Saturday, September 29, 2007

Work and a treat!

Woke up this morning and the sun was already trying to warm things up. Decided to go off for a pump-out and get diesel; a pleasant trip with the sun shafting through the trees. Past NB Keeping up, (with the Jones,) which was a welcome distraction.
Whilst out for services, I saw a beautiful Gimbol oil lamp. This is something I have wanted for a very long time and and on a whim, I bought it! It now looks lovely on the wall casting a soft yellow light across the room.
On returning home, I decided to get rid of all the flowers on the roof which were beginning to rot and smell! After a jet wash of the roof, it now looks very tidy and neat awaiting the winter supply of coal and wood ! You will notice from the picture above that yet again the stove has been lit!

Friday, September 28, 2007

OK - given in!

In light of the teasing posts from Jo on NB Hadar and the fact that at last it's Friday evening and wet, cold, dark and miserable; I have finally given in, changed the chimney over and lit the stove!

Just come off the phone after holding an hour long conversation with a research Dr. on the subject of 'living on a narrowboat'. Some time ago, I responded to a letter in the RBOA magazine relating to a man undertaking research on social policy and boats as an affordable housing option. Holding strong views on this matter, I emailed him and he telephoned to arrange this evening as a time for a conversation. He asked me questions on every aspect of living on a boat and my opinions as to the management of BW. I have requested to see the results which he has readilly agreed and so I look forward to seeing them at some point in the future.

A J Canopies confirmed with me today that yesterday, their engineers came and took measurements for my new cratch canopy. So far, I have nothing but praise for their efficiency and helpfulness. Weather and the gods permitting, they have provissionally booked in my fitting of the new cratch for Friday 17th October - just before I leave on Saturday for my half term cruise: again, being helpful to try and get it done by then. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cheer on a miserable day!

In response to the request by Andrew Denny of Granny Buttons, I have posted a few pictures of my summer floral display from previous years. I believe that on a cold and wet miserable autumnal day such as today, they might also cheer us all up a little! This years display was nothing like as spectacular as previous years due to the rediculous weather conditions. Although good, they didn't spread out or grow as bushy as in the past. The bottom picture is thanks to Waterways World who took it and used it in a photographic article.
Already, I have 3 suggestions for captions to the photograph on my main site. I hope more will follow. Still no lit stove this evening - I just can't bring myself to light it yet and so the central heating is flat out again. I will allow myself to succumb at the weekend if the cooler weather continues. Another batch of yogurt has been made and is safely tucked in the fridge well out of the way of Simba.
A couple of classic moments at school today! Kids are the greatest to work with sometimes. One little lad was sneaking back into school during lunchtime and was challenged by a teacher. "I need a sheet of paper and a pen", the lad replied and when asked why by the teacher, replied, "how can I possibly update my enemies list if I don't have a sheet of paper and a pen?"
On the flip side, one member of staff sent home the home/school reading diaries to be signed by parents once they heard their child read. A note inside one diary today read, "I refuse to sign this diary as it is the schools responsibility to teach my child to read - not mine. I will not, therefore, be signing or supporting this diary so please don't send it home again." What hope have we got and more frustratingly is the lack of professionailsm we are allowed to exercise in calling the parent to task about the whole issue of 'partnership' in education - we just have to sit back and accept it......

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Caption fun!

Visit the main Khayamanzi website to join in with the Canal Caption Capers! Our first picture is thanks to Andy Bayley from NB Brindley. Andy spotted this picture on the Upper Avon. Clearly the summer floods have caused problems for many but time is a healer and the British ability to laugh at mis-fortune in hind sight should prevail! In fact, it was his picture that he posted to me that inspired the idea. He also sent 2 excellent suggested captions but I shall leave him to be the one who posts those ideas if he wishes.... You'll find the page by clicking on the 'Canal Captions' link under the 'welcome' link or by clicking on the thought bubble above the navigation menu.

Temperatures continue to drop especially by night and even the first frosts have been predicted. This will kill off any remaining summer flowers on my roof or in the tubs in the marina. I think this weekend might have to be the end of them and herald a big clearing out operation. The central heating is already on this evening and will stay on until I go to bed and the mornings are equally chilly. I may have to succumb soon to the solid fuel stove although to date, I have resisted the temptation to even change the chimney from its summer brass finery to its drab but functional winter outfit fashioned from the wing of a Hawker Siddley aircraft and donated by a metallurgist friend of mine!

Last night Simba was in the dog house - quite literally! I have started making natural, live yogurts using the 'Easiyo' system. Not only are they delicious but, if you read the advertising at least, they appear to be the 21st century cure for everything! I tipped out the last of my latest jar of yogurt last night and placed it on the floor next to my chair whilst I finished the washing up before retiring to eat it. I don't need to finish the story do I - you're ahead of me! Simba was confined to his bed for the next 30 minutes to think about his inappropriate behaviour, (boy, I must stop treating him like one of my class!) before being invited back into the living room for cuddles to show that there was no hard feeling!

I have been alerted via Maffi's blog that the red arrows have been banned from displaying at the 2012 Olympics on the grounds that they are 'too British'!! Have you ever heard such rubbish? I urge everyone to sign the Downing Street petition to ask for common sense here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A mixed day!

School was great today but since arriving home it's been another story!

The weather at Blists Hill open air museum was great, the kids were fantastic and a joy to be with and even the parent helpers who came along were actually a great help! Got home and had to re-align the satellite dish as the rain/wind today seemed to have knocked it out of line. Made dinner which I didn't feel like as I'd eaten a lot at the museum today, dished up some of my favourate yogurt and put it in the lounge whilst I washed up, returned to eat it to find Simba had beaten me to it, (he's now sulking in his bed having been told off!) and so the list goes on..... 7.30 and as soon as I've written this I'm going to begin my work for tomorrow before allowing myself the possible luxury of a few minutes sit down and rest before going to bed. Oh and the zip on my cratch has now ripped almost from top to bottom meaning a howling wind and rain now drives straight through into the boat! I think A J Canopies have been to measure up as a few straps are in different positions than when I leave them but I may be wrong. I shall ring them on Friday and confirm that they have been - watch this space.

It would be lovely to post more interesting news relating to boating issues but the problem is that during the week in term time, nothing bar nothing can possibly allow me chance or time to know what's happening in any part of society other than education!

Monday, September 24, 2007


The stone was deffinately gone today! Last night was very wet and windy and I was kept awake most of the night. When I woke up, I realised just how bad things had got. One boy arrived at school in trainers and informed us that he couldn't wear his school shoes as they were covered in glass due to the fact that his front porch had ben blown away by a tornado during the night! I've heard some excuses in my time but his mother confirmed the fact and the news headlines this evening also demonstrated the truth in the matter.

Tomorrow we take 105, 10 and 11 year olds to Blists Hill Victorian open air museum. Usually an excellent but long and tireing day however the forecast isn't too great!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Passed - just!

I've said it before and I'll say it again -it's quite scarey when you realise people actually read the drivel that I write on here!

I have to say that Andrew Denny has posted some excellent and most interesting posts lately on his Granny Buttons site. I also notice from the latest edition of 'The Broker' free in Canals and Rivers magazine that Cabinessence is up for sale. Cabinessence is owned by friends of mine and blog readers and it is sad that they now feel they can't devote the time needed to maintain and use their boat. My best wishes to them and I trust they will still continue to follow my blog.

Just watching the latest news and reeling from the announcement of Blue Tongue now threatening what's left of the farming industry from the latest footand mouth crisis. I'm glad I'm no longer in agriculture but my heart goes out to those struggling to make a living. It's too cosy for most to get their meat from the supermarket and not cast a single thought of the farmers who's livelihood is currently being devastated.

This morning, I noticed a bag of rubbish neatly tied up and thrown into the hedge by the marina. Clearly from a boater who was out looking for a bin and, not finding one, decided the hedge would do. I cleared it up and put it in the bin but pondered long over the mindless stupidity of such an act. Even animals don't mess in their own environment and habitat for fear of being smelt and tracked by predators. I sometimes wonder if we are so far up the food chain that we have lost the sense of cleanliness of our own habitat: perhaps homo-sapians could benefit from a healthy dose of natural predation?

The car passed it's MOT this morning. Took it in for its appointment at 10.30 and walked in to Hinckley to pass the time. Bought a new pair of trousers and shoes for work along with a few magazines to browse and returned at 11.30 to collect the car. "Oh sorry, we're running a bit behind," came the reply. About an hour later I was informed it had failed due to the front headlight being out of alignment. I informed them that this same front headlight they had changed for me a year ago and I hadn't touched it since and they agreed to rectify it and not charge me. Almost four hours later, they passed the car and it only cost me forty pounds! I now need to tax it.....

More boats came into the marina today and the friendly little community is growing - there are now many more people to stop and chat to as I go about my daily business! Any readers of my blog are most welcome to attend the barbecue on Saturday 27th October if around. Simply bring your own food and drink and turn up - it would be great to see you. The barbecue officially starts at 5.00pm.

Tomorrow is Simbas birthday! I would like to take him off somewhere for a good walk/run but the weather doesn't look great and I have a pile of books to mark so we'll see......

My satellite dish now sits on a small square magnetic strip which clamps to the roof beside the chimney. The signal is good and the strength of the magnetic strip will be tested no doubt in future winds over the winter. I also removed the twin horns from on the top plank on the cratch frame and screwed it into the metal on the roof of the cabin tops. This is all in preparation for the measurement for my new cratch canopy this week by the experts from A J Canopies . What's it like and how quick are they? Watch this space.....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Creeping up on you....

It's amazing how things creep up on you! MOT booked in on the car for 10.30 on Saturday morning as it runs out on Sunday, Tax runs out a week later so that needs doing too! Boy time flies - it only had its first MOT the other day it seems. I also need to sort out my cratch over the weekend and remove the assorted objects that clutter the canopy, such as the satellite dish and horns in readiness for the technicians from A J Canopies to come and measure up next week. In addition, I have 5000 daffodil bulbs to begin planting round the marina, (with help from others!)

At school, the honeymoon period is over and my 'new' class were jolly hard work today- pushing every boundary they could and we ended up 'coming to blows' which is always sad to leave them in that way. I now hope that tomorrow can herald a good and enjoyable day, especially given that it is World Peace Day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Car - no go!

OK so plans come and plans go but at the end of the day it's plans that keep ambition alive and thus also anticipation. The Landrover is no go for a variety of reasons, not least of all the fact that I've just realised that my current car tax and MOT run out this week and it would all get far too complicated! In addition, they won't offer anything near a good or reasonable price for my current car as part exand I've also had mixed reactions regarding the reliability of the Freelander so I've decided against the idea!

This week, the central heating has been used overtime! Woke up this morning with the temperature sensor reading 4.5 degrees outside the boat - quite a shock to the system, especially as I'm still waiting for summer so that I can go boating. What? It's been and gone? Where? When?

Still planning for my October cruise although I want to be back for Saturday 27th October as we have an open day at the marina and an evening 'end of season' barbecue at 5.00pm. (Any readers and friends are invited - just bring your own food and drink and let me know - prospective moorers especially welcome by car or boat,)

Paid the deposit for my new cratch yesterday to A J Canopies of Braunston. They seem very helpful and the work I have seen so far looks excellent quality - I'll keep you posted on the final outcome. They arrive next week some time to take the measurements and then have a 4-6 week lead time on the build so I may not get it in time for half term.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


An interesting weekend so far! This morning, I topped up the diesel on the boat - I seem to be using a bit more now given that the central heating has had to be used on a number of ocassions in the evenings recently, soon be lighting the stove again! I then went with John to look at the various options for mobile internet access as he wants to get set up and wanted to use my little knowledge to help him! he ended up walking away with a very good package that combines mobile phone and UMTS access on the laptop by using the phone as the modem - very cheap price to boot!!

We then went on to look at Trinity Landrovers as I've been toying with a car change and quite fancy the option of a 4WD given that I now live in a much more rural location and last winter the lane leading out got quite scarey on a number of occasions! I also prefer the slightly higher driving position but unfortunately I've been a little spoilt with the Rover with the full luxury! The vehicle I particularly liked, (as seen above,) is the HSE model and so has everything I currently have except cruise control and climate control, (it does have air conditioning though,) but with the addition of leather interior, heated front windscreen, (something I like very much since having it on my Mondeo,) Sat. Nav, folding mirrors, sunroof, electric everywhere, rear parking sensor and a very impressive sound system!

A quote should be rung through to me on Monday as regard a part ex deal on my Rover and I will make a decision from there. I guess next weekend might be a test drive then! Watch this space....

Tomorrow - something I've not done lately, a lazy day is planned!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Another beautiful morning.

Woke up this morning to another glorious morning. A heavy mist with the sun trying to poke through made for an extremely photo-genic few moments before leaving for school. As I pulled open the cratch to let Simba out, I disturbed a kingfisher that flew off from one of the posts next to my boat. Yet again, the sun has been streaming down all day. Plans are well afoot now for an end of season bar-b-q at the marina which should be a great occasion to get to know each other better.

If the weekend looks good, I might venture out in the boat but I have to confess to have not been out for many 'odd weekends' since being here. To be honest, the problem has been that it is so lovely and relaxing in the marina, there doesn't seem the need to get out and away from it all quite like I used to feel! I am beginning to think about the half term and a little trip away in October. Not sure where - any ideas anyone?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

On a whim!!

Sometimes in life you just have to things on a whim! With such a lousy summer weather-wise, the weekend was forecast to be lovely. A quick phone call to a friend back in London, a hectic search and scramble on the internet and I found myself driving down to London with 2 tickets to the Hyde Park 'Proms in the Park' concert, ( I think it was the pre-concert billing of the T-Rex tribute band 'T.rextasy' that clinched it for me!!
Saturday morning found me on my merry way to get diesel and a pump-out from Rose Narrowboats, (a bad time to arrive as they were 5 staff short and unsure if they were going to be able to serve me at one point - panic set in!) before packing an overnight bag for both me and Simba and then racing down the M40. On arriving at my fathers house, I settled Simba down before a quick pic-nic visit to M & S and then on the trains and tubes towards South Kensington and Hyde Park, (The whole day was spent travelling either by boat, car, train or tube!)
The concert was superb and the weather kind. The only thing that spoilt it was the ludicrous billing of Will Young in between Lesley Garrett and Junior BBC musician of the year Mark Simpson!
This morning, after a lazy start to the day, I returned home via the M40 again and then set about ironing and getting sorted for school tomorrow. All in all, a great weekend and nice occasionally to do something non boating related!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Weather and the weekend!

Well, typically now that the new school term has started, summer seems to have arrived! Temperatures have been hot and the skies a beautiful deep blue. Four days back at school with the new class and already it feels more like four weeks. By the end of the second day, I had managed to collect 3 sets of 35 books to mark as well as planning and assessment and the inevitable meetings that go on late!
I was almost late for work one morning as cool night time temperatures after very hot daytime temperatures had created a most amazing spectacle of evaporation in the marina. I spent almost 15 minutes with the camera to collect the following pictures amongst many more!

The evening then rewarded me with the following picture, (again - amongst others!)

I have laid awake every night in the last week with the side hatch open, listening to a pair of owls calling to each other as I drift off to sleep. My evening walk with Simba has involved spending much time watching the many bats sweeping silently around the boat fly catching and more recently a family of 3 kingfishers has taken up residence on the old arm. One even fished from a fencing post before retreating to the top of a boat to devour his catch - most amazing. This evening, when I got home from work, a magnificent heron was standing by a neighbours boat fishing and I was informed that the owner had watched him earlier having a fight with another heron who was attempting to drown him. I have seen that done with swans on a number of occasions, but never heard of it amongst herons. Rabbits and hares abound and the only disappointment is the recent absence of the Muntjak deer. Oh, and the swans have caused great hilarity as they attempt to teach their cygnets to fly - you can almost see the lock of sheer horror on their faces as the youngsters flap across the marina and suddenly find themselves air-born for a few yards!!

The weekend promises to be glorious again and I have even rolled the cratch fully up this evening in anticipation. Tomorrow, I have to undertake my regular 'pump-out' trip and plan to book the boat in for hull blacking and various other jobs for the May half term if they will book me in that far ahead!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Busy day!

Totally non boating related but an extremely busy day today! The builders at school have finally pulled out, (talk about cutting it fine!) and so it has been very hectic trying to sort out all the offices and admin block in readiness for the start of the new term on Tuesday. Been in school much of today, all of yesterday, some of tomorrow. Monday is officially a full days inservice training which will be spent in meetings, planning and the last bits of cleaning up and sorting out thingsand then, on Tuesday, I meet my new class again and head off for the next year long adventure with the little darlings!

My father has arrived today to visit for the night. Actually, he's just using me as an overnight hotel given that he's in the area for a day or two. It's good to see him. It will also be good to see Paul Blundell from NB Strawberry Fields who is arriving tomorrow to moor at Brinklow. Paul is an avid reader of this blog and it's always nice to meet up with friends who have visited my 'virtual home'!