Sunday, September 30, 2012

Having a snooze

These guys are priceless!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Jupiter looking a little fuzzy around the edges…more the camera operator than the scenery before it.  I didn’t get to see the occupants last night or this morning. 

I do like the name Jupiter. I had hoped my sisters first child would be called Jupiter but it was not to be.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nuneaton and Brighton

I was just leaving Thrupp yesterday when this pair rocked up at the lift bridge. It was good to see the crew again.  They were having trouble with their rudder – it had jumped out of it’s cup at Roundham. They did pretty well to get around the corner I would have liked to have seen them putting it back in but I had an appointment with northern climates and had to press on. I do like the look of pairs.



Friday, September 21, 2012

People Spotting

Last time I looked they were on the Thames making their way up stream but when I looked again a mere moment later they were coming around the corner, on foot, having arrived in Thrupp, by boat, and they were wielding an arm full of books while I tried to manoeuvre the dogs on their walk.  We collided and meandered together until we parted company so I could drop Molly off with Maffi and Del could do a terminator impression of Maffi from the otherside of the canal. Happy Days. Del and Al are back!

When I got home I leant out of the side hatch and spotted the Tuesday Night Club floating by on Earnest.  I always picture them in my mind with a boat pole in the midst of a scene that a narrowboat doesn’t seem to fit in… so it was strange seeing them sedately cruising down the Southern Oxford… which isn’t *that* shallow at the moment!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Theatre in the Dock: 5-7th October 2012

Theatre in the dock

Atmospheric theatre in an historic working dock

Tooley’s boatyard, Banbury

Oct 5th-7th 2012

The fourth Theatre in the Dock presents - 'A Night at Blackstone Hall' by Day Star theatre; a new play from Kate Saffin, 'Memories of Water'; and a film, ‘The Longest Narrow Boat Journey in the World’ including a dramatic sinking with live music - that's live music throughout, not just for the sinking! Tickets are £10/£8 for each show and there are some splendid special offers if you are coming to two or all three.

Muddy Waters will be taking over the dock on Saturday with three story and activity sessions at 11am, 1.30 and 3.30 – including some read by national treasure, actress Prunella Scales. Tickets are only £5 and include a Muddy book to take home and great news! Accompanying adults are free.

On Canal Day on Sunday 7th there will be lots of short pieces of theatre, storytelling and tours of the boat yard during the day.  Just drop in and see what’s on the programme, there’ll be plenty of variety – each one long enough to take the weight of your feet but short enough not to miss any of the canalside fun and activity. Canal day events in the dock are FREE (although donations will be welcome to help us put it all on again next year!).

You can find full details of all the shows on our website or Facebook page.

And you can buy tickets online here, at Tooley’s during opening hours or on the door.

See you there!

Any queries email:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Boat closes local road

Monday, September 17, 2012

The great City

This day has been in my calendar for quite some time and it was as perfect as we thought it would be.  The morning involved a trip to ‘Animals Inside Out’ exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London.   Body Worlds Von Hagens has moved on to the animal kingdom.  I was told all the animals were ethically sourced (whatever that means) and I sincerely hope they were.  The insight into how beautiful, powerful and wonderful the animal kingdom is and how complicated it is is wonderful. The children found it amazing as they peered up at the ceiling trying to view the Giraffes nose and then into the belly of the elephant.  A rabbit of tiny capillaries and the animal world below the skin is magnificent. It isn’t ghoulish; it is beautiful. 

Beneath the fluffy cute exterior of every creature is a refined beautiful interior, just like those non-cute creatures. Very similar across species. 

The afternoon was a trip to the theatre to see Warhorse. It was utterly, amazingly, outstandingly, wonderfully amazingly brilliant. Utterly.  The puppets are incredible and the goose an absolute scream

If you get the chance to go



Friday, September 14, 2012

Give the marrow a stuffing.

I was given a marrow.

It was grown by David in his allotment and it is a most splendid creature.  I am delighted with the marrow. I have fond memories of stuffed marrow.  I was often given a marrow in my youf and it would invariable travel a while with me before I came upon a kitchen and slaughtered it.  The marrow has been in the kitchen on the good ship Bones looking forward to being cooked.  This morning I realised that if I was going to cook it as planned on Sunday I really needed to fish out a recipe and go and buy some ingredients. I am allergic to tomato and all things tomato including peppers.  The recipe situation is not going well.

She’s trying to stuff a marrow,

It’s sitting on the side,

It’s languishing sedately,

Waiting to be dined – upon.


She’s trawling through the internet,

Ploughing through the pages,

Trying to find a recipe,

It’s taking bl**dy ages!


The rhyme stopped because I burst out laughing at it and I didn’t want to have to explain myself to my colleagues.


Rhymes do that sometimes.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Marina–River Thames

A derelict water treatment works on Brandy Island, above Buscot Weir, near Faringdon on the River Thames is to be a  marina with 17 new moorings.

The full article is here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

On the side

Whilst bobbing along the canal there are some bizarre contraptions along the way.  This arm chair was pointed out to me:


and I wonder who lost their hair style?


Friday, September 07, 2012

Day 5: La Defense

Every city has a business area and Paris is no exception. The tall buildings scrape the sky and with their panoramic views their shine is seen for miles. Each building reflects another building and each building stands tall as the tiny people mill around or relax on their steps. If the buildings aren't high, they are moulded shapes.

The Grande Arche is both those words and scattered around are a selection of sculptures. Amongst this man made matter man doesn't matter yet what is the point if man isn't there.

I had hoped to go to the circus today which was in La Defense but the bit that was on when I was there was too scary so my colleagues and I opted for an early supper in town.


Back to the Sacre Coeur for my colleagues to visit and for me to sit and watch. This is my last night in Paris. I am looking forward to being home.


So this is almost the end of my time in Paris. I am looking forward to being on home soil but no doubt things have changed since I was there last...not least Maffi's poor knee going ping!

Butter fingers, knees.

Once again I have written an email on my iPad and failed to get the letters in the right place or even present at all. It is one of the major gripes I have with this tool. I realise it is me, but I dont have such a problem on a non touch keyboard (there is sensory feedback on that), and going back and editing is more time consuming than I am used to. For some reason I only notice the errors once I have sent the email!

Fortunately my emails rarely make sense, so anyone reading them will be well trained in gleaning any comprehension from them, but still, I would like to get it right.


In other news poor Maffi has hurt his knee (Aardvarks & Maffi's Boat: Ouch!!!) Get Well Soon...


Today the circus is setting up in town. Tomorrow I leave these quarters for home. I am looking forward to being back in leafy England.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Paris Day 4: Not going to Rodin

I do like sculpture and I made my way to visit Rodin. I almost got there but I was side tracked. This part of Paris has grass and trees. It has wide roads. The shops are sparse, as are the people. I breathed the air of the open and I walked.



A right turn saw me walking through the people along streets lined with shops.

Then they too stop, again, and there is a silent respect for the pile of meccano that unfolds. What a strange site.

I came here on an errand for dear friends back home. Rodin will have to wait.


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Day 3 In Paris: Sacre Coeur

I thought I might have a spot of free time while in France and being the sort of person that tries to make the best of a bad job I set myself a task. I asked my friends what ONE THING they would do if they were here. I only wanted one thing as I wasn't sure I would have much time. If I did then what better way to spend it than in the footprint of friends. Today took me to the Sacre Coeur. I didn't know what to expect (I didn't google these places as I thought it would spoil the fun) but as the map said the there was a cemetery was nearby I knew it would be ok.

The underground tunnels, where I spend too much time, took me to the wrong place. I emerged above ground at the Arc de Triomphe. I almost didn't bother to return down the mouth of the underground, but I did and I am pleased. I emerged near Sacre Coeur and, again, nearly returned underground....but after a scout around I began to climb and I am pleased I did. THIS is Paris that everyone tells me about, but more importantly this is the France I had hoped I would see. The view from the Sacre Coeur is beautiful

but around the corner the streets are wonky, the buildings are querky and the streets are lined with gay Paris; balconies, shutters and cafes. Artists gather in La Place du Tetre and cobbles rest under each footprint.


THIS is Paris.

La Place du Tetre is the sort of place I hunt out every time I visit a city. I have walked miles searching for such places but this appeared right under my nose. I hunt these places out and I buy a painting by a street artist...a painting chosen by me for various incomprehensible reasons. I hadn't expected to have one of Paris, nor to find such a place but I have. This place is lovely.


I couldn't stay long but I sat under the blue and white cafe watching the world go by and when my time was up I left. The Moule Marine would have to wait.

I am pleased to have found some life in this sterile shiny claustrophobic underground city. Thank you, friend.



Day 2 pictures

What a big boat

The buildings are straight, honest.

Cool tool


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Paris day 2: Sainte Chapelle and night

After my adventures underground at the Catacombs earlier I decided I would go and look at some light. My friends Caroline and John went to Paris a few years ago and told me about Sainte Chapelle ( and I was rather taken by the idea so off I went to join another queue.

I thought it was all rather beautiful

The stone work was beautiful
I DID like the Chapelle but I actually found the stain glass at Fairford in the cotswolds far more knee bendingly treasuringly wonderful.

I walked past Notre Dame and returned to the world of the underground via a rather small anonymous lift. To say I regretted stepping into it would be an understatement.

Eventually I appeared back into the quarters I was in yesterday.


And the view out of my window.


Paris day 2: Catacombs

The catacombs

There are tunnels that run under Paris. They are now from a disused quarry. I queued for ages, purchased a ticket and made my way down the steps, one by one, deeper and deeper. Dark, isolated, empty, yet calm. First visitors familiarise themselves with what it was like to work here with the alcoves, tunnels and surprises.

(I used my flash to take this picture!!! It was rather tight and dark)
Through the workshop is the Port-Mahon Corridor where there are sculptures by a quarryman, Decure.
There are twists and turns and despite there being 200 people underground I was on my own.
The Ossuary door is framed by geometric figures on pillars and an inscription that says 'stop! This is the empire of death'. The alcoves lining the tunnels are piled high with bones and various inscriptions on the fragility of life are on the walls.
Six million Parisians lie here. There home was the Cimetiere des Saints-Innocents which was also closed for public health reasons. In 1785 a decree required the removal of human remains and the first bones arrived in the Ossuary in 1786. In 1810 the bones were arranged in an orderly fashion.
The bones are piled high and skulls are arranged within them. Sometimes there were patterns: crosses, hearts, is truly superb.
I walked along the human remains barely feeling any humanity as I walked along alone.
What a wonderful place.
I still haven't worked out how to use this blogger iPad application. The pictures don't look so good and heaven knows how to position them properly!

Monday, September 03, 2012

France: day 1

There is nothing quite like terminal five of Heathrow airport to catapult one through time. I spent the morning amongst the leafy trees of Thrupp listening to the quiet flow of water and peace of the country side. I drank tea, packed and had breakfast in the glorious tea rooms. It was good old England at its best.

Maffi flung me in the car and we sped to the bus station whereupon hankerchiefs were waved and goodbyes exchanged.  I hate goodbyes.  Maffi has waved me off quite a lot so it is always quite fun these days.

The bus arrived and the grumpiest bus driver with an attitude problem waved us onto his bus.

An hour later and the skies lowered, the walls close in and terminal 5 engulfs one.  I don't think it gets more modern than an airport does it?

Instantly i found myself in the 21st century.  There was no denying it. Nothing to remind me of the old world I had just left.

One never needs speak.  The computers process one, the buzzers declare one safe (or not) and before I knew what had happened I had been processed.  I wasnt even sure I HAD been processed but a telephone call assured me I had.

A flight, an arrival in France, an underground train, tunnels to more trains and then alleyways to the roads that led me through tall buildings to my hotel. The buildings are so numerous, so tall and so must take a lot of polish to get the shine on them.