Saturday, 30 June 2012

nb Jessie

There she is moored on the water point. She has been there about two hours. I really would like to pump out my tank while it’s quiet so I should ask them if they would move. I would but there is no one aboard.

DSCF4453The boat is locked up.  They left their hose connected so it would look like they were taking on water. There is a mooring suitable about two hundred yards away, but no, without consideration for others they probably thought f**k it  nobody will need it now so they went to the pub.  What is happening to the world these days. Inconsiderate bastards are all around. The mooring warden is not happy.
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Friday, 29 June 2012

In the dark

Its 23:30. Out side is pitch black. A boat comes under the lift bridge. I don’t have a problem with them travelling at night I do it myself, but I really think they should do it with a proper silencer fitted.

CCers Paper

I read this paper with total astonishment. How Lisa Jarvis can produce this crap after telling boaters, 'Just pick three spots and make sure you move on time and it will be OK,’ just beggars belief. Yet another example of poor management from BW.

Lisa Jarvis was the enforcement officer that put a notice on a new shell after it had been in the water only a few hours awaiting towing to a dock for fit out.

I am sure Kermit and his friends could do a better job.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Litter Picking

Ok during my trip from last October to March this year I posted about the efforts I had made to clean up the Oxford Canal. I collected a total of 160 bin liners of rubbish 1 TV, 2 Porta-Potties and a pile of wooden panels. I am currently stationary and have little opportunity to pick up litter. I shall continue to collect rubbish come October when I set off again. However can we all please remember that the state the canal is in is up to us all. It takes little effort when we moor up to take a bag and fill it. 100 yards each side of your boat or if you feel energetic up to one mile Can I ask you all to take bags with you when you go walking.

Useful tip: If you go for an out and return walk start collecting litter when you have reached the furthest point. I say this because the bag gets heavier as it gets fuller you could end up a long way from your boat with a heavy bag to carry.

Please encourage others, that you meet. to collect litter. The more who get involved the better our canals will be.

When I am out collecting I pick up every thing that is not natural. Every tiny piece of paper, bits of string, bottles, cans, in fact everything that Mother Nature did not make.

Don’t forget to look under the hedgerows!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Rose Skinner

Today is a sad day for boating and the canals. Rose Skinner, daughter of Alfred Hone has passed away following a short illness. I have met Rose on a number of occasions. She was a delight to know and would always regale you with a story from her boating days. Like the time when steering a butty on a 70 foot line, her mother put her dinner on the tow path for her to pick up on the way past, as was the way in those days, only to see some oik peeing over the bridge straight into her dinner.

Rose spoke the old way, in boaters language. To this day she was still the best boater on the Oxford. Most of the local boaters here were taught about some aspect of boating by Rose. In Thrupp you may often see boaters reversing with the boat in gear and standing on the front with a pole. Rose taught them all. I learned to do it by observing those she taught.

A wonderful lady, she will be sadly missed.

(Edited for errors. Sorry Rose)

Failure

We live in a society that rewards the continual failure of those who are supposed to be the best. We have to change this and soon.

Bankers, MPs, BW directors …  it has to end.

So sort it!

(Reuters) - British households waste as much as 1.3 billion pounds a year on leaving appliances such as televisions or computers in standby mode, much higher than previously thought, a government-commissioned study has showed.

This is an easy fix. Only allow devices to be imported that have the standby mode disabled. Instead of trading platitudes and garnering petty squabbles in the house that waste time and money achieving very little, i.e. not cost effective.

Too often politicians pontificate in the house about inconsequential details and consistently fail to sort out the important things. So Mr Cameron for your £147,00 can you please sort some of the important stuff and stop being a floppy dick.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Oh dear!

These are the feet of a well known actress (she gave me permission to use the picture). What is odd about these feet is not their use of ‘granny’ slippers, in fact sensible people wear sensible foot wear, these are essential to comfort when living on a boat, therefore sensible. No the surface they are standing on is the odd factor. This is a deck on her Dutch Barge which is moored somewhere on the River Thames. The oddity is that after repainting the deck it is customary to let the paint dry before stepping out hence, this picture depicts foot wear stuck to the deck. You have to laugh!

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Susan is currently performing in Dry Rot around the country with other notables Liza Goddard, Hale and Pace, and Neil Stacey.

Dry Rot, written by John Chapman in 1954, is a comedy drama about a crooked bookie who tries to fix a race.

I actually heard a guest at an Annie’s Tearoom party say this was a must see play. So click the link and buy a ticket when it comes to a theatre near you.

Lost Key

The day before yesterday after emptying at the elsan I left my key behind in the door.DSCF4411This is one of two bunches that are almost identical. I have one for each day boat. Each bunch contains a padlock key for the boat, an engine start key and, attached by karabiner, a BW key.The BW key is detachable because if you take the bunch of keys to the bridge the key stays with the bridge while it is open and you cannot restart your engine, but that's beside the point. You can see from the picture that the BW key is in the lock. This is how I left the other bunch in the door and I forgot about it. 

240620101150 Later that morning PJ saw the key and felt sure the owner would come back for it so left it there. The owner of Joie de Vivre spent 2 1/2 hours on the water point that morning.
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Most of that time he was in everybody's way. However I digress Joi de Vivre picked up the key and took it to the Mooring Warden like a dutiful citizen. “I found these keys in the Elsan door”, he said. Very commendable. However if he found the keys in the door as per the picture I am at a loss to understand why, by the time the keys got to the mooring warden, the BW key was missing. Now it was very thoughtful of Joie de Vivre to take the keys to the Mooring Warden and I don’t wish to be disingenuous, but I have to wonder where the BW key went. These keys are now £7.

The important thing is I didn’t lose all the keys and I do have a spare BW key of my own to replace the missing key. So all is not lost! Whoever did take the key must have needed it more than I obviously did.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Storage! Storage! Storage!

Ask anyone what he or she considers to be priorities when buying a narrow boat and they will include in their top five ‘storage’. Every one I talk to always says storage is a priority. Why do they say that? What do people store? Do they really need to store it? Mostly it is just taking up space in an environment where space is really precious.
          Yes you need space to keep crockery, cutlery, linen, clothes, books, but that is just normal stuff and would hardly necessitate the almost constant baying ‘storage’. What is it that we need to store so badly that we would be prepared to give up other facilities?
          I look around my boat at my ‘stuff’ and wonder what it is about it that requires me to store it. Why do I need three guitars? It’s not like I am Eric Clapton is it? Why do I need a huge toolbox? Most of the tools I ‘need’ can fit in my pocket. I have one toolbox that only has screwdrivers in it, why? I have an A4 and an A3 printer on my boat, neither of which have been used for at least two years. I have a cupboard full of cables and chargers and all manner of electronic crap that I will never use; yet it remains in my ‘storage’ just taking up space.
          There are things on my boat that have never seen the light of day, or for that matter the fluorescent lamp in the office since the day I moved on five and a half years ago. What is it that makes me keep it all? Will there be a bonanza sale on E-bay where I will make my fortune? No! I store stuff because I don’t want to part with it. I want to keep the picture frame on my desk that has no picture in it. I didn’t want to keep my cutlery drainer in the kitchen when I bought a new tray so now it is in the office and holds the myriad pens and pencils I possess, most of which I will never use. I have a self-inflating life jacket that I wore once when going out onto the Thames from Brentford in March 2007. My companion said, “Don’t waste your time. If you fall in you will freeze to death before the jacket brings you back to the surface. We chuckled, but still it hangs behind the engine room door. I had a complete blank Aircraft 700. Which contained all the forms which the air force used to use to record an aircrafts servicing history. There were dozens of them. Why did I need that? Its gone now. I still have my service beret and my cap badge, again why?
           When I was 28 I met the nicest girl I never married. I made up a scrapbook of all her letters, pictures and tickets to shows we saw, leaflets from places we went to you know the kind of stuff. I had planned to give it to her as a wedding present, but it was not to be. I still have the scrapbook, why?

          I have a music stand, a mic stand, a box of old music sheets going back 120 years, vinyl disks (7” and 12”), videos, a whole pile of Beatles books, none of which I have seen since the beginning of time. Why do we insist on storing stuff for the sake of it? One of my cupboards has only been opened about three times in five years I have been on the boat and then only to take the teapot out, what of all the other stuff that resides in there?
          Few of my cupboards contain anything of value, intrinsic or otherwise. I think I could remove half of my storage capability, pack that which I want to keep properly, dump the non-essential crap and still end up with half my cupboards empty.

          The main thing I would change on my boat is the wardrobe. Either that or chuck out some of the clothes that I don’t have a hope in hells chance of getting into again.
          Storage! A lot of what we keep is of no value at all other than it holds precious memories, but that is what our head is for … memories. And when our head stops remembering it will forget why we kept that pile of junk in the cupboard. Someone shoving a memento under our noses for the umpteenth time saying, “But you must remember,” will just become an annoyance and set us off dribbling down our shirt front.
         
I did a bit of de-cluttering a while ago it was hard and not totally successful. I disposed of two or three large bags of ‘junk’ but there is still a lot to go, I just need to be ready to let it go. Keeping stuff is easy, letting it go is the hard part. I often have ‘sort it out’ on my mind but rarely do it. Maybe we need storage because it contains who we are and where we have been, like a road map of our life.

Der!

One cannot but gasp in exasperation at the latest cock-up by copper thieves who in their efforts to get rich cut into a ‘fibre optic’ cable at low tide in Loch Carron. They got away with out getting any copper, but BT have a big bill for repair.1339437809_w670_h503

Anthony Gormley in Oxford

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Thursday, 21 June 2012

At the wide

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The power of one.

Back last February I really found out how this blog gets around. You may remember my post HRH Tisbury I posted a picture of Tisbury on my boat.
DSCF3273_thumb[12]The next day Sally and Tisbury had set off north and were causally puttering along, enjoying the sun, when a passing boat said, ”Ooo look there’s that dog that was on Maffi’s blog.” Sally was surprised.

I still have no idea who it was, but it goes to show that at least one person reads my blog. I thank you.

Aubrey’s Lift Bridge

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Mid-summer sunset

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Licences

I know BW give you two copies of your licence so you can put one on either side of your boat, but I don’t think this is quite what they had in mind.

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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Hot tip of the day

While on your degree course earn lots of money, far above your expectations, by encouraging your mum to become an MP.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

It’s a mad world!

Last year an anonymous cleric showed his total stupidity. In the Times of India it was reported that this un-named cleric, based in Europe, has issued a ban on women touching fruits and vegetables resembling the male sexual organ to avoid "sexual thoughts".

The cleric has said that women should not even get close to bananas or cucumbers. "If women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their a father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve," the cleric dictated.

According to the cleric, bananas and cucumbers "resemble the male penis" and therefore could arouse women or "make them think of sex." The cleric also added carrots and zucchini to the list of forbidden foods for women.

Now I have lived in three middle eastern countries including the seat of Islam and from my experience it seems that many of the moslem men, with whom I was acquainted, were always thinking about sex. I can’t say about the women because I very rarely met any, their husbands thinking I would only want to have sex with them and so kept them hidden for their own enjoyment.

Right from day one in Riyadh I was asked about nudist colonies and girls in short skirts. and girls sunbathing and a whole host of other things related to their viewing women as sex objects.

It is quite insulting that people who ask you to their house think of you as a sex offender. When the reverse is true.

Google Maps

I love it that Google Maps is going to map the towpaths to encourage more visitors, but have to wonder if it is necessary. BWs claim of 300,000,000 visits a year means that the population of GB visits the tow path 4/5 times a year any way, who else are they hoping to encourage on to the towpath?

I wonder if BW themselves will be able to use it to check on the overgrowth and conditions of the system. Nah, probably too much to hope for.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Poor little boy!

This dog was saved from the meat trade in Thailand. Any one out there who can give him a home? Contact @Dog_WhispererUK or @beingkatier or @PeterEgan6

Look at that poor little face. He needs just a small amount of love have you got any to spare?
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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Chaffinch

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Through the side hatch: Nice people

Not technically ‘through the side hatch’ because I couldn’t get the whole boat in the frame. This boat is owned by TW and PS. I have seen this boat around the canals often but never in Thrupp.
DSCF4316This morning as I sent out my day boats TW was getting ready to move off. My second boat left and promptly went broadside across the canal, just as TW set off, blocking TW’s path, but was soon recovered.
DSCF4319My day boat said on their return that T&P were very nice and they helped each other through the lock. P telling my hirers the story of the lock keeper who once told her that a lock, like a woman, would grunt when it was ready.
DSCF4320Nice people. Not what the hirers expected at all. TW & PS certainly made a special day out a bit more special for my customers.

Thank you both.

Centre lines again

So following on behind my question about using the centre line for mooring, it would seem that there is a variance of opinion. Many people I have spoken to here seem to agree it is not a good thing. Others across the country are divided. Some say categorically it’s a no-no. Others say no, but there are special circumstances. There are a few who don’t know which way is up and will never make a competent decision either way. A hirer from College Cruisers says he was told to moor with all three lines. Once you have told these people at the yard one thing they will never listen to the voice of reason. Trouble is he pulled the centre line so tight the boat was heeled over at a very odd angle. I have asked College Cruisers to confirm if they do tell hirers to use three lines and if so why their instruction is at odds with printed wisdom, but am yet to receive a reply.

The over-riding opinion is BW, the BMF and the RYA.

BW in their Boaters Handbook say on page 10 under Safety tips:

Never be tempted to use your boat’s
centre line as a mooring rope.

What BW don’t tell you is why? This is not necessarily a bad thing; negative teaching itself is not a good thing.

I phoned the RYA and related my tale from that night and there was a sharp intake of breath and a hey-nonny-no. Their opinion is that the centre line is a handling rope and not a mooring rope.

The BMF have been asked the question and are currently searching for a response, but the initial tut-ing and tooth sucking when I asked the question tells me they also think its a hey-nonny-no!

So given that the big guns say it is not a mooring rope why are some hire boat companies telling their hirers that it is the right thing to do? Is it only a matter of time until a family is drowned due to this stupidity?

Irrespective of whether people are happy to moor on a centre line I feel sure they will change their mind if they were to find they are not insured while moored with a centre line.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Data breach as Glasgow City Council laptop stolen

A laptop containing the personal information and bank account details of thousands of people and businesses has been stolen from Glasgow City Council.

(As if that aint bad enough watch for keywords)

The local authority is now contacting 37,835 affected customers, including suppliers and people receiving winter fuel payments and care grants.

Strathclyde Police and the Information Commissioner have been informed about the theft, which took place last month.

The laptop was password-protected but not encrypted.

(It’s a laptop, either it should have been locked away in a secure cabinet or the information should have been on the main system not in a ‘pocketable’ item.)

It was one of two laptops stolen during a break-in at the council offices in Cochrane Street some time between Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 May.

The local authority said the full extent of the data loss did not become apparent until last Wednesday.

“We are sorry that this has happened and apologise for the inconvenience it has caused”

said a Spokesman Glasgow City Council

The information on the laptop relates to 17,692 companies and 20,143 individuals.

It includes names and addresses and, in the case of 16,451 customers, bank account details.

A full internal audit is being carried out.

 

Did you spot the keywords? Now, only now are they contacting customers.

Last month, the crime took place 14 days ago.

Last wednesday, it took 7 days to determine what was lost despite there being a 4 day period during which that could have been their only task and another three days leading up to that 4 day period.

Internal audit If they did regular audits they would have known what info was on that computer on day one. Why was such info on a lap top anyway?

I think Glasgow City Council have been exercising poor Data protection systems and someone’s head should roll.

And finally

"Customers should remember that no one from the council would ever call at their home or telephone them to ask for personal information, such as banking details”

Well the perps won’t phone either they already have all the details!

Hospital Farce

The John Radcliffe League of Friends has recently donated £54,000 to buy a specialised camera for the operating theatre of the Women’s Centre at the hospital. They fund lots of equipment at the hospital as well as providing many volunteers and services free of charge to the hospital for the benefit of the hospital and the patients. Yea LoF!

You can imagine their dismay when the hospital trust recently asked them to pay £25,000 annual rent. Just where exactly does a charity that does such sterling work for the benefit of the hospital find £25,000?

This mainly voluntary organisation exists for the benefit of the hospital and its patients, to ask them to pay to make money for the hospital is an absolute farce. Any money they raise goes to the hospital and the patients.

It is thought that CARRILION the hospitals private finance initiative partner is pressurising the hospital into asking for this rent. Lo and behold Phillipa Carman, Carrillion’s  Facilities and Estates director, was not available for comment. Well no surprises there then!

It seems to me that if the League of Friends pay £25,000 in rent, then Carrillion as the Estate Managers, will get a percentage of that money for their profit. This is not why people support the League of Friends. If the LoF were making a profit out of its activities then I could understand this, but all this rent will do is line the pockets of Carrillion and benefit the hospital not one iota.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Water, water everywhere!

What have Tringford, Marsworth and Wilstone got in common?

Well if you know your canal system  these are all Reservoirs on the GU Tring summit. What they have in common apart from location is, they are all FULL.

Two things now need to happen

1. BW need to stop several million gallons leaking off the pound and

2. Boaters have to be water conscious and wait to share locks.

This will help to preserve supplies and ensure those who want to cruise that way have a trouble free holiday.

Smurf crime.

I do not believe police are wasting their time on this man

Police are looking for a man who has been seen doing star jumps dressed ‘like a smurf".

They have received several reports of someone ‘acting suspiciously’ while wearing a blue skin-tight suit and blue make-up.

Gloucestershire Police are appealing for information and they want to speak to the man to establish his motives

Unless he has his dick hanging out leave him alone. There must be more important things the police should be doing.

Danish anyone?

Yesterday I was in Banbury drinking tea opposite Tooley’s. I was there from 13.20 until13.50. I happened to notice a Willow Wren Cruiser ‘TEAL’ passing through before half-past. Banbury to Thrupp is about 8 hours travelling with all the locks in your favour.

Yesterday evening 6 Willow Wren Cruisers came through Thrupp each about 5 minutes apart. They were all crewed by Danish School Parties. Apparently they do this every year. One boat was being steered by a lad that looked about 10 (he blushed and said he was 14, the organiser said he was 15, ) “We have been told it is OK if there are adults aboard.” said a man who seemed to be in charge.

“Yes,” said I, “but on the deck not inside drinking tea.”

Sheepishly the man said nothing else. In the current high winds we are experiencing I would have thought it not advisable to let a youngster steer, especially  at Thrupp, under a bridge through a sharp 90 degree turn with no adult supervision.

You can imagine my surprised when ‘TEAL’ arrived just before 18.30 only five hours after I had seen them in Banbury. I asked the man who I had spoken to earlier, “Where did you stop last night?”

He made up some bullshit about its been a hectic few days and he couldn’t remember.

“Didn’t I see you in Banbury this afternoon?”

And straight away he said, “Maybe, but we didn’t make waves.”

Why would he say that? It’s rather an odd thing to say don’t you think? Unless they did make waves all the way down.

There is no way to get from Banbury to Thrupp, in five hours, without making waves, a LOT of waves! Twenty miles and 12 locks, it can’t be done. Any one who says it can be done is not to be believed.

The man said they had been 10 times before, but on the Warwickshire ring. This was their first time on the Oxford. They were hoping to make it to Oxford before stopping, that’s another three and a half hours away. However they need to stop at the co-op for supplies which, he said they were in dire need of. So that’s nearly another hour. So if they are lucky they will arrive in Oxford in the dark, they will be lucky to find space for six big boats in the daylight, at night they will be hard pressed. I wonder if these people have done any planning whatsoever!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Lies, damned lies & Statsics

I don’t like Narrow Boat World very much and have said so on many occasions. Victor Swift (Tom Crossley’s alter-ego) is something of an annoying prick, but recently he pointed out the error of British Waterway’s Department of mis-Information.

BW in their effort to convince everyone how popular the waterways are have come up with an incredible statistic. ‘There are 300,000,000 visits to the canals every year’. That’s three hundred million pairs of feet. The whole population of the UK visiting the canals 4/5 times a year.

My figures are a bit different to Old Swifty’s but you will get the idea. There are 2200 miles of canals, yes? Divide that into 300,000,000.

136364 people/per mile/per year

now divide that by 365

On any given day an average of 374 people pass by your boat. Assuming an 8 hour day that’s 47 people per hour. It’s no wonder the country is going to the dogs they should all be at work!

Now if BW could tap into this mis-information just imagine what would happen to the maintenance budget if every visit cost each person a £1 or even 50p.

(Figures rounded up to remove decimal place)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Castle Door

A strange place to put a door…DSCF2866

… all the way up there.

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Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!

The Prime Minister has agreed with Channel 4 to do an interview on the condition that politics will not be discussed. I wonder what it is he thinks we want to know about his useless ass. Channel 4 would not be giving him air time if he wasn’t the PM

Like a Twitter commentator said yesterday:- But that just leaves you and we don't care about you, you useless twat!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Another lad dies jumping a lock

It is sad that yet another teenager has died trying to jump a lock. BWs response to this should not be to introduce fencing as some suggest, but to lobby the government to put more money into school fitness programmes. My thinking being that if a teenager cant jump an 8 foot gap then there is something wrong with the general fitness of teens today and no amount of daft H&S measures is going to improve that.

Doodle Bug

So there I am writing away in one of the 20 or so note books I have on the boat for my work, when… just as I am getting to an important bit of dialogue or action I turn the page and am presented with an art work from that well known doodle bug Mortimer Bones.
DSCF4282Whenever she is on my boat it seems she gets up to this mischief. Love it though I do, it does kinda take the edge off the moment when I laugh out loud and the crescendo I was climbing suddenly collapses. Of course once I have recomposed myself I have forgotten what it was I was going to say and find the only solution is to head of for tea. After tea I still can’t remember, but I might have had another idea.

Hello Bones!Left hug