Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lovely Days

I have had a fantastic couple of days. On Thursday I had supper with David and on Friday Captain Ahab and crew came down on their boat Wond’ring Bark, but by boat this time.

Helen is a Shakespeare fan and keen to see the preview of Kate’s play Now is the Winter which is on at the Edinburgh festival and Shipton church. The times went horribly wrong when they ended up in a long long queue so Maffi and I drove to meet them and I took the ladeez to the play and left Maffi to crew the boat.  Following the play ( where we bumped into the lovely Harnsers) we opened the bridge for the boys

f maff ahahp

and went to the Boat Inn for a tipple and were delighted to see Tim Howes and his mates tuning up.


What a wonderful evening!  Boots slept under the table which was a relief as the place was packed!


I had forgotten that my sink had gone to the bathroom of Wand’ring Bark

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Folly Charity Folk n Boat n Beer Weekend

This is being held on August 20th – 22ng in air of JJ’s Memorial Fund at the Folly Pub, Folly Lane, Napton, Warwickshire you can read about it here.

More Morris Men and The Bells

This time the Adderbury Morris men with an interloper from somewhere else were to be seen dancing outside the Bell Inn in Lower Heyford. Maffi came over from Thrupp and we wondered up together (aka having accepted the offer of a lift we remembered I had filled the car with wood, so I jammed myself into the car anyway and we drove up) , via the church as the bells were ringing.  I had no idea that Lower Heyford have a peel. Unfortunately they don’t have enough people to ring regularly, but the group who normally ring at Middleton Stoney periodically ring in Lower Heyford (When the choir aren’t practicing). We had a good chat with the tower captain and then went to the other Bell (Inn) to see more Bells (Morris dancers) with some of the crew from Oxfordshire Narrowboats who are always good company.

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I joined in with the last dance…..

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let there be light

I have installed one light in the ceiling… getting the cables behind the ceiling panel were easy – for that light. Thus only one light has been installed. Surely a boat doesn’t need more than one light….

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Maffi and the Speeding Boats

Maffi gets quite a bit of jip for complaining about speeding boats.  The boats go so fast past us now that I wonder whether it really does say in the rules of the waterways to pass moored boats at tickover.  I wonder whether it should be made clearer that tickover refers to the speed of the engine rather than the mood, and steam coming out of the ears, of the moorer! Here is an example of a speeding boat. This was quite exceptional to be fair… and I think the operators were a little worse for wear in all directions:


Botticelli the Art Boat

On my walks around Heyford I noticed a couple of signs and went to investigate – I found Botticelli the art boat. I didn’t go in because I am too shy, but the I like the idea – I wonder how much business boats like this actually do.  I have seen a few trade boats recently; I wonder if they are on the increase.


And a visit home:

I was rather taken by this light:24072010189


Just some pictures

I love the way the wild flowers climb up the bank and how the house appears and the church rises above it:


And the way the sky looks:


and these dials on a narrowboat roof:


and these flowers:


and how I returned to this spot and saw that some works have gone on. The gate has been moved back and a new smaller gate put to the side. Now we don’t have to battle with the cattle grid any more:


Friday, July 23, 2010


My contract ends at the end of September and as a result I have been applying for grants to continue my research. I won’t hear about the success of my grants until December at the earliest so I have been planning my retirement for the spare few months or longer if my grant application wasn’t successful.  At the last minute I heard of, and applied for, a bridging grant which will employ me for 6 months during which I should hear about my other grants (I hope you are keeping up with this).

I have just heard that my application was successful. So, plans for retirement are on hold and I am to be employed until the end of March 2011.


shocked… that’s me, and very pleased. In the financial climate we find ourselves in I am very very fortunate.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Towpath Improvement

This was done ages ago, but when I went through there again today I was reminded that BW did a good job here. Before BW fixed it it the towpath was so narrow it was rather hard to walk along. Now it looks great:


BW also fixed the towpath at Enslow opposite the Rock of Gibraltar pub which was in a similar state.  When I first moored in Enslow several years ago there was space to put pins in, but with the speeding boats pins were ripped out and with every ripped out pin comes a bit of bank. Eventually the bank couldn’t take any more, and there was nothing to put the pin into. It was ridiculous.  I was very pleased therefore when I noticed it had been repaired by BW. 

When I was a newbie (on a previous boat), which largely I still am, and I moored in Enslow on the soft mud bank as it was then I used the standard size pins. It was Tad the mooring warden for the area that suggested I use longer pins, and he gave me some.  I always use them now (although I left the pins Tad gave me on the previous boat) as they don’t rip out and don’t take the bank with them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dear Granny and Grandpa

I have a sore toe. I am very unhappy about my sore toe and I thought I might need a party to cheer myself up.  My neighbour has a cat, so I thought we could have a fancy dress party and go together. We could go as Puss IN Boots. I am not allowed to eat Cats, but I think it might be OK for a party.

Lots of Love


British Waterways and the tree

I emailed  my area of BW “enquiries(dot)southeast (at) britishwaterways (dot) co (dot) uk” to discuss the very overgrown willow tree outside the cottages in Thrupp. when I say discuss, I mean claim for a stiff gin, one plaster and a pot full of lovely flowers. The latter was swept off my roof a few weeks ago – I clearly made a fuss about it because Adrian who wasn’t there at the time, but had similar problems when they went through, fished them out and put them on my roof (a visiting boat had told them they were mine).  BW cut the tree last week:



I passed through easily on Sunday.  There are several trees further south that completely block the navigation so I hope they will be going down there to do some long awaited maintenance.

BW really do need us, the users of the canal, to let them know about any problems that we encounter, so if you find anything then write to them and let them know. The email address at the top is for the area I am in, and there are ones for all areas. So if you see something, report it and make sure it gets dealt with!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thrupp To Heyford

After a particularly enjoyable weekend with my parents and attending my friends wedding (which was a day of perfection), I returned home to Thrupp, refuelled in the tea rooms and pulled the pins. The canal is thoroughly alive at the moment. The banks are covered in wild flowers, reeds and beauty.

I was approaching a corner before pigeons lock and noticed a bunch of pensioner ladies loitering on their boat. Their ropes weren’t attached to the bank and I wondered whether they would pull out in front of me. It quickly became apparent that they weren’t going anywhere.. “ We are STUCK"” they hollered out in an old school way. They had expected me to go whizzing past and with my wash float them off (the speeding on this canal is exceptional), but I was going very slowly. They announced their dismay and I pulled over and gave them a hand rocking the boat until it freed up. They were rather delighted. As I left pigeons lock they arrived and the crew of ladies strolled up and examined the goings on of the lock. As I looked back I was amazed at how menacing they looked… and people think youth look menacing!

I am now moored in Lower Heyford with the river Cherwell bubbling on one side and the church and its bells on the other.  It is utterly beautiful.

Last night I took Boots for a run (he ran - I puffed along wheezing behind him) when we heard some bells. They were Morris Dancers. Apparently the local pub often has requests from Morris dancers to come and dance and drink beer . I was tickled pink when I saw this band had a trombone in… it was very giggle inducing.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Northern Pride and the Pirates

Nick from Canal Boat Magazine went to visit Barry and Sandra from NB Northern Pride on Friday who were moored in Heyford. As I wasn’t too far away, and wanted to meet them too, he picked me up on the way.  Barry and Sandra are Kiwi’s who take 6 months off a year to cruise the waterways. Barry is a professional photographer and thus the blog is full of fantastic pictures. Nick and I had a wonderful morning drinking tea and learning about the travels around the system! Later in the afternoon I was delighted to see them pass me in Thrupp. They moored up and we caught up later in the evening at the Boat Inn. Fortunately we were there long enough to have a sensible chat before being invaded by Pirates.  As stag parties go this bunch of pirates were polite and harmless and rather comical.  We were, at one point, being “entertained” by one pirate at a time, the latest just happened to be going on a bit… so I , realising we weren’t going to get away from the rowdy bunch, decided to request a new pirate. Big mistake… once I had been picked up, and put down again I decided I would keep quite and sit down.  I expect they were after our table – we did have the best seats in the pub! 

I have no idea what Barry and Sandra thought of our quiet sleepy village, but I suspect any shreds that may have been left of the suggestion that we were a calm collective and quiet bunch was blown out the window in its entirety on the Saturday evening when they returned to the pub. I gather there was a hen party there… this lot found it slightly harder to keep their clothes on than the pirates…

It was lovely to meet Barry and Sandra, what lovely people they are!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Air Show as the clouds gather

This morning I took a walk over the fields with Boots.  Threatened by my grand achievement in the kitchen this morning and my lack of ‘burnt toast’ odour, Boots rolled in something vile to ensure the Bones household has its usual morning stench.  The clouds began to gather and with the light on the tree’s it was exceptionally poetical (apart from the stench).16072010139

If perfection wasn’t perfect enough I suddenly noticed a plane doing loop the loop and flying upside down and all sorts of other clever plane things.  I didn’t have my camera with me, but I took a picture with my phone camera – if you look carefully, you can see the plane above the buildings in the tree dip.


Thursday, July 15, 2010


I have re-done some more of the lining and when I was poking around I came across some mould. AGH. I am not sure whether this means I have to remove all the wood on the boat (over kill) or let it dry and get on with it.  I know quite a lot about the behaviour and science of Fungus, but I have no idea what this is or what to do with it. I could guess at removing the wood, the floor etc, but fungal spores will be EVERYWHERE by now….

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My ticket for the festival arrived today – woo hoo! I am insufferably excited about it.

NB Northern Pride

Northern Pride has been bought to my attention and when I found their blog I was most impressed with their pictures – even better, they are heading south, so I may even get to meet them!


Yesterday when I got home I decided I really needed to get cracking with some of the work on the boat.  For some reason I feel like I am about to go on holiday and need to get as much done as possible in preparation. The reality is that I am not going on holiday but rather making my way slowly to Cropredy for the festival.  I seem to be one of those people that considers holiday to be a different view out of the window. Anyway, back to the boat.

I purchased some polystyrene to fit next to the doors and having crammed it, uncut, into the car I unloaded it and got the saw out. Unfortunately it was raining; a climate I felt wasn’t suitable for attacking a sheet of polystyrene so, being the genius I am, I took it inside. I have a top tip for anyone thinking about doing this – DO NOT CUT polystyrene inside with a cold saw.  Within seconds I was in a snow dome. Next time I think I will heat up a knife to cut it with. I had polystrene balls everywhere, absolutley everywhere – even on the ceiling – the CEILING I tell you!!!!!

Friday, July 09, 2010


Successfully reintroduced to our area - Farmers hate them, Birds watchers love them. We have a plethora of them since the farmers cut the grass in the fields we walk in.  I sat watching the Kites while Boots ate a rabbit (a victim of the mower I suspect).  At one point a Kite went and circled over him, and I wondered whether that would be the end of Boots… as the Kite flew lower and lower I was wondering what I could do. The Kite flew off and left Boots in peace.




Dear Granny and Grandpa

Mum seems to think that dogs like walking, they may, but I like sleeping. My friend Molly likes sleeping too.  Mum says you quite like sleeping too.

I can sleep anywhere, but not everywhere is comfortable. When sleeping rough always position ones nose on a bit of grass:


I like to curl up in my basket, it can be quite a challenge to fit in it, but I do!


I do like to get my ears right – I rather like this style for an afternoon rest:


You can, if pushed, fit two in my basket:


Sometimes, when sharing a basket, it is nice to have a cuddle:


When not sharing a basket it is possible to come up with a pillow agreement



but turns being the pillow MUST be taken:


If pressed for a pillow, a step will do:



Lots of Love


Monday, July 05, 2010

Health and Safety… whatever.

The work electrifying the lift bridge at Thrupp is finally going to be finished today, so they say. The idea is that we will no longer have to pull the chain to open the bridge and sit on the balance beam to hold it open. Now we can press a button.  This has all, apparently, been done for health and safety. The accident we all refer to is the one where the drunkard who was stoned chained the bridge down climbed up it and jumped off the opened bridge resulting in two broken legs. So, this is what we have so far:

A console with all the buttons.  It was going to be positioned so the operator had their back to the bridge – not a good idea.  It has now been rotated to that the operator can see what is happening with the bridge and traffic before opening.


To access the console you have to step over this wall and stand on a slope. I leant against the wooden ‘safety fence’ and it wobbled:05072010093

So, one could say, well, enter the console zone from  the other side – but you can’t:


The concrete goes right up to the fence, so you would trip over that too.

This rules out the operation for the disabled and infirm, and if I am anything to go by the perfectly healthy person. Tripping over the wall and into a rickety fence is a hazard in itself.. surely?! Apparently this bridge is being done for health and safety, but there is no regard for health and safety in the installation and usage of the new mechanism..

I just don’t get it.