Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A change in direction, possibly.

I feel like I need a new direction in life and to that end, I am researching a new career. Bow making fascinated me for years but lately I have not been as interested nor as active on that front and no one wants to pay for workmanship (well not mine anyway). I think that I need something to keep my brain active and not just my hands. This sounds extremely boring, but I fancy something steady and safe, interesting, challenging and stimulating. I'm seriously looking at accountancy but initially, bookkeeping (I know, I know). Lisa planted the seed in my head some time ago (she has a habit of doing that) and left me to make my 'own' decision.

I have had a interesting and varied working life (Lisa would say a non-working life), paratrooper, parachute instructor, motorcycle instructor, university student, lecturer, longbow maker, campsite manager and owner amongst others (and some rather dodgy jobs that are probably best forgotten, or at least ignored). Accountancy is something I can do from the boat (that's the boat reference for this post). To this end I have started a course in bookkeeping and very interesting it all is. I should finish all three levels this year then start the accountants bit for another year or so.

We'll see how it all pans out. Just send me all your receipts to practice on.

You can trust me. I'm an accountant!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Another life saved

I hauled a lady from the canal he other day but it wasn't half as exciting as it sounds and there was absolutely no heroism involved, unfortunately. I really would like to be a hero just once. I was on the way to the water point at the terminus of the Ashby when I bumped into someone familiar and stopped the boat to have a chat. On leaving, they told me that the other boat in front of me was captained by a bit of a faffer (someone who faffs around, ie not getting the job done in a timely manner). I then fell in behind them with this in my mind. At the water point he winded and seemed to moor up in the winding hole so I passed to fill with H2O thinking that he'll be faffing around.

Hose out, cap off and start to fill when said faffer arrived and announced that he thought that it was customary for the first to arrive to get to fill up first. I said he was absolutely right but that I didn't know his intentions, to take my hose off and fill his own tank. He decided not to and did some more faffing about. I saw out of the corner of my eye his wife was shooing Sam away from sniffing her mooring lines (can't imagine what the problem was there). I remember thinking at the time, 'faffers and dog haters'.

About twenty seconds later I heard another boater shouting that someone had fallen in the water. I ran back to faffer's boat and found it was his wife who had fallen in. She was looking a little bedraggled and shocked as her husband was holding onto her by the scruff of her neck. We each took an arm and hauled her out and a sorrier sight would be difficult to imagine. By this time others had arrived and I left the scene (I don't do after-incident consolation).

After the tank was full I reversed out of the water point and asked if she was ok but he wanted someone to blame and told me that if I hadn't have jumped in front of him it wouldn't have happened. Well, I wasn't to blame and told him so. He did however thank me.

Was I wrong to jump in front just because I had heard he was a faffer from a third party? On reflection, I probably was. I  don't usually take any notice of what anyone else says but, on this occasion, I did. It just goes to show that the vast majority of incidents on the canals are communication related (don't try to jump onto a boat that is not on the bank).

So what's the moral of all this and what's to be learnt. Why did the lady fall in the water after shooing Sam away from her lines? Did Sam have something to do with this? Is Sam a wizard dog who can make accidents happen to those who cross her? I'll endeavor to be nicer to the dog in future, just in case.

But I probably won't be any nicer to faffers.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Back on the Ashby

I arrived at the bottom lock and was dismayed to find eight boats waiting before me at 8 30 in the morning. Oh dear. I thought I would have been in good time to avoid this. The boat towing a hulk in the queue didn't help, neither did the sole, one armed boater, the crew member with learning difficulties and the limping stroke victim. Hmmm! This may take some time. And it did. Eventually got to the top lock in seven hours.  This would normally be a three hour trip if I'm by myself with no-one helping me.

There's just too many people on the water in the summer months. Can't wait for the winter when it's only us liveaboard scum abusing the system and getting all those facilities without paying for them. Amazing that when you use the facilities in the summer, you're utilizing your licence but when you use them in winter, you're a freeloading scumbag.

Parked outside The Anchor pub between Atherstone and Nuneaton to await Lisa. The Anchor used to do a good line in real ales but seemingly it is now under new management and real ale is no longer important to the business. You leave a country for three months and the whole place goes to rack and ruin. How difficult can it be just to keep some beers in the barrels.

What's happened to Nuneaton. Every single person on the towpath acknowledged me and nodded, waved, said 'good morning' or winked (not sure about the winking thing), the lads on the mini-motos, the fishermen, the drunks, the tramps, the shell suit wearing scronks; everybody. Are the all on drugs? Probably I'll have what they're on.

It looks like soooooo much fun, doesn't it?
Tractors 'an all
Boats as well

We finally made it to the site of the Shakerstone Family Festival and joined the back of the queue of the moorers. Met a few familiar faces and joined the throng at the pub. Real ale at last. A good night was had by both of us.

We are well and truely established on the Ashby Canal again where we belong.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Atherstone Flight, hello.

I am currently at he bottom lock on the Atherstone flight and the original plan was to make the Shakerstone Family Festival this weekend but this is now looking highly unlikely. The water conservation measures imposed by BW are now in effect and they are opening and locking the top and bottom locks at 0830 and midday. This means that there are very few boats in any of the pounds between the top and bottom locks so when they open them in the mornings, there is nobody to come through and the lock has to be emptied without a boat coming through. In fact if the top and bottom locks are opened at eight, we will all meet in the middle before there will be any one up, one down operations. Is this really conserving water or am I an idiot (no, don't answer that).

Lock queue (ok, I know it's not very big 'oh arrh missus')

I really have no idea how Lisa will find me at Atherstone Bottom Lock when she finishes work if I can't get at least half way up as the sat nav's not working. I'm sure it'll all work itself out. Or Lisa can find a hotel if she can't find me.

By the way, we're back.

I think you may have noticed.