Tuesday, 31 December 2013
Friday, 27 December 2013
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
Sunday, 22 December 2013
Thursday, 19 December 2013
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Monday, 16 December 2013
Sunday, 15 December 2013
Saturday, 14 December 2013
Having amassed a large number of books on the boat, and all on shelves on the heavy side of the boat, I decided it was time to put in some bookshelves on the light side of the boat and correct my trim problems. I could have changed them in the front room and put them on the port side, but the front end of my boat seems to be lower than it should be so putting the shelves on the port side in the bedroom seemed the logical place. This of course gives me more room in the saloon making it easier to clean.I was only ever going to get two rows of books in due to the fin-rad I have on the floor. To get the most storage I went for the longest shelves I could. I wanted chunky shelves so I used decking boards, which I managed to get for £15. A bit of cutting to allow the uprights to be shaped around the fin-rad and a few halving joints and I have bookshelf for most of my books. Which has balanced up the boat considerably.
I still have books in cupboards elsewhere but this was a big ballast move and gives the lie to the adage you will never use that space.
Friday, 13 December 2013
Well I left Coventry today after I spoke to a reporter in the Coventry Telegraph, about the garbage dumped at Longford Bridge.
I told him I was going to go and pick it up and he said he would have a photographer there to record the event. Well when I was nearly there I met up with the community boat nb Fazely which is a powered skip. They had been to Longford already and cleaned up. In yesterdays picture you can see an envelope on that envelope was the address of a shop just along the road.
On arrival at Longford I stopped a) because the the photographer was coming and b) I had a prop full of plastic bags. Well I tied up to the hand rail that I mentioned yesterday and as I got back on the boat a young man with a black bin liner walked past me and went behind the bush by the bridge. He was there for about 45 seconds. When he appeared from behind the bush he was minus the black plastic bin liner. but carrying a smaller carrier bag. So I asked, “Why did you do that?” He, of course, did not answer and walked off. This is what he left.
Now I know he left this because this was the view I had as I came through the bridge before I saw him with the bag. Centre right of the picture are some onion skins. He dumped his rubbish on top.
Well I was pissed at this, but before I asked him the question I did manage to take his photograph. I went to pick up his rubbish and in his rubbish bag was his address. This man is banged to rights. He has been reported to the council who say with a picture and an address they will prosecute. Score one brownie point!
Thursday, 12 December 2013
Tuesday I came down the canal from Hawkesbury under the motorway along to the way to Longford where the canal widens and takes a sharp right hand bend under the bridge. The bridge is now famous, or is that infamous. It seems to be the place that has been deemed the local land fill centre. Tuesday I passed through there and removed two bags of rubbish form the towpath right by the bridge. There was a third bag full of rubbish closer to the wall that I decided I would pick up on my way back because I wanted to get to the basin at Coventry before it got dark.
Today at 12:00 Michael Knowles took this picture of the same spot. There must be about six bags of rubbish there now. The photographer is standing just about under the bridge on the tow path. Behind that wall are houses. The question to ask is WHY?
Well we know some scumbags seem not to understand that we have a system here and it works quite well. The trouble is that the rules about how much you can put in your bin and what you can put in your bin are draconian. The council make unnecessary demands on people and they in turn dump their excess rubbish on the towpath rather than upset the fascists at the council.
I will be going that way tomorrow and will clear that mess up but in the process I will be looking for evidence of who did it. I shall report them to the council.
Now two weeks ago, if you look in the second picture, I removed a bag of rubbish from up the way there by that safety rail. By the look of the contents it had been there some considerable time. This area has a problem with fly tipping and Coventry Council need to deal with it and deal hard.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
I have just read this incredible story. What ever you think about the war in Afghanistan this book will hold you spellbound. It is a story of the unbelievable bravery and incredible courage of the Royal Air Force Chinook pilots who put the needs of the wounded soldiers on the ground before their own safety.
If you don’t cringe when Frenchie’s ship takes an RPG through the rear rotor pylon or duck when he takes a bullet to the head but still carries on to bring his missions to a safe conclusion, then you are beyond redemption.
The unbelievable valour displayed in this book is what made Britain Great.
Flight Lieutenant Alex ‘Frenchie’ Duncan DFC AFC is a modern day Great Briton! He doesn’t ride a bicycle so I don’t suppose he will get a Knighthood, but it would be so richly deserved.
Sunday, 8 December 2013
The Wind That Never Dies
(Ode to John Lennon)
In the austere silence of my early days of life,
There came a wind of change into the world.
A young man, an angry man, with oh so much to say.
Time would tell and he would have his way.
The songs came and very soon every one had heard,
The message and absurdity he penned in every word.
And it was the breeze of peace, that was this mans intent.
The life that was within him would oh so soon be spent.
Singing songs of tomorrow for peace through all of time.
The lives he touched were everyone’s not just yours and mine.
An anchor for the youth of nineteen sixty-three.
The words he wrote were beautiful, so beautiful to me.
Oh, John I am so sad you died before your time.
We’ll never know the heights to which you would’ve climbed.
And Yoko said, “There is a wind, a wind that never dies.”
So now I feel your spirit around me in the skies.
You didn’t want to be a soldier,
so sad that you should die.
I heard the news that day,
The tears fell from my eyes.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
Atherstone top lock was open to the public today so I went along to see what was going on. The lock itself was drained purely to let the public in to look around. While it is drained some pointing will be done, but there is nothing dramatic to be done unlike further down the flight.
In the top lock there was some rubbish, which is only to be expected. But three, yes 3, sets of bathroom scales? There were no shopping trolleys, that surprised me. Walking back up the flight I saw a familiar face, that of Richard Parry. His wife and daughter were also on the towpath. I quite liked Richard, but I just wish he didn’t remind me so much of David Cameron.
While the flight is de-watered the local volunteers, some from as far away as Fradley Junction, have taken to painting all the things that need painting.
Friday, 6 December 2013
Today before the wind got up I took all the light stuff off the roof and stored it in a corner suitably weighted down to stop it ending up in the canal. About an hour later I looked out and it had all gone! WTF!!!
I walked along the towpath and saw some volunteers standing around some piles of rubbish. I went over the bridge and asked if I could have my stuff back. Of all the nerve! They chose today to clean up the towpath.
And they didn't offer to bring it back.
Thursday, 5 December 2013
Well I left Nuneaton this morning. My cherished memory will be the chap from Star Line who disposed of a 10 litre container of used engine oil I found floating in the canal no questions asked. My un-cherished memory will be the sight of disposable nappies floating in the canal.
Before I set off I went into town to post some stuff and when I returned I collected another 2 bags of rubbish. I collected more on the way and by the time I got to the disposal station at Atherstone top lock I filled one dumpster. 12 bags of rubbish (wheelie bin bags), one flat wheel barrow, one broken deckchair, half a clothes airer. This of course doesn’t include the bits of wood I rescued for the fire
On the top of my boat I left 4 bags of aluminium cans (the have a trade in value, nearly £2 per kilo. I have about £50 quid on the roof.
I am amazed by the response of people who compliment me and say its a never ending job. So I suggest they could help. Not our job they say. Then they get all sheepish when I tell them I am on holiday from Oxford.
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
. . . . is to use the terms of the Maffster ‘Full of Shit’. There are hundreds of plastic bags nay thousands of plastic bags in the water. Same on the bankside. There are chairs settees bins and all manner of stuff just dumped in the canal. Tins and bottles abound floating along the edge and great lumps of wood, today I found a table floating.
With all this detritus in and around the water it is inevitable that some will get caught around the propeller. It can take a few minutes to remove or a couple of hours depending on what you catch. What ever it is and how ever long it takes to remove take the time to bag it up and keep it until you get to a waste disposal facility.
Tossing prop foul on the tow path is not a very satisfactory solution to your anger, it will end up back in the water. Yes I know its not yours, but its not mine either. I don’t think you can justify tossing it aside and not taking it away
This is the last lot I got.
Now I don’t want it and I know neither do you so bagging it for later is a sensible solution. No proper boater ever leaves it on the towpath.
This pile was taken from Kidlington green Lock side. There is a lot of crap there. The bit at the bottom is a child's toy suitcase there is some netting, plastic bags, ropes etc. What moron left it by the waterside?
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
I know I said Long Itchingdon is a dog dirty place and last week I sent a certificate to Ansty Parish council but Nuneaton has to be the worst place ever. There is Dog doo doo every where too much to count and there is an abundance of rubbish.
I thought it was a bit much when I saw soiled nappies floating in the canal (Ewugh) but when I saw them on the grassed areas around the flats WELL! I was disgusted. Do people really deserve to have nice places to live.
…….along with thousands of 38 Degrees members, stopped health minister Jeremy Hunt from closing services at Lewisham Hospital. Thousands of them chipped in to take him to court, and they won. (now I call that a result)
Jeremy Hunt appealed the decision (with taxpayers money) - but he lost again. So now, having been told twice that he acted illegally, he’s trying to change the law! He wants to bring in a "hospital closure clause" to give him new legal powers to shut A&Es like Lewisham. If he gets this through, none of our hospitals will be safe from his meddling or closure.
The hospital closure clause will soon be voted on by MPs. We need to persuade enough of them to vote against it. A huge petition will show MPs that the public don't want them to give Jeremy Hunt new powers to shut hospitals.
This petition needs your signature SIGN HERE PLEASE
Monday, 2 December 2013
So here I am on my journey around the canals. Where I go is determined by how I feel when I get up in the morning. I might go a couple of miles, I might go twenty. I might not go at all. A number of things guide me. Food (do I need to get any) and weather (is it good or awful). I tend not to worry about the stoppages. Last year I was only stopped once for one day in 500 miles, and I planned that anyway. If I should arrive at a stoppage I make a decision to stay or turn around. If I see an area that looks abused and litter strewn I may stop, I may not. I am in no hurry and I have nowhere to be. I am very lucky!
I tend to use Nicholson's maps but do use others. These days there are a plethora of web sites and apps with which you can plan your journey down to the last blade of grass. Once you have done the planning you might like to look up the places you will be visiting. By the time you get to set off on your journey you will know exactly who, what, when, where, why! You might as well stay tied up, because there will be few if any surprises. Its the surprises that making boating really fun.
The thing I like about my way of life is the surprise. Arriving somewhere I have never been before and seeing it. Or revisiting a place and meeting the people I met there before. Exploring all the details, not just looking for things I have seen in a picture. I don’t like turning up and finding a favourite mooring spot has been taken over by a hire company, but that’s life. I could never have it planned down to the last blade of grass a some do. All that seems to take away from the relaxing time we are supposed to be having.
Yes I know people often have a limited time for their boat trips, but I wonder if going further doesn't force them to go faster which of course isn't relaxing and just pisses other boaters off.
I have often heard “but I’ve got to be in……by….” . This tells me that planning is not a strong point. When you have a plan it has to be achievable and you have to keep with it. Idling at a pub for an unplanned lunch means the time has to be made up. If you have planned your trip based on 4 miles an hour you will be behind by lunchtime on the first day and will have to break the speed limit to get to your first night stop before night fall. Personally I don’t care if you have got it wrong and are behind time, that’s your problem, it is no reason to break the rules and upset others. There is no excuse for that. Surely it is better to to travel a shorter distance and take things easy than go rushing about like a banshee and arriving at the end of your holiday needing another holiday to recover?