Friday, January 30, 2009

The fridge and its habitat

When I lived on the to other boat, I had a gas fridge. It was a lovely little number with a freezing compartment for the ice cubes for gin, and a lovely little clip that enabled the door to be firmly shut, or just set to ajar.

On this boat I have a monster 12volt electric fridge. I have been thinking about exchanging it for a smaller one (with an ice box for the ice cubes for the gin), but as yet haven't got around to it.

What a shame these big fridges don't have a lovely little clip on them to keep them just ajar. They don't.

My current fridge is not switched on, and when I switched it off I forgot to empty it. Needless to say I haven't dared open the fridge to check out the contents, but I DO know the antique food museum will be flourishing in its microbiological field day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Banging the bonce

I see that Maffi mentioned my 'incident' on Sunday. I stood up in the doorway of the boat, and banged my head (it is much shorter than me). Not only have I had a resounding headache since the occasion, but my neck and back have been feeling most unpleasant. As I was at the Dr surgery anyway today I decided to mention it. Apparently I have whip lash. Normally I have concussion and go completely doo lally, so I suppose the whip lash makes a change - hope it doesn't last as long.

Automatic Spelling

I have just spent ages looking for some work on my computer called 'narrowband'. I couldn't find it anywhere.. until a moment of genius struck me and I searched for 'narrowboat'. There it was... Ooops/Doh.

Coming together

Contrary to popular belief, I do not like living in a tip. The good ship Bones has been sailing the high seas over the last few months as a workshop. This is the problem with living in a small-ish space; when one room becomes attacked with 'modernisation' the rest of the boat becomes the store room. I can live in all manner of states as long as there is a roof over my head, but after a while the mess takes its toll in all senses. Now I have somewhere to lay my head that isn't in the wood pile I am pleased. I also fell in love with a sink and purchased it so the bathroom is now also coming together. The problem with boats is nothing is ever as simple as it might initially seem. The new sink couldn't be slotted into the plumbing system that was present and active, so it had to be redone which involved endless trips back and forward with various fittings and fixtures. It really DOES pay to live opposite a builders and plumbing merchants!!!!

The boat still looks a mess and very uncomplete, but I can see it all coming together and that puts a smile on my face and some rest in my soul.

Today I like boats....

Friday, January 23, 2009


Jo on Hadar makes the best cake in the world. Simple as that. It is GLORIOUS, absolutely glorious.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Boaters often talk about lavatories and the arguments are rife as to whether a pump out, macerator, bucket and chuck-it, cassette or cross your legs and hope for the best, system are the most suitable for boat dwelling. Ihave a thetford porta potti.

My debrett's makes no mention of the "lavatory" or the "loo", nor for that matter does it mention "boater". A quick google on the topic came up with this which was intriguing, but reminded me of an occasion my sister said my father had written to her about. When on holiday in the country he likes to spend time walking around in the middle of no-where for extensive periods. One morning he decided it was time to spend some time on the royal throne cogitating. He dug his hole, put a plank across to form a delightful seat, and took his place. After some time of perusing the proverbial newspaper he decided to shift his weight at which point the seat collapsed with him still attached into the hole.
This goes to show that the lavatory is not only ones solitude, but can offer more than one has bargained for.
Solitude is an important thing. A priest in China (where one can't be such a thing) was in prison for professing his faith. He was tortured, yet still proclaimed the glory of God. The guards unable to stop him sent him out to the cess pits to dig them all day every day. The priest loved it - he could praise God all day because no-one could stand the stench to beat him.
I have always rather liked the wooden lavatories such as these or the more modern version here. My Great Uncle had a fabulous lavatory (my father has a painted version of it in his own lavatory) with delicate blue painting inside the blue bowl (it was nothing like this, but you might get the gist!)

Actually, I just wanted to say that a thetford porta potti isn't the best if you have irritable bowel syndrome.

Gas Strut Brackets

Maffi has taken a shine to my gas struts (phew) and suggested some brackets I might like to buy... so I did. They arrived today:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hand Drills and Bulk Heads

I have passed the cable down one side of the boat, but got stuck at the rear bulk head as the existing hole isn't big enough. Simple job thinks me, I will make it bigger. I have been drilling for an hour and I am barely half way through. Not only that but my big brace drill had an 'incident' and I don't know how to put it back together... Ooops! I did try to look at my other drills to work it out, but they are different; perhaps this one has bits of its chuck missing....

Cor that was fun

Last year Hadar came through a couple of times, and I have been watching eagerly as they have been looming back down the canal towards our quarters. FINALLY they arrived and as soon as I got home I powered up the Dinghy and headed up to see them. As soon as I arrived it was almost dark so I had to turn around and go home again, but I did manage to invite them for a beer in the local hostillery later that evening.
Ocelot, Hadar, Milly M and I had a lovely time.
I like lovely times!

Look what the fairies gave me:

Arctic cable 2.5mm2 and I shall run it down each side of the boat under the gunwhale. In no time at all the great ship Bones is going to be dragged forward a century.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The diet is serious

Before Christmas the cleaning cupboard at work was inundated with biscuits and chocolates, and I pretended not to notice. Since Christmas there has been a rather fine biscuit tin on the table and I have been curious as to whether it has biscuits in it, but I decided not to show an interest; I haven't even knocked it accidently to see!

Anyway, the cleaning ladies (not Nathan) are on a diet.

This, as you can imagine has made me rather more interested in the biscuits, because ladies on diets do NOT eat biscuits. The biscuits however, have remained on the desk in the cleaning cupboard and I have had no idea whether they are empty or not.

After some time, I decided there were some biscuits left. I was curious as to why the biscuit tin was still there and concluded that the ladies had not fully committed to their diet. The biscuits were obviously there for backup.

Well, I can proudly announce that today they gave me the biscuits! I didn't ask for them, or drool when they moved the tin. I did snatch them and leg it before they changed their minds (with enough decorum to show I had not been waiting for this moment), and I now have a tin of biscuits. Although I have been told in no uncertain terms that the tin is not part of the gift, and it has to be returned.



I have finally decided to run some cable down the length of the boat so I can run a radio without having to run my fridge (don't ask! It was an ingeniuous idea of mine that clearly wasn't as ingenious as it seemed). I love the radio and I love music and I have finally decided to re-install them both.

Watch this space....!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cruising picture book

I like the cement works just past Shipton on Cherwell, and the way they accompany you along the river, through bakers lock, and up into Enslow.

I also like this bridge just before Bakers Lock

And I LOVE fires:

Tinned Food

If you buy paint, or stuff in a tin it usually 'does what it says on the tin' - or that is the catch phrase we are used to hearing. As I was strolling around the super market the other day, I saw a tin of 'chicken in white wine sauce'.

I can confirm that this does NOT do what it says on the tin. It is gloop, and gloop is the same the world over; gloopy flavoured.

I will stick to my freshly cooked food in future.

The importance of respect?

Someone told me the other day that they don't respect me. This made me think about what respect actually means:

The online encyclo has several definitions, and here is just one:

1. To take notice of; to regard with special attention; to regard as worthy of special consideration; hence, to care for; to heed. ... 2. To consider worthy of esteem; to regard with honor. ... 3. To have regard to; to have reference to; to relateto; as, the treaty particularly respects our commerce. As respects, as regards; with regard to; as to"

Looking at this it tells me that respect is a fundamental component of a relationship and a friendship, but not an acquaintance, for the former the importance of two way communication and two way respect is fundamental, in the latter it isn't. It makes no difference whether someone respects me, or whether I respect someone else, but it makes a huge difference if two people are to be friends. No one person can live under the umbrella of disrespect (or contempt), or the lack of respect (as this surely means one will cross anothers boundaries irrespectively) and it can't be pleasant for the other person to be around someone they disrespect (and the consequences).

So, when we harp on about the lack of respect in our 'youf culture' I wonder whether that is something that has come about due to our own lack of respect for them. If we don't listen to the 'youf' why should they listen to us?

I clearly have nothing in me for this particular person to respect, although I find it strange they should say that as I thought we were friends. I wonder if our culture has anything for the 'youf' to respect, especially when it is held in a mind of disregard and fear.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I always find it interesting to think about the meanings of words and the impact of them and their meaning on our society and interactions as we know them. Often we are so busy pointing out other peoples foiables and problems that we forget that we fall short ourselves. I wonder whether respect is the beauty of friendship, I think it might be.

I suppose many friendships lose respect, some are never borne because of lack of respect, and relationships break up without it. It seems fundamental, yet I was never taught about it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Bed....

I spent the first night in the bed last night, and I thought it wasn't for the infirm. Kate leapt at the chance to prove she wasn't infirm and managed to leap into the bed without too much a do. In fact, she is so sprightly I felt quite exhausted just watching her, and had my bed been to hand (and not head) I would have collapsed into it.

I am wondering whether a spiral stair case would make a good addition to the boudoir.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

OK... here it is

Due to popular demand (thanks Simon!) here is a picture of the bed:

The underside needs finishing, as does the wardrobe to the right, and the floor, but that is where it is at for now...

That is a bit different!

And here is a corner of the bedroom - not finished (of course).


Thursday, January 15, 2009


Someone asked me today how my bathroom was... I dont think it was because they thought I was re-doing my bathroom, but because they don't have one themselves which means they are washing in the kitchen sink. Well, I thought it was a bit silly to ask ME about my bathroom because it is my bedroom that is a state... but then when I cast my eye over the ablution empire I realised my basin is full of CDs, my shower is full of wood and leathers, and the floor has tools on it. Not only that, but my kitchen sink is full of washing up.

HELP - I think I am becoming a bachelor!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If Only....

This is one gorgeous looking boat... if only I had 55k!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Thaw

The world is frightfully sparkly when the ice sets in on the over hanging branches, resting on the delicate teasels and the spiders webs. The view is glorious as the morning sun rises casting its light through the crystals of freeze. It makes the world look so picturesque it is almost like being in a Christmas cake scene; even at night as the darkness descends the world seems surprisingly solid and beautiful. I have noticed something else about the great freeze - it turns ye old human into a most peculiar creature. Our local village swan has been "saved" three times by the boaters or the house dwellers. It would seem the swan is thought to be distressed (but as far as I can gather he is simply breaking ice), thus it is lured to the edge with slices of bread and quickly grabbed around the neck and launched into the air and safely onto the bank; with the swan in shock and the human legging it in the opposite direction I just wish I was there to witness it. Following these incidents I have noticed that the swan has stopped hissing at me as I walk past it - perhaps it is finally learning that Humans are the top dog, or maybe he is concerned I am about to save him...

I am amazed his neck isn't broken!

Good (non judgemental) weekends

NB Epiphany announced their arrival this weekend, and we spent a glorious couple of days with them. I was rather skeptical about John when I first met him, but over time I have found myself warming to him; He appears to be the sort of chap that bumbles along and takes things in his stride - not in an invinsible way, but in a very good human way. I find both Fi and John intriguing and I find myself eyeing them from a distance wondering nothing much, but just observing them. I know I like them, but I have never been sure why, I suppose it doesn't matter, but I do know they are faithful, and they seem pretty loyal and rather resilient (they have to be to still be talking to me!). I also know that I thoroughly enjoyed their visit, we sat around, chatted, ate and chilled - absolutely perfect! I hope they come again as it was really good to see them, they are rather calming.

On Sunday things were getting a bit dire aboard the ships so Maffi and I went over to Mo and Judes to do some washing, have baths and eat. I haven't been able to get over to theirs for a while, and their complete acceptance of my circumstances and life was something I once again found refreshing. They have always been like that towards me and they too are loyal and faithful friends.

So, all in all - thanks guys!

Friday, January 09, 2009

gas struts

A lovely lady from Oxford has given me some Gas struts, or Gas springs, that she had left over from one of her projects. I am hoping to try them this weekend.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Quiet in the storm

The second part of my Christmas holidays was nothing short of stressful, so I am pleased to be back at work where I can apply my mind and re-instate some routine into my otherwise chaotic life! There have been a few good things that happened though -
Firstly Colin and Jill came to visit on New Years day. Colin helped me a lot when I was scratching my head about getting some plumbing on the boat, and Jill was excellent at explaining the world of ipods when I was looking into getting one of my own with some vouchers I had been given. I find them both very relaxing and excellent company.

On Sunday Nick came to visit and after luncheon in the Boat Inn in Thrupp we took a stroll over to the Hampton Gay Manor house which is now a ruin - I just love it there. It has been fascinating seeing it gently decay over the years, I would love to know who owns it now, as the owner I knew of died some time ago! Lazy Days took an absolutely glorious picture of the house in the sunset When I was looking up the manor house early in the week I found a site that suggested it was haunted - I don't think it is, it felt very homely when I strolled around. I will never tire of taking walks over the fields to the spot.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Perhaps I should have purchased a windmill instead.... oh well, too late now.


On the brink

I am on the brink of buying a yamaha p85 keyboard. Having tried Lazy Days more up to date version the other day I have decided I really DO like to play the piano, and as there isn't an option to do so locally I need to sort one out. I have enjoyed playing my keyboard (thanks Salty) but it just isn't the same. I am not sure I can justify the expense, but I think I might not think about that just now and just make the phone call...

Monday, January 05, 2009


Some things make my heart glow, and this particular teabag mountain is one of them:

It isn't simply a pile of teabags, it is a pile of corpses growing higher and higher as the cup of tea soothes the little red lanes of the drinker bringing satisfaction, peace, comfort and warmth. I like that - there is something quaintesentially english about it all.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sigh of relief

The bedroom is almost complete. The bed box is in place, the wardrobe is built (but the rail needs to be attached) and the chest of drawers under the bed are about to be filled with my glad rags. I need to get some gas struts in place so the bed lifts up easily but for now.... works.


Friday, January 02, 2009

The last week or so

After a glorious time in London on Boxing day with various members of the ancestoral clan I returned home to find Dominic M from the canalworld forum moored up in the vicinity. We had a bit of a party aboard Dominic and Helen's great ship with PJ and Ocelot's daughter, Maffi and the lovely folks upon Bella (Elizabeth and Pete). Turns out Elizabeth is an interested character with an eclectic mix of interests, and Pete has funky hair. Dominic is a card, and Helen is sheer joy, so it was a lovely evening. Bella rested the following day, along with Helen, but we had Dominic came out to play the following evening and met us for a bevvy and chat in the local hostillery.

Then I headed over to Surrey to check that WeepingCross was still in order, and dined with him and the lovely John and Caroline - they are adorable (especially as Caroline came armed with meringues).

Phone found

Maffi spent some time this morning with the landing net and managed to fish my phone out of the canal! It is now drying, and he has lent me his old phone so I can use that. Thank you!

In other news, the bedroom lining is complete and fabulous, but I am struggling to manage the rest on my own. It occurred to me this morning how lucky I have been in the past to always have 2 pairs of hands and lots of giggles to help me heave bits of wood around and screw bits together, it is hard on ones own! Especially as I am a little bit indecisive at the moment and can't decide what to do next - MOST annoying!

Humans are social beings, and although I would like to be a loner, I find myself enjoying the company of people more and more.

I have 3 days of my holidays left and I am looking forward to returning back to work - holidays seem so stressful, but then so is work!

Perhaps I will take the boat for a cruise.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

No Phone

My phone fell in the water... so I have no phone... OOPS

I have done something you know!

Contrary to popular belief I am actually doing some of the work on my bedroom! I even have proof... Lazy Days came cycling past and spotted me with a saw...