail and I love Uncle Douglas.


Apparently it isn’t my birthday soon. sigh.

Lots of Love

Boots. xx

Maffi, the rant and the dog sh**t

I get bored of rants and people harping on about the way things should be and aren’t, particularly when they sit there complaining and doing very little about it. I also get fed up with the self justification and diatribe people come out with when you suggest, for example, that perhaps wearing black on their push bike isn’t the best option, especially when I am only mentioning it because their wife makes nice puddings and I nearly ran them over. 

I have a rant filter… it is linked to my hackles and then I go deaf.  I was born with it and then developed it over decades– I have a similar response when people shout at me, although the hackles don’t always come out and I tend to just go deaf (that is when I don’t get the giggles).

Maffi rants. We all know he rants.  Last week in his Meldrew-Syndrome post he suggested we should all change the world by starting with the little things. I thought I would wait and see what he actually does. Too many people rant and don’t do anything.   It is all very well ranting about something on a blog, but that is not the proper median.  To be fair to Maffi he does actually drop a line to BW, or to the council about things, and the council (or even BW) do do something about it and he doesn’t even shout at them.


So, he said he was going to do something about the dog poo bin.  I asked him what he did with his day yesterday, and he said he popped into the council offices to mention that that bin was being left out. (when he puts it like that, I am almost inclined to join the association for protection against the loneliness of dog poo bins).  Last night we were walking home together and I was wondering whether I would take Boot’s latest offering home with me, or balance it on the top or around the side of the bin.  As it happens there was no need. The bin had been emptied.



I could almost join in on this grande campaign, but as I have a spokesman so close to me I wonder whether I could put my bid in for a couple of things

1. arnco piling between the jolly boatman and the highwayman

2. flood prevention under the railway bridge so I don’t get my shoes wet when I forget to take my wellies on a walk.

3. A system whereupon a generator spontaneous combusts when run after 8pm and before 8am

4. soundproofing between the road and my moorings

O.K. so I am being silly, but it goes to show that asking sometimes makes it happen. I wonder where Maffi got all the contact details of those who represent this area. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And a bit of what I do.


We all have different ways of relaxing, and sometimes many different ways of relaxing. One of my ways is to draw. I find my mind floats away as I get into it, I am not that good, but the enjoyment I get out of it makes drawing special to me.  I haven’t done any drawing for a long time, but here are some of the things I drummed up when I was whiling away some time on the boat. Some are finished, some are the start of something.  I am sure I have seen the third one down somewhere before, but I can’t remember where – I drew it anyway.


eye handscream1fish   1Bones 2bones boat


I keep meaning to get my pencil out again, but I seem to have so many other things I want to do too!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thrupp Wide


The morning light on Sunday was stunning!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Spoon Theory

I don’t know if I linked to this before, but I was reminded of it today.  It will ring true for many people who live life in pain, or for those who suffer and look perfectly well.  If you don’t maybe you know someone who does:

But you don't look sick: The Spoon Theory

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bobcat Floats

I have been following the blog of the build of Bobcat and admiring the process and the work done. The boat was launched on Friday and it floats… always a good start!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Muddy Waters

This excellent new series of children's books called Muddy Waters is, I am told, the waterways version of Thomas the Tank Engine.  I haven’t got a clue, but I do know that everyone likes it and the guy behind it is talented. So far I have read two of the books but when I was in the tea rooms this afternoon I spotted a new one was out.   I can’t judge it against Rosie and Jim, or Thomas the Tank Engine, but I love the stories, the boats, the antics on the waterways and the adventures… and I am not a kid – well not on the outside anyway.

The books aren’t set in one single location, but around the country. They started out in Thrupp, Oxfordshire, but so far the boats venture to London and another in Falkirk, Scotland. Not only are the stories great, but they also take the reader on a journey through the Canals of Great Britain.

If you see them, buy them – you won’t be disappointed!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dear Granny and Grandpa

Dear Granny and Grandpa

Nasty mummy left me at home the other night when she went to visit Chris and Joy. She even had a lovely time without me!  She said I couldn’t go because I would eat their cat and it would be really embarrassing. Actually, I think it would have been delicious.

Lots of Love


Art Aboard the Good Ship III postcards

Postcards may look like clutter around the walls of the good ship but I love postcards and those I keep get rotated around the boat as the whims take me.   The post card was patented in the 1860s, but it wasn’t used until the 1870s (by Turkey!). If you are interested in a whistle stop tour of the post card look it up on Wikepedia and read about the controversy issues with their release.

Some have a permanent home in a frame..


Or as part of a frame..

Snowy Farr


But some are just scattered around :

A church in Bridgnorth where I played the piano after a trip on the Severn Valley Railway


Artificial eyes from the Wellcome Trust exhibition given to me by a friend who has sadly died since. I like the dog in the picture.


virgin shroud 1993 I cant decide whether the wheel adds to it or not, but I do know it isn’t referred to in the particulars..


WHAT is in the ash tray!? This is a post card from the Old Parsonage in Oxford


And an allegory (which I always read as allergy) of the vanities of human life by Steenwyck


I LOVE this card. I have had it for years and years, firstly tucked into the corner of my piano, and then all over the place. It has travelled well!DSC05403



I was rather taken with the sign advertising this exhibition at the Oxford Science Museum, and as I was passing today (just as it started raining) I decided I would pop in.   To say I was impressed would be an understatement. I saw some fantastic things!

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Something for Miss T . This has to be the best thing related to tea I have ever seen!


Something for weeping cross:


And something for the elephant:


This is an ‘eye pod’ audio device: