Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Full circle?

This morning I put the money we got for Helyn in the bank, and this afternoon I posted off a cheque for the deposit on Chertsey.

And in one of those lovely neat little circles, I realised the other day - where did we buy Helyn and begin our boating? Penton Hook Marina. On the Thames at Chertsey.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tanks on the drive

Well, I did it; I rang up Estates first thing this morning and the guy in charge seemed only too pleased for us to take away the two water tanks from my office building.

So we set off with the 240 estate and the roof rack, having been online and paid the congestion charge so that we could go up through London rather than round the M25 - at £8 it might be a useful deterrent to people driving in every day, but for an occasional visit it seems like good value for the convenience - and, I must say, TfL's websites generally seem to work very well.

As a result we were able to go the 'old fashioned' way; the way I remember going as a child before the M25 was built. Up the A23, Purley Way, Streatham High Road and Brixton Hill. I love this route with its plethora of magnificent thirties architecture, from the heyday of the motor car as a racy and glamorous means of transport, and the parades of shops; the only place that local independent shops now seem to have enough custon to survive. Although the butchers are now Halal and the haberdashers sell saris, in essence the scene hasn't changed for generations.

Without a hitch we found our way to Tavistock Square and loaded up the two 100 gallon tanks - one in the back (I shall be devastated when the last 240 disappears) and one on the roof. I had also taken the opportunity to pack up large amounts of books to take into the office, and to bring back two boxes of Tarporley photos.

It was a bonus to discover that one of the tanks still had its lids, and both were pretty clean; they seem almost new. Probably one at least will become a clean water tank for Chertsey rather than just being used for ballast.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Spreading the word

Today at work I've been showing my photos of Chertsey to anyone who'll look. Mostly they think I'm mad. Are you going to live on it, they say. Well, no, probably not, though I'd like to spend lots of time on it. When I tell them that no, I won't be putting a cabin on it, they look at me uncomprehendingly. What can I possibly want it for? To make it beautiful, more beautiful than it already is, and then get together and compare rivets with lots of like-minded people ('lots' is a relative concept, of course). Sounds perfectly sane.

No sooner was I back at work last week, than I became aware of the new perspective ownership of a boat like this brings. The building housing my office used to have a resident caretaker, but since he retired, his flat on the top floor is being converted to more offices. All sorts of ancient kitchen appliances, sanitary ware and general rubbish has appeared in the area in front of my basement office window, stayed a while, and then been spirited away. But what did I see there on Thursday? Two 100-gallon water tanks. Fate or what? Having had no success in locating, let along negotiating with the builders, tomorrow I plan to ring up the Estates department and see if I can effect their salvage.

Had a meeting this evening of all the people involved in teaching a particularly broad course I was involved in this year. One of the other people present taught history, specialising in London in the 30s. One of his classes was a walk around Docklands, but I wasted no time in accosting him in the tea break and persuading him that what his students really needed was a trip on Tarporley. This was received with some enthusiasm, and it was also suggested that I might like to give a talk to some of his other students about boats and carrying on the GU and stuff. I thought at first I probably don't know enough about it, but I bet I could crib sufficient material to fill half an hour or so, and think of all the lovely slides I could show.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What I did today

Ah dear, that title reminds me of the first extended bit of writing Sebastian ever did, following a trip to Beachy Head aged about four. I was just starting to encourage him to write a diary, and with a lot of help he wrote (and I remember this verbatim to this day):
Today we went to Beachy Head and I saw a dead badger and I enjoyed myself except for the dead badger

Anyway, today I was on Tarporley doing short trips from Kings Place (through Islington tunnel, down City Road lock, wind, up City Road lock and back through the tunnel. Six times) and on the last trip I met a man who used to work on timber barges on the Lee in the 1960s. And I enjoyed myself except for getting caught by the wind just as I was about to make a perfect entrance into the lock and taking about ten minutes to get lined up again.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Birthday wishes

Today has been my birthday, and of course, I effectively got my most wonderful present yesterday (see below), and was planning to spend today recovering from the excitement, but it has been a nice day in itself. We went to see Sebastian perform with the East Sussex Youth Orchestra at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill (you may recall this is an annual pre-holiday occurrence) and after wards hade a lovely impromptu Italian meal with Vicky and Craig (aka Dr Duct).

And anyway, as one does, I started thinking profound thoughts about what I have learnt over the years, and in particular what I have realised in recent years, which is this: it isn't any good at all just sitting around waiting and hoping for things to happen, and then getting bitter if they don't. If you want something, don't let fear of failure hold you back from trying to make it happen. You're no worse off if you fail - and you might well succeed far more often than you expect.


Yesterday was a truly momentous day. Not only did we sell Helyn, but I also learnt, after two and a half nail biting days of waiting, that my offer had been accepted for Chertsey. Yes, I have my big Woolwich at last. And it is an absolute stunner.

This all happened very quickly. I've been looking out for one for a while, as you might have guessed, and since January, looking seriously. I had my eye on one (that I'm still fond of) for a long time, but the price was too high for a restoration project, especially as it needed a lot of work. Nonetheless, I decided, driving back from Braunston, that I would arrange the finance so that I could make an offer - it would have been a rather low one, but whether or not it was accepted would have decided the matter for me.

Meanwhile, on the way to Braunston, Jim had got chatting with the owner of Petrel - who wasn't actually going to the rally - and mentioned in passing, like you do, oooh, my missus, she's so mad she wants a big Woolwich..... And he said he knew of one for sale. Jim gave him our number, and to be honest I didn't expect to hear anything, but a couple of weeks later, I took a phone call from the man who was handling the sale of Chertsey on behalf of the executors. On the phone, it didn't sound a great proposition - abandoned for eight years, no gunnels, full of rainwater, engine seized - but we arranged to go and view it, thinking it would be more for research purposes than anything.

Well, as soon as we saw it, we could see it was a brilliant boat; very straight, very original, and very sound. Not trusting our own judgement, we had taken an expert along with us, and he was in agreement. So we offered the asking price there and then, but still had to wait for a bit of backwards-and-forwards-ing with the executors before it was accepted.

And now it has been, and the fun begins. It should be exciting, but I'm almost still in shock, as it all happened so fast.

There are some more photos here, and a little bit of info about the boat in this CWF thread.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Goodbye Helyn, hello....

What a long and exciting day it's been today. No sooner had I put the ad up on Apollo Duck yesterday than I got a call about Helyn, from someone who was clearly very interested and knew exactly what they were looking for, and wanted to come today to view the boat. I took at the call while waiting for my train into work, and then immediately rang Jim to let him know the good news. He was not exactly over the moon - there are loads of little things I still have to do, he wailed, not least get the new battery...

Well, between us we had her ready for inspection by lunchtime today, and I must say she looked great. The engine was running and everything working and/or shiny. We were a bit worried when the potential purchasers failed to materialise at the expected time, but this turned out just to be due to traffic. Anyway, the upshot was that they bought the boat there and then, and Helyn is now on the way to a new life in (and around) Watford.

Mid morning, I received the phone call - well, voicemail - that I've been holding my breath for since Tuesday, and the outcome was - jubilation. But it's been such a long and exciting day that I shall have to continue the story tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So farewell Helyn... I hope

I am feeling quite pleased with myself. This morning I finally compiled the Apollo Duck advert for Helyn, probably taking a good couple of hours over it, and then continually going back and editing all those bits that you only notice once it's finished and up there for the world to see. Then I dashed off to work, and whilst waiting on the station, got a phone call from someone who wants to come and see her tomorrow. So fingers crossed that they will be pleased with what they see... and then toes crossed that we will have something to spend the money on. I am currently holding my breath, the cause of which will be revealed soon, either with great jubilation, or with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Have you noticed, if you have a scrolling mouse, that yesterday's rug photo is a rather disconcerting optical illusion? Move it up and down the screen, and it appears to get bigger and smaller.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tufty drill

I have just completed my third rug. The first sits in Warrior's back cabin, now on the side bed; the second was made as a present for someone else, and this one is, hopefully (my record is not good, viz the two-inch-too-wide seat boxes) made to measure for the other part of the side bed.

The original one, despite hardly ever having been on the floor (and when it was, I stepped over it) is now looking suitably used. Most of this was achieved in one simple procedure of Jim putting a creosote (substitute!) soaked fender down on it.

I am well aware that having rugs on the bed is not 'traditional' - in fact, I learn that there may have not really have been any tradition of having or making them on boats - but they are nice to sit on, and I am very taken with the visual effect of the way the tufts curl. I might try something more ambitious - and even less traditional - next time. It's the cutting up the strips of fabric that's the gutty part; actually making the rug is great fun and very rewarding. Unlike the last two, which were made on rug canvas that I had left over from an earlier project, this one is made on a fairly course hessian - the sort that garden centres sell for wrapping up your yuccas in the winter. I thought that it would be harder, but once I had decided on the spacing, it was no more difficult. The other day Jim was at Travis Perkins and saw a man with a lot of hessian sacks - empty sandbags, at 45p each, so I have asked him to get me some to play with.

Warrior came with a full set of upholstered cushions in the back cabin, plus a full set for the cross bed, all in very firm foam (well, they were built to support John Shotbolt) covered in luxurious royal blue dralon. You've guessed it - I couldn't stand them. They were too hard to sleep on comfortably, the devil to pack away in the cupboard, and the ones on the side bed just got in the way and collected dirt. So now they have all gone. We might be able to use some of them on Helyn (note to self: do Apollo Duck ad soon!). I was impressed when I stayed on Chiswick with how comfortable the softer, thinner foam mattress was, that just rolled up into the bed cupboard, so we might get round to getting one like that made. In the meantime, if we have unexpected overnight guests (well, guest, actually; our cross bed accomodates one person and a calorifier, but they do have warm feet), then they can take the cushions out of the saloon. And they will have a pretty rug to look at.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nice view

We have been able to leave Warrior on the very desirable linear moorings at Cowroast for a month courtesy of Mike, who contacted me out of the blue via CWF to offer us to tie up to his boat there, and subsequently by Bob, whom we met at Braunston and whose space we're using while he's travelling. Along with Bob at Braunston we met Jim and Sue, who have Owl and Hampton, and moor directly in front of Bob's space. So we have this lovely view out of the front hatches, for the brief time we're there. Hampton is a butty that has been subtly motorised, with a hydraulic drive to a propellor set into the ellum - which is made of steel, but you'd be hard pushed to tell. You can however see the hydraulic hoses, just about, in the photo, but it certainly beats chopping the end off.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mmm, subtle

Here is the new mop, in its rightful place. You can see by the state of the paintwork on which it's resting that it hasn't yet been deployed at this stage, but it poses nicely. Savour its subtle stripes of black and dark grey. Now when I said it was going to be painted in Warrior's colours I had more in mind the red and cream, with perhaps some black or grey to set it off. Unfortunately, we didn't have any cream - that was all John the signwriter's - and we couldn't find the red. I was sure we'd bought a whole new tin of Craftmaster, but if we did. it's disappeared. Hence the rather understated and inadvertantly tasteful tones of the mop.

However, I am delighted to report that is swabs down really well. It holds a hell of a lot of water, which has to be squeezed out by treading on it, as the one design feature it lacks is the ability to spin; being fixed by just one central screw, the head rotates on the shaft if you try to spin it dry. Perhaps it should have had two nails (no room for two screws) but too late now. Anyway, notwithstanding that, it works really well, and the long shaft really is a boon.

Today I've been out nominally in charge of Tarporley again; it was a lovely day, perfect weather. Sadly the customers this time spent most of their time inside bent over worksheets of various sorts. I enjoyed it though. Didn't even nearly hit anything this time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Here fishy fishy

This makes a change from feeding the ducks. There is no fishing at Cowroast, apparently, and there are some enormous carp here, who are very partial to a slice of bread. It's wonderful watching them racing the ducks for it, and snatching it from under their beaks.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Socialising at Cowroast

Very late in the day, but we have just said goodbye to Jim and Sue of OwI who joined us along with Alan and Cath, from CWF, whom we met at Braunston, for a lovely evening talking about boats, family history, school trips, coincidences and definitely not toilets.

We arrived last night and immediately went to the pub, which doesn't seem at all bad although the locals tell us that there are others that are better,and spent today mostly reading (me) while Jim fixed the chimney and reattached the fenders and various other jobs. It's time I was in bed, but I didn't want to miss doing today's post. More tomorrow....

Friday, July 17, 2009

What's on my desk?

Far too much stuff it would appear. It may not look like much, but I'm going to tidy it up now and see what's there. What should be there, obviously: monitor, keyboard, printer, mouse mat, mouse.

What's actually there:
On top of printer: case for phone (OK, need that to take to work today); card for Dean who is moving from his temporary flat (or extended holiday) on Battlebridge Basin to a house in Brighton; photo of me steering Chiswick; Birkbeck Stratford pen(very nice pens, our freebies); list of ideas for blog posts (this wasn't on it).

On the desk:
Camera; stapler; list of possible photos for blog post; receipt for additional beer purchased for works outing; list of peoples drink preferences for works outing; CD of photos from which I might be able to select one for the new Tarporley leaflet, which has been at the planning stage since last November (haven't looked at it yet); invitation and poster for the Angel Canal Festival; name badge from when I was ushering at the end of Faculty event; two sheets blank paper; card of man who is supposed to be getting back to me about an article on local councillors; new chequebook; bank statement; empty mug; Thames and Severn Canal book; DVD of waterways archive film (which computer is now refusing to play); address of Sebastian's friend in Orkney, who he might get round to visiting this year; another book - Ben Wilson, What Price Liberty; credit card statement (unpoened); two pencils; yellow highlighter pen; Political Studies Association pen with broken clip; contacts list for Tarporley; envelope containing spare exam papers from the week before last; one copy of the journal Politics; one copy of Political Studies; another yellow highlighter; post-it notes from the University of Portsmouth; HNBOC AGM minutes; letter from Canal Boat returning my subscription cheque because they said I hadn't sent my address - it was on the form they returned with the cheque; two A4 plastic wallets; another freebie pen; freebie coaster; to do list (at the bottom of the pile).

Now all tidied away, so it will be nice and clear when I get back from Cowroast.

Which item isn't in the photo?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Works outing

Yesterday we had an 'awayday' at work; it's because our whole institution is being reorganised, and I'm going to be part of an entirely new department. We mostly already know each other (there are thirteen of us), but there are a few people I didn't know very well. The awayday was about planning the department's priorities and how to make it successful, and wasn't nearly as bad as it might have been - there was some stuff that was a bit cringy, but mostly it was focussed on practicalities and hopefully will have established some concrete plans to get us off to a good start.

Anyway, enough of that - which is what we all thought at the end of the day. Months ago, at one of our earliest meetings, I suggested that a trip on Tarporley might be a good way for us to get to know each other better, and have fun (although obviously for budgetary purposes it was a teambuilding event), and it was decided that after the awayday would be the ideal time, so five o'clock saw us emerging from the tube at Camden Town, me trying to keep the party together like an ineffectual school teacher, and making our way up to where John and Peter were waiting for us above Hampstead Road lock.

I'd been dithering as to which way we should go; the original plan had been to go west, towards Little Venice, although I had thought that we wouldn't have time to get there. The alternative was to go east through Islington tunnel and beyond, but I wasn't sure how far we would get that way either. John said that although we wouldn't have time to stop there, as I was a 'special' customer (!) we could go to Little Venice, turn around and come straight back, so that's what we decided to do.

The supplies that Ben and I had laid in on Monday were, where appropriate, nicely chilled, and we poured, dished up, and distributed. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The weather could have behaved a bit better, but at least the rain stopped some times, and some people didn't mind it at all. Nearly all the drink was drunk and the washing up was done, as we drew up to Tarporley's Kings Place mooring... and sailed straight past! John had forgotten that we weren't going east as well! This caused some consternation as people had planned what trains they were going to get back from there at around eight o'clock... instead we proceeded to City Road lock, where a number of passengers disembarked, and Peter escorted them to Angel, from where, we hope, they safely found their way home (Jane having joined us earlier).

The remaining interpid souls opened the last bottle of red wine and enjoyed the experience of going down a lock for the first time (we couldn't wind below City Road because of boats moored there), and through the tunnel again, and it was some time after nine when we got back to Kings Place and finally tied up at the end of what had been a very long day. Still, it has been suggested that we make it an annual event, which certainly sounds like a good idea to me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


A Royal encounter... And no, they didn't touch.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Additional reading

Having so enjoyed The Thames and Severn Canal, my next bedside book is going to be Mike Clarke's history and guide to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, which is on our summer itinerary (provided there's enough water in it). The book was a Christmas present from Carl-next-door, who hails from up that way. I shall also be preparing for the journey (on which we also hope to include the Rochdale) by perusing the wonderful Pennine Waterways website.

This weekend we are off to Cowroast to deposit all our luggage, and hoping to meet some of the other moorers there, as they sound such a nice bunch of people, and we will be setting off on August 1st.

Tomorrow I have a work 'awayday' (which necessitates getting up early; my how spoilt I've become), but the reward at the end of it is that we (our new department) are going on a trip on Tarporley. I secured a budget of £75 for refreshments, and yesterday took a keen (and fit) young colleague to Tesco's on the Caledonian Road to purchase a selection of (relatively) fine wines, beer and crisps; I am determined that this should be a cut above usual work catering. So I may not be back in time to post tomorrow, but I will give a full account on Thursday.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New review

Following a rather convoluted process, involving complaining about my subscription on CWF and soliciting some freebies, I ended up agreeing to do a book review for Canal Boat magazine. The book they sent me was a new edition of Humphrey Household's definitive account of the Thames and Severn canal. My heart sank a bit, as I'm far more interested in boats, boat life and carrying companies than in the development of canals, but I'd promised, all enthusiastic, so I thought on Saturday I had better make a start on it.

They only wanted 150 words, which is nothing; by the time I'd got the history of the edition down and a few interesting facts gleaned from the press release and the intro, there was only room for about another forty. So I thought I should glance through it so I could give an idea of the main content, and do you know what, I couldn't put it down! Probably in large part because in contrast to many similar works it's very well written (although the new edition has either introduced or left uncorrected a number of annoying typos); it started life as an MA thesis, which shows in the meticulous and extensive referencing, and also on the enormous range of archive sources consulted, and was shortened (my god, how long did MA theses have to be in 1958?) for book publication, in 1969.

Household makes a really good story of the the development of the canal, from the inadequacies of the river navigations that preceded it, and there isn't too much - but presumably sufficient - of the engineering and financial detail that other accounts often seem to get bogged down in. There are death threats and sabotage too, for added spice, and, what really wins it for me, the individuals concerned and the problems they face really come to life.

There is also one of those lists I like so much, of some of the goods carried in the late eighteenth century: Oil in runlets, hogsheads, puncheons and pipes; puncheons of perry; sugar in lumps, loaves, bags and hogsheads; firkins of butter; bobbins and matts of flax; pockets and bags of hops; casks of purgative squills; sticks of timber; a tierce of alum, and eight serons of barilla.

I haven't finished it yet; three chapters to go. But I certainly shall. And then I shall have the difficult task of cutting my review down to 150 words after all.

I doubt whether CB are planning to pay for this opus; for 150 words it would hardly be worthwhile. Certainly, in academic cirles it is accepted that you do reviews partly because it looks good on your CV (although reviews don't count for much) and because you get a free book. We are absolute suckers for a free book, even if it's one we never wanted in the first place. On this basis the most lucrative review I ever did was my first, 700 words for a journal called History of European Thought, of a new four volume compilation entitled Liberalism: Critical Concepts, which now sits proudly on my office bookshelves, bearing a retail price tag of £475. Yes, four hundred and seventy five pounds. I wasn't even particularly nice about it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Brass band practice

The prototype chimney has performed well in its sea trials, and has been brought home for finishing touches. Particularly pleasing is the fact that it doesn't rattle, and also that if the bolt in the hinge is sufficiently tight, the chimney collapses in a restrained and controlled fashion, rather than with a resounding clatter.

So it will now be taken back to Warrior (we are going up to Cowroast next weekend, to deposit all our luggage for the trip), and the lower part will be sealed onto the stump which Jim tells me is called a spigot. One of the improvements made yesterday was to shorten the bolts that hold it in place so that they don't protrude. A further refinement was the adaptation of a large Brasso tin as an extension to the chimney's height.

The other was the deployment of a small strip of brass that we found on Warrior when we bought the boat. Not quite long/wide enough for a perfect finish, but very satisfactory, and at last (fingers crossed) after all these years we have an engine pipe to be proud of.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mopping up operation

I have long wanted a proper, 'traditional' mop. Ordinary ones, with their short handles, really aren't very good for dipping in the canal (especially if you're standing on the roof cabin top) and will never look as good sitting on the roof cabin top.

A while ago there was a thread on CWF telling you how to make one, so Jim took note and planned to do so. First we had to get a suitable shaft, which we finally purchased at Braunston. Eight foot of 1 1/4" diameter ash. Then there is the question of what rag to use for the mop head. Some people have suggested old coats ot old blankets, but I always had trouble working out where boatmen would have got these from - surely a new mop would have been needed far more often than an old coat was discarded. Then someone posted on CWF that a popular material was 'Croxley blanket', a kind of absorbant felt used in paper manufacture.

It occurred to me that the synthetic felt that these thick cleaning cloths, from the local market, are made out of might be a reasonable equivalent - and as they are the same stuff that modern mops are made of, would probably be pretty effective. So we settled on using strips of this.

First, Jim made a ferrule out of a piece of copper pipe and fitted it to the end of the shaft. This is to stop it splitting when the screw is put in to hold the strips in place. Then he made two large rubber washers, to go either side of the strips, and finally a metal washer before it is all screwed on. How to stop the screw and washer scratching paintwork etc when in use was a bit of a problem. The instructions talked about putting a leather strip around the whole assembly, but we couldn't see how the screw could be screwed in then (perhaps it should have been a nail). Anyway, we solved that by the simple expedient of getting the last strip and sewing it together over the screw.

The shaft is now primed ready for painting in Warrior's colours. We're not goung to attempt spirals, but will stick to simple bands. It may not be 100% traditional - whatever that might mean - but hopefully it will be an attractive, and more importantly, useful, addition to the boat.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Braunston snapshots

Getting ready for the parade on Saturday. L-R Chiswick, Victoria, Buckden, Corona.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Braunston snapshots

2. Josher in a bridgehole (which one? - the boat, not the bridge, that is).

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Braunston snapshots

1. Sunday morning, just about to set off in the parade.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Press Ganging

Could blogganging be the new pressganging?

I suspect Jim and Sarah are wanting to check that their evil plan to corrupt a previously blameless soul and bring him over onto the sweet wet side, has fully taken root.

It's not enough to swear in privy your fealty to the narrow water; to renounce all salty lumpiness; to never say the word sa*l. A truly narrow person must swear out loud; in public; in blogger.

I suspect that their evil plan has indeed taken root.

I keep wondering how I could juggle holidays to get another boat trip in before it turns too cold and wet (but mustn't it be cosy to cruise with fires blazing?). Perhaps I could blog the plans and schemes to get time off work; to persuade the missus to go boating in autumn; and to persuade myself that I can really trust myself with Sarah and Jim's pride and joy.

Aye aye... oi oi?

I was delighted at Braunston when, in recognition of my becoming a Tarporley 'skipper', the crew of Chiswick presented me with my Captain's hat, gold (well, shiny yellow) braid and all. However, Wilhelm decided that it suited him much better....

Sunday, July 05, 2009

This time last week (Sunday)

Oh, it seems so long ago now. On our final full day at Braunston we joined the parade again, this time both hitching a lift on Chiswick. It was a one way trip this time, as they were off to Oxford, so we hopped off at the turn. Highlights included passing Victoria just before the turn, snapping away (Sarah, I said sternly to myself, just how many photos of Victoria's fore end do you actually need?), and James and Mike deciding to have an impromptu tug of war - a rope was quickly thrown and attached, and they were off. After a couple of minutes an honourable draw was declared and we went our separate ways. Almost the best bit was watching a woman watching us from one of the modern boats moored on the towpath. She had a glass of wine in her hand, and never took her eyes off us, remaining completely expressionless throughout. No amusement; no anger or disgust; not even any bemusement. Nothing. You have to wonder why people like that bother staying alive, let along going boating.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Have you seen this man?

Dr Duct: Last seen wandering outside Gayton Marina at dawn on Monday June 22nd.

Should I be worried? We said goodbye to Craig a fortnight ago, and heard him getting up and leaving at four in the morning, having ordered a taxi to collect him from Gayton and take him to Stansted, whence Ryanair (hmm) would whisk him to Denmark for a dry ice convention... and that is the last we heard of him.

Craig, if you're reading this, do get in touch. We're all worried about you. You're not in trouble - I didn't mind about the glass, honest. Running away from your blogging duties might seem like the easy way out now, but you can't run away from yourself... Far better to come back and tackle them head on.

Friday, July 03, 2009


I cant help noticing that I'm slipping down the charts a bit here. At first I put it down to the lack of posts while I was away, but usually it picks up fairly quickly once I start posting again. So then I thought, perhaps my reader is on holiday... and suddenly realised, of course, Jim is still away. Just how many times was he looking at the blog every day before?

Anyway, we shall see, as he is now back and happily reunited with the laptop and catching up on his 900 emails. I took the car today and picked him up from Cowroast, where Warrior is borrowing a gorgeous mooring for the month. We had a nice lunch at the pub and I was delighted to note that in the ladies there was at least one proper old toilet, plus the lino worn right through on the floor in front of it. A sense of history at last. I wonder for how much longer before they gussy it up with carpet and new low level suites and automatic 'air freshener' dispensers and silk flowers (for which they seem to have a propensity in the rest of the pub) and dado rails.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

This time last week (Wednesday)

We bid farewell to Michelle and Bill,

saw boats begin to arrive for the rally,

and thought that the weather would be nice the next day.