Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Arriving home

I was rather surprised when I arrived home and bundled into the pub for a much needed lemonade.  Usually nothing ever changes, but it would seem that there had been two great adventures in my absence.

The first was the rescue of a hire boat.  This hire boat had decided to go UNDER the bridge and follow the line of the River Cherwell rather than go past it into Bakers Lock. It would appear the river is more navigable than we thought – until they got stuck and had to be rescued by a tractor.

Having read some of the recent accounts of the Oxford Canal I was beginning to wonder whether my local navigation was actually a jungle. These hire boaters must have thought ‘well, they said it was rural, but I didn't think it was THIS rural’. Well, it shouldn’t have been….

The other great adventure, on the same day, was the sound of the airport crash alarms going off.  It turns out that a plane was flying over the local pub without any noise.  It landed, in the dark, in a nearby field, JUST short of the hedge without anyone being injured. Quite a different story to when Maffi and I heard the airport sirens go a few years ago

When it was daylight I had a look over the canal at the plane in the field.  What an amazing outcome!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Then there were three

Harnser came to Thrupp and we persuaded them to stay another night because No Problem and Matilda Rose were going to be arriving.  I went off to work and I wondered what the situation would be when I returned.  I was pleased when I came around the corner to see No Problem safely moored up:


and then Matilda RoseP1030569

and then Harnser


WE had a fantastic and somewhat raucous evening in the Boat Inn who dealt with my allergies rather well I felt.

Harnser headed off northwards and we all bundled over to Matilda Rose for another evening of great fun.  Graham cooked an absolute feast which, added to rice pudding and roasted potatos, spoilt us all rotten!  It was a wonderful evening.

I headed northwards on Friday towards home. Nothing much changes when one is at home.. or so I thought…..

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The wardrobe

Boots has a wardrobe and it is often commented on.  He has a rather fine set of what I called pyjamas – here is his tartan number:


Yesterday morning I very nearly put these on him as I thought it might be a bit chilly. It wasn’t actually cold, but I wondered whether it might ‘feel’ cold.  I waited to see how he settled and he seemed find so I went to work.

When I came home he greeted me in this tartan number.  The dog walker had left me a note:

‘ Boots looked a bit chilly so I put his smoking jacket on. I hope that is ok’.


I LOVE IT! Far more refined and much more Boots!  Why would a pooch like Boots where his pyjamas during the day time – oooh no! a SMOKING JACKET  is far more appropriate!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Oh! How I love the rain. Saturday evening was wonderful. I stood out and there in the rain.

The rain meanders along, soaking me to the bone, and ah, as I stand there... no longer alone.



Monday, October 21, 2013

hole in my stove

So I fixed the hole in the stove by cleaning up the back plate thing


That was a right fiasco which involved having to bandage my finger!

The wire brush got banished and the drill became new favourite toy.

I couldn’t find my vice to clamp everything to drill it but a pair of mole grips and the mooring ring seemed to do the job


The drilling was slow as my drill bits are blunt but it got there in the end.

I was rather interested in the comments from the passers by. One tried to tell me my drill bit was a wood drill bit.  I tried to tell him it was simply blunt but he wasn’t having any of it.  I went inside for some fresh air and when he had gone I went back to the job in hand.  Before anyone questions me again it really was a metal one, and it really was blunt!

I tested the fire – the bit I fixed kept the smoke in – shame about the other bit of the fire I thought was OK!  So I fixed that, and then the next bit.

I will test it proper with some heat when I am home this evening and with any luck that will be the end of that for another few weeks until the cold weather sets in. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Back in Thrupp

I have returned to Thrupp as it the most convenient place to fiddle with my electrics. I was busy wondering whether Harnser might moor up in the village on their way to the Thames when they came around the corner and moored up.  We had a lovely evening in the Boat Inn.  It was good to see them again – they have been boating around the East so it was good to have them back.



Friday, October 18, 2013

What a lot of wood.

I used to collect wood throughout the year for the winter burning season.  I say used to because a couple of years ago I was spoilt rotten when my friend had his HUGE eucalyptus tree felled. It was chopped into bite size pieces and he kindly stored the huge pile in his shed for me to use. It lasted ages and I was thrilled. 

Since then I haven’t been so good at foraging and spending my Saturdays with my trusty saw flexing my arm muscles.  A few months ago we spotted some wood and in a remiss moment I failed to get some for myself. I was worried that what was left wouldn’t be there when I eventually made it back to the spot.


So, once again I am spoilt rotten and I even have somewhere to store it.  I am thrilled.


My friend has a chain saw so we are going to find a nice quiet spot to chop this lot up into bite size chunks.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I can’t get in to my twitter account. Nor can I reset the password. Nor can I get the support page to work.

I don’t really use twitter but I wonder whether someone is using my account on my behalf.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Oops–there goes the fire

I haven’t had a fire yet, not least because I quite like to allow myself to acclimatise to a reasonable temperature to ensure that the really cold weather of winter doesn’t come as too much of a shock. However, the damp in the air and the final reading of around 10degrees on the thermometer prompted me to light the fire. I had cleaned the fire and checked its integrity at the end of last season and other than the cracked fire bricks, everything seemed fine.  So it came to fire lighting day – the fire bricks had finally arrived and so I set about installing them and going the final ‘is it alright still’ checks…it was all going very well until the back plate  fell out.

The back plate falling out is a fine opportunity to see the fire surround from a unique angle but the ‘open fire’ look is not the one I am aiming for on the boat. Here is the view from the front of the boat through to the outside!


Needless to say I have not lit a fire. Boots and I have extra layers on (no bad thing) and I am going to plate the back over the next few days.

Sometimes ‘coincidences’ are astonishing. This is another of those ones.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Over 100 years to complete

There is hope for the good ship yet.

I have just been to Barcelona.

The Basilica of the Sagrada Família was a building to span the generations; each generation adding its mark and it has certainly done that. As humankind walks from Nativity to the Passion it marks the arms of the cross from one door to the next. The geometry of the building, the thought and the intricate detail marked boldly in all materials is delightful.  It is a constant reminder of nature.  The living being is another mark of nature; a transient sculpture changing minute by minute as each person laps up another part of the Basilica.

The nativity facade is curious – almost melting, not yet formed, much like a new life – what will it be, what will it become. The Nativity facade is busy, full of expectation and potential.


The passion facade stone work was amazing.  P1030457


The stain glass windows were spectacular – capturing and controlling the light into the vast expanse of the interior.


Patterns taken from nature are seen throughout the Basilica


and it isn’t just about vision. It is about sound but also about touch too.


I loved it.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Houghton Hall: Jeppe Hein's Fire and Water fountain

Yes, fire and water!



Friday, October 04, 2013

He’s Off!

On Wednesday No Problem and Matilda Rose made it to the village so after a whizz around the fields with Boots and Molly which we trundled up to the Boat Inn for beer.  I was sorry to have to leave before everyone sat down for dinner – but such is the curse of the working classes. I went home to my dinner and sums while they had a brilliant time together.

It was a super last evening for Maffi and he is now off on his travels again.

I love this picture that No Problem took.

It seems only yesterday that Maffi was arriving back in the village after his travels last winter and after a hectic summer working for him, and me, we haven’t seen nearly as much of each other as I had hoped.

I seem to have spent far too much time whizzing of late and far too little time sitting with friends chewing the phat. However, this is about to change and my hectic few months are going to become calm, quiet and peaceful, again.

So, he is off! Off on his travels and great adventures!  Have a great time Maffi and see you soon!

Calorifier and the drilled out immersion

I have finally taken some pictures of my old immersion to bore you with.  In summer it caused me great anxt so it has taken a while to be able to look at it again.  I was reminded when I saw it was my column in Canal Boat magazine this month.

Liquid PTFE will never be used on my boat again. Maybe it was a dodgy batch, but even so, the hassle of trying to undo the immersion is something I will not go through again.

I put liquid PTFE around the thread of the immersion, screwed it in by hand and tightened it gently with a spanner. The immersion leaked so it was only a matter of minutes before I went to undo it.

I could not. 

For some reason the PTFE seemed to have acted like a glue – which it should not.  I looked on the internet and discovered I wasn’t the only one to have had trouble. Even gently (and not so gently) tapping the spanner with a hammer wouldn’t undo it. 

There was no option but to drill it out.  Here are the pictures

Hero kindly drilled it out without damaging the thread.



I was really worried that the procedure of trying to undo it had split the tank. 

It hasn’t. 

The manufacturer of the liquid PTFE suggested I had cross threaded the immersion; I suppose all things are possible even with the care I used. However, I was confident I had not (even I can tell when I am cross threading!).  Even so, I was slightly worried the new immersion wouldn’t screw in and I would need a new tank.

I used a the PTFE tape this time and screwed the new immersion in gently, by hand.  I tightened it up with the spanner and waited to see what happened.


Everything has been fine for the last couple of months and to say I am mightily relieved is an understatement. I certainly did not want to have to buy a new tank!

Thursday, October 03, 2013


We don’t often get real pirates on the canal so I was delighted when these pirates of a certain age decided to come in from the high seas and take to the canals! HURRAH!  Which reminds me of my favourite pirate song that Lock Boy introduced me to a long time ago when I declared I was a pirate .




Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Cutlery Draw

The ‘space’ in my boat is busying being considered and rearranged in preparation for the ‘great winter project’.  As a result I am looking into my current storage and asking myself ‘do I like it’.  Mostly I do not which is no bad thing as I have a most splendid friend who is brilliant at organising and is gently giving me advice – which seems to be in the shape of baskets.  I am starting to love baskets! I really do.

However…. this morning I once again found myself peering into the cutlery draw. I absolutely love it.  I really love it.  I am just so pleased that the one drawer I have in the kitchen is so utterly perfect.  I delight every time I have to open it and stare into the great abyss of varied things.

The cutlery draw is gently evolving and I am absolutely loving it.