Sunday, January 29, 2006

Khayamanzi in print!

I'm in print!! Canals and Rivers magazine, February 2006, page 58 and 59. I know Richard Hill was snapping away on the Pntcysyllte Aqueduct as he introduced himself to me as I was crossing in the summer. Apparently a feature is planned on 'horticulture afloat' for which I am due to appear in but it appears Richard has found another use for one of the shots. In his series on digital photography he describes Khayamanzi as, "....a very photogenic boat..." The only thing spoiling the shot was the Canaltime boat following me, however I can't complain as that was my South African friends who accompanied me on part of the trip!!

If ever Hewlet Packard will be able to get a scanner working on my computer I will scan the image, seek permission and publish it on this site.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Woke up this morning to find a glorious sun shining but.....
.......a howling wind! Spent a while helping a neighbour back in by pulling on his ropes and tying them off round my bollards etc and that was enough to convince me not to go out this weekend. Spent the morning de-frosting the fridge and steam cleaning it, steam cleaning the carpets, steam cleaned the window sills, steam cleaned the hob and cooker, hovered, dusted, polished, topped up the battery bank to keep me going a bit longer, cleaned the car.......

I'm sitting here typing this now while my dinner cooks witht he fire half open AND the central heating on - it's that cold outside tonight. I ordered some more rope packing for the fire box today as it has all but disintegrated - there's another job next week along with sweeping the chimney and working my way down the rest of the list!

Only 2 more weeks and half term - the Oxford canal beckons.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Why be a boater!?

What a glorious weekend! Saturday morning and the sun was shining with only a gently breeze blowing, so the call of the open water was too much to bare. After doing the usual jobs and tasks involved with keeping a boat alive, I took on diesel, coal and water, took a pumpout and took off! 20 minutes later and I could have been in the middle of a 6 week holiday. The sun was warm on my back, the water was lapping gently around the boat, the birds were competing with my engine and the passers by seemed more friendly than normal - I was even receiving the usual summer comments of 'lovely boat' - despite the true paintwork of the boat being being hidden under 6 months of dirt and grime.

Late last night I went out and stood on the back deck with a glass in my hand to clear my head. There was a thick fog enveloping all around so that visibility was little mored than a few feet, it was pitch black and so silent except for the distant barking of foxes and bleating of sheep and the stars were so bright that their reflection on the water was simply magical. I remember thinking, 'you would pay a fortune to get seats like this and see this kind of effect at the theatre!' I finally tore my arm off the thick frost that was sticking it to the cabin roof and returned inside to sit snugly by the roaring fire. Words really fail to fully explain that kind of experience and I guess only boaters and a very few lucky other people can appreciate and picture the experience of such a scene.

Today, I cruised slowly back home to the marina; again the sun was warm and passing boats were willing to pause and have a short chat before heading our separate ways.

One day, the temptation to not stop, rather, simply pass straight on by the marina and keep on going, will become too much to resist....

but until that day, there's marking, washing, hovering, cleaning, shopping, maintenance..................

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Attention all webmasters!!
Be warned that the DomainRegistry of America are on the prowl in the UK. A simple Google search reveals their sorded past in unethical trading practices having been fined and in serious trouble in the states. They send out mailshots that look extremely official and warn website owners that they need to renew their domain name immediately or risk loosing their site. Ignore these letters and bin them immediately. The 'renewal' actually authorises a transfer over to them -I know 'cos I've just been duped and are now fighting to transfer back. I'll let you know how things progress and will delete this if and when I get confirmation of a transfer back. Hopefully the website will remain unnafected but who knows with their background?

Printer still not working!

Guess what!? Finally got my replacement printer from HP today and still.... no scanning works. Any suggestions please?? The printer works fine as does the copier, even the scanner appears to work fine as it scans and the dialogue boxes all open up but no image is transferred back to the computer. I have tried it with all the security software off and uninstalled and re-installed several times!!??

Friday, January 13, 2006

OK Grand Union trip off!

Just sat down to read the latest WW only to see that much of the Grand Union is also shut off for stoppages!! I will now be taking the boat down through Napton on the Oxford. I have many jobs to do on the boat this year so will probably spend some of the time doing some of those jobs anyway!

Hewlet Packard and holidays ahead!

Well my printer didn't turn up!! A phone call later to HP revealed that the wrong date had been set and so it is now scheduled for next Tuesday. I have a hectic weekend ahead with a gas cylinder needing changing, coal needing to be got, shopping to do, a water tank to be filled up, diesel to be taken on board and a 200+ round trip to Leeds on Saturday!!

I have now turned my attention to the next holiday! Half term is in 4 weeks time and I plan to take Khayamanzi down to Braunston and onto the Grand Union for a short relaxing trip. I have never been down the Grand Union on this boat, (or not much of it anyway!) and as the stoppages at Atherstone prevent a trip in that direction - this seemed a good opportunity. Not sure how far down I'll get but when it gets to Wednesday I'll turn round and come back!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A relaxing life!??

If anyone tells me it must be relaxing living on a narrowboat - I shall scream!! Got home from work this evening: fed the dog, got dinner on the go, filled up with water, changed, took the rubbish bags to the bins, unpacked the shopping, cleaned the stove out, re-filled the coal bucket, re-set the fire, re-posiitoned the TV aerial as it had blown round in the wind and had to change a gas cylinder as it had run out! Finall sat down to eat dinner at 7.30. In about half an hour I need to take the dog out for his final walk and tomorrow I have a drugs assessor coming to see the work that I haven't done on my drugs awareness course!!

Relaxing? Hopefully yes, during the holidays and those relaxing gentle cruises but certainly not during term time!!

BTW tomorrow my new printer arrives hopefully - watch this space to see if HP are worth buying or not!!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

URGENT action required from all!!

As all boaters will be aware, at the end of 2006 Europe is planning on taking away the derogation we currently have on using red, (tax free) diesel in narrow-boats. This will have serious and far reaching consequences on the British canal system. Please write to your local MP to object to this NOW. You can do this simply and electronically by clicking this link, you thn type your postcode and your MP will automatically be found. By clicking on their name, you can type your objection.

General update on life!

Started back to work on Thursday, went on a course on Friday and now have the weekend ahead! Five more weeks to the next half term and my attention is beginning to be drawn to the trip that week. Not sure where to go but I think it will be a more relaxing affair rather than ground breaking. My PDA is now well and truely fixed and I have even managed a successful upgrade of my navigation software together with updating the speed camera database! HP have finally given up with my printer and have ordered a replacement one to be delivered next Wednesday - watch this space to see if it fixes the scanning problem.

I was going to take the boat out this weekend but they are forecasting a bitter weekend with snow flurries so decided against that idea, although I have to say the temperature is 2.7 degrees as I type this and feeling quite mild for January. All my wood supplies have now gone so I am forced to burning coal 24 hours a day - more expense! For reasons unknown, our harbour master left over Christmas and we now have a new harbour master been appointed who is Chris from N/B Faulkenor. He has a lot of respect and is a motor cycle training instructor so has a lot of patience in the role of training and helping new boaters get to grips with their craft. We wish him well in the role. During a Skype conversation with my father this evening, I put my headset on the floor and then promptly crushed them under my chair so an urgent trip to Argos is required tomorrow me thinks.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Having arrived back home after Christmas I decided to take the boat up to the Battlefield moorings for a day or two. After one night I decided to go back in to the marina as it was miserable outside, the bank was extremely muddy and I had a lot to do. Just as well I did! I have spent the whole day sorting out computer problems. My Handheld Ipaq kept crashing every time I tried to update the Journal bar softwar that provides me with the weather forecasts and news. After hours of uninstalling and reinstalling software, I discovered that the system time and date was wrong and I think that this has caused confusion. I have now adjusted this and it SEEMS to be OK at the moment!

The only outstanding problem now is my new printer. I bought an all-in-one HP photosmart 2575 printer during Christmas and the software has installed fine. It prints and photocopies but won't scan! The scanner works and communication seems to be fine from laptop to printer but not the other way. I have disabled all firewalls, adwatch programmes and anti-virus software - I have uninstalled and re-installed and I have spent an hour and a half on the phone to the HP technician. They are now going to look into it and ring me back tomorrow. Any ideas, please let me know!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Back home!

Christmas is well and truely over and the new year is just about finished as well! I am now back home on the boat nd ready for the evenings to draw out, the weather to warm up and the signs of spring to start appearing. Before then, however, there will probably be more snow, more cold and freezing weather and more coal needing to be burnt. Upon arriving home, one hour of central heating ensured enough hot water for a shower and the fire ensured the boat soon warmed up. I have now finished unpacking, (3 bags for me and 6 for the dog!) and am about to go to bed. The dog is already sound asleep on his chair in front of the fire as if is his pattern had never been disturbed. Some neighbours have lit fires to keep the boat warm and thawed and another neighbour has dropped my TV aerial down as it came out the clip and bent over ready to snap - it's nice to know people are around and will keep an eye on the boat for you when away - you don't get that in London! I have uploaded twi pictures from the Christmas. One of Hampton Court Palace looking fabulous all lit up at night with floodlights that changed colours and an ice rink in front of the foreboding structure and the second of my fathers garden with his new garden lights. He has always had lights int eh garden but his Christmas present from me was to upgrade one system to a moremodern and powerful halogen system.

I have had several major problems with my handheld PDA when trying to back it up tonight.This included having to perform a hard reset and completely restore the entire system. Thanks to Sprite Backup software this was not too hard although it still seems to be behaving in a tempramental way- a big problem when your entire life and agenda is run from this little gadget!! I now have it working but am not too hopeful how long this will last. I have purchased the upgrade tonight for my sat. Nav system, (CoPilot 5 upgrading to CoPilot 6) and so now need to wait for this to come through to school some time. Talking of school, I have a few days remaining as I don't start back until Thursday this week. This means 3 more days of shopping, cleaning, washing and unpacking but I may try to squeeze a day or two out in the boat if I feel I have time - watch this space.

I would like to close this blog by wishing all my readers, (young and old!) a very happy 2006.