Thursday, 28 August 2008

Hadar arrives

Fellow bloggers nb Hadar passed at 4.30 this afternoon on their way to the Shakerstone Family Festival. At least Jo and Keith will be able to find a space by the festival field this time and not like the IWA where they were placed some way from all the action. It's a little more relaxed here on the Ashby and probably a little shallower as well.

There are only about six or seven boats moored at the festival grounds as of Thursday evening. We'll probably make our way up tomorrow as this weekend will see a lot more traffic arriving. We've got to get ourselves a spot near a bridge where we can park our cars after all. Scum bridge hoppers.

Flowers or weeds

I haven't posted a picture for a while so here's one. I vaguely remember something about a 'veg pledge' from BW but life's just too short to be bothered to trawl through their tiresome press releases to find what it was all about. Suffice to say that it was probably something about cutting back the vegetation along the towpath. I think that these flowers trying to get into Pickles No 2 through an open porthole look brilliant and I wouldn't want them cut down.


Anyway, boaters should carry a means of cutting back their own 'veg' if they relish mooring in out of the way places like us. I use an ancient bill hook (or is it a sickle) and a more dangerous piece of equipment it is hard to imagine. Walkers seeing me violently swinging this thing around my head have in the past grabbed the rest of their family and hurriedly returned along the tow-path the way they had come, and who could blame them.

There would be no need for BW to cut back the 'veg' if boaters did it themselves and we could leave the pretty flowers alone and just deal with the ugly weeds. In fact this would save BW a fortune. All those contractors fees could go into Robin Evens' pocket. God knows he needs the money with all that driving around the country to talk to all those user groups. I'm sure he must be out of pocket. Think of all those leisure activities he must get up to in the five days of the week that he doesn't work. Must be incredibly expensive.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Cut out and send to a canal magazine

Dear Sir

I have recently returned from our renovated ch√Ęteau in France and have been disgusted and saddened by the state of our canals and some of its users.

After cleaning our brasses and touching up the paintwork on our new narrowboat we decided on a trip up the Ashby Canal. We here horrified to discover that most of the boats moored along the length of the canal were the same boats that were there before we left for our holiday. They were moored in different places but the same boats were still there with the same occupants. There was also evidence, if evidence were needed, that most of the were being lived on. These people are free loaders who do not pay into our society or our canals in the same way as we do. These free-loading scum pay no mooring fees or community charge and contribute nothing to the canals as most of the boats look like they do not have licences, safety certificates or insurance. I am sure that most of them do not even have a television licence.

These vermin use the facilities on the canals far and above what is reasonable, they fill their water tanks willy nilly, empty their Elsan without a care in the world, probably into the canal and fill up British Waterways refuse points with pee stained sofas and old carpets so there is little room left for the rest of us decent law abiding tax and licence payers to place our empty bottles of Chardonnay.

Their boats are unpainted, they inevitably sport a torn blue tarpaulin over the cruiser deck and are crewed by vest wearing, cigarette smoking, larger drinking louts. We need to clear these lice off the canals and take back what belongs to the respectable, Conservative, middle class, Daily Mail reading majority.

Yours faithfully

Bonkers of Hinckley

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Freedom

We arrived at Pickles No 2 to find that our fears were without foundation and that it had not toppled over and sunk, caught fire or blown up. In fact it looked like every other boat in the marina. Since it was midnight, we decided to stick to our better judgement and not to start the engine and rather have a glass of wine and settle down for the night.

In the morning I found that the starter battery would not turn over the engine and in fact it had only 4.2 volts in the battery. Oh dear! Not good for the longevity of the battery. However it started with the aid of a spare battery and some jump leads. Since then it has fully charged and kept it's charge well. We'll see haw long it lasts. I've no idea what could have discharged the battery to that extent as the only thing to come off it is the bilge pump and the bilges had no evidence of water in them and the pump still works so was not running dry. One of those many electrical mysteries.

'Lets get out of this place', the boat was screaming at us and we were echoing these sentiments. It was like running the gauntlet unloading the car and getting everything back into the boat with all those eyes on us (or possibly our paranoia). We paid our dues and after filling up hit the open canal. We are slowly making our way to the Shakerstone Family Festival site and should be there for the weekend.

I've only seen the one historic boat so far heading towards the Festival site and that was Roger Fuller (no, that's not the name of the boat. That's a boat builder) with nb Azalea towing and the ex working butty, Ilford. There will be many others over the next two weeks. I note that Roger Passed nb Hadar at Great Haywood on Saturday. We popped down to the festival site to see if there is going to be much room for the boat and spoke to Cyril, one of the organisers. Ohh! The ex GUCC nb Antlia has just passed.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Return to Poverty Rock

It's only two days before it's time to dig out that blue tarpaulin and get it flapping in the wind, place our wheelbarrow, BBQ, folding workbench, old wood, bikes and other carefully preserved bits of rusty and mouldy rubbish on the roof, put the dog on a bit of string, remove the licence disc, BW registration numbers and any identification marks, ensure that we are moored alongside others that look the same near a bridge where our car is parked where we will carefully arranged our bank side with even more bric-a-brac, stand around in intimidating groups of other bridge hoppers (for that is what we are) clutching cans of beer, ignoring other boaters (unless of course they are fellow bridge hoppers) looking like we have no respect for the canal or other boaters and that our boats are unsafe and have no BSS certificate or insurance, all just to annoy those who believe that those of us who live on our boats are scum (which of course, we are). Hours of fun. Ohhh! Those long winter nights are just going to fly by. I'm exhausted now due to the length of that first sentence.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Nothing to report

I haven't written any entries for a while as there has been very little boating related going on here and we had the phone cut off for a couple of weeks (my fault as I refuse to pay any bills until just after the last moment).

There's been the usual camping related stories, some appalling campers and some lovely ones. No one's actually complained this year (at least not to me. Maybe I just look too grumpy) and I haven't had to throw anyone off although I have tried with the outlaws. The weather's been brilliant but the numbers have been down but this could also be due to my refusal to advertise the camp site anywhere for fear of getting too many customers.

On the medical front everyone is fine except me as my back went, I got stung by an unknown beast and my little finger swelled up to the size of a cucumber (no it was the size of a marrow), I fell down the wet slippery steps and badly bruised my arm (god I sound like an old fogey discussing medical matters over a meal. Why do they always do that?). Talking of old fogeys, the outlaws are still here although it hasn't been for the lack of trying on my part (see above). Terri has been and gone on a flying visit. It wouldn't do to spend too long with ones parents.

When Lisa left the boat in July, it had been mentioned by one of the residents of the marina that it was listing to one side. This was to do with the lining that was leaning against the inside of the boat and, hopefully, nothing more sinister. Well no one's rang to say that Pickles no2 has toppled over so hopefully there will still be a relatively dry boat there when we return in two weeks to free the 'Hinckley one' from boat prison. The IWA festival is on that weekend so we may pop up for a day out. Then again, maybe not.