Thursday 16 May 2013

My fridge door

I appreciate the need to blame someone for the ills of our society during an economic downturn. History is littered with examples and it's a well documented phenomena that the rise in the right acts in an inverse proportion to the economic downturn. Hence the upsurge of UKIP and the need to blame the EU for all our troubles, the current attitudes to the poor and various other examples I can't be bothered to go into.

In the boating world, his probably accounts for the upsurge in those who see others living a different lifestyle to them and feel the need to blame them for their own woos. In this case the mooring regulations and the perception that all and sundry are abusing them. Around this way, all the 48 hour moorings are empty except for visitors. I imagine it's the same in many places.

If I had written what I wrote when I started boating, it wouldn't have raised an eyebrow. But today, people are looking for someone to blame and I am being threatened with having dog poo pushed through my window by these worried soles. Anyway, I'm boring myself with this topic.

On a lighter note, the door has fallen off our fridge. One minute it was doing it's job just fine, holding the cold air in and keeping the warm air out. The next, it was on the floor, as a trip hazard surrounded by the cold air. It's fixed now and I don't think Lisa will notice. It'll probably last another ten years.

She'll never notice

Friday 3 May 2013

Bizarre behaviour

Today started in a slightly bizarre way. I was walking the dog and upon return found a blue bag of small dog poo on the roof of the boat. I took it down and threw it into the cratch where I keep the rest of the dog poo bags (I do place them in a bin bag and take it to the skip occasionally along with the rest of the rubbish).

However, a boat with three elderly people had been moored several boatlengths forward from us had arrived the previous day and I knew that they had a problem with those of us who live aboard by their behaviour and their ignoring my cheery good morning's and hello's. This is a 48 hour mooring but if you arrive on a Wednesday on a bank holiday weekend, you could stay until Tuesday the next week without a problem. At least that's my perspective on the world. Others my differ.

One of the elderly people passed the boat with a blue dog poo bag peeping out of his pocket walking two small dogs. Oh dear. I never see blue poo bags.

I was looking forward to placing said bag on his roof this evening but he has been inconsiderate and moved on. Maybe next time. I had no evidence it was them but who needs evidence. If it was them and I was able to place the bag on their roof, they would have known, I knew it was them.

If it wasn't them....ahh well lets not go there.

Ohhh. I do have a photo of the poo bag if you really want to see it. I thought it wise not to publish though.

Sunday 21 April 2013

It's been a while hasn't it

Peers around door rather sheepishly........

How can I possibly have 102 readers on this blog, I haven't updated it since September. Internet stats are a load of nonsense aren't they.

Anyway if anybody ever reads this, I have just come on for a rant. We're currently moored at Hartshill on the Coventry Canal and some scrots have just pinched the rear wheels off both of our cars. Not content with doing just one they did both of them. That's about as exciting as our boating lives get these days as everything boating has become very normal. The winter was a little long and the mud seemingly never ending but the suns out at last.

Less wheels than there used to be
On the work front, Lisa is still a teacher and I'm now a locksmith and key cutter with my own little business. Don't call me though as I'm not entirely certain what I'm doing and have to bluff my way quite a bit. Still quite interesting work.

But not tomorrow as we can't go anywhere due to a 50% lack of wheels on our vehicles.

Don't know when this will be updated again as I always post with the best intentions but real life takes hold I never seem to find the time.

See ya.

Friday 5 October 2012

Rack and ruin

Honestly, you leave a country for a couple of months and the whole place goes to rack and ruin. Sally Ash joins Canal World Forum, Cart takes over from BW, the IWA take over CART, people on bikes and computers are taking numbers in the middle of nowhere every couple of weeks and there's a man goin' 'round taking names and he decides who to free and who to blame.

The IWA hates liveaboards, Cart hates liveaboards, marina dwellers hate liveaboards, the guy that give me a patrol notice the other day hated liveaboards (I could see it in his eyes), everybody hates liveaboards. I say liveaboards but I use this term to include ccers, cmers, bridge hoppers, overstayers and people who live on their boat. Paradoxically I even include boats that move round the system that no one lives on as they are all indistinguishable to the bigots who hate us and our boats. I've always been a persecuted minority (of one usually) and little has changed.

It would seem that there's a storm brewing. I wonder what Aickman, Rolt et al would have made of it all. Well there's always Nottingham Beer Festival next weekend.

Oh, hello again. Nice to be back (I think). Saw my first blogger the other day when Hadar passed.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Boat in Pillings. Me in France

We have now moved to our summer moorings at Pilling's lock Marina (well we had better have had since I have now been in France for the last three weeks). We have spent the last couple of weeks before I left making our way from Coventry to the River Soar.

The whole journey to Pillings had been trouble free with a brief stop over at Shardlow for the flooded Trent and Soar to underflood. Several beers were sampled on the journey but nothing of note really happened. No visitors, no upsets, no bad boating decisions, no near misses, no fall outs, nothing.

As of the morning of Sunday 20th June we entered the marina and hooking up to our umbilical cord in the form of the electricity cable. This is usually a revelation and we ended up spending the day marveling at all things electric, leaving taps running, using the washing machine and dryer until they're red hot, hair dryers and straighteners being used in the morning (but not by me I hasten to add) and all other indulgences electric.

 I left for France on the  Thursday and Lisa joined me the following week for her half term break. She was hoping that all the work setting up the campsite would be completed by then so no pressure then.

Since I have moved to France for three months, I wouldn't want you to miss me. So to that end I have decided, with a little persuasion from the editor, to start and write up a blog of our time in France and of running our small campsite that we run yearly. I know that you'll miss me if I leave you without. To that end, the campsite blog will start as of next week where this one leaves off, then in September this one will once again start where the campsite blog will leave off. Anyway, the address of the campsite blog is:

I intend it to be for a different audience so the writing style will differ slightly but the stories, the people and the narrative will be much more bizarre. If you thought that the canal world was full of incomprehensible incidents you should own a small campsite in France.

I also promise to update the blog every couple of days and not months as this blog seems to have been updated.

So that's Be there or be square.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Easter Trip (part two)

The return down Farmer's went as expected but I decided (without consulting the crew) to make our way via the Garrison flight rather than the Aston flight just for a change. We were off to Coventry Beer Festival but weren't in a rush. So turn off at Aston Junction onto the Digbeth Canal and we were confronted with Ashted Tunnel, a flooded basin and a very tight squeeze. Rather than do the sensible thing and let water out, I ploughed on regardless and managed to sever the TV areal cable that was hanging over the side of the boat. Oops. In fact all of the pounds were flooded all the way down.

It was obvious this is not a well used branch but very easy nonetheless. There was quite a bit of flattened building material around but you can tell there will be a fair amount of rebuilding around these parts in the very near future.

The locks were well oiled but we passed no other boats either moored or moving until we reached Bordesley Junction where we nearly bumped into a hirer looking shell shocked. It was a very interesting part of the system from an industrial architecture perspective. At Bordesley Junction we turned onto the Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal and headed to Garrison Locks. These were a different kettle of fish and there was much graffiti, rubbish and signs of urban decay. Really quite disgusting in places although it is more used than the Digbeth Branch it is a lot more unpleasant.

At Salford Junction we had a problem turning onto the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal as there isn't a lot of room. There are signs that others had similar problems with the concrete wall opposite with great chunks taken out of it where the bow of boats had collided and a sigh saying not to hit 'our wall'. I considered moving down to the Birmingham and Fazely and Tame Valley junction and winding there but with much tooing and frooing we made it around.

Arrived back at Alvacote the next day without any further issues just in time to complete the various administration tasks we needed to do. On the Friday we made our way up the Athestone Flight. This put the Garrison flight into perspective and we appreciated this flight more than ever. The sun was out, in the countryside, easy locks and friendly people. You really have to journey through unpleasant areas to place the rest of the system into some kind of perspective.

We arrived at Coventry Basin on Friday afternoon and prepared for an evening of beer sampling. Terri and another friend, Matt, joined us for the evening and much joviality ensued only slightly spoilt by Lisa having to run the pair of them to Luton airport to return to their acting job in Germany at four am the next morning. If we could't drink much on the Friday evening, we made up for it on the Saturday afternoon session when there were just Lisa and I.

Well I never.
On the wildlife front, I saw my first terrapin the other day sitting on a rock by Marston Junction. Also, there was a goldfish hovering around our boat for a week. Well it wasn't literally hovering (that would have been really unusual) but you know what I mean. Must have been released by an unloving owner or possibly escaped over the rim but seemed very happy in the canal. Don't suppose it'll find a mate though. Got a photo of the goldfish but the terrapin was too fast for me.

Reading this post back, it is dreadfully boring. It reads more like some other boating blogs out there (you know which ones I mean). Sorry about that. I'll try to do better next time.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Easter Trip (part one)

We were pondering over our Easter trip being constrained by the imminent arrival of our daughter Terri from her work in Germany and her plans for the holiday and the restrictions placed on the waterways by the lack of water. We settled on a trip to the Black Country and the Black Country Museum. We were last there with Pickles number one sixteen years ago. I've got to say that I was looking forward to going through Brum, Lisa possibly less so.

Farmers up to Brum
I was pouring over the maps and had planned the itinerary, the car shuffles and parking locations, the hospital appointments, Coventry Beer Festival, the museum visit, Terri's visits (possibly with friend), train timings there and return and all manner of possible combinations of events.

The best laid plans never survive first contact so I was not expecting great success from all this.
Farmers flight
Alvecote, where we left the car, to Birmingham took several days and a stopover at Curdworth. Other than the snow on the second day and the fuel filter failure on the same day, it was a trouble free journey to central Birmingham where we moored outside the side of the Sealife Centre.
Isn't industrial architecture fascinating (well I think so)
Terri and her friend, Tressa (both actors) joined us at Birmingham for the journey from Brum to Dudley and the outlaws joined us for the day at the museum.
A couple of actors being arrested for, well, being actors
On the journey through the BCN, we used the Old Line which was really very pleasant with only one stop to remove plastic bags. The further we got from central Birmingham, the clearer the water got and by the time we got to Dudley it was as clear as a goldfish bowl, minus the goldfish (but goldfish will make an appearance in part 2), the plastic bridge and pretend seaweed. The museum was very good and well worth a day out.

The return trip involved the new line which was faster but very boring as the whole thing is dead straight and very wide. Good, if time is money but not necessarily for leisure boating (no plastic bags thought). Not a single stone throwing yuff was encountered during the whole trip although I can't imagine why I would be expecting any. In fact, we hardly saw anyone.

On the return trip we decided to try Soho, Icknield Port and Oozels Street loops (use 'em or lose 'em). Soho was a breeze and very pleasant although Lisa had just put on the washing machine so engine revs had to be increased to 1100 and it was done at a bit of a lick. 

Icknield Port Loop proved a bit of a nightmare as this is where BW and other contractors leave their dumb barges to sink, rot and where they are abandoned and parked for free. About a third of the way round we found that several had parted from their moorings and had blocked the canal.

The loop has no tow path and my crew of one (as we were rid of the others) were unwilling to clamber over rusting hulks to place them in some sort of order and tie them up by what remained of their blue plastic string. It would have been a messy, dangerous job and I wouldn't have fancied it myself but I can't imagine why Lisa wasn't interested, so (on health and safety grounds) we reluctantly cut our losses and reversed back out of the loop. It was rather shallow and I was churning up mud but eventually we backed out onto the main line again. I think I'll email BW about this as this should really be clear for through traffic even though there's really nothing on the loop (but that's not the point is it).

More actors
Oozells was simple and the difference between the existing, quite scruffy and full of character, Sherbourn Wharf buildings (that haven't changed since our last visit sixteen years ago) and the new, posh accommodation blocks (gated communities) and modern pedestrian bridges was very stark. Our previous mooring outside the side of the Sealife Centre had been taken but there was space for us at Cambrian Wharf.

I would love to have tried the Engine Branch and the Titford Canal but we left those for another day. I couldn't work out if there was a winding 'ole at the end of the Engine branch and we didn't have time for the Titford locks and again couldn'd work out if I could wind at Titford Pools.

From what we saw of the BCN we were very impressed with its general navigability. With the exception of the rubbish in the water on the Farmers flight (normal) we had few problems. It's a little different from the Oxford and Stratford canals we had completed on previous years but fascinating in its own way.

Part 2 later

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Don't panic, don't panic.

We normally chuck our hot ashes in the canal (I know, I know but I don't care) but whilst Pickles was being blacked (by me) in the boat yard I decided that it would be better to place them in the hedge as we were on a trolley and I didn't think they would appreciate it if the ashes went into the basin.

Pleasant weather

I placed them into the metal coal bucket and onto the counter, ready for disposal when they had cooled. Several hours later I chucked them in the hedge next to the canal (don't get ahead of me here but I know that you know what's coming next). About an hour later, I (for some inexplicable reason) opened the side hatch to peer out. I (as you will already have surmised) was aghast at what confronted me. The hedge was alight with flames ten foot high and burning out of control. Stunned for a millisecond I realised that I was responsible for this inferno. This was not particularly good.

It's amazing what goes through your head in that short time you have to make instant decisions. Imagining standing in my blackened underpants, surrounded by hose baring firemen, head bowed in shame with the world in cinders around me.
Nearly finished
I grabbed the coal bucket and sprinted through the boat (Lisa was asleep on the sitee throughout all of this. I don't like to bother her with trivialities) full coal bucket in hand. Onto the counter, down the rickety ladder (I did mention that we're on a trolley, on a hard standing in a boatyard, didn't I?) around the back of the boat, flop flops, underpants and tee shirt, empty coal bucket contents on grass, fill bucket from basin, sprint (flip flop) across to said inferno and pour a pityful half bucket load contents onto the fire.

Nope, no good, it's still licking around the undergrowth and tearing up the nearest tree. This may not be a good idea and plan 'A' may need to be altered somewhat. Sprint (flip flop) back the the basin and fill said bucket (this time to the top) and back to the flames, (throw it at the base of the fire you fool) and empty bucket. Still no effect. This is not looking good. I may in fact require that elusive plan 'B'.
What's cooking?
Then a light bulb lit just above the cranium. The tap and hose that I had been using just that very morning was situated not ten meters from said blaze and the hose was still attached. Fortunately the hose was eleven meters long and after unreeling, extending, turning on and aiming the hose at (the base of) the fire we were up and running (flip flopping). Still clothed in my relaxed attire, I aimed a considerable amount of water at the flames and after fifteen minutes of releasing steam, smoke, more flames, burning embers and much hissing, we seemed to be at the stage of what the fire brigade euphemistically call, damping down.

I had assumed with the amount of light and smoke produced by the initial blaze, that it would have been seen by many others, but seemingly not. No one approached, screamed, tutted, folded their arms, gazed in awe, ran around waving their arms in the air or even seemingly, noticed.
Half way pressure washed (I think these are all out of sequence)
So there you go. Ten o'clock at night, me standing in my less than modest attire, flip flopped feet, black and muddy, hose pipe in hand after fighting a blazing inferno looking slightly shell shocked and no one had even noticed. Well if nobody says anything, we can probably get away with this. Lets hide the evidence. Place cut reeds on top of the burnt area, take the burnt branches from the tree, hide all evidence. Lets hope it works. And it did. Next day no one said anything. Nobody had noticed. I got away with setting fire to the world.

A salutary tale. Lets be careful out there. Unfortunately no original photos. I was a tad busy after all.

Twisted firestarter.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

The rules

Like many boaters, I have been taking a keen interest in the election of candidates for the newly formed CRT elections.  Arbitrarily, lets take one person as an example. Dave Mayell sounds like a reasonable person. I couldn't disagree with anything he says on his statement. It is as bland and uninspiring as the rest of them.

Unfortunately (for Dave), Dave is a member of the Canal World Forum and his real views and agenda are there for all that wish to read his writings. Dave is a stickler, some would say to a fundamentalist level, for rules and regulations. He loves them. The problem with Dave and his adherence to rules and regulations, is that if Tony Hales, the old Number 2 at BW now the new number 1 at CRT, make a new rule, no matter what that rule is and how absurd it may be, Dave will be the first to back him up and impose this new rule on the rest of us due to his disposition and unthinking adherence to 'the rules'.

There is absolutely no mention that Dave loves rules and regulations in his statement. Dave is, to all intents and purposes a regular boater lovin' guy. He's not a nutter.

If Dave's statement can be so bland as to be pointless, where do I stand with the rest of them. They all sound reasonable. They all sound fine and worth voting for.

Unfortunately, I shan't be voting for any of them and yes, it is my fault if the elected persons will end up being corrupt, self serving, greedy scumbags (which they inevitably will be) and it is my fault when they decide that there needs to be three square wooden bollards at every lock for no apparent reason (or am I too late on this one).

The very fact that someone wants to be voted into a position of power should prevent any of us from voting for them and should prevent society from allowing any of them to stand for candidacy.

But who would ever listen to me. I'm only another corrupt, self serving, greedy scumbag. Or am I.

Friday 20 January 2012

Back again. Still alive. Still afloat.

I really didn't realise how difficult I am to have a conversation with. We were at the terminus of the Ashby Canal and used The Globe pub at Snarestone for the obvious purpose. There's was a bonus in that it also has an elsan and water point if you know where to look.
I enjoy going into a pub by myself if Lisa doesn't fancy a pint whilst locals, seeing this, attempt to make me feel at home and try to involve me in the local banter. I always smile to make them feel like they are not wasting their time but rarely respond with more than a grunt, nod or a monosyllabic non-interjection.

They usually persevere with this but get bored after a time and I can never blame them. I've never been one for small talk with strangers or even people I know relatively well. I think that I'm getting worse as I tend to spend all day on the boat and never speak to anyone for days, occasionally weeks on end, although I do sometimes speak to Lisa and the dog.

Anyway, I've got no friends and I really don't want any, so if you want to be friends, please don't bother. It really will be an unfruitful experience for both of us.

Since the last post we have been to Butlins Folk Festival as we did last year and have booked again for next year as it really is a good break at the start of December. I'm getting used to Butlins and Lisa's getting used to folk music. Win win in game theory parlance.

Christmas saw our daughter, Terri, coming back from her German theatre tour for a couple of days before we drove her mad and she left again for friends in Paris and London before us seeing her off at the airport (she stole our car and we wanted it back before she left) for Germany again in early January. She really does live life at full speed and we couldn't do it these days. We're much happier at our slow pace or as Lisa says in my case, stopped.

We have completed several modifications to the boat recently. I say 'we' but that is in the royal sense as it obviously means me. Lisa is merely here in an instructional sense as in, "I want this done today and I want it done this way."

"Yes dear."

We now have internal doors!!!!! I know that the vast majority of boats have doors but Lisa had not realised this and, up to now, I have got away without having to make them and have been telling Lisa that curtains would suffice. It's been so long now that we got used to the curtains and believed that it actually was normal.

Well, it's a door ain't it
One of the larger parts of the old washer
 Our washing machine went to the great washing machine graveyard in the sky (the tip) and we had to get a new one. However, as I had inadvertently built the boat around the old washing machine which had been in situ since soon after we moved on, I had to extract it from the boat. Tape measure in hand I did the measurements and found that all possible extraction orifices were too small for it's removal. Nothing else for it but to take the thing apart and
get it out that way. Fortunately the new one was a slim model and it only required minimum dismembering of bulkheads to install. They even delivered to the boat within ten minutes of when they said they would. Wonders will never cease.
Newly painted bathroom

God almighty. Not more bathroom shots.
More bathroom shots
We also have steps just inside the front door instead of the awful yellow caravan step that had been in place for the last couple of years. Also it doubles up as a shoe box. You can't have enough stowage. Speaking of which, the boss insisted that we buy a dryer to complement the new washer. The problem is that, we only have a finite space and stuff that gets displaced by new stuff will need a new place and this is always problematic as other stuff will have to be stuffed up against the displaced stuff. Too much stuff.
No 'H' in these steps
When I had swept the chimney for the Boatman stove I found that there were some holes at the top towards the roof. It's only three years old so I was a little surprised at this. Not wishing to spend money, I decided to give it a rub down and fill the holes. After finding even more holes and an unsuccessful adventure with fire cement, I used some fiber glass matting and resin which seems to work quite well although I'm going to have to buy a new pipe for the BSS next year. But it'll do until then.
There's a hole in my chimney
We are now stuck on the Ashby as they are doing some work at Bridge four for the next couple of months. We weren't planning to move anyway but we've got an excuse now.

It'll probably be another couple of months till I post again but I really will try to make it sooner. Maybe even next week. What did I say about wonders never ceasing.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Germany, graduation and hot Rayburns

A Rayburn, yesterday

Several weeks ago I was told that it was time to light the Rayburn (these decisions are never mine) and we instantly regretted it. It's certainly no fault of the range, the boat or the economic climate but the weather changed and didn't inform us. The end of the week was a little chilly and we thought the writing was on the wall. This was re-enforced with the BBC forecast so it was lit on Saturday evening and nice and toasty it all became. Sunday dawned and we were back to tee shirts in the open air and sweltering in the boat with all hatches open. You really can't win. It's just one of those decisions you can never get exactly right although we won't be complaining when it gets to minus twelve again.

During the summer, our daughter Terri graduated from East 15 Acting School, picked up her Equity card and has got herself a contract with an English touring theater company in Germany for eleven months (or was it a traveling circus, I never remember). It seems like a good, well paid job for a new graduate and she is very happy about it. And so are we. We visited her place of work (despite her objections) and to that end popped over to Germany at half term to see her (some unheard of small town in southern Germany... although probably not unheard of by the locals). We had a wonderful time drinking German and Belgian beer and I believe, so I am told, we saw Terri as well.

Just what the world needs, another actor
Talking of the graduation ceremony, we had a wonderful time in July (that's goin' back a bit) at that famous seat of learning, The University of Essex. It was Terri's first time at the university as they don't normally let the acting students onto the campus grounds and insist they have their own campus well away from the academic students. It all seems very sensible if you ask me.

Two understated new actors, Terri and Tressa (friend)
Terri and her friends made us all feel very welcome. I didn't have the heart to tell her that that was probably the last time that she would ever see 90% of them, although that is not necessarily the case these days with the advent of the interweb and Facebook etc.

I don't think I've ever seen anyone I graduated with again (except Lisa that is). Although this could have been a conscious decision on their part rather than an unconscious decision on mine?

I've even had my first potential client approach me for when we open our accountancy business next September or maybe they just give me their email address to get rid of me. At least one name is on the mailing list.

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.