Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy new year!

I know I'm early but I'll err, forget later! Happy new year to all my readers.

No pictures today I'm afraid - nothing photogenic jumped out in front of my lense. Cruised the massive journey down to Battlefield moorings and finally arrived at around 1.00pm. Found a few logs to saw up in order to start 2008 off with a good fire and then generally relaxed until now. This evening - a quiet night to see the new year in and then tomorrow back down to bridge 3 at the end of the Ashby before returning back to Brinklow on Wednesday.

3-1 to Orange tonight! 2 bars of GPRS with T-Mobile and not enough to even download my emails whereas Orange has 3 bars of EDGE signal zipping along.

No satellite TV here though as I have too many trees all round me so have had to re-wire in the old digi-box for TV through the tried and tested 'aerial on a long pole' method.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My apologies to Orange!

I shall begin this evening with my report on the battle of the networks! This evening, I have discovered that the scores now stand at 2-1 to Orange! I wondered in the past what the little 'E' was in the corner of my mobile handset and often assumed, (wrongly,) that it meant there was no connection, (you nerdy techies out there are laughing at me already aren't you!) This evening, I have discovered that the 'oft appearing' E shows an EDGE signal - kind of faster than GPRS and not quite 3G. Well, this evening I am proud to say I am operating on the EDGE! No, I'm not about to have a severe breakdown but my Orange handset shows 3 - 4 bars of EDGE signal whilst my T-Mobile unit only shows 2 bars of GPRS.
Set off this morning with a high sky although over-cast. Cruised up to the terminus, turned and finally moored just before the reed beds in one of may favourite haunts where owls abound and not much else!
Nothing else to report really. A warmer day, hordes of people thronging the towpath walking, cycling, jogging, fishing, (and only me and the fishermen contributing anything to the upkeep but that's another story!)
It was nice to hear cheery 'hellos' from past friends as well as readers of this blog and it was good to hear the Battlefield steam train plying its trade although more often than not, its presence only indicated by the plumes of smoke rising from the trees!
I was prompted last night by Andrew Denny from Granny Buttons that there are, in fact, plenty of links for the Lime Kilns at Hinckley on Google. He is absolutely right of course and in order to rectify the omiss, I have posted a fairly good one here! What I meant I guess is that the pub themselves don't have their own site for me to promote, however I suppose that featuring them 2 nights in a row will make up for that!
Anyway - enough waffle! Plans for tomorrow? Finish off the plans for today to start with! We didn't get as far back as the Battlefield moorings today so will have a short cruise down tomorrow to our chosen new year mooring and hopefully enough time for a trip in the canoe before dark, this leads me on to the subject of exercise......
.......Last year, in order to loose some weight, I bought an exercise bike. I didn't loose any weight whatsoever until someone told me that you had to use it. At that point I gave it to my father as it took up too much space on board. This year, I am resolved to loose that weight. I have spent hours musing over how to go about this task. I need to do something convenient so more canoeing, cycling or jogging on winter nights and round dark country lanes is out of the question as is any possibility of fitting a treadmill, rowing machine, cycler or home gym on board! I wouldn't have the time or committment to join a gym and cutting down on food or drink is simply not an option.....ummmm, perhaps I have a problem - any ideas?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cold, cold, cold.

Woke up this morning with the sun streaming through the windows from a blue, clear and cloudless sky. Moored up this evening with a heavy, grey and foreboding sky, a howling wind, freezing temperatures and spits of rain!

A leisurely morning after a few fried bits for breakfast and a quick polish down the moored side of the boat using my new waterless 'shine and wax' formula that I got for Christmas, (it dun 'arf do a good job guv'nor,) and we were off. A brief panic as a telephone call from our monitoring station confirmed that the intruder alarm at school had been activated, the Head was in Gloucester and I am No 2 on the list! Several phone calls later, and I had found a key holder in the area to check it out, confirmed that it was probably just a gust of wind blowing a blind chord and phoned the Head back to give him the 'all-clear'! Stopped at Trinity to see their advertised, 'new and extensive chandlery' and came out laughing about the few ends of rope and brightly painted scrubbing brushes on sale. We also tried to use their 'one stop grocery store' and came out with 2 out of the 4 items we wanted! The bonus is that I did manage to obtain a new bottle of 'Fuel set' additive for the diesel tank. I swear by this stuff and a UK importer seems to be lacking at present so it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.

Passing through the Lime Kilns pub, (sorry - no weblink found!) and this curious object caught my eye along side a very appropriate sign which I only spotted after I downloaded the image onto my computer!

and yes, I did slow down for it! A great fun way of exercise and using the water. Not sure how it stands with the BW licencing bureaucrats though!

Moored at Trinity, it was clear just how much the area was changing. Industrial units were being built on every small space of green land available and even a Premier Inns Travel Lodge was well underway.

I tip-toed past the online moorings on my way away from the marina and towards more rural pastures, with the engine on exactly tick-over. The reason for my slowness? I wanted to see the boats I recognised, hold a passing conversation with someone who recognised me and see if others were about. One gentleman was. An old chap with grey dwindling hair who popped up from a tiny, and extremely old, bright red boat that I had never seen before. "Take yer time!" he shouted as I passed, "I'm sorry?" I replied in a questioning and somewhat confused manner, "Take yer b****y time!" he repeated. I informed him of the fact that my engine was only on tick-over, that it was people like him which were the cause of me moving out of that particular marina and that I suggested he did some research into boat/engine speeds and ratios before yelling at people...... and I managed to do all of that before I had even 'sped' passed his boat!!

I was having a discussion with my father over the dinner table yesterday evening as to whether the numbers of people coming onto the waterways would eventually self police or not and the conclusion came out that we didn't think that would have the biggest impact but that sadly the numbers of 'new' boaters coming onto the waterways with little or no interest or knowledge in the waterway system and way of life would, and who then bring on their land-based anger, speed and rudeness would probably be the biggest cause of boaters leaving the water. The problem is, that it might well be the wrong type of boater who leaves, which causes our rich heritage of waterways traditions and cultures to become little more than 'hiding holes' for the drop-outs of society. As if to demonstrate the fact, in January's edition of Canal Boat and Inland Waterway magazine, a sad letter is printed which tells of an experience couple of boaters who, not being able to get the waterways out of their system since moving to Spain, re-kindled the passion with a hire boat holiday and then scuttled back off to Spain after being so disillusioned by the attitudes of other users. I then met the gentleman in the red boat which simple re-enforced my feeling together with the gentleman who pulled in behind us proudly telling us that he could no longer drive as he had had his driving licence revoked after being caught intoxicated, (my word - not his!) by Cocaine. Come to the waterways; you'll meet the friendliest community ever.....but for how long??

(Interestingly, I have now noticed from the survey on my main site, that for almost 2 years the thing that annoys people most on the canals was unlicenced craft. Recently the 'attitudes of some users' section has overtaken with 31% now saying unlicenced craft and 34% saying attitudes - more confirmation!)

On a cheerier note. Our cruising itinerary this year seems to be identical to that of NB Everso! I mentioned in a previous post of our continual meeting and passing of this boat starting with the River Weaver in the summer and then more meetings on the Grand Union Leicester arm. Well, we did it again and it was lovely to wish them a 'passing' happy new year as they passed us going south on the Ashby earlier today.

Tomorrow, another lazy day! A trip up to the end, turn and back to the Battlefield mooring where we will stop for the new year - weather permitting!

T-Mobile V Orange

Tonight it is 1-all! I have fluctuating between 1 to 2 bars of T-Mobile 3G signal and only 2 to 3 bars of GPRS from Orange.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Off, off and away!

We almost didn't though! Woke up the morning to a howling wind and the threat of impending heavy rain. The Dunkirk spirit prevailed however and by 11.00am we were manouevering into position for a pump-out prior to tackling the Oxford Canal Northwards. An email from a fellow boater in Brinklow mentioned his indecision whether or not to 'brave it' with his family and a further email later in the day confirmed that he had considerably more sense than I! Typically, in such inclement weather, as I approached the Iron exit bridge to join the Oxford, I noticed a very large boat stopped right opposite chatting to a man on the bank who obviously came from another boat moored just outside the marina entrance. Wild hand gesticulating and shouting over the wind warned me of an extremely high bowed motor and butty looming down North to South. With that particular obstacle past, I was waved through and managed to squeeze out and hold a passing conversation with the boat opposite who was interested in the marina before finally making my way on. A brief stop at Rose to pick up a few supplies and coal etc. before the onward trip through occasional showers to Sutton's Stop.

On the approach to Hawkesbury, I managed to pick up half a roll of heavy duty polythene round the prop and no amount of 'chucking it back' would see it freed so battling against wind, passing hire boats, (typical that they appeared just then!) and brambles in the hedge, we managed to pull in, free the blades and continue.

Uneventful towards Marston Junction, (is it just me or does Charity Dock get worse every time I pass it?) for the turn up the Ashby. Final mooring just before bridge 3 opposite the horses and just before the rain started much heavier and the wind blowing stronger. Even managed to get the satellite dish up and tuned in time!

A warm shower, dry clothes, fresh log on the stove, cup of coffee, the generator humming in the distance to power the Christmas lights and the contemplation of dinner and which bottle of ale to open is now on the itinerary.

Tomorrow is weather dependant. We may move up to the end of the Ashby, we may stop on route somewhere we like or we may just stay here - I'll keep you posted.

(BTW, I was going to post a picture but it was all too wet and my hands were too cold so I couldn't be bothered - sorry!)

T-Mobile V Orange!
One interesting thing I shall start doing is comparing the real life network coverage of T-Mobile V Orange in terms of data connections. My T-Mobile contract doesn't expire until May and I currently have a very good package signed up with Orange so am running both systems in tandem. It makes for an interesting comparison! Currently, (brge 3 - Ashby Canal) I get only 3 bars of GPRS with T-Mobile even using an external aerial but 2 bars of 3G with Orange which rises to 4 bars of 3G if I place the phone in the window. I shall post regular updates on this as I travel around so that I can make a real life comparison of the 2 networks more for my own interest but it may be of interest to others!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

Almost done for another year! Christmas 2007 gradually sinks into history and 2008 looms fast. I trust all my readers have had/are having a good holiday season. My present list included a pocket knife, a bottle of waterless wash and shine, The DVD set 'Yesterday once More' from the British Waterway Archive collection....
.....and the excellent little book 'The last Number Ones'....

This is the story of Rose and Joe Skinner, the last of the 'number ones', (owner operator,) and whose boat 'Friendship' is immortalised in the Ellesmere Boat Museum which I was able to visit and see during the summer.

Amongst my gifts was the 'Water-Buoy'.....

I wanted one of these little gadgets as the inconvenience and costs involved in loosing my keys overboard far out-weigh the cost of the device and if it works, it will be invaluable. It's just another insurance policy that I hope I'll never need to use!

Ah well, tomorrow - more Turkey and salad etc. and a visit to Steve, my brother and the family to catch up with stuff and do the whole pressent thing again!

Heres to 2008 and a good 'road ahead' to boaters everywhere.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mobile blogging!

Thought I'd try an experiment. This is my first ever mobile post, posted using a keyboard about 3 inches big, a screen about 2 inches big and the light from a bedside lamp! In London, I have a high speed HSDPA connection and as all my internet use is free after 7.00pm I thought I'd take advantage and try.

Had a very good run down today and managed to get into Kingston and do a load of Christmas shopping. Spent the evening upgrading my fathers PDA. Tomorrow I look forward to a full fried breakfast and then the pantomime with my nieces!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Break up!

Thought I'd begin to get into the festive spirit! Broke up from school today and boy - am I glad!! Brought home a whole crate full of chocolates and wine thanks to the kind children and parents in my class. Managed to dismantle the stage, sound and lighting from the show, contain the over-excitement of 35 11 yr olds and get home in one piece!

I plan to travel south tomorrow at some point for Christmas but should be able to update the blog from London. For now though and in case I forget.... A very happy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The future's bright....

Good bye T-Mobile!! I am about to call T-Mobile and cancel my contract as of its termination. I now acces much higher speed, (including HDSPA in selected areas,) and a much more reliable speed and connection via my HTC TyTn 11 unit and all for an extra eight pounds per month instead of thirty via T-Mobile!! The only downside is that I have to prop the phone up in the window of the boat in order to get 3 bars of UMTS service! Currently I have 2 months free trial of a package that means all data transfers are totally free after 7.00pm and at weekends. During the day it is charged at one pound fifty per MB. This package would cost me a fiver to continue per month but I wish to have a package that means I can use data all day without worrying. I now also use Skype on the handset to call people on computers and thanks to Oranges 'Magic Number' service, all calls to my fathers mobile are free any time!!

The first performance this evening with the kids was outstanding! I was so proud of them all and they were a real credit to the school and themselves, (blimey, I'm sounding like a teacher here....) Final show tomorrow evening and then last day of term on Thursday. My father is up for the evening and a couple of days from tomorrow and then I leave to visit 'Down South' on Friday some time for Christmas.

Well, this is the first blog update that come courtesy of my new set-up with Orange. Watch this space to see how I get on with it.....

Monday, December 17, 2007


Survived today - just!! We took 105 11 yr olds from Y6 and 105 8 yr olds from Y4 to the Belgrade theatre in Coventry to see Aladdin. I guess if you like total slapstick, it was great - the kids loved it anyway. Arrived back at school just in time to get costumed up and on the stage for their own final dress rehearsal in front of a live audience. Oh boy! It was dire. You know what they say; a poor dress rehearsal means a good performance - let's hope this rings true as tomorrow evening we have our first live 'paying' guests!

This morning was the first morning where the marina was frozen over . The characteristic ringing sound as ice shattered when the boat rocked as I moved about this morning indicated a cold start to the day.
For some reason, my T-mobile internet connection is still playing up this evening. Without my external aerial plugged in, I get at best, one bar of umts service but when I plug in the aerial, I loose it totally for somestrange reason. I haven't a clue what is going on but this is the second night of this and I'm getting a little fed up to be honest. I am still hoping that the issue is something to do with T-Mobile and not me. The helpdesk for T-Mobile is worse than useless and simply tell me that my location is right on the border of coverage and that will be the problem. They simply don't understand the fact that I have had a good signal for the last year, (at least 2 - 3 bars of umts,) and that this lack of service is only recent. If things don't improve, I may investigate the option of using my TyTn 11 as a modem. Anyone know what the Orange coverage of 3g is like??

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hit 'n' miss!

For some reason - a very hit 'n' miss internet this evening?? I hope it's T-Mobile mucking about and not me or my PC?? Only a GPRS signal and only 1 bar on that whereas I usually get 3 bars of UMTS. For some reason, I get nothing when I plug in my external aerial but a very slow GPRS signal without it??

I do know, that for the first time this evening, the marina is beginning to freeze over. The temperature is down to minus 2 already and set to drop even lower over night, a good frost is covering the pontoons and the cars and the fire is well stoked up with Simba curled up in front of it on his blanket.

A busy weekend getting ready for Christmas. Spent yesterday doing loads of washing, helping a neighbour do a pump-out, (what fun I have,) and various 'boat' chores. Today, I had to spend much of the day in school working. We break up on Thursday this week and there are 4 extremely hectic days ahead until then. Tomorrow, we are at the Belgrade theatre in Coventry to watch Aladin with 200+ excited 10 and 11 year olds who will have to eat their lunch on the coach on the way home, (sick bucket at the ready!) as they don't arrive home until 1.30 and have to be on stage performing their own production by 1.45. Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, after school and we have their 2 evening performances until 8.30 ish and then Thursday, we have to pack away all the set, staging and lighting systems ready to break up at the end of the day, all in between keeping the class contained and entertained, (yes - at this time of year, entertaining is just about all it is!!)

My father is coming up on Wednesday to see the show and then stay over until Thursday when I plan to travel back down to London with him for Christmas before returning to go up the Ashby on the boat for the new year.

Still very impressed with my TyTn 11, (see previous post.) The problem now, is getting all the software working on it! Had to spend a lot of money in a new car charger cradle for it to enable the Sat. Nav to work, had to upgrade my CoPilot Sat Nav software as the version I have doesn't run on Windows Mobile 6, Have had to re-apply for various licence keys including my Memory Map software for my hiking holidays, had to order a spare charger for school etc. etc. It would almost be better if I kept the old system! If anyone wants to buy an extremely good and almost new Ipaq 4150 with many accessories and pre-loaded, fully licenced and legal software - do let me know, open to offers??

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Just completed an hour long phone call with Orange! I have been an Orange customer since the days when they were 'Hutchison Telecom'! In browsing 'tinternet tonight I discovered that T-Mobile was offering a better price plan than I was getting so I phoned Orange and told them I was leaving. Amidst much spluttering of coffee, I am now on a new price plan that saves me over twenty quid each month and gives me a 'magic number' that I can phone for free any time whenever. She has also waived the upgrade fee, ("I can see that you're not happyMr. Edwards and as a long time loyal customer....."etc.) and so I have now upgraded my handset to an HTC TyTN11. Basically this should enable meto amalgamate my HP Pocket PC and my mobile phone into one unit rather than havign to carry 2 separate units around. The new handset should arrive on Friday in time for an explore and set up on Saturday. Watch this space!

I told 'Tina" that she had done a very good job in turning a disgruntled customer into a happy one! I just hope now that it all goes smoothly in the transfer over.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A good day!

....didn't do a lot, that's why it was a good day! A lazy start and a full fried breakfast whilst I sat out the wind and rain. The weather here was nothing like what was forecast. Yes we had some heavy showers but Saturday was by far the worst day weather wise and very little wind at all today. Managed to write almost all of my Christmas cards and finish wrapping my presents - about 20 for Simba and 5 for everyone else!!

A new boat arrived today with another oneon the way but apparently they got too cold so stopped at Sutton's Stop so now won't get in 'till tomorow. Trimmed up and brushed Simba to tidy him up for Christmas.

Now to coal! Not the most exciting dinner table topic but an interesting one none-the-less. It seems every boater has their own particular likes and disliked regarding different coal types. For many years I have been a 'Pureheat' fanatic but recently somone got me on to Excel. An interesting aroma whenever the stove is stoked up now emits and the fuel seems to burn a lot slower and lower but with a more controlable heat given out. I have only needed to stoke up the fire once a day instead of twice and likewise it seems to leave behind less ash. It seems to struggle to get the boat quite as warm and toasty but I think I'll stick with it which is just as well given that I have 5 bags of the stuff on the roof!

Only 2 more weeksbefore term ends for Christmas. Rehearsals and more rehearsals lie ahead along with carol concerts, Christmas dinners, Secret Santa and next Friday evening, our marina Christmas meal.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

....and the good news is.......

Well, sorry Kev! You are quite right and this blog has been a tad negative lately. The problem is, when things are ticking over nicely I have nothing to blog about, I only blog when things are worth reporting on, either because they are extremely good or extremely bad and just lately, as life sometimes does, more bad than good has been thrown at me. Track back through the posts to see all the amazing trip reports and cruise pictures and all the excellent newsand great things I have reported.
Well this evening, there is some good news!
The gas leak this morning turned out in the daylight to be nothing more serious than a large lump of grit in the thread of the bottle. I cleaned up the olive and screwed it into the new cylinder - more copius amounts of fairy liquid and nothing - no bubbles! I have returned the dodgy bottle and bought a new one. Talking of which, I did manage to get out this morning for the obligatory pump-out trip. Although bitingly cold, blowing a gale and chucking it down - seventy five quid later and the boat was serviced up ready for another 4 weeks, (who said living on a boat was cheaper than a house?!) The arrival back in the marina was an interesting experience but thanks to the upgraded river engine that I decided to have fitted at the build stage of the boat, plenty of power pushed it through the wind and onto the jetty quite nicely even though I do say so myself!
After I had thawed out, John and I decided to go shopping - Christmas shopping!! I managed to get almost all the presents I need which was quite an achievement and even threw in a little something for myself - one of these amazing little machines....
....a Tassimo hot beverage maker. I now have the shakes from one too many cup of coffee but I think I have just about tried all the different types they make and am looking forward to trying the hot chocolate later!
This evening, I decided to put up the Christmas decorations! 2 sets of lights were deemed U/S and traditionally disgarded in the black sack whilst the rest now adorn the boat. The future is bright, the future is LED! Straight out the box from my 'attic', (the storage cupboard with hard to reach corners under my bed around the poo tank!) and they worked first time. Doesn't it look pretty....
....and my little fibre optic tree in the cratch.....
Anyway, that'll do for now. Don't be a stranger Kev, thanks for the message; most boaters hunker down and 'disappear' in the winter - we kind of hibernate amidst our own doom and gloom: stick with me till the summer - boy, that'll make you envious!!
Happy Christmas one and all....

Friday, December 07, 2007

Give me a break!

The calm before the storm! This evening for the first time all week it is dead calm outside - a total mill-pool. Apparently gales and lashing rain is forecast for the whole weekend but right now - nothing! It did give me the chance to smell the gas which has been pouring out from my brand new cylinder all week. With no wind, the smell had not dissipated tonight and, on venturing out just now, I was knocked over by the strong stench of gas around my front locker. Out came the trusty fairy liquid bottle and a torch and on moving the cylinder to get to the pipes, I discovered that the brand new cylinder I purchased last weekend was now completely empty - 20 odd quid of gas in one week - great! It appears that the gas has been pouring out from the union where the nut tightens the olive into the cylinder. I have no idea if it is the seating of the olive, the thread with some dirt in it or the regulator that's knackered but for now I have shut down the gas supply and will investigate further tomorrow in the daylight. Another job to be done in the forecasted lashing down rain - give me a break!!
I am now looking forward to Monday to go back to work for a break already! As well as the obligatory pump-out and diesel trip that I MUST do, (given that my tanks are already overflowing through the charcoal filter and into the marina!) and the purchase of my oil lamp spares, (provided they have arrived at the chandlery,) and the Christmas shopping for my works 'secret Santa' present that needs to be purchased and wrapped before Monday, and the visit to 'Pets at Home' that is necessary in order to get more dog food, and the usual weekly housework that I don't get time for during the week, and the usual estimated 6-7 hours of weekend school work needed to be completed by Monday I now have a gas leak to detect, solve and fix - and all in the most inclement of forecasted weather: I do so look forward to weekends!!!!
By the way, best not to utter the words 'Merry Christmas' to me right now - I can't be held responsible for my actions. Christmas; bah humbug!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Parakeets and wind again!

My father is bemoaning about the influx of Ring Necked Parakeets in South London right now. Apparently they are scaring away his birds on the feeding station in his garden. Certainly there is always going to be an environmental issue with any non indigenous species that invade our country.

This evening the wind is back up to its old tricks again. Logs are rolling around the roof of the boat as they get blown from side to side and the boat is rocking and banging again - most bizarre weather!! Saturday, I have to take a trip to Rose whatever the weather - looks like I'm going to get very wet, very cold and blown into every other boat on the way out and in; it's going to be an interesting trip! On my return I need to get some Christmas shopping done.Next week is our school Christmas lunch and the traditional 'Secret Santa', I have to go and get my gift and write some cards etc.

Tomorrow is a non uniform day at school and with Christmas just round the corner, keeping 35 over excited 11 yr olds off the ceiling is getting more of a challenge every day! Rehearsals for the Christmas show is going well at last and we are now at the stage of final technical rehearsals, costume fittings and fine tuning bits until the first dress rehearsal a week tomorrow. We now have packed audiences booked of 160+ each performance and the programmes have been printed and returned to us today.

An email from Photocal, (the people who are producing my personalised calendars,) has confirmed that they have received my order, everything is fine and they are due to be despatched next week. They truely are a professional, friendly, helpful and efficient company.

For some years now I've had a SmartDisc Flashtrax. A small 80GB device that acted as a photo backup for all my digital pictures. For some time, (and coinciding with the day it fell on the floor!) every time I tried to copy data onto it I recieved an I/O device error. This evening, it finally gave up the ghost and is now resting in the dustbin. Shame, as it served a good purpose not only as a storage backup solution but also enabling me to be able to review and view pictures as well as allowing instant transfer of images from camera to device via storage card slots. Missed but I can't see it being replaced in a hurry! There are now faster and more robust and reliable similar devices available that I will explore at some later stage. I still have a 500Gb external hard drive which acts as my main backup storage solution!

Plans are well under way for Christmas now with half of my time spent down in London and half away on the boat. This will be the first year I have ever gone away on the boat for Christmas and it should be interesting.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Watching the news yesterday and I saw the horrendous story of the stabbing of a 14 yr old boy in London. Apparently he was stabbed and killed only yards from a local police office. Innevitably the mother was 'up in arms' regarding the closure of the office so the reporter went to interview the police. Apparently the estate is very rough and so the police office is only open one day per week on health and safety grounds! Am I missing something here? I may be over simplistic but I would have thought if a police officehad to be closed on health and safety grounds, that's exactly the time the police need a greater presence. I thought the police were here to uphold health and safety not vanish when things get too tough!!

Sitting here this evening typing this and the wind, once again, is getting up - big time! The temperature on the way home this evening was reading as 13 degrees in the car and I drove home with the windows open. Crazy weather for December!

I really need to make a little trip to Rose this Saturday for diesel, pump-out and a few other bits and bobs in addition to stretching the legs of Khayamanzi. Wind and forecast looks scarey but the trip WILL continue: Dunkirk spirit and all that!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rugby's highlight of the year!

Wow! Another lazy day; this shouldn't be allowed! This afternoon, John and I decided to pop into Rugby town center to savour the Christmas atmosphere of the annual lights switching on ceremony! Crowds of people flocked to the town for this enthralling annual highlight which comprised of a dozen local stalls selling raffle tickets for the Brownies or the rotary club.

The highlight for most was the main stage of Rugby FM - the local radio station. The stage provided music and live, (although doubtful in some cases,) entertainment. The sound system provided a distorted auditory experience due to the sound man's total inability to reduce the base and the crown became positively ecstatic at the appearance and performance of X Factor's Future Proof!!

It was at this time that we had enough and beat a hasty retreat whilst ear-drums were still intact! A simple 1000 watt floodlight projected onto the white backdrop which inevitably caused reflection and glare from behind resulting in the band being silhouetted - seriously poor stage management resulted in most people leaving at the same time as us: during the first song!

The downside of the whole experience for me was constantly being spotted by kids from school.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Troubled night and lazy day.

Well, true to the weather forecast, during the night the wind was on top form. Banging and blowing me about, I got up at about 2.00 this morning to remove my satellite dish before the wind did the job for me! I quite like the wind - it's cosy on board listening to it but a pain in the neck when it constantly blows my satellite dish out of line. Today was a lazy day. Emptied the ash and re-set the fire, got rid of rubbish, filled up with water, cleaned and hoovered the boat, changed a gas cylinder and bought a new one, bought 2 more bags of coal and topped up with diesel to name but a few jobs completed.

Rose Narrowboats are getting a spare glass shade for my oil lamp which I hope to get next weekend. Met another reader of this blog who hopes to come into Brinklow as soon as they're boat is built. Due to the wind, the fire is drawing well and it's hard to shut it down. Tomorrow is the grand lights switch on in Rugby with a Victorian fayre so John and I plan to make a visit. With this in mind, my traditional Sunday roast is cooking today. Roast chicken with roast potatoes, parsnips, sweet potato and broccoli!

The Christmas tree is up at school, my 2008 calenders have been ordered and we are now officially in December - where has this year gone?