Friday, August 31, 2012

No problem.

Finally!!!  I was in the same place as Sue and Vic off NB No problem.  I was just trying to place this bouncy puppy that looked vaguely familiar as it greeted me with enthusiasm....I couldn't and then Sue and the grandchildren arrived. Of course - it was Penny!! I was delighted.  I was even more delighted when my evening of mischief was cancelled and I was able to spend a couple of hours in the pub with Sue and Maffi (Vic stayed at home with the family).  It was FAR too short but so lovely.  I had been hoping our paths would cross for longer than a passing wave, and finally it is never long enough but there will have to be a next time.

Later  I leapt off the boat I was crewing from Banbury to Thrupp at Aynho to walk the towpath for a bit and Lo! There was Sue again!  We passed in the wind and went our own separate ways.

There are quite a few boaters I enjoy seeing....I would never have known about Sue and Vic if they didn't keep a blog so I am pleased they do.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Off Yer Bike

I motored into Sainsbury this morning to fill up with Petrol.  I took the petrol cap off, took the hose out of the holder and waited. The petrol pump did not whir into action and neither did fuel begin to flow out of the nozzle. Instead a member of staff appeared by my side.

I was informed that it is Sainsbury policy for motorcyclists to get off their motorcycle to fill up. 

I was quite surprised.

I asked, equally politely, how long it had been Sainsbury policy for a motorcyclist to balance their motorcycle upright against their body (motorbikes don’t have centre stands any more) and in this precarious position lift a nozzle of flammable liquid and try and fill up a fuel tank positioned over a thumping boiling engine in an attempt to set fire to themselves?

The attendant went a bit pale so I thanked her very much for informing me and got off my bike to follow the instructions.

I was quite surprised at the attendant but I did what she said and marvelled at how it is apparently it is safer to balance your bike upright on your bad leg, hold the bike with one hand lean over and take the nozzle from the holder and then fill up with fuel.

On talking to the manager about why Sainsbury had decided on this policy I was told that one is more inclined to set fire to oneself when filling up ones motorcycle while sitting on the bike to steady it (which is MUCH easier).

“Oh” said I.  How many people have had an accident like that then?

'”One said the lady” – in Kent.

“One” thought I…… 

Clearly Mathematics isn’t my forte but I would have thought that if one were to take the history of motorcycling and the number of motorbikes multiplied by the number of times a motorcycle is successfully re-fuelled during its lifetime the sum total would be greater, perhaps much greater, substantially greater even than one.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Theatre in the Dock

Stolen from Maffi’s blog but never mind!
A unique theatre in a working dry dock. Tooleys, Banbury, October 5th-7th:

This is the fourth year that Tooley’s dock has become a theatre for a bit of a change from mending boats! And for another change it will be in October in the run up to Banbury Canal Day rather than in July.

This year we have some ghosts, some silent film and blues music, stories and more...


Friday 7.30: An off beat comedy from Day Star theatre A Night at Blackstone Hall

When Clarissa De Vere, Britain’s popular T.V. psychic medium is accused publicly of being a fake by an old adversary, Dr Thomas Cruickshank who has written many books de bunking all things paranormal, the trouble is only just starting.
They agree to spend a night in Blackstone Hall, the second most haunted house in England...

It’s going to be just the thing for an autumn evening in a dock!!

Tickets £10/£8

Saturday - story and activities with that well known local narrowboat Muddy Waters.

£5 – including a free book

Saturday 9.15pm (1h 10m): a real treat for waterway enthusiasts ‘The Longest Narrowboat Journey’ – a silent movie accompanied by ARCC and their incomparable improvised blues. A real atmospheric treat!

Tickets £8/£6

Buying tickets

Booking tickets: You can book online (from early September), from Tooley’s during opening hours or on the door.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A busy day...

And suddenly it falls silent.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Curious Gifts; M Paris and Liverpool Sam

I arrived home the other day to see a paintbrush on my roof. I thought this was rather odd but thanked the sky and took it inside. I moved my boat and the following day I found a little battery on the roof.  I thought this was just as curious but again thanked the sky and put it inside.

I found it curious but Humans are inclined towards random events and these seemed to fit the bill.  I was rather delighted to be on the receiving end and even skipped a little celebratory rigadoon around my paint tin.

A few days later I learnt that the battery was from Mr P.

This morning I was chewing the phat, as one does, on the towpath with some chums and one of them asked whether I got my brush.  I did!  He told me it was from Liverpool Sam. 

I don’t know how to contact NB Sam, from Liverpool, as there was no note so this is a thank you.


I don’t suppose he will ever read it but hopefully the skies will smile upon him in response.


....there is so much fun to be had in the mornings that the neighbours come out in their pyjamas to join in.

Thanks Maff! Your help meant I could get a bit more done before dashing off to the office.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fed up

Oh dear. I submitted two quotes for the repairs on my boat following the collision. It was only when the second quote came in that I realised how incomplete the first quote was.... which also turned out to be the cheaper quote. The insurance company have authorised that sum of money for the repairs.

Since then things have changed, emails have been exchanged and I am getting another quote for the repairs.

As it stands this repair is going to cost me a substantial amount of money.

I am hoping it will not cost me the pounds in money and stress that i think but I might as well get fed up while I can. The pounds in stress is enough to cause me great irritation.

Fed up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sewing reply

Well, you may remember my frenzy at the sewing kit I had purchased to make minor repairs to the bathroom. 

I was so outraged at the impossible task being made more impossible by a company whose slogan was ‘care and repair’ – my experience being that it provided neither. 

I wrote a letter to let the company know what I thought about their comedy sewing kit.

I was astonished when a parcel arrived through the post with a rather fine response to my letter and a selection of their products. ‘Oh very funny’ I thought until I looked closely….

My main complaint, amongst other complaints of a ridiculous nature, was about the crazy size of the thread holes in the needles which were more miniature than even my imagination would stretch to.  You will imagine my amusement when I noticed the parcel contained this:


The parcel was fantastic and I may even do some more sewing….  I am rather bemused with the lint remover roller (which appears to be a hairbrush with fly paper wrapped around it). Removing lint is the least of my problems….

I will now have to write a sheepish thank you letter.

Thrilled? Me? yes.

Monday, August 20, 2012

iPad Bloggery

Blogging from my iPad makes my brain ache and I haven’t really got the hang of it. I thought I had last night with a new app that made it much easier to insert photographs and write as well. It does funny things though. I assure you this photograph posted in my previous post looks MUCH better outside of the blogosphere.  It certainly didn’t have the weird heavy black outline and sticking out bits around the ‘sombrero’ part of the tree in real life.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster castle is the home of the Pennington family, lies to the west of the lake district and is a great day out. We took an audio tour of the house which was well worth it as we heard family legends and tales as we moved around each room. Muncaster contains the star of India Presented by Emperor Haile Selassie to an 11year old Sir Pennington for demonstrating how the lawn mower worked. The Castle and gardens were superb.

The nearby ravenglass railway was a huge hit! We were rather tired but decided we would stop at one ofthe stations just to 'look' at the trains. When on sat there steaming away and there was the chance to ride on the footplate we couldn't resist so off we went! It was magical.
We had a fabulously terrifyingly fun journey over hardknot and wrynose pass before stopping for supper at Ambleside.

Friday, August 17, 2012


My travels took me to Blackpool. I only saw half of has to save something for the return visit and culture shock was setting in.  I rather liked the place.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hare at Levens

In the centre of the living willow labyrinth, on a plinth, rested this hare. I placed my hand on the creatures shoulder and for a moment we two creatures were in the same time and the same space in matter. Neither flesh, but very much alive.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A useful sign...

For those that may not know which way to go....

Monday, August 06, 2012


All girls can NOT sew.

Why my grandfather, who could also knit, never passed this skill onto me is beyond me.

I certainly didn't inherit the gene my sister did... you know.... the one that meant the bedroom floor would be covered in material and all sorts of clothing would change size or shape over night or have an extra wing added here and there.... not to mention the sequins. Dear dear dear.

Nor did I inherit the other gene that flew around our house of great confidence despite no evidence.

Nor the gene that got someone else to do it.

No. Sewing is not my forte. I always knew gaffa tape and staples was part of the 'advanced clothing repair' skills.

Indeed I had to resort to suxh emergency repairs after three of the family had a go at making a phone case. The oldest would have stepped out to buy such an item but as her wisdom was not there it was left to the other three of us.... Actually, families are rather good at productivity and the knots, stitch (SMALLER, they have to be smaller was the cry) and gaffa tape have held together rather well. Even the poppers are still on two weeks later!

As the last attempt, albeit by the collective family, was such a success I decided I would do some sewing.

I even got a kit from the supermarket.

My father boasts that he can thread a needle without his monocle. Well, I bet he would need a bicycle (a double
Monocle) to do this particular needle.

The scissors are ridiculous and only cut when serious friction is applied.... which results in an unravelled thread. Not only that but the needle bends when I try to push it through the material.


I am a stubborn creature when I want to be and the sewing is done but I think I like Mr Paris' suggestion of using a nut and bolt.

The top tip on getting all the sewing done is to reduce the amount of sewing that needs doing. By the time i was in a position to deploy the first stitch the other 3 items suddenly don't need doing any more.

Yes, I have written to the sewing kit company about their tools.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


I am munching my way through some gorgeous barley chocolate cake laced with Guiness. What a wonderful way to end a magic weekend. I wasn't totally in favour of the eip trek over country and vale to the South East Alpine range, or whatever it was referred to at the time but fun is in the name of fun and all such things are good.

I switched from skeptic to convert when delicious coffee arrived and as with all conversions, the dank car park, which we were sat in, became the best place in the world. Coffee in the car park -what better way to wind down.

The coffee house sold Barley cake and I left fully armed. Good Time.

I returned from my trek in time for lunch - soup from the garden made by the weekend live in forager (far more efficient, fun and wholesome than a weekend lover). Well watered and well fed it was time to take an afternoon stroll.

Stroll locactions were discussed and the vote came through to see how the engine works in the vicinity were going on and finally, having read progress on the internet, I saw the team in action.

The specific action of witness for us was mostly that one of the team can fold into awkwards spaces. The work looks rather splendid.. not just clearing, fashioning, hulking, bending and lifting but the spirit of fun resided in this act of kindness - for that is what it is.

I have scoffed my way through produce, fun, frollicks, visits and coffee houses and now I am home I start my two weeks holidays from the workplace.

Inspecting someone else's bilges are a very good spur on to do ones own so I will be donning my overalls and lowering myself into awkwards spaces examing and replacing pipework, scrubbing and tidying.

I remembered to visit my mothers grave. She is not there. Staring at the mound of earth and weeds meant nothing. She is simply not there. Nowhere does she lie but in the hearts of those she left behind. The hearts of the living. The living are amazing aren't they.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Walking backwards down memory lane

Walking backwards down memory lane,
Unravelling everything,
To make it -
Not the same.

Familiar buildings
On familiar streets
In familiar areas
That, in my mind
Do not meet.

Internal map of familiar town
All, now, hazy in my mind.
failing to connect up
Places to places
Memories flying
Like it was only yesterday.

No wine.

Memories of times gone by.
Today is important
Today is on my mind.

Friday, August 03, 2012

To Classic

I had my heart set on a classic car. I was bought up with classics and vintages and finally it seemed that life had arranged itself that I too could enjoy a classic car. I used to have a Renault 5 and I rather missed the fun of getting up the hills.

So there came Hercules


and there Hercules went.  I am still waiting for the final result of dear Hercules but I am hopeful all will be resolved soon. Really soon. Especially as it should have, and was promised to have been already.

While I was at the welders, they told me of another car that I might be interested in. I thought I would be and it started without any trouble (despite sitting in the flower bed for some time).


It ran sweet and although it is the same model that I almost won on ebay before the Morris, my heart isn’t in it. It needs to be.

It will take a while to recover so I have gone back to the modern car.  I pick it up on Thursday. I am rather hoping Hercules will be resolved by then.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

When it rains….

…the English Bar-B-Q
and it takes two to cook/rescue the sausages that fell through the grill
we are not out of focus – this is an ACTION picture.
Flicking things:
Drinking things:
I am not sure how everyone else avoided the camera….

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


This time last year I was sitting by my Mothers bedside for 4 days a week to help with her care.  This time this year I am left with the memories. 

There are things in August that our family used to do together and this year our family is a bit smaller than it was. It may be smaller in number, but bigger in heart.  I am arranging things my Mother did so naturally and easily (however she did it is beyond me!!). The time I have will not be spent by her side. It is no surprise therefore that my mind is thinking of my Mother.

It is nearly 6 months ago that Mum was buried. She suffered a long illness and when I look back at the photographs of that time I can see just how poorly she looked.  I didn’t notice at the time because despite not being mobile her spirit was strong, her quality of life high and her passions in full swing - in between the screaming pain that is.  She is gone now and we are left of memories. The memories of her and the knowledge of how her life unfolded.  A life that lived, cried, loved and died.

She had to go. I know that. Her body failed her and she left us in good order; every word spoken; every thought said. As her body lay empty there was nothing I wished I had said. Nothing.  I don’t think there was anything left for her to say either.  The chapter had ended.  There was no opportunity for a  new chapter.

Following her death there was a lot of stress to do with various aspects of her life. Then, after a few months, I felt she had been away long enough really and it was about time she came back.  Of course, she won’t.

Now I am left with memories.  It is funny how things unfold around us and I am remembering things I never had to remember because they were the constants, the loops that went over and over again.

I wonder what memories I will leave when I am gone, when the dust has settled and only memories are left in those I leave behind.  I wonder what memories we will all leave behind.