Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bourton Lock Cottage

Finally the correct day and correct week for the Auction (and here) of the dream cottage arrived, so I pootled up with Maffi to see how it sold. There were numerous lots and I could see Maffi's hand twitching as a piece of land went up for 5000pounds, thankfully he saw sense! The auction process is fascinating, and I just loved the character of a chap with a Tweed hat who was bidding for several pieces of land, each time saying in a rather grudging voice 'oh go on then' 'yep' 'ok' and finally when it reached his limit he ended with 'nah, let 'im have it' in his country voice. He did get the last one in the group of three, but the other two reached his limit.

The lock cottage came up and sold for £86,000 in the end, a mere 1K above the guide price. I will look with interest as the purchasers make something of the property, and see how the bring it up to glory.

During the course of my interest I have learnt a little more about Irene who lived there before, but I don't know a great deal about her, if you do DO let me know as I would be interested in why she was there - was she an ex-boater for example, and how she interacted with those around her. By all accounts she was quite a character and I would love to learn more, especially as she lived in the cottage I fell in love with!

Waterway Punks

I have always been amused by 'older' ladies who have purple rinses and then complain about punks. I wonder whether these little creatures suffer the same strange critisism from the older birds on the water...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Having observed the oos and aarrs over the ducklings and other fluffy offspring I was delighted when my fury friends in the bathroom started to hatch. I just knew my chums would love the tiny little creatures scurrying around. I was wrong. Instead of the expected knee quiver at their cuteness I received queer looks along with 'eek' sounds emanating as they backed out of the 'cute zone'.

Holland Booked

Hurrah! I have finally booked my hotels for Holland and will be spending 3 days in Amsterdam. I have never been before, and am thoroughly looking forward to seeing it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ram Raided

Well, there I was approaching Osney Lock this evening having managed to get to the correct side of the river despite the wind, and was busy minding my own business waiting to go into the lock. It isn't the easiest lock to hold your boat midstream so I was going very slowly indeed... until... I was ram raided by the boat behind. It would appear they were too busy looking behind them than in front OR where they were going!

The impact was so hard my 5ft by 3ft bookcase crammed with books (and some piled on high) moved 6inches along the side! There have been a few casualties, but no-one was hurt. I think my elbow is suffering whip lash, but that doesn't count!

On entry to the lock I had expected the offending article to apologise profusely and pull out copious gifts of floral arrangements and other such things, but sadly not. I did get an apology so it wasn't so bad.

Rochdale Canal

In less than two months I am going on holiday!!!!! This time me and three others are going to explore the delights of the Rochdale Canal on a hire boat. I have never hired before so I am looking forward to being in an all singing all dancing boat with electricity, hot water and walls that don't wobble when you lean against them. The Rochdale canal looks like a real beauty and I can't wait!!!! Having almost sorted out my trip to Holland, I can now divert my attentions to the Rochdale and all the delights I can look forward to exploring.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More Pics

Maffi prefers this picture I took of the fly, so here it is:

Doesn't the great ship look grand:

Sunday Morning

Here I am on the left.

Saturday in the Bush

I have been admiring this bush all week:

So on Saturday morning I spent some time in it, and this is what I saw:

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Broad Face Comes up Trumps

Not long ago I was complaining about the Jolly Boatman and its inability to provide a meal they said they could. In that post I mentioned the problems I had had with the Broadface. However, after writing to them, they have cleared up the problem of communication between their waiting staff and the kitchens, and wrote me a very long email explaining that it would not happen again; that they take allergies very seriously; and that my experiences were completely and utterly unacceptable. The broad face therefore IS a place to go for allergies. The food is also exceptional, and they reassured me that it IS made up fresh on site, so that is good too!

Painting: Maffi deserves a medal

I painted half the boat last week and added a lovely dark gray panel and a good bit of dark gray trim. Then I winded the great ship and returned under the bridge in order to paint the other side. By tuesday I had done the side, but there was still the trim, the decks and the panels to be marked up and painted. On wednesday I didn't do any painting because of the trip to the Auction (albeit the wrong week!), and then a visit to Andy off Khayamanzi, so I was really beginning to wonder whether I would be able to get all the painting done before my 14days were up, and it was time to move on.

However, while I was in London yesterday doing the 'art thing' Maffi was busy painting my boat. The man deserves a medal! Not only does the boat look stunning, but he did it with his bad eye, AND he cleared up the front deck in preparation for more painting which he is doing today! Painting the boat deserves a medal in itself, but he deserves another medal for finding the paint and the brushes in the first place!!!!

Painting really is a thankless task, so a very very big THANK YOU to Maffi.

Wyndham Lewis at the National Portrait Gallery

I had never visited the national portrait gallery before, and my I really have missed out. It is a stunning gallery with breathtaking art all over the place. I rarely walk through a museum or gallery and find myself distracted by every single thing I pass, and I found the experience delicious. We went to see the Wyndham Lewis Exhibition. Wyndham Lewis (who ditched his first name, Percy, as he didn’t like it) 1882-1957 wrote numerous books, edited magazines and painted. Geometric abstraction is often thought of as Cubism, but Lewis thought Cubism lacked an ‘alive’ element, and thus came Vortiscism developed by Lewis and so called by his friend Ezra Pound. Vorticism is a combination of cubism and futurism, and I loved it!

While we were there we decided to have a cuppa. The café at the gallery was full, so we popped next door to the national gallery. We ALMOST paid 2.50 for a cuppa, but thankfully found our way through some double doors where tea was 1:50 in paper cups. There is something most delicious about sitting drinking tea and observing the world around one. There was a lady dripping in jewels having trouble eating her salad from a cardboard box with plastic knives and forks, the lettuce kept trying to escape down her chin. Another rather badly dressed man came in, but he had the most stunningly beautiful moustache with twiddles on the end, unfortunately he sat with his back to us so the admiration was only fleeting.

revived by the cuppa we took a quick look in the national gallery at some Zubarans (1598-1664), I just LOVE them, so full of life and feeling!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another top tip!

If you decide to go to an auction, make sure you go on the right day, or even the right week!

The auction of the aforementioned cottage is NEXT week!

Blogger on the move

NB Tortoise is out travelling and updating his blog with some lovely pictures of his travels.

No longer the dream: Bourton Lock Cottage

Bourton lock cottage goes to auction this evening, and I am looking forward to seeing who buys it, and for how much – if it sells! The post-fire survey by British Waterways was an interesting read; with all the work that needed doing, the company estimated about 43K to restore the property to glory (and VAT to that and you are looking at 51K). Surprisingly there was no mention of a new roof in the quote and it seemed they were expecting water, sanitation and electricity to be on site and provided by the owner (BW at the time). There was indication about how materials would be put on site, nor how they would be taken off site. The guttering was quoted as uPVC but it would need to be cast iron. Lock boy summed it up as a brick shell with a first floor and most of a roof. My wise Uncle gave me some good advice about purchasing the property and as a result I am not going to. 85K for a grade 2 listed ruin with no land is really for the rich, or those with disposable income, and that isn’t me – if I did buy it, and I couldn’t make it work I could end up with a Grade 2 listed building I might not be able to sell, with huge bills and orders to ‘make it good’.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ambulance Service

Sometime ago I wrote about the ambulance service, and how it is not an emergency service. I THOUGHT it was until a friend pointed out it wasn't. Not only that, but as a result the ambulance staff are not paid in accordance with other emergency services, and with the constraints on the NHS system the ambulance service is suffering. I saw this in the news today, and it reminded me how lucky we are to have people like the ambulance staff who are willing to put themselves through the stress, the changes, and the lifestyle in order to help other people.

The engine

The new injector arrived, and was the wrong shape. So, I gave the current one some TLC and tightened it up, and chatted to it. I bled the system, cracked some unions, cranked the engine, tightened the unions and the engine roared into life - HURRAH. I started to extract myself from the engine 'ole in order to skip a celebratory rigadoon, and the engine died.

So, I bled the system again, cracked some unions, cranked the engine, tightened the unions, still nothing was happening so I sulked.

Then I tried again. I tightened the fan belt - badly (you have to lift mine and tighten it rather than push it down and tighten it), and turned the engine over while pumping the lift pump. The engine roared. I had to go out so I stopped the engine and started it again just to check - it ran for a few minutes, and I stopped it again. It even ran the next day.

I still have no idea what the problem was - but it must have been the fuel.

I took the boat up to the water point to fill up and turn around so I could paint the other side, and even with the throttle in the fully on position the boat was barely moving. I fiddled with the cables talked to it a bit, and scratched my head. Then it seemed to roar into life on the way home. SO, I am thinking the cables from the control lever to the injector are suffering, which explains (perhaps) why it wasn't starting before.

Strange things these 'ere engines.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friends of Warneford Meadow

I have just had an email from weepingcross, who has recently purchased a gorgeously adorable bear for a friends daughter. The bear was sold on behalf of the friends of warneford meadow. Apparently the Meadows were given to the Warneford hospital in perpetuity by a former superintendent who noticed that his depressive wife benefited far more from a walk in the fields than from anything his colleagues did to her.

I have walked through these meadows, and they are beautiful and relaxing.

Was it such a good idea?

The cleaning ladies (and Nathan) are fantastic fun, and have always listened to my stories, trials and tribulations with a fine balance of sound advice and falling around laughing. They know when to laugh, and they know when to 'cry'. They are fabulous. Indeed, many of my friends are brilliant, good job really, because I need them to be!

Anyway, after months of preparations after deciding to get a fish to accompany me on the boat; the endless discussions with various aquatic experts in my department, not to mention the excitement of progressing through the various stages of setting up the tank AND making sure I really DO want a fish and will look after it properly. I took the plunge and went to purchase the fish. You must understand it took me MONTHS and MONTHS to get to the stage of going to the fish shop. When they turned me away as an 'unsuitable owner' you will understand my distress.

Not only is it highly embaressing to fail after all the research and time I put in to ensure the fish would be happy; it is extremely disappointing. I tried to share my pain with the first friends I saw, and they rolled around laughing. Taking the hint I decided I would keep the whole fish thing quiet and stop talking about it. To be honest, I think everyone was relieved. I was marginally hurt but I was hardly going to say anything was I.

However, I still felt the pain, so I decided I would write about it in my column for canalboat magazine. It seemed the best way of telling people without having to do it face to face. So, when the magazine came out, I did the usual thing and took it down to the cleaning ladies (and Nathan) to read. I have NOT heard the end of it.

Oh well, it is good to see people rolling around in hysterics at my misfortune. I have told them my aquariam looks fantastic and the aquatic plants are thriving, very interesting and a complete delight to have on the boat, but that just makes them laugh even more.

Hmm... I wonder if it was such a good idea owning up to the fact that I am considered to be an unsuitable owner? Perhaps I should have gone to a different fish shop and saught a second opinion... hmmm...

Thursday, July 17, 2008


One battery, two scientists....

top tip - do not electrocute your boss, and when he jumps out of his skin do not laugh hysterically!

Warm Gin

The great advantage of solar panels is you don't need to run your engine, and the fridge still works. The great disadvantage of staying under a bridge (to paint) is the lack of sun. I suppose you think I could run my engine... but I can't because I am still waiting for my new injector pipe to arrive.

I don't suppose you think this really matters, but it is a very very serious! There are no ice cubes!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Get a grip

Have you seen this?When will this country, and the CSA, start paying attention to fathers? I have looked into the CSA over recent months, and all I can see is an unfair, wishy washy, set up that is based on whims and fancies set to screw up peoples lives; that of fathers, and of children. Not only that, but they seem to make the rules up as they go along. The whole system needs a jolly good slap. I will write more about it sometime, but not now, because I am fuming. Fathers are being made homeless, and being pushed to the brink. The CSA was set up for something it is NOT doing today. This, I think, is unacceptable. What is worse, is that these fathers have no-one to turn to.

Food Allergies?

Don't eat at the Jolly Boatman at Thrupp

DO eat at The Anchor Inn at Hayfield Road in Oxford.

ADENDUM: Although I said don't eat at the BroadFace (which I have now taken out), I wrote to them with my experiences of the summer, and they have written me a fantastic reply in return and I am reassured that the problems won't happen again. They do GREAT food.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


The engine went Vrrrrrrrrm Vrrrrrrm (oh if ONLY I could put sound affects in!) then there was silence. This was a bit of a pain, not least because I am moored under a bridge in order to do some painting which means my solar panel is not doing its 'stuff' with the batteries.
I rummaged around the engine hoping to find the problem, and on closer inspection I found that fuel was getting through the system; round past the lift pump through the filters, injectors and up to the injector pipe; but pipe number 2 is leaking. Could this be why it isn't working? On even closer inspection I noticed the olive (yes, it is an olive) on the end of the pipe (right at the end of the pipe), and thought it probably should be on the end, so... can we conclude the pressure of the fuel is gently pushing the pipe away from the olive, as people suggest?! Can I put another olive on myself (which people suggest is not an option) - I have absolutely no idea.

In order to get somewhere wtihout too much confusion, I have ordered another injector pipe from ASAP supplies and it should arrive tomorrow. Having looked at the shape of that one, and the look of the one on the boat, I THINK they are different... so... it could be interesting getting the new one into the space of the old one. One kind boater said he would do it for me if he was nearer... I suppose it would be excessive craning the boat out and taking it to him.....

Oxford Canal is gorgeous after all

I have often wondered why people think the Oxford Canal is gorgeous, but when I went through at the weekend, I was reminded how they are absolutely right! The hedgerows are blooming and bursting with wildflowers. The damsel flies are out about about, and the whole canal atomoshphere is simply delicious!

I love this wooden bridge

the lock moorings at Roundham lock (which is also shares its name with the roundham lock theatre)

and the hedgerows are splendid!

Monday, July 14, 2008


I had a glorious weekend visiting the ancestral seat and found the garden was looking absolutely glorious! Pa has worked really hard to make it stunning, and I have always admired his forethought and care (not to mention patience!). When I was a nipper he planted some laurels in the corner of the garden, and took me along to admire his new 'secret garden'. As I stood there beside him, I thought he might finally have lost it, the only bit of me that wasn't taller than the Laurel was my feet, and I didn't think that was terribly secret at all! He went on to tell me the laurels would grow and hide the area. I really wasn't sure there was any point, they would take ages to grow and by then centuries would have passed. He was absolutely right though, 15years later and you walk straight past that section thinking it is the end of the garden. He has also developed a winding stroll to it through the bushes - OK, so you have walk bent up double, but it is a glorious woodland walk. It almost turned out to be an appetiser for me, when I started to stroll through and nearly ate the door man:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Onion Shed

I DO like the onion shed - here it is:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Flowers and Fruit

Here are some piccies from a stroll around the garden:

and a fig for Miss T

Moving the Deer

Having moved swapped my dining room and sitting room, the deer head hat stand is no longer in a suitable position. I found myself developing the strangest of walks/swaggers to avoid it. Unfortunately there is currently no-where else to hang it. The ideal place would be in the new sitting room, but when I had a go, the lining started to come down due to the weight of the skull, not to mention the added weight of the hats! So... I have been eyeing up the flimsy wall coverings and trying to muster up the enthusiasm to strip the rubbish off, and put new stuff on. To tongue and groove, or to not tongue and groove is the question! I had thought I would T&G below the gunwhale, and do ply above, but I think I will do it the other way around. First I need to reveal the horrors behind the current lining.

It never ceases to amaze me how I can find energy to strip an entire room down to the lining, just so it will hold a hook for a hat stand. Extravagance or what!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bells and Gas Lockers

I have a simply GORGEOUS bell, but where shall I hang it - on the front or on the back?

I have also been thinking about painting my boat again. It needs a few more coats of paint, and the name needs to be written on. I am going to moor under a bridge next week and get painting - all offers of help accepted!

Anyway, I am trying to decide what to put on the gas locker, and have always liked the idea of an eyeball. When looking on the web just now I came across this imagine. I LOVE it!

The Roof & Only the wealthy can live simply

I have now seen the post fire survey on the cottage, which suggests something in the region of 40K to do the cottage up. There are however a couple of things Lock Boy noticed. Firstly and perhaps most importantly there is no mention in the document of replacement of the roof! Although most of the roof is OK, the fire damaged kitchen roof, even to my untrained eye, needs replacing - what do you think?

There is no mention of how the materials will get onto site, so one can only assume they think their lorries will get to the door, and it looks as though they expect water, electricity and black water to be provided for them.

Now, this survey can't be taken as the 'real' one, and as the friendly Scott says, one ought to double the estimated figure of repair to get a more realistic sum. This means I would potentially be paying something in the region of 170K (as long as the suggested price at auction is what it goes for) without even replacing the roof and with the materials arriving by inverted combustion. Considering Somerton Deep Lock Cottage went for about 210K, I don't think 170K is reasonable. For a start Somerton Deep has electricity and a generator, sewerage AND land. It also has a mooring for a small boat in order to get to the nearest village, AND it has water.

The other disadvantage of the cottage of dreams is it is grade II. This means I am liable if I don't manage to make the project work. As I am not filthy stinking rich, I suspect it is well out of my means, not least because it could bleed me dry before I have even started. I find it ironic that to live a simple lifestyle one has to be rich.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


This summer I will be going to Utrecht for a week, and possibly attaching a weekend in Amsterdam. The question is how to get there. I think I would like to go by train, rather than fly, but my experiences of train travel on this scale are zilch. If anyone has done it, can they tell me the positives and negatives and their recommendations please?

Hospital - AGAIN

Maffi had another trip to the hospital to repair the detached retina in his other eye yesterday. He opted to have it done under local anaesthetic - brave man!
Being the dutiful neighbour I pootled up to the hospital to keep him from the doors of boredom during the wait and then sat waiting for him to return from the theatre. I have a couple of top tips for anyone in a similar position - a couple of don'ts:

1. don't arrive on your motorbike, it will be nigh on impossible to transport your patient home

2. don't spend the entire duration of the operation wondering about the morality of eating the patients banana that he has saved for the post-op munchies. It IS immoral, and the time would be better spent going home to get the car.

3. When you give someone a lesson on how to make the arm chair into a magic recliner, Don't stand there gawping as the chair starts to put them in a most compromising position, point out that they are pressing the wrong button.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Well Said


I just LOVE the rain; the sound it makes and the beautiful air that comes with it. I also like the smell of fresh laundry. I suppose rain is a bit like putting the world through the washing machine. A new world, a new life, a new day. Wonderful.

Quiet Sunday - hahahahaha

A dear friend of mine, the master of pottering, passed on his great wisdom and taught me to potter. I am not a good student, and it has taken a while for me to potter for extensive periods of time, but this weekend I excelled myself! I spent most of Saturday pottering around; I did a bit of paper work, a bit of paint work, a bit of shuffling things around, and a bit of this and that. I even managed lunch in the pub! I retired to my quarters triumphant! On Sunday, Maffi was around, so I decided I would introduce him to pottering. I picked him up on my bike, and took him into town for a coffee and a read of the papers. After a coffee (but no papers yet), we took a stroll around the town. I picked up a leaflet for eye tests at 10pounds and marched Maffi into Boots to get his eyes tested. For some time Maffi has been squinting and I haven't been at all convinced he can actually 'see' very well. This of course he has laughed at, telling me he is quite visually aware and has no problems at all. Well, well, well, the eye test marked the end of our pottering. Suddenly we were on our way to the eye hospital emergency unit, and then discussing all the things that need doing before he goes in to have his torn retina stuck back in (it is the other eye this time). So, off we went to Eynsham for water and a pump out, and finally settled down to supper at 8pm.

So, if you want to have a quiet day pottering around doing odd jobs, shuffling and generally chilling out. Don't take Maffi with you!

I did mention to my boss about Maffi's torn retina, and he wondered what on earth is wrong with him as the other eye had similar (although two tares) last year. He has concluded that Maffi decides he needs some TLC and remembered that I am an exceptional cook (exceptionally bad... but exceptional all the same, I reach a quality you can't even pay for - it is a REAL treat!), and a splendid nurse. He clearly whacks himself in the eye on purpose.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Porch...

Friday, July 04, 2008


I was busy doing a search on ruined cottages (as you do) and noticed these headlines Prayer refusal pupils are disciplined These pupils, all two of them, refused to pray to Allah, and were accused of being disrespectful. This makes me laugh. It is almost as bad as those people who say Hell is disrespectful. Come on! Hell is an absence of God, Heaven is being with him. If you spend your whole life telling God to F*ck off, and don't want anything to do with him, why oh why would you want to spend eternity with him? People say God is being disrespectful by sending them to Heaven. Oh, how I SO love educated arguments.
Anyway, back on topic. The education authority were called in, and it is them that disciplined them, oh HOW times have changed. Let me tell you a story.

When I was at secondary school, we, in our religious education classes, were told to make prayer mats and at the end of the class we would use them to pray to Allah. Excuse me but I found that disrespectful, firstly Allah in my book is not God (Which is why we use a different name for them both regardless of what each name means) and secondly I am not a Muslim. I prayed to God, Allah is not a pantomime character; Allah is part of Islam, which is part of a world religion. Regardless of what I think about any religion, I was quite certain it was not put there for my education classes. I sat on my table, and said to my friend, I am not doing this. Praying to Allah would be an act of disrespect, disrespect to MY beliefs and disrespect to Muslims. So, I refused. The teacher wanting to make an example of me sent me, and my friend, out of the room. I explained why I was not happy to take part, and the whole class agreed - so we lined up outside the classroom. This left the teacher with an unfortunate situation - his whole class were outside rather than inside. The education authorities were not called in. We had a 'discussion', and my friend and I were held back after class to 'explain ourselves' which we did.

The outcome? We never did RE again, we had to take extra geography or History classes. non problemos. I doubt my parents knew this even took place, let alone the head master, or even the education authorities, OR the national press!

I also remember listening to someone saying that freedom of 'religion' was going to be threatened in our country. We would no longer be able to go to church, stand up for our beliefs, have Christmas and all sorts of other things. This was some 20 years ago.... somehow it all strikes a bit to true.

Disrespect to Allah? Gee's what IS this world coming to. Religion is NOT a pantomime, these kids are probably the only TWO who DID respect Allah. Discipline the rest of the class I say.

Everything we do in this country is disrespectful to someone or something these days. What about disrespect to our own culture, our own history, our own beliefs, our own roots?

Support of Friends

Decision making is not my forte, and thus I am rather surprised at my response to the burnt out cottage. Perhaps it is because it is a ruin; I do love ruins. I have had several lines of support from the people around me - here are my favourites:

Miss T and A pie eater speaks said they would give me their wheelbarrow

The lovely cleaning ladies (and Nathan) have already moved in

Weekend working parties have already been organised!

The Weeping Cross was terribly keen to buy the place for me, but on checking down the side of his sofa he realised he didn’t have enough money.

I have been highly amused by the responses from one of my lovely friends down south, who isn't so keen on my boating lifestyle - she has jumped at the possibility that I am investigating bricks and mortar... I wonder if she has seen the pictures yet!

I am also getting some sensible advice as well which has led to several discussions with the planning department and conservationists in the area, in addition I am trying to get some advice from people who have done a project like this befopre. Taking on such a huge project isn't everyone's cup of tea, and blind optomism like mine doesn't get one very far without the reddies to support it. Indeed, I have heard people say the property is over priced, then that it is a fair price, and some even say it is totally pointless being just four walls and no land, no supplies and no access. Indeed, I have heard many things said about my boat, but people still seem to want to come and visit!

It is very difficult to think of bricks and mortar in the current climate; perhaps now is a prime time to purchase such a long term project, or perhaps I will find myself with a ball and chain rather than a dream. All I can do is follow my nose, and if it works out I will take great delight in putting a grand piano in the front room!

Still dreaming, but progressing

Well, that is enough of a break from the house. I realise the chances of me actually getting the property are rather remote; there are bound to be more people in a better financial position with better job security, and experience than me. However, it would be a shame not to try. I have organised to speak to some 'professionals' next week, but what I also need to do is find someone who has experience of a project such as this.
I rather like this door which leads from the kitchen to the hallway:

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I am still in love with the house, and although I can't see that I will ever get it, I am going to make steps to see what I can afford. In the meantime I thought you might like to see this cormorant I snapped when cruising up the Thames on Sunday.

There are times that being on the water are simply delightful, and as I turned the corner onto the Oxford canal, I realised I had completely forgotten how beautiful it is. I spent winter on the canal, when it is quite barren, and most of the spring on the Thames, but the banks are so far away you tend not to notice the wildflowers and berries in the same way. Now the vegetation is flourishing on the canal I remember just how glorious it is at this time of year.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The cottage of dreams

The front:

Through the front door:

the kitchen:

and the route home (along the towpath, over a bridge, up the lane,over a train track, through a field of cows and up another lane)

So, I saw the cottage. I have endless ideas, thoughts and dreams, but I just can't see how I can live them out. Thankfully there are many dreams in this world, and many moments to live out. I just love the look of this place, and I will always love a ruin. I always have. Indeed, there was a beautiful cottage not far from Bicester that I fell in love with. The oven was a stone fire, and the bathroom was a bath in the garden that filled with rain water. Like this cottage it was boarded up. I enquired about a mortgage, and all was going well but then I learnt that the owners were going to embark upon a dutch auction. I pulled out. There would probably have been more frogs there than I would have been happy with.

I love this place, I don't know why, I just do. Whoever ends up with it will have a faulous time making it habitable and exploring its potential. What will be a complete loss, is if a developer buys it, or someone wanting to make some money. This place needs to be cherished, looked after and fulfilled. Sadly that requires a healthy income, and academics like me can only dream!

Dont get me wrong, I am VERY thankful for what I do have!

But it is SOOOO beautiful

ah but to dream.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Last night we went over to NB Hadar to pay them a visit. It is a while since I saw them last, so it was good to hear the highlights of their travels. It felt like mere minutes that we were chatting away, but it must have been a couple of hours! During the course of the conversation I was telling Jo and Keith about Sundays antics of getting the motorbike on and off the boat, and running the 'new plan' past them. Keith had a better idea, and him and Jo had just the thing! In their hold, they have a metal trough and fortunately for me they didn’t need it any more. Not only that, but they were exceptionally generous and GAVE it to me! I couldn’t believe it, such kindness!!!!! I am thrilled… here is a picture:

It fits across the gunwales PERFECTLY, and it is the exact length of the bike! I just need to adjust the loop on the end so it holds the front wheel, and hey presto, shifting the bike around will be a breeze [hysterical laughing stage left]

Following the Dream

Bourton Lock cottage is still on my mind, my bank balance is not. In order to have a proper look I am going to join the viewing party tomorrow.

Got the bike off!

So, we managed to get the bike OFF the front deck. It involved more compromising positions and the help of a passer by! Look - no bike!

Having visited Hadar last night, I think getting the bike on and off the boat is going to be a breeze.. (can you hear the hysterical laughter?!)

Grahoom and Matilda

SO, there I was last night sitting on the boat enjoying some Champers as I celebrated the removal of the motorbike from the front deck onto dry land (many thanks to the tow path walker who offered a hand!) when I noticed some lovely flowers. Retrieving my flower book from the shelves, I grabbed Maffi and we were peering eagerly into the hedgerow identifying the glory in front of us, when low and behold Grahoom and Matilda strolled past. I just LOVE those guys! We all had a fabulous evening watching the sun go in.