Thursday, 31 January 2008

Thank you Phillip

An article in the Sunday Torygraph mentioned Doctors are saying that they want to refuse treatment for old people for whom the benefit of an operation may not last long despite alleviation of pain, for fat people, for smokers, for those who drink too much.

So only fit, slim, young clean living people will be allowed to live...................

Forgive me but did not a whole load of brave allied soldiers, sailors and airmen die to prevent Hitler securing his dream of an Aryan race?
Makes you think doesn't it.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Ooopsie!

It occurred to me this morning walking down the tow path past where I had been moored for the last couple of months, that I had made a mistake putting ash on the piles of dog pooh!

While it did highlight to me that I should not step there, to any unsuspecting walkers the piles would look just like mole hills.

So if you are walking north along the Oxford canal past the Jolly Boatman at Thrupp then be wary of the cunningly disguised Pooh piles near the dog pooh box.


MARMADUKE

Isn't it nice to see that John & Cathy on nb MARMADUKE havent completely lost their dream. The windows went in yesterday and John is feeling a whole lot better about the whole sordid tale.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Work is starting at the bottom of the Oxford

This morning I watched a Kestrel quietly sitting, at a jaunty angle, high in a tree not far from the boat. All was at peace with the world until that is. . . . . . . . BW arrived. Several 'pallets of Armco pilling were off loaded onto the wharf. A discussion with the workers produced "the piling is for the work being done further down at the end of the canal near Oxford Cruisers. The plan is to take it on a smaller truck to OC's yard where it is to be held".

I spoke to Jim down at OC last year and he said that piling was being placed along the towpath from there to Aristotle Bridge and the winding hole was being increased to alleviate the need to drop down on to the Thames to wind which, if you have no gold licence, is trespassing. So at last this work is starting.

Just before the lorry arrived a BW boat passed and would probably have been able to take at least some of the pilling down the canal rather than use the road. Funny that, a canal company that doesn't use the canal to transport supplies and equipment.

Of course it could be that since the closure of Castle Mill Boatyard there isn't a crane in the area to take the pallets off. Oooopps did I spot a shot in the foot.

A point of note the towpath along there is marked as a 'conservation area'. I thought they were conserving the rocks that are slowly invading the canal, but no, Water voles and Crayfish are to be seen there. So if the site is a conservation area what will be the effect of hammering in great planks of steel and once done will it no longer be a conservation area or will they place those rolls of Cior matting all along the way.

I suppose if nothing else it will stop the path completely collapsing into the canal and blocking it. I do, however, suspect that it may have more to do with developments on the off side of the canal that needs a prettier outlook to make them more saleable. Who knows . . . . .not me!

Good News

John and Cathy have taken possion of their boat 'Marmaduke' and have been in consultation with the workers, who are now out of work, about finishing the boat. Yes they have lost money but at least they still have a boat, such as it is. The windows had been made but were still at the maunfactures awaiting payment. I think John may have maxed his credit card.

Not the ending he would have liked but at least he has a boat and is not homeless.

Monday, 28 January 2008

www.soyouwannabuyaboat.com

A couple of years ago after the collapse of one boatbuilder and subsequent heartbreak that is all part of that, I suggested that what was needed was www.soyouwannabuyaboat.com. The idea was that anybody could send in stories about their experience of having a boat built. The idea was to include all stories, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Said stories would be listed against companies names and those companies would be given the oppoortunity to reply.

A legal Beagle was to be rustled up to check content, but the content would the writers copywrite and the responsibility for that content would be theirs.

The object of the exercise was that a comprehensive list of builders could be assembled and prospective buyers could learn from others mistakes or good fortune as the case may be.

I had only two people interested in this project and so it was shelved, but I would like to resurrect it if I could find enough interest. Me not being that techno literate could not do the site design etc but would be prepared to collate the stories and even go to the extent of getting people to tell their nightmares.
Anyone want to get involved?

Away day

Saturday morning we got up early and took the nb Bones down to Dukes Cut, Me Mort and Hannah. Mort wanted to take a pic of us on the stern and we bounced off Morning Mist in the process.

We stopped above Kidlington Green Lock near the Sheriff's house for late breakfast then turned at Dukes to return.

Mort insisted on skining the deer, my daughter knocked down last November, on the side of the lock. the stench was unbelievable. I cannot believe she actually wanted me too help.

We returned to KGL had a late lunch. No sign of the Sheriff.

Arriving back at the Jolly Boatman Mort moored outside and I went in to get a few Guinness while dinner was cooking.

Mort enjoyed herself, I know I did and I think Hannah did to. It made a nice change to be moving on a boat.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Oh I forgot!

QUOTE
The builders of Marmaduke are Severn Valley based at Stourport on Severn
END QUOTE

Oh My God not again!

John and Cathy were having a narrow boat built. They were calling it after a deceased pet 'Marmaduke'.

The company are 7 months behind on the contracted finish date and after taking a further payment of over £26,000 only last Wednesday have gone into administration.

There can only be one result for the company owners and that is gaol. I cannot believe that they did not know on Wednesday that they were in trouble. My personal opinion would be libellous and not plesant in polite company. I find it amazing that the law of this land prevents me from saying what I truly mean lest I get sued by someone who I wouldn't drink with in a pub.

They have destroyed two people who sold their home to fund their boat. When is this government going to put a stop to this life destroying fiasco.

A nitght at the theatre

"We're going to the theatre", she said.

"Who we", said I.

"You me and Hannah", she said.

"But.............",said I.

No point in arguing really. "Who are we going to see", I asked.

"Beauty and the Beast . . . . . . . . on Ice ", said she.

So we went.

I liked it, but Mort is too cool to say she did.

"Skating in circles", she said, " even I can do that"

It's difficult in a normal theatre with an ice floor to do much else I thought. The size of the stage being somewhat limiting. The airials were absolutely excellent.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

ya gotta laugh



Horse Boating

During the somewhat heated debate about Doggie doo Logicienne said completely out of the blue in a comment to Greywolf

Just thought I'd bring it to your attention that horses do still pull narrowboats....

There are currently 6 commercial horsedrawn passenger trip boats throughout the country and also the Horseboating Society is a nationally recognised organisation that aims to promote:

# communication and co-operation between persons and organisations with an interest in horseboating;
# responsible operation of horsedrawn craft on inland waterways;
# training of crew and horses to acquire the skills necessary for horseboating;
# maintenance and restoration of the waterway environment to a standard suitable for use by boathorses and horsedrawn craft;
# preservation, restoration and maintenance of the various types of horsedrawn craft;
# education of the public about the history and present use of horsedrawn craft;
# research into the skills, people, horses, boats, structures and equipment involved in horseboating;
# retention of horseboating information in archives.

If you wish to learn more about horseboating and maybe come out and try it, we hold training and familiarisation days - see the HBS website: Maybe you would like to join the Horseboating Society. Anyone can join - previous experience of horseboating is not necessary as training can be given.

You can find out about horseboating activities and get involved as crew members or as photographers or video makers. You can join like-minded people working to ensure that horse-drawn craft and skills remain a part of the waterway landscape.

Even if you are not able to take part in activities, your membership helps to ensure the continuation of the Society and the pursuance of its aims.

So any way I thought I would place it here to give it a better airing.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Todays offering

So thats two yesterday and a new one today.

Dispite a notice in the window asking people not to empty their dog on the towpath.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

DOGGIE DOO again

Carrie says In defence of dog poo :- Like most people, I feel mildly annoyed to see dog mess on the path and VERY annoyed if I happen to walk in it. I have a dog and carry either a trowel or a bag and wish other owners would do the same. But after reading yet another tirade about dog shit, I feel even more annoyed that people can get so incensed over such a minor issue. I don't hear those people raising a murmur about the waste produced by their own cars, their boat engines (mine too), the coal-fired power-stations that make their electricity, the poisonous uranium mining that also makes their electricity, the production of steel and plastic that involve oil production (with all the pollution and deaths that brings about) in the making of dog waste bins and signs about fines...Dog poo does not sit in the lungs, cause cancer, engender wars. Chucked under the hedge, covered with leaf mould, it breaks down completely in a few weeks, feeding insects that feed birds that eat the pests that would otherwise destroy our crops.

Sorry Carrie it is not a minor issue. Only today I dealt with two more piles of £1,000 fines. I quite simply do not want this "pollution" in my boat and I shouldn't have to deal with it. I don't have a dog simply because I know I would not be a good owner (poo shifter) so why do I have to put up with the leavings of others who have no consideration for where their dog dumps it's dinner.

Yes I do care about the environment in general but right now I care more about my immediate environment. I simply do not want to traipse doggie doo through my boat. Doggie doo can spread Toxicara (sp) which can cause blindness. Not a good swap really is it? I feel quite sure that if I were to dump on peoples doorsteps they would be well pissed off with me and so they should be.

People who do not clear up after their dog need to be taken to one side and have the law explained to them. Preferably with a big stick. In particular the £1,000 part. Maybe town dog wardens could issue fines to anyone with a dog in public who cannot show they have a plastic bag with them. Yeah radical I know but it would seem that some owners need a kick up the arse to wake them up.. Like Mort says there is a dog poo bin right near my boat what is the problem?.

No Carrie it is not a minor issue.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

How stupid can one BW be?

There are often times when I am amazed by simple ingenuity. How simple solutions to seemingly complex problems are just arrived at with no fanfare, no big band or celebrity star proclaiming the answer.

And then BW do something like this. Arnco pilling picture clicky Rolls of coir matting placed as beds to increase wildlife, where wildlife was never intended to be. Unfortunately they are being placed against perfectly serviceable Arnco pilling. This despite British Waterways’ own edict it will only use coir rolls where those rolls will not be an inconvienience boaters. Failing to recognise the real need is elsewhere. Erosion picture clicky


If you are having trouble getting the links the pictures can be seen here under STUPIDITY

Justice at last

Some time ago I recounted a story on my other blog "Excuse me but...." about a 9 year old child horrifically murdered by her parents in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. The good news is that her parent have finally been executed for the crime.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Just checking my facts

I was a bit concerned that after the last post that I had made an error when quoting Tom Crossley's email reply.

The reply was a genuine reply but to an email of mine reference a poll taken in 2005 not 2006 as I said in the post.

To be sure I emailed TC

Tom
In the piece about the APCO poll it says that NBW carried out poll in 2006. If my memory is a s good as it often is I recall a poll in 2005 when the big push for this folly came up before which was withdrawn is that the same poll or was there a later one that I missed
Maffi


and recieved this reply:-

Maffi
Yes, I experimented with one-day polls in 2006, which I did not think were acceptable. There is certainly plenty of scope for polls now, but not sure as to whether they will run on Linux.
Tom

Ok so that is sorted.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Continuous Cruisers AGAIN!

I feel the need to take umbrage at a piece on NARROW BOAT WORLD recently. First of all the headline Continuous Crusiers should pay more is an opinion of a biased group. The poll taken by the Association of Pleasure Cruiser Operators (APCO) is a blatant attempt to to steam roller their own totally missguided opinion on to the policy makers of BW. There is no need for them to come out against CCers by running a biased poll which is written with the expressed purpose of delivering a result that THEY want irrespective of what is factually relevant.

The real point is the APCO is not at odds with CCers, but people who say they are CCers. This is a case of of the big lager louts (who are not so big as they once were) trying to bully the small individual. If BW take heed of this poll a lot of law abiding people will leave the waterways. The APCO's problem will not go away it will simply stop paying any licence and continue to take prime spots on the canals.

The question asked
YES I agree that Continous Cruisers should pay a higher license rate equal to the cost of combining the average linear mooring fee with a private boat license fee.

If I pay an increased fee to include a 'mooring element' then I am simply not going to obey mooring notices. If I am paying to moor I am going to moor and I will moor as long as I bloody well like. This will add to the problem the APCO percieves it has.

The second point I want to make is the comment by NBW at the end of their piece.
During 2006 narrowboatworld ran a similar petition, which showed a high percentage believing that continuous cruisers owners should pay more, though wide beam boats were not included.
This is a load of tosh. The poll was, like the APCO, flawed in its conception in that it was worded to get a preconcieved result. The poll did not run its full course being pulled after complaints by boaters about its content and the fact that it was devisive.

Indeed I complained to Tom Crossley about the poll and recieved this email from him.


Re: Vote, are you serious?

The poll has been removed. I admit, it wasn't such a good idea.

Tom

So my question is, given that Tom said it was not a good idea then, why is it being lorded about like it was a raving sucess now?
It makes no difference how much more I pay for my licence it will not stop those itinerant overstayers hogging the prime locations, and that ladies and gentlemen is the problem.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Cyclists

I suppose really that the cycle track down the edge of a road was inevitable. Places like Oxford have a surfeit of bicycles and really need to have that priority for cycles. However I fee sure that at no point did the powers that be envisage the ability of the cyclist to totally ignore the law or their own safety.

Cyclists seem to only see the green strip that runs down the road and everything else is magic free space in which they are invulnerable.

Traffic lights are to all intents and purposes non existent, whilst a green light mean go, a red light means GTF out of my way I'm going anyway.

Road etiquette and the Road Traffic Act demand that we drive on the left, not the case for two wheelers where 'it says cycle track no which direction to travel' seem to be the common mantra.

Here in Oxford it has gotten so bad that the police in the city have regular trips out to catch offenders. They stand in a convenient location and stop all bikers who flout the law at traffic lights. Names are taken and a verbal warning is given.

And about time I say, for too long the poor old motorist has been the mainstay of the fines department when other road users are breaking the law. If a motorist hits a cyclist it is nearly always assumed to be his fault but I rarely see riders look to see if it is safe to proceed or turn. Even if a rider is proved to be at fault the driver still has to come to terms with the fact that he hit and maimed/killed another person.

I am glad the police are making this initiative. Driving is at best a complicated task, random cyclists appearing across your bonnet is not conducive to 'having a nice day' for either party.

Friday, 11 January 2008

FREE Cruising Logbook

Would any of you boaters like to own your own personally created Cruising Logbook. A book which has all the stuff in it that you want. With all the pages you need.

Yes?

Then use your own computer to generate the forms/pages required.

What! You don't know how to do that?

Then how about you start learning. Resolve never to switch off your computer until you have learned something new.



Your computer is a vast resource.....use it!

Continuous Cruisers

The genuine continuous cruiser enjoys a legal status (through an Act of Parliament) that BW cannot change without a change to that Act.

Every boater pays the same licence fee for the exactly the same access to the system (for a given size of boat). CCer's should be singled out to pay more than other boaters, why?

Although currently paying for a mooring at Thrupp due to injury, I think I qualify as a CCer after covering 1300 miles Iain 12 months. I have lost count of the number of times I have called BW to report problems encountered. This is a service for which I do not charge even though it cost me.

I have spent many hours helping and teaching others who's skills are not up to speed due to poor briefing/training by hire companies for which I receive no remuneration, but none was wanted.

I am sorry part time boaters cant spend more time on the water but making me pay more than them for the same access is not going to make the canals better. If I, and all the other genuine CCer's, pay triple the fee we now pay nothing will change.

BW have a customer service list of minimum service that we can expect, so far they are not really cutting the mustard. If BW really want to increase their income they have to up their game a bit.

The canal system is part of our national heritage an important part of the history of the industrial revolution. It is probably the largest museum we have not to mention it is one hell of a nature reserve, yet this government, who tell us all our museums are free, are cutting funding year on year.

CCer's are not the problem. Our costs are going to rise far above the cost of other boaters with the increase in fuel duty at the end of next year. Many CCer's will be forced off the canals in the next few years and the system will be much the poorer for that.

Monday, 7 January 2008

They do what?

The British Army are being accused of glorifying war in their adverts.

Excuse me but isn't that what advertising is all about?

Imagine if car adverts told prospective buyer the road death toll or if ads for McDonald's included obesity death rates. Wouldn't that be silly? Yes of course it would. So why are the Army expected to do it.

I am thinking that who ever came up with this gem needs to get a life. Of course the Army don't really want recruits to think about getting their heads blown off, or shot to death. Please a little common sense would be in order. I would very much doubt that any one in the Army would allow a young lad to go out to Iraq without A)preparing them and B)letting them know a few things about the job and the risks.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Ho hum!

I really don't think I am contributing anything to blog world at this time, or for that matter boat world. I have wondered in the past whether or not I should continue and responded to calls from others to do just that, but now the more static I stay the less I want to write here so I am going to stop for the foreseeable future and concentrate on working.

See you in a few weeks, maybe.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Energy saving lamps

The Government's planned switchover from traditional light-bulbs to low-energy lighting could cause health problems for tens of thousands of people with skin conditions including eczema, experts have warned.

And there were warnings that consumers will have to take more care disposing of broken or expired low-energy bulbs in order to avoid contamination with the poisonous mercury they contain.

The Environment Agency acknowledged that both retailers and the authorities need to do more to inform the public about safe recycling of the new-style bulbs as they become more common.
The process of phasing out the conventional pear-shaped "incandescent" bulbs and replacing them with more energy-efficient fluorescent models begins this month and is due to be completed by 2011 as part of the UK's efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

But Professor John Hawk, dermatology spokesman for the British Skin Foundation, warned that the new-style bulbs will cause problems for people with light-sensitive skin, some of whom are already unable to spend time in buildings with fluorescent strip lighting, like factories and hospitals.

Prof Hawk told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Fluorescent lights seem to have some sort of ionising characteristic where they affect the air around them.

"This does affect a certain number of people, probably tens of thousands of people in Britain, who are flared up just by being close to them.

"Certain forms of eczema - some of which are very common - do flare up badly anywhere near fluorescent lights, so these people have to just be around incandescent lights."

A much smaller number of patients with very severe light sensitivity are unable to tolerate exposure to the small amount of ultra-violet light given off by the new-style bulbs, he added.

There are a "significant number" of people in the UK who are already unable to visit or work in buildings with fluorescent lighting, said Prof Hawk, adding: "It is people who will have to be exposed to them in their homes that we are worried for, and I very strongly suggest that incandescent bulbs remain available for use in the home."

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

I don't believe it!

Always one to help a friend I was tonight having a shower onboard nb BONES, something to do with the skin tank and preventing the engine overheating. Getting in to the shower I stubbed my toes on a peice of work top that just happened to be around.

I now have three very sore toes and some difficulty in walking, would you believe it? I know I don't.

Another year over, a new one just begun. (JL)

2008 already. What a year 2007 was. I tried to write a precis of my first full year on the boat but stopped after the second A4 page. I have travelled far and met loads of people which have made that first year really memorable.

The next year should be even better.

From the Milly M I wish you all a good and fulfilled new year!

Happy Boating