Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Thoughts from abroad

I am sure we all know what it is to want. The over all effect of my want is anger. I am angry at those who are cheating and and stealing from me. I am angry with the Americans because they are so bloody apathetic about this whole situation. I am angry with people back home because some simply do not understand what is happening out here.

I am angry at my country. So far they have done nothing to get me out, but then I am not the son of any one important. Were my father on the queens staff or an MP I would be out of this place in a heart beat. One of the downfalls of being a peasant.

Most of all I am angry at me because I let people, who can't even tie up their shoelaces, screw me.

I am angry at me for not having the fortitude to stop looking at canal blogs. I keep seeing life as it should be for me if only I was at home, which comes back around to being angry at these people for preventing me from exercising my rights by holding me captive. Yeah I know strong words but there are no other words for it. I am not being held at gun point, I am not locked up in a basement, I am not directly in fear of my life, but I am being held captive against international law.

Saudi Arabia signed the ICHR and they totally ignore it. It holds no meaning here, it's a scrap of paper westerners wrote and doesn't really apply to them. I am lucky because I will get out, many ex-pats die here. My company alone are directly responsible for the death of 7 Asians this last year by way of denying them medical treatment.

I know I wont go to hell when I die you only go there once and I've already been.

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Dribble

Lots of people come to visit. Some only come once, some every day. There have now been visits some 7500 from at least 1600 locations in 76 countries. About 20% come through Granny Buttons or No Problem. One chap(ess) visits two or three times a day.

Most I will never know, many I may meet on the canal if I ever get out of hell. What I really want to know is, who is the reader from Lambeth who visits every day, two often three times a day. He/she is always there, never fails. They must be boaty types or they wouldn't keep coming back.

I suppose they could be from some religious mafiosa, I have been known to be a bit outspoken from time to time, but which one?

I don't like any religion and would rather we banned them all. I am of the firm conviction that the world we live in cannot afford to have religion. The concept of God, and it is only a concept, is an expensive luxury that poor people can no longer afford and neither can nations. It just gives jobs to people who have no imagination and like dressing up. And funnily enough, like farmers, you never see a poor vicar/priest/imam/whatever, do you? The concept of 'church' is greatest in the poorest countries. These countries are usually the most repressed.

Who would have thought that li'l ol' me could make enemies, nah I must be wrong, I mean I am so nice, so ordinary, so English!

Even my ex-wife, W2, says I am nice, easy to live with, but then I wouldn't believe anything she says coz she divorced me! Some women are so dumb.

The only enemy I have at the moment, apart from every head banging god botherer in the world, is my roomie the 'Fruit Loop'. He scares the crap out of me. I have never done anything to hurt him, but for some reason I am the cause of all his problems. It must be difficult when you have a computer immbedded in your chest to be one of the normal people, I understand that, but why is it all my fault.
No I don't know if it is a desk top or lap top I didn't ask.

Instant Karma.........almost.

It would appear from local newspaper reports that some vacationing Saudi families are unable to return to Saudi in time for the start of the new school year, due to the increased security procedures at airports. What goes around comes around. Ask me if I care!

INDIANS!

More pictures from Kim's canal visit. This Teepee is in a field by the canal. Were we in Montana we could shoot them.



Jim and Kim playing at Robin Hood.



They are both small people which is noticable here. This isn't a tree its a sapling.They have been together a long time now. I think they met when she had just left school. Jim asked her to play bass for his band when their regular player was unable to show up. She has since been to college and uni and now has a good job in her chosen field. Jim did an eneineering apprenticeship and is now at uni. Between them they bought my house last year. Not doing bad for a couple of 20 somethings. If you ever met them you would be amazed at how together they are.

Monday, 28 August 2006

Back on topic.

Well I might not be able to enjoy the canals just now but with the aid of modern technology I can certainly see them. Daughter Kim sent me this of the Burbage Wharf Crane on the north side of the K&A between Cadley Lock and Burbage Bridge, which carries the A346. Though originally built in the 19th century this one is a replica made by Bath-based Stothert and Pitt, The original dismantled in early 1970s. I fear this one is in need of a whole load of TLC. The nb Sir Guy in the foreground. Sir Guy is 36 ft. Registered with BW number 70109.


Kim went to the canal for a day out with boyfriend James. They had a meal at the Royal Oak in the village of Wootton Rivers which is to the west of Burbage. The Royal Oak is an old 16th century thatched pub. She says the food was excellent. They chose from a huge menu which included a lot of veggie dishes, something which is missing from many menus. Jim's steak was very good too, he says. Ya have to love 'em Jim eats all the stuff Kim wont and she doesn't get at all huffy. She has been a veggie since our days at Halton, I think, that's about 12 years.

Just west from Burbage is Cadley Lock where she took this picture of a 65 foot nb locking through, looking back towards Burbage.

"What was it called", I asked.

"I didn't see" she said. Doh!

Never mind someone will notice it and tell me.

Notice the leaky top gate!


Another day in paradise

Well yesterdays disappointment has relaxed and is now history.

Where to from here I don't really know. I have written to my MP Michael Ancram again, but I will not hold my breath for a reply. His last reply many weeks ago did not, as far as I am aware do anything to benefit me. He said via his secretary "I am concerned about your situation and will be asking questions at the Foreign Office," or words to that effect. That was over a month ago, thanks Michael, you public non-servant.

While Plan 'A' is in progress I don't know if it will bear fruit. Plan 'B' is written waiting for the time that plan 'A' fails. Mean while Plan 'C' Shhhhhhhhhhh.

Things here are as normal, just another day in paradise.

Sunday, 27 August 2006

What now?

There are now three plans to get out of hell.
A. Pay over $1,300 for my passport and visa. (working on that now)
B. Badger and embarrass the British Embassy.
C. Shhhhhh!

HELD AGAINST MY WILL IN SAUDI ARABIA


Clusterf**k!

There can be no more annoying situation to be in than in a country where no one wants to help not even those you pay to do so. The legal system is to say the least a total f**k up.

There is only one labour court in Riyadh and I turned up at the wrong one. How stupid is that. I get the feeling that someone is yanking my chain.

In the UK we bend over backwards to ensure that some one with a complaint has proper recourse in the courts. Leaflets and signs are written in many languages. No one is denied due process. Here in Saudi you 'will' speak Arabic or you don't get anywhere. The only English at the Labour courts is the numbers over the doors. There is nothing to help the non Arabic reader not even people who will admit to speaking English. To hear some say "Sorry I don’t speak English" with an almost perfect English accent makes you want to punch someone on the nose. There is no one to point you in the right direction. No signs to show you where to go, nothing.

I have to wonder why so many of my tax pounds are being spent in the UK on people who don't offer reciprocal arrangements in their own country.

That our government spend thousands if not millions of our pounds on people in an embassy who cannot do a simple thing like get you a passport out of hell is an indictment of it's total incompetence. I don't want pretty words I want action and I want it now.

I have been held a prisoner of this corrupt country for 4 months and I am frankly getting sick of it. F**king people up is a national pastime, they are experts at doing sod all to help.

If apathy was an Olympic sport these idiots would have all the medals. I didn't get my day in court today due to incompetence, not mine but the inability of those I pay to do it right. And those who are paid to dispense justice to understand that the company I am suing are blatantly abusing the law to ensure that I get so pissed off that I will go home without any settlement. But wait I can't go home because they have stolen my passport and no one can get it back. What a clusterfuck! (one of the few Americanisms I like)

STILL HELD IN CORRUPT SAUDI ARABIA


Saturday, 26 August 2006

Punting? Piece of cake!!!!!

Wandering through the tales of Balmaha I came across a picture of people punting down the river in Cambridge. Such pictures bring back woeful memories of the one and only time I did the same thing.

We had gone to visit friends of W2 so this would have been about 20 years ago. I don't remember who the people were as I never saw them again, I do remember that Mrs 'Friend of W2' was a vet. If she should read this she may remember me, not that she would own up!

Now I had never been on a punt at that time, but it didn't seem that difficult so I put my hand to punting. It took a little time to get the rhythm right, but it is, once learned quite easy. Easy that is until you get the pole stuck in the mud!

Like all novice punters I had not learned yet that "letting go of the pole keeps you dry". I hung on to that pole for dear life. I was determined not to let go, to my folly.

When a vertical 2" pole is all that is keeping you dry you soon learn that gravity is a powerful force. Yep I went in and under much to the amusement of the crowd that were gathered on the bridge and King's College green. W2 was in fits.

I can imagine that in season going down to the river to watch the Grokels get a dunking is something of an amusing pastime for students and locals alike.

This picture linked from Jakes blog "Balmaha" is as far as I can remember not that far from where I got baptised in the river all those years ago. Thanks for the memory Jake.

Doggie doo!

There are many dog owners that do, as is required by the law, clean up after their pets, but there are also many who don't.

On the streets of our towns and cities Doggie doo is almost a thing of the past. Not so the canal system. It would seem that it is becoming a common practice to put dog droppings in the canal, something that I find disgusting. The other practice that I find equally disgusting is bagging said doo doo and chucking it in the hedgerow or even up into a tree. Such people do not deserve to live in a civilised society.

Our canals are not open sewers and the towpath is not a place for people to decorate trees with their pet leavings.

The law as I understand it is quite specific (paraphrased) Dog owners are to clear any mess from their pets and dispose of it in the bins provided or (in the event of no bin) take it home with them and dispose of it there. Penalty for failure to do so £1000.

Now I wonder what is difficult about that. This government spend a lot of money on education every year and it would seem it is wasted because some people don't understand common decency. It would be a common courtesy to take away your dogs leavings from the towpath. Not only do non-pet owners and their children want to walk the towpath without encountering piles of doggie doo, but those that have boats moored on the towpath do not want the smell of **** wafting through their windows. They live there albeit temporarily. Their front window is closer to the tow path than any house is to the footpath.

If dogs were still allowed to dump outside peoples houses there would be hell to pay, but they are not because that is the law, so why do some people think that boaters are not entitled to the same legal consideration as every one else. Flicking doggie doo into the canal or tossing it over the hedge is the same as throwing it into someones garden. An act that should carry a £5000 fine.

We are citizens and a taxpayers and we have the same entitlement to protection under the law as everyone else. We deserve respect. This behaviour is not only disrespectful to boaters but to everyone else that uses the canal towpath be they walker, fisherman, cyclist or child.

You might find it demeaning and disagreeable but so do boaters who have to live with this linear sewer. It's bad enough that dogs pee on mooring pins but stepping off your boat into a pile of doggie doo is more than demeaning it is a social disgrace.

Please clear up after your dog and take it home.

Friday, 25 August 2006

What are they smoking?

Narrowboats are a whole different ball game to aeroplanes. I know about aeroplanes, it has been my job for over thirty years. I will have some problems with the ins and outs of a boat, but my thirty years of experience in electrical and mechanical engineering will stand me in good stead.

OK I have worked on jet engines most of that time and there are differences with diesels, but suck, squeeze, bang, blow applies to either. Electrics too are a different kettle of fish, I am used to far bigger systems, but not that different that I will not be able to cope. The physics never change just the mechanics.

I cannot believe that I will be out of my depth. I will just apply the same logic to what ever problems that occur and should be able to deal with most if not all problems that come up.

What I cannot get my head around is that people who have only the experience of filing a broken nail or replacing the ink cartridge in the printer are contemplating buying a boat.

Hello my name is Fred I have decided to buy a narrow boat to live on. I am in insurance and can operate a fairly complicated retractable ball pen, but have no other technical ability. I have never had to replace so much as a fuse. I will be asking some very dumb questions. I hope all you 'experts' here will be able to point me in the right direction.

Most people never stop learning, some have never started. I certainly don't want to suggest they shouldn't buy a boat if that is what they want, it really is their choice, but I have to ask what are they using for a brain cell. What are these people thinking?

I know when I first thought about having a boat I was thinking probably a couple of batteries and a hurricane lamp to read by. It didn't take long for those ideas to be dashed and to have the new Battersea Power station installed in the back of the boat. My learning curve is going to be quite steep but these people will have a curve off the chart. Blue Peter never sets you up for owning a boat.

Oi! I resemble that remark

It makes no difference what you do in life there will always be people that put you down. We all do what it takes to get what we want out of life. For some it is work, work, work, for others it is just enough to get by. It's a choice. Life is full of choices. Sometimes we make good choices sometimes not, but the point is we make choices.

When it comes to management there are two types of managers those that make decisions and those that don't. Personally I would much prefer the manager that makes a decision, right or wrong, rather than one that doesn't.

And so it is with life's choices. You may not choose the right path but at least you chose. That is important. So why is it that when choices are made the nay sayers climb all over you like a rash..

Steve Hayward a writer with a waterways magazine seems to think that there is something wrong with those folk that choose to retire from their working life and live full time on the water. So much so that he refers to them as 'cash rich pensioners' and 'water gypsies'

In a recent article he says

“But if you think British Waterways are going to sit back while the canals get clogged up with retired couples living the dream, then forget the water, you must have taken up residence in cloud cuckoo land. At the rate these cash-rich pensioners are selling up their homes and turning into water gypsies, it can only be a matter of time before there are regulations limiting it. Or big charges levied for the privilege.”

Not all 'water gypsies' as he put it are rich. Many are just swapping the house they had for one that floats. Agreed you are not going to be able to do that if you are in a council house earning £150 a week but then if you are rich and you want to live on a boat the South of France offers a nicer outlook for you dollar.

When you have worked all your life from dawn till dusk paid your taxes and are coming towards the end of a fruitful, productive life who is he to start throwing names about. Anyone, whether they do it on a refurbished old hull or a sparkley new boat have chosen to do so because that is what they want. It is not for the likes of him to comment, it is not his choice.

I think I get the drift of the article, but rather than pour scorn on those that can do this he might do better looking at the ways in which the government can use the waterways to alleviate our water shortage problem. If the government were to invest in the canals, add a few, install new pumping systems etc then the canals could be used as a 'national grid' to move water around the country. The canal system would not only be a leisure facility but an important part of the utility infrastructure.

Peace and Love?

It matters not if you are a big, ugly, tough guy or not somethings just make you shed a tear.
I certainly hope that this act made the man feel good because he will rot in hell for this.

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Nearly there

Time 01:00 Temp 98oF 37oC

Well Wednesday was to see the installation of the stove and chimney. Unfortunately Keith got called away on an emergency, so I am still stoveless. The boat is progressing well and should be ready when I get home. Now that could be next week or it could be October. I am looking at next week for the simple reason that you need a focus point especially as I have waited so long here effectively under house arrest albeit very lax. I feel a bit like Oliver Twist all I asked for was what was mine.

If it should run on until October my Iqama will run out on the 6th and I can hand myself in as an overstayer, which should get me deported. Drastic measures I know, but what is a guy to do. Saudi Law is the easiest law in the world to abuse and my employers are masters of that abuse. The longer this goes on the less I like these people.

I must be positive, there will be a solution next week!

The dreaded JW's

I have mentioned JW's before and I will mention them again if only because some one on a forum spoke about them knocking on the roof of his boat early one morning.

"Knock! Knock!"

"Yes?"

"I bet you have never had anyone come to talk to you about Jesus on the boat before?"

"I bet you have never had a twenty ton boat slammed on your foot before!"

JW's are very self sufficient. Once you join the 'club' they are all you will ever need. All in all a compact social services system all neatly wrapped up in Jesus. They control your life, everything!

I knew someone who was a JW from birth. She is probably one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Nothing is too much trouble. She would give me or anyone for that matter her last penny. She was quite happy to go around knocking on doors and spreading the 'message'.

A time came that she was improperly accused of offending the system and left the fold she was cut dead. No more social system to lean on. All of her friends gone. Everything she had ever known gone. It must have been the loneliest time of her life.

JW's have no compassion for transgressors. They don't care one iota for you once you are cast out. Many ex JW's have a hard time being outside the fold. It is not something that I would like to have happen to me. There are even web sites for ex-JW's this being one of them. and google will produce a plethora of other links I never disrespect people that come to my door, but then I can think in more than one dimension, however my favourite question to ask a JW is "Can you give me your spiel with out mentioning Jesus, God or the bible", gets them every time.

Yo! Rico

Many thanks to Rico and his blog. Twice recently he has quoted my er..... Rantings! He like me is not a racist just a realist although I think he may stand a little closer to the line than I.

I have spoken at greater length at another blog about the state of our country but will decline from saying any more here coz its not really the place. See here if you want to follow but don't complain if you don't like it.

Why me?

If I stand at a bus stop I always find that the one person I would rather not talk to strikes up a conversation. When I queue at the store same thing the local 'looney' wants to tell me their life story or sell me Jesus. I even get stopped in the street by some very dodgy looking people just so they can give me the 'good news' err.... like I don't have anything else to do. JW's always seem to find my door. I am never disrespectful, but they in particular have not got the true story so I never listen.

Being out here that doesn't happen. Except, just lately, there has been a plethora of evangelicals visiting my blog.

They don't try to spread their 'message' or convert me to their ideology, no nothing like that, but I wonder why/how they find me? What is it about Aardvarks & Maffi's Boat that attracts them? What is it about me? Do they have some special 'spidey' sense. Do I give off my venerability over cyberspace? Or is it Big G's way of saying, "Hey Maffi you got it all wrong. I do exist and these are the people who are spreading the word to Godless souls like you". Now that is a spooky thought.

If this is the case one thing puzzles me, why doesn't he ever send a babe. Could it be that babes don't need to go round knocking on doors? They already have their place in heaven. Think about it, if you was Big G wouldn't you ensure that the pretty people were the closest to you.

I am much more likely to listen to a babe. I might be past my sell by date, but I can still recognise a bodacious babe when I see one. Going on past memories a babe is more likely to convert me than some strange looking geek in a suit. I want a babe to knock on my door and ask "Have you heard the good news about Jesus Christ". (I have always want to ask, "Is he better?")

Why is it that if you are going to be stopped in the street or at the bus stop or have some preacher knock on your door it is never a sweet young girl with legs up to her armpits, oozing sex from her every pore, with blue flashing eyes and the brightest smile that says "Jesus sent me to get you".

In my case it's always a near pensioner with boobs down to her hips, support hose, who squints at me through bottle glasses, a gummy grin and smells of antiseptic and steradent.

If Big G wants me to 'see the light' he's going the wrong way about it. Give me a break Big G don't keep all the babes to yourself. I am not asking for much just one, or maybe two a week, well I am a lost cause, it will take the concerted efforts of many to bring me back into the fold.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Did You know?

In England there are fewer MPs per head of population than in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

In May 2003 Scottish Labour MPs voted in favour of foundation hospitals in England despite the fact that the Scottish Labour Party had rejected them for Scotland where English representatives have no say.

Despite having achieved devolution, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland still have special ministers in the UK government dedicated to furthering their interests. England has none.

In the House of Commons, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs can vote on purely English affairs and affect what happens to England, but English MPs are prohibited from voting on matters purely affecting their countries.

Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can represent the whole of the UK at Brussels. England has no ministers.

Europe produced a map of the Regions of England that famously omitted England yet included the other nations of the UK. This is the reality of England’s situation.

Instead of granting devolution to England in any form at all such as a parliament, the UK government now intends to dismember and partition England into regions with regional assemblies. In this way the UK government intends to abolish England as a national entity. It re-established the distinct constitutional existence, identity and unity of the Scots and the Welsh; it intends to deny this to the English People.

The CEP

And again.

When I originally designed the boat I planned to have 51/2" by 21/2" oval Sapele handles on all the cupboards. As you may imagine these are not standard items that can be bought off the shelf.

I have tried many manufacturers who said they would make me 1,000. I have tried getting them made locally and I had someone try in South Africa, all to no avail. So now its a case of deciding from the huge range that is available all over the country.

So there I was reckoning on going to Ikea to have a shuftie at what they had. Would you believe there is no one to go with. I kinda don't like to go out alone after dark, it's not good for your health if you know what I mean, especialy not in this part of Riyadh. Maybe tomorrow!

But then again if I change the ovals for rectangles then I could do those myself.

I think for the time being I will wait till I get home, that way I will have a better idea of the space and the general feel of the boat.

Seeing the doors in the galley I think I know just the sort of thing that will suit, but there are some 23 doors/drawers, I think, that need handles.

What I really need to do is stop thinking coz decisions aren't my strong point

Galley again!

A while back I mentioned that they were having problems with the galley on the boat. Not enough space for my design. I asked Gary to measure up that space which is now available so I could redesign it but there really isnt enough room to do anything with it except maybe a folding shelf-cum-table.

It seems that the cooker is wider than I planned for and the fridge is deeper. So I screwed up that bit, looks like the area under the side hatch maybe left empty. Doh!

The sink looks good, but I'm not sure the tap I bought in Dubai will fit with the angle of the wall.



Picture from Gary at Ledgard

This will teach me.......

..... to go off topic.

Following my post reference 'Stupid Laws' in Montana USA. I received this from Michael, a regular reader in "Moose Jaw" Canada, who funnily enough is seeking a job with my company DIFA here in Saudi Arabia. Yeah I told him, but to no avail!

Michael writes,

This is a LAW from Hamilton, Ontario (which still stands today!)

As you approach a 4-way STOP intersection who has the Right-of-Way?
(This is only in effect if ALL 4 vehicles come to the stop signs at the same time!)

    A) You?
    B) The Mail Truck?
    C) The Police Car (with lights flashing)?
    D) the Ambulance (with lights flashing)?
        Answers on a post card to Michael in Moose Jaw Canada .

        Just kidding

        Answer 'B' The Mail Truck!

        Back in the early 1920's at King & James (downtown Hamilton), a motor vehicle, the only one in Hamilton at that time, hit a horse drawn Mail Wagon. City Council enacted a law giving priority to Mail Wagons, which still stands on the books today! Of course it's never enforced as common sense says the Ambulance has the right of way! The Police cruiser is 2nd , then the rest is up for game (the one on the right has right of way).

        Tuesday, 22 August 2006

        Soon, Inshallah!

        This morning the river looked resplendent in the early morning sun. My Milly M lazing in the water anticipating the appearance of moi, awakening in me the longing to be aboard and underway.

        This afternoon however the scene changed and an altogether gloomier picture was to be seen.



        Off putting though this may seem I can't wait. One thing about this place there is no changing weather. Yesterday it was hot, today it is hot and tomorrow it will be hot. It's always bloody hot. We Brits like to talk about the changing weather. Here there is no change, just hot!

        Pictures from Ledgard security camera

        Monday, 21 August 2006

        Bandits beware!

        At long last the Thames Valley Police have done something about the trouble at Iffley Lock on the Thames near Oxford. The City Council in conjunction with the TVP has issued a Dispersement Order. Well that’s a new one on me!

        Now the TVP can order groups of two or more to move out of the area for at least 24 hrs. This became necessary because of unruly behaviour by some youths. One boater was recently unceremoniously dumped in the river and several boats were set adrift and one guy in a canoe was tipped out of his boat.

        Says Superintendent Tim Trotman

        "The dispersal order is an important power that police now have to help combat antisocial behaviour, disorder and intimidation."

        Hold it! Hold it! Ho-o-old it! Some of what has been going on at Iffley Lock was not anti-social behaviour, disorder or intimidation. It was out and out criminal activity.

        Given that it is already an offence under Maritime law to either board a boat without permission or to set it adrift why did they need new rules. Seems to me that application of existing laws would have produced a much better result that this new one. They could lock the buggers up for the rest of the summer rather than just herd them out of the area for a day.

        I find myself asking, "Whatever happened to the birch?"

        Oh no not again!

        This is the third time I have had occasion to mention the practice of discarding the ashes of the deceased in our rivers. This is a Church of England country. It is not to my knowledge a common or cultural practice to dispose of our dead in the rivers.

        It's not enough that parts of the Soar have already been given over to this non Anglican practice. Now the Sikh community want to have another river to scatter the ashes of family members. They want part of the Ribble reserved solely for them to as place where they can toss their dear departed away. Hindu's in Bradford are also seeking permission to do the same in the River Aire. It has been mentioned around that eventually they want all rivers to be designated as places to cast away the ashes of their dead. I don't think so.

        One Hindu complained that he had the inconvenience of taking the ashes of his recently departed to India. I am sorry that their nearest and dearest are causing them the hassle of going all the way to India, but why is that our problem? Surely the Ganges is in the homeland and is the place any good Hindu would want their ashes scattered anyway.

        I very much doubt if their government would change their laws to suit us. NO this is not about OUR tolerance of other ways of life. It's about their acceptance of OUR way of life, which is sadly lacking. We don't do that here! If we relent and allow this to happen then what's next?

        I know, we can close all the churches down because we don't want to offend people from other religions. We can stop cattle farming because some don't like that either, oh and don’t forget the pigs we don’t want to offend our Muslim friends do we? We have already banned Christmas in some parts of the country so why don't we just give it all up!

        Where do we draw the line? Right here right now. This has to stop!

        If it is your religion to scatter ashes of your dear departed in a river then may I respectfully suggest that you go somewhere that is allowed. We shouldn’t have to change our laws to accommodate you; it is you who have to fit in with us.

        Me being a person who can only see the idea of god as a reason to promote wars and repress the poor, I refuse to accept that your indoctrination should affect my country. If your customs are so important to you why did you come here?

        We have here the freedom of choice, you are free to choose to leave if you don't like the way we do things. I will of course stand by your side and defend your right to make that choice.

        PS Earlier this year it was reported in our local press that Hindus in India were complaining that Western festivals were diluting their culture. So much so that bands of Hindus were going around forcibly breaking up gatherings of people celebrating St Valentines Day. Please don't expect us to make changes to our laws when in your country you have no intention of reciprocating. Nuff sed!!!

        OK so here is the scenario.

        A canal volunteer worker while cutting the grass around a lock falls in and drowns. The canal, obviously because it is a canal, is dangerous. So what we should do is fill in all the locks to within a foot of the top so no one can fall in and drown again. Add to that all canals should be fenced off for safety sake.

        I would say to Mr Ian Swallow, who lives near to where a recent death took place, have you any idea how dumb that suggestion sounds. I suppose we should put barriers across all the roads to stop all the motoring accidents. In this particular incident one safety precaution may have saved her life a 'safety man'. So really Ian I think you are over reacting. Damn it man you can drown in a puddle!

        Cicely Greenslade, who was in her 60s and lived in Stonehouse, was pulled from a canal in Stonehouse on Wednesday, July 26. She had been mowing the grass adjacent to the water. While I am sorry for Cicely and her family, effectively closing the canals is not going to stop people dying in the water.

        What is sad is that Cicely was one of a group of people who had been working hard to help open the canal it would be a bloody tragedy if her death caused the closing of it.

        Closing and fencing the canals is the first step to stupidity. Next it will be the duck pond in the local park and eventually the rivers will have to be filled in and then the sea. Yeah I know it's getting stupid, but if people start making silly demands, then who knows where it will stop.

        Life has its dangers we cannot and should not remove all risk.

        I would personally like to thank all those people who have the vision and the wherewithall to open up our canals. It is through their diligence and unstinting devotion to an idea that many canals have re-opened and in time many more will re-open. I salute you all!

        What are Blue/Green Algæ (BGA)

        When I were a young 'un we all used to play across the common at the Seven Islands pond (Mitcham Common). Every year there was a covering of blanket weed, that almost dayglo coloured abundance of algæ.

        There was never any problem. We would go paddling in the pond, throw lumps of it at each other, no one ever got sick. I remember cutting my foot in the River Wandle one summer, up at Beddington Park, when there was a lot of algæ and the cut swelled up a bit, but no serious effects.

        When I look at reports of BGA they all seem to show dayglo algæ, but in one report today they were talking about an algæ that looks like bluey/grey paint/scum on the surface of the water which is what I thought BGA was, so in this I am happier than before.

        I don't think people really know what BGA is. I have seen an algæ Bluey/grey and am sure that is what is talked about. If that is not it then why call it Blue/Green just Green would be far less confusing.

        What a total load of BS

        New rules coming into force on 1st September on the Thames will spell the end of the once in a life time trip for most narrow boaters. At present boats over 65 ft need to have VHF radio installed and a certificate/licence to operate.

        As of 1st September that requirement will be expected of boats down to 45 ft. That means that most of the boats that do the trip once a year or once a lifetime will no longer be able to go up or down the Thames, unless they want to shell out on a VHF radio and a RADOPS course. Given that most boats only ever do the trip once I can't even see why it has to apply to narrow boats at all whatever the size.

        A trip down or up the Thames is one of those things that I have been looking forward to. Having spent a lot of my early years crossing the Thames by bridge it just appealed to me to see London by water in my own boat. What is it about bureaucracy that they have to spoil every ones life? What is the big deal? I don't recall hearing about narrow boats sinking or causing the sinking of other boats, do you? Just sheer bloodymindedness

        However, if you turn right out of Brentford you don’t need to comply, well that’s big of them.

        Boo Boo Boo PLA

        I say that's not Cricket!

        It is one thing to argue against a decision that would penalise a team for cheating. It is another to fail to return to the pitch to continue the game, but to use the race card to further your claims for innocence is just not Cricket.

        Whether or not the Pakistan team are guilty of tampering with the ball I don't know, but I do know that if they refuse to return to play for any reason then they forfeit the game. It is as simple as that.

        It is not for them to decide that the Umpire is wrong (that is for the team manager to take up with the ICC) and it is certainly not for them to withold their 'services' in protest. They get paid to play and the reason they get paid to play is because people pay to watch them play.

        This scandal will ring across the village greens of England for a long time to come, but at the end of the day the Umpire is the man on the ground. He is entrusted with ensuring fair play. If the Pakistan team feel they are being treated unfairly there is a time and a place for complaint. It is certainly not on the feild of play, or off as in this case.

        With out the loyal fans Cricket will be just a village game played by keen, but unpaid enthusiasts. Pakistan, nay every professional cricketer, would do well to remember that. What ever happens the paying customer deserves better, the Show must go on.

        Montana

        We have some stupid laws in the UK.

        But Montana USA have some laws which defy belief!

        It is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone.
        It is a felony for a wife to open her husband's mail.
        It is a misdemeanor to show movies that depict acts of felonious crime.
        In Montana, it is illegal for married women to go fishing alone on Sundays, and illegal for unmarried women to fish alone at all.
        It is illegal for a man and a woman to have sex in any other position other than missionary style.
        Seven or more indians are considered a raiding or war party and it is legal to shoot them. (only 5 in SD but specifically 3 in Spearfish SD)

        I most certainly wouldnt want to be an Indian in Montanna or SD for that matter!

        The mind boggles!

        For more dumb laws in the USA see here

        Worth a try!

        Few things in life determine who we become as we grow older. Our life at high school is an important part of our devlopment. How we presented our selves to our peers. Who we hung around with and who we put down as being "uncool".

        So how did we fair as we grew up are we still the 'cool' dude that we always thought we were. This test is simlpe and easy to complete and gives a quick analysis of how we turned out. Click the link.

        Friday, 18 August 2006

        Spam, spam, spam, spam,

        Are some people so stupid that they fail to see the obvious. I have a spammer on this site. He/she puts ads up for galleries of naked girls. Does he/she not understand that finding naked girls on the net is so easy that no help is required.

        Moreover does he/she not understand that all comments are sent to me before they get to the blog so he/she is actually wasting his time.

        Well probably not because he/she keeps on trying, and trying, and trying.

        Errr Mr/Mrs Anonymous, if you can read this (probably not) don't waste your time, it ain't gonna happen. It's my site and I don't want what you are offering. Should I ever decide that I want to spend my time oggling naked girls I will give you a call. Don't hold ya breath. Try getting a job!

        The honeymoon is over

        Back in May I bought a laptop in anticipation of my move onto the boat. Having had a desk top all my computing life I found it a bit strange. Keyboard is so different.

        However the computer I had, still have, was to say the least a problematic machine. A 3 GHTZ motherboard Radeon 9200SE Graphics accelerator Sound blaster 5.1 sound card, in fact all the trimmings. It was never a good computer. With out warning it would go to the blue death screen and shut down. It may shut down before the boot up process had finished, it may do it after 10 mins or 10 hours there was never anyway of knowing, though rarely did it go all day without shutting down 3 or 4 times.

        The laptop has, up until now, performed very well. A Fujitsu/Siemens built by AMILO. It has not once shut down of it's own volition, and has, though only a 2 GHTZ motherboard out performed the desk top. Until last week that is! The modem, a Motorola has developed an annoying habit of dumping my connection. More than that it won't let me restart the connection. I have to reboot before I can get back on line. Do manufactures realise just how bloody annoying this sort of thing is.

        The keyboard apart from being an ARABIC keyboard has developed a habit of producing double characters for one key press or on occasion not any character at all. I quite often type stuff only to look up at the screen and see nothing.


        Added to this the mouse, a wireless optical mouse from LABTECH has also started to give problems. The 'click' is no longer at the front of the buttons which makes a mockery of the ergonomic design. The pointer has a mind of its own, disappearing from the screen as it pleases, rolling up or across the screen whenever it likes, sometimes not even moving and just as you are about to click a hyperlink it jumps to the next one. The scroll wheel is to say the least a non scroller most of the time.

        The honeymoon is definately over.

        We have had the PC for a long time now. Isn't it about time they were fit for the intended purpose? The whole idea of silicon technology is no moving parts, nothing can go wrong so it should last forever. So why doesn't it?

        Thursday, 17 August 2006

        Luke Treewalker

        When ever you do something that is a bit iffy workwise, it falls on your supervisor/management to ensure that a risk assessment is done and all precautions are taken to ensure a safe working environment. That's because we have Health and Safety Laws.

        There are H&S Laws here, but no one ever invokes them. And the workers are not allowed to question the bosses.

        So sitting on my porch having breakfast this morning, I sat watching a couple of Bangladeshi men trimming a tree. The tree definitely needed trimming but these two men were armed only with ordinary shears and a long set of steps.

        Can't argue they did a good job, but how many rules are broken?


        Ladder tie bar replaced with slack rope. Ladder tilted into the tree. Man steps off ladder. The man at the bottom lets go of the ladder later and leaves the other guy balancing. Supervisor came to visit and left. And to add insult to possible injury these two guys probably make about $3 a day. The mind boggles!

        Rules for boaters No 1

        When passing walkers, cyclists, fishermen or other boaters it is customary to nod, smile and/or wave. If your engine is not too noisy such greetings as 'Morning, 'nice day' or 'Hello' would be a nice touch.

        Well that’s the way it seems to me from reading forums and blogs. I suppose that's fine in a perfect world, but what exactly does this purvey to the recipient.

        "Ahh there's a nice man."

        "Wave to the Captain children"

        "Bloody smug bastard"

        "Look at him in his posh boat smiling at the peasants"

        "Poncey big head"

        Well it does really depend on your point of view doesn't it? I know that people walking along the towpath normally do so to enjoy the walk and the boats, so they may appreciate some acknowledgement from passing boats, especially the younger children.

        Cyclists are focused on riding and heart rates and the like, so probably don't give a toss unless your mooring pin/rope has just turned them base over apex, then "Good morning" will do little to calm the situation.

        Fishermen on the other hand would probably rather you didn't disturb their leisure activity after they have just spent time and money encouraging the the little kippers to try a tasty snack at their canal side café, you then turning up with a 20 ton egg wisk, you may as well stick two fingers up at them.

        Boaters fall into most areas. The regular boater will return a cheery wave and a smile. If your boat is bigger and better than theirs they might think you are just being snobby. If the reverse is true they might think you are getting above your station.

        It is a difficult thing to do, to not cause offence. I know that on the occasions that I have been a walker I have disingenuously thought, "Smug git!", but on the other hand if it was a lady I might have thought, "Wey hey, I've pulled".

        I am sure in most cases that a nod, wave etc is taken at face value, but there will be some that will take umbrage at what might appear to them to be, to them a polite two finger salute. Of course you can only do your best to show boaters in a good light if some want to fight you over it, Cest la vie!

        Monday, 14 August 2006

        Blog for blogs sake, no!

        Yeah OK I know that a lot of my posts are nothing to do with canals or boating, but what is a guy to do. With the nearest canal being about 1000KM from Riyadh (SUEZ) it's not like I have a lot of 'hands on' with which to talk.

        What I do have is a lot of time and I just can't sit here and let opportunities go by.

        I read a lot and I see a lot and you may remember my saying a week or two ago that this blog was a means to and end. I need to write something every day, nearly every day. Having been through a period a few years ago when I couldn't write a word it is good to be writing something.

        When I was in Kuwait (no computer) I used to write it all by hand. Sitting on the street outside a café in Fahaheel I could always be seen scribbling away like there was no tomorrow. What did I write about? Exactly what I saw.

        I could write about what I see from my window here, but I'm sure you would all get tired of descriptions of the seemingly endless streams of bikini clad young ladies visiting the store. Well it's the same half a dozen or so but they do appear often....too often.

        My enforced 'incarceration' should be over soon and I will have a few tales to tell that, for my safety, can't be written here just now. So for now I hope you will all forgive me if there is not a lot of canal related stuff to read, but in time, in time.

        A New York Kinda Guy

        There are some things that just defy belief. I dare say some of us think of NYC as a bit of a no go area for us unsuspecting British tourists. Well going on the exploits of one lady a NYC Yellow Cab Driver it would seem that we are not short of the mark.

        Read her blog and be prepared to be surprised nay appalled!

        Now I understand that people get annoyed whilst driving, it's human nature. To a certain extent it should be ignored. Maybe a misdemeanour, but as soon as some fat ugly bastard gets out of his/her car that should be a felony.

        Sunday, 13 August 2006

        More from my porch

        © Lars-Gran Dahlgren

        I did want to put this baby up on the blog, but they are very hard to photograph.




        This is the best I could get. Very shy you see.
        Hoopoe

        From my porch

        In UK we have starlings, in Saudi we have these. It's like a small Mynah bird. If you think starlings make a noise you should hear this little chap. Raucous in not a word I would use to describe his persistent noise. His 'noise' consists of loud clicks, whistles and mobile phone sounds. He is fun and quite easy to copy and he will sit and talk back for ages if he's a mind to.

        Finance OUCH!

        I was always under the impression that things were changing for the better. The more modern we become the easier life gets, well it seems like a plan to me. But not for some. I remember the day back in the early seventies when one bright sunny morning ACCESS dropped a credit card through just about every letter box in the country. To me it was a godsend at the time, later it was to become a mill stone. It took me many, many years after that day to stop relying on plastic to live my daily life.

        Thankfully now my life is very different. Yes I do have plastic but I cannot remember the last time I used it, probably car hire last time I was home. In fact for a long time I was getting interest on my positive balance. It is nice to have one in case of an emergency and I feel very lucky than I am able to make that choice. Even my card provider has realised that I don't use it and they have dropped my credit limit from £5000 to £500.

        Today I clicked on the little ad at the bottom of Messenger by mistake and up popped the Provident page. Provident lend money. Their rates are amazing. Just look at this example.

        Loan amount ...............£ 100.00
        Weekly repayment.......23 x £ 6.40
        Total amount payable..... £ 147.20
        Typical APR................. 497.4%

        I would hate to be in the position today where I need to borrow money. Provident say on their web site. "A reputation for solid, sensible credit; that puts people in control!" Oh really? Well I'm glad they made that clear.

        One of their customers says, “I have actually recommended Provident to my friends.” With friends like her who needs enemies!

        Friday, 11 August 2006

        The continuing story of...

        ... Mr B. Grease the wheels they said and he did. SR 1,500. So Mr B got ready to leave. Glad to be getting away from this place and on to the next contract.

        "Hold on a minute, your work permit has expired."

        "Well yes, but I am leaving so I don't need one."

        "Sorry, but we cannot issue an exit visa to an expired work permit."

        "Why?"

        "Them are the rules."

        "But what is the point?"

        "There are outstanding fines on the permit"

        "But that is the company's responsibility."

        "No permit no go."

        "How much?"

        "SR 3800."

        So without paying what amounts to $1000 the visa, which is supposed to be free, does not and will not exist.

        If I was a cynical person I would have to say that someone in this government department was taking the piss ......... and a lot of money, but we know that doesn't happen here, does it?

        Meanwhile Mr A, who arrived with Mr B, is quite prepared to sit it out!

        200

        When I started this blog I had hoped that by this time I would be merrily sailing down the canals of good old England. Strange how other people manage to screw up your plans isn't it?

        Were I a criminal, I would have no reason to object to my enforced, albeit 'non', imprisonment. I would only have myself to blame for my crimes.

        However I am 'imprisoned' and for no reason I am to be ashamed of, I simply asked for what is rightfully mine. I am stuck here for at least another three weeks maybe longer. If I were a Saudi in the same situation in England there would be no way I would be stopped from returning home to visit family, deal with other stuff that needs my attention. In fact if that did happen, as a Saudi, I would have many avenues open to me to rectify the situation.

        The legal system here has a long way to go just to catch up on the basics of fairness. That a man or group of men with no legal power can hold me here, or anyone for that matter, is beyond belief. It happens all too often. OK so I am living well , I am not sleeping rough on the streets. I have money, phone, internet etc, but that is not the point. I don't want to be here and that is the point.

        All I ask for is what is legally mine. That which I agreed to when I signed my contract. No more no less. The company owed me about $15-20,000 at the end of April, they now owe me over $50,000 and if the court do their duty it could be closer to $100,000. Not a sum to be sneezed at, but I would gladly go back to April 30th and take what they owed me then.

        This is post No 200, I sincerely hope that when I write post No 300 I don't do it from Saudi Arabia that would be too much for anyone to accept.


        STILL BEING HELD IN SAUDI ARABIA


        Thursday, 10 August 2006

        Doh!

        One thing to remember when you get in to this blogging malarkey. When you make any changes to your template be sure to save the finished job in a .txt file. You could end up like me and not have all the good stuff that you added last week. Doh!

        Thursday, my Saturday

        I am sitting here dunking my St Michel bickies in my coffe. No, I did spell it right.

        Some days are lazy days. We went shopping today to the Granada Centre by accident. We wanted to go to Batha, the Thursday bus always goes to Batha, but not today and we didn't think to ask, Doh!. Anyway I bought 5 grey 'T'shirts, all the same so I don't have to make a decision which one to wear, not bad for 7 quid, no not each all five.

        We came home, nowt much in mind. I sat at the computer wondering if I could find somat to write about today. Jeff phoned, "Turn on the TV". (I put that in bold coz Jeff always shouts on the phone). Being a Brit I always do what our American cousins tell me, yeah right!

        Holy Hell. WTF. This is happening in my country? I thank the powers that be that this was stopped.

        All this turmoil and upset. This is really just the begining. There is more to come.

        One thing that did strike a chord, for the last 4 weeks we have had nothing but Hezbollah and Israel, today........ virtually nothing . Seems the news that was so important last week pales into insignificance, even though no one died, strange that.

        Something to think on.

        The terrorist only has to be lucky once, we have to be lucky all the time.

        Monday, 7 August 2006

        Ewugh!

        I remember some years ago being absolutely disgusted when I heard that we, Britain, pumped untreated sewage into the sea. Since that time I have not swam in the sea around Britain, not even a paddle.

        Now every once in a while I hear stories about people emptying elsans into the canals. This is the sort of thing that is done in third world countries. That anyone in a modern old world country could do this beggars belief.

        There are those out there that will say, "Well if you look at the dilution factor it really isn't a problem". To which I would parry, "It is inconcieveable that anyone with a modicum of decency living or holidaying on the canals would even think that such behaviour was acceptable". It most certainly is not!

        One of the things that makes a modern society stand head and shoulders above other less modern societies is how we deal with our waste products. There is no excuse for such a heathen practise to take place in the UK. We as an older modern country should be setting an example to others. Whether it is dumping sewage in the sea or in the canal.

        I can have no real effect on how the nation as a whole disposes of millions of gallon of sewage daily, other than write to my MP, but I can have an effect on individuals dumping Elsans in the canals. I sincerely hope I never see this happen when I come home. New boater or not I will make such a fuss the perpetrator will wish he gone to Hell for his vacation and BW will be sick of hearing my name.

        I think this is something we should all rise up against. If we ignore it as 'none of my business' it will become common place and the canals really will be stinking ditches,

        Mr B's Update

        Good news for Mr B. He has had to er.... grease the wheels a bit, but he should be out of here Wednesday night. We shall see if out and out corruption works or not. Don't hold your breath.

        HELD AGAINST MY WILL IN SAUDI ARABIA


        Sunday, 6 August 2006

        This will make you smile.

        The longer I stay here the stranger it gets. You remember Mr B who was supposed to be out of here on Saturday? Well there is a twist. In Saudi Arabia you cannot hold your passport and work permit, one or the other not both.

        In order to fly here from Tobuk Mr B, who's contract had expired, swapped his work permit for his passport. The company that no longer has a contract with the Government has his work permit. No problem there because his passport contains details of his visa and he has a photocopy of his work permit. In any other country he would simply book an airline ticket and go.

        But therein lies the rub. In order to get out of KSA you must have an 'EXIT ONLY' visa. So just pop off down to the Government department and get one, only 200 Riyals, except................ the government department want his original work permit, which by Saudi Law he is not allowed to have while he has his passport. Do you see the problem coming?

        Legally he cannot walk into a government department with both docs, this is normally done by the company admin, yet he cannot get out with out them. Now I know you are thinking, "So the rule will be waived", read on.

        Recently a Saudi woman applied for the renewal of her passport. The official at the passport office said she had to pay her outstanding motoring offence fines before they would issue a new passport. Despite her protestation that, as women are not allowed to drive there must be an error, the official insisted that the fines had to be paid. Her husband knowing the futility of arguing against a government department paid the fines.

        This is the sort of mentality that Mr B is up against, hence he is still here and will be for some time to come. Doncha just luv bureaucrazy!

            HELD AGAINST MY WILL IN SAUDI ARABIA


            Saturday, 5 August 2006

            Well I suppose.......

            ..... I could say thanks to Old Grumpy Guts, I could but I wont. I noticed that I peaked at 67 for one day. But I will never know if it was his tormented blatherings that did this or not. NBW is a very old site. It has not kept up with the new trends on the Internet. So it is difficult to see from where the upsurge was generated.

            Even simple things like 'links' seems to have evaded the bosses. And isnt it just a tad annoying that not one post has a date.

            While all and sundry are adding extras and vids (though music would be out of place) NBW sits with its head in the sand.

            And what about feeds. At least with a feed you know that people want to see what you write rather than just turn up to see if you have bothered to put anything on lately.

            Even the writing is in a style that is very sleep inducing.

            And if they pull one more dead body out of the cut one could be forgiven for thinking that someone on the staff is helping them along.

            One last thing 'spelling'.

            Friday, 4 August 2006

            Can you believe it?

            As if this country hasn't done enough to offend, demoralise, and generally piss me off, I have a cold/flu. I awoke this morning, late, with the sniffles and with in 1/2 an hour had a set of blocked sinuses of olympic proportions. With the temperature at present 107oF(41oC) I am, surprisingly, finding it difficult to keep warm. I sit here with a thick woollen jumper on trying my best to at least be comfortable to little or no avail.

            What I want to know is which one of these 'lovely' people gave me this germ and can I reciprocate by giving him a palm tree pull through, roots first!

            I am, of course, like any self respecting man 'dying'. I shall let you all know if I feel the slightest tendency to fly or pull worms from my front lawn.

            Does he mean me?

            What is it with Victor Swift? Does he have hemorrhoids? Or is he just bloody minded for the fun of it?

            At NBW he says, "A couple of times a year I peruse other waterway websites, and in case you are asking why only twice a year, I think you know the answer to that".

            If people are asking why, they don't know!

            He prattles on "One, of them was boasting of 57 visitors a day—now wait for it—and was ranked at number 70 something or other, in Boating 100 top sites!"

            Well I get about 50-60 views a day though I don't 'boast' about it, and of the 269 members registered I sometimes reach about 70.

            More, "Of course—let's see, with exactly 7,216 visits to our home page on Friday—we were not even ranked!"

            Well no Victor you will not be 'ranked' unless you A) register and B) use the logo on you home page. Until you register they don't even know you exist (who does?). The internet waits for no man, if you can't keep up that's your problem.

            Why do I think Old Grumpy Guts means me? Well currently there are three UK boat sites within 10 places either side of of 70. Mike Stevens at 77/48 visits, Me at 72/58 and UK canals at 66/70 I doubt very much if he would have a pop at Mike or Ken at UKC they have boats you see, but me well I'm not a boater, but if he bothered to read he would see that the Milly M is on the water and as soon as I get out of here I will be on it, but I don't suppose he got his snobby nose past the title block.

            Given that I write from the middle of Terror Central in Saudi Arabia I don't think I do so bad! Helicopter gunships are a regular presence in my sky. If I don't hear gunfire in the neighbourhood every other day I start to think I have gone deaf. I have been within window rattling distance of three bombs in the last three years and I am being held in the country against my will. I'm sorry I only get 57 hits a day but life ain't exactly easy here!

            So for your benefit OGG, of the 269 boat sites registered 177 sites avg at least 1 hit a day. Of those 177 I have less visits than 71 and more visits than 105. With 7,216 hits a day (probably 6000 if you only count each IP address once) NBW would hold the number 1 spot permanently with the nearest rival having 4336 visits.

            Of course OGG will not be aware of this because he wont come back for about 6 months if he ever deigns to come here again. He is far to important to trifle with us minions.

            Personally I don't give a rats arse what OGG says or does, I don't suppose for one minute 7,216 people stop by to read what he is moaning about anyway. I do know this, few though they are, my visitors come by to read what I have to say and find out what is happening to me, I would rather have them than your supposed 7,216.

            Thursday, 3 August 2006

            Maffi's little helper

            At first sight I thought the little man standing by the front of the car was a bit small to be building boats, but then I remembered the tale of the shoemaker and it came to me it must be an elf come to speed things up a bit.


            Of course I could just be going mad, but then I realised my mistake and welcomed the penguin for the official launch

            Wednesday, 2 August 2006

            Meanderings

            I can't help but wonder why this country is so screwed up. Here I sit, 3 months now, waiting for the wheels of Saudi justice to turn in my favour. Mr B who arrived from Tobuk just a few weeks ago has seen an American lawyer in Riyadh and he is on his way out on Saturday.

            Mr B has somewhere to go, Oman, and needs to be out so he has accepted a promissory note from the company. I on the other hand am not prepared to accept such a note, the value of which is considerably less than I am owed, from people who have displayed such a blatant disregard for me as a human being and abused my rights under the law. The Holy Book say "A man should be paid for his labours before the sweat on his brow has dried" (ie on time). That, my friends, has never happened in the three years I have been here. I could settle for their $8,700 ish promissory note, pay my own ticket out of here and never get a penny.

            Of course I would like to sit down with those who are the villains in this case and talk it out, but I think I said here before they wont budge on anything. It would be a very one sided confrontation with them looking for the smallest opportunity to have me thrown in gaol, and me being me would give it to them.

            If there was the slightest possibility that they would put cash on the table I may just take the money and run, but that ain't never gonna happen. Especially now as the staff at HQ have stopped working due to a small matter of no salary THIS YEAR!


            HELD AGAINST MY WILL IN SAUDI ARABIA


            Tuesday, 1 August 2006

            Blogs and Blogging

            Blogging is great fun if you like writing. It's even fun if you don't, but have something you want to say. From my own perspective I only read those that are relatively competently written, and I don’t mean by budding Shakespeares, but by people who make an effort to a) present their blog well and b) make me want to read it and c) do it regularly. Something that I don't often seem to manage, but hey, I'm trying. If you are the type who can't be bothered to use a spell checker then I will only visit once. The way I look at it if you can't be bothered then why should I, but dont let me put you off after all who am I?

            Granny B is a must as is Retirement with No Problem when it comes to boating blogs. Along with many that can be found in the right column here. Jon & Gin though temporarily suspended (baby) is worth a trawl through the old archives. Both are supply teachers that did most of the canals.

            I am amused to read the definition of B.O.A.T on Jason Kings blog Bristol Fashion. He is obviously a man whose boat is apt to cost a few bob to keep going. Bring Out Another Thousand. Very true!

            I have to wonder why it is that some people are reluctant to leave details in their profile. Canal Keepers Tales is a good blog but who is the writer? The profile gives no information whatsoever. So the blog though good is somewhat soulless.

            Blogs don't have to be about Canals and boats. You can take your pick, whatever takes your fancy. Ricky Sholar is not a boater but his amusing stories about his childhood are priceless. It would be nice if he made more entries but what is there does make me laugh.

            The most pointless blog I have seen is a blog about other people's blogs. Why?

            I am tying to get people out here to write blogs. I set up According to Dru for a guy who has a lot to say, so far he's dumbstruck. Tomorrow I have promised to set up a blog for Psycho. He too has a lot to say, but I wonder if it will bear fruit.

            Do it for yourself today click the link at the top of the page and get started. The more you put in the more you will want to put in, but be careful it can be compulsive. Useful Blog