Saturday, November 29, 2008

Still alive!

OK so I'm still alive! My mind it is now confirmed that the carbon monoxide issue I reported on yesterday was simply someone else's fumes being blown through my mushroom vents. Today, with the fire running all the time, the carbon monoxide alarm has read zero the whole day. At least my mind has been put at rest. Thank you to everyone who emailed a message and were concerned.

Today was a typical dark, damp and misty autumn day. Temperatures hardly rose above 3°all day and we've only had about 1 to 2 hours of fog free! This evening, the temperature is again dropping and the mist and fog has returned.

This morning I started my Christmas shopping! I have bought a few presents which included Simba's and I feel good for it! I also bought a small handheld rechargeable vacuum cleaner to help keep some of the dust down generated by my stove. I am fed up with all the ash spilling out onto the floor and hopefully this will solve the problem. I have also managed to cut up all the logs that were on my roof. I have converted a whole load of big logs into an entire trailer of split logs ready to be burnt, in fact the first ones are on the fire as I type.

The mother of a neighbour of mine who has been in the marina for as long as me turned up this afternoon with a beautiful Vic toria sponge cake for me. It really is delicious and was so kind and I'm enjoying it at the moment whilst typing this blog.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Solved - I think!

OK I think it's sorted! Just to clarify, the picture I posted was actually just one nicked from elsewhere to show my alarm! My actual reading only got to 63 at its highest and stayed around 30 most of the time. Since posting the wind has dropped to nothing and the reading dropped to 0 and hasn't risen at all so I am thinking it was someone elses fumes!

If my blog goes very quiet from here on - you'll know I was wrong!

I'm publishing this as a separate post as my computer is shut down and for some strange reason my PDA won't let me post comments!

Gas, gas, gas!

What is an acceptible level of CO2 to be present? This evening, whilst eating dinner, I was aware of my CO2 alarm in my back cabin warning me of carbon Monoxide gas present. I rushed to the alarm with a digital readout in my saloon and found it was reading 68. After throwing open all the windows and doors, the level dropped but after a while crept back up again to around 30. I have now opened the windows and the level has dropped and remained on 0 for some time. My rope packing round the firebox has started to deteriorate - could that be it? I have a very small crack appeared on the chimney flange that connects the flue to the top of the stove - could that be it? Many boats around me have stoves going and had stoked them up as they arrived back home, the wind was blowing in an unusual direction - could that be it? Which is more likely?? I have a pathogenic fear of CO2. Healthy I guess, but mine borders on neuroticism. If any on eof my alarms so much as twitches again this evening, the stove is going out and I'd rather freeze for the night 'till I can sort it out tomorrow. I will try and get some more rope packing and re-do that tomorrow anyway and put some fire cement over the crack just in case.
Well, the shows have finished at last. The first night was outstanding, (pictures and a song can be accessed by clicking here,) but the second night was much worse! Due to all our lighting engineers being off sick as well as several dancers and members of the choir, the evening was somewhat flat! Now our attention is turned to the shole school musical extravaganza being prepared for Christmas.
Apart from planning and marking, I hope to have a slightly more relaxing weekend and begin some Christmas shopping!
I leave you with the latest of Clarence. Looking stunning and almost ready for habitation!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cold and ludicrous panic!

Don't you just love this country! The TV says we might get a little snow and temperatures are going to be 'Arctic' and we all go mad! In the end, the usual story is the reality - temperatures dip a little to around the freezing mark, the snow ends up nothing more than lashing rain and we all sit back and pat ourselves on the back for being well prepared for and surviving the forecasted ice age!!

It's all so embarrassing - they must laugh at us in places where the norm is this....
That said, it did feel pretty nippy being out in the wind and rain all day yesterday and again all day today planting another 2000 daffodil bulbs round the marina! I had a bit of help for around an hour yesterday which was good but it always amazes me how the absolute guaranteed way to have some breathing and thinking space and be alone is to find a job to do that involves hard work!
For the last 2 days I have felt achey, stiff and stretchy. My Head phoned this afternoon to say he was very ill with flue and shivery, achey and burning up - oh boy, I really hope my problems are down to the cold wind and hard work and I'm not getting what he's got! I have to be in school for the next 3 days come what may as we go live with our show. The first performance was held on Friday and the kids blew us away. The comments were amazing and they absolutely gave 150%. I had tears in my eyes and my sides aching from laughing and I've seen every rehearsal since the first 'read through'! Another performance tomorrow afternoon and then 2 evening shows to get through before it's all finished. Oh, and in between planting the bulbs I brought the school CD/DVD duplicator home with me and managed to copy 200 DVD's and put them in the sleeves with the 200 CD's ready to sell at the performances to attempt to regain some of the huge expense of staging this epic!
Right now, the fire is glowing well, the lamp is flickering, the wind and rain is howling and lashing outside, the dog is alseep at my feet in front of the fire, I have a good bottle of Chardonnay opened and the delicious smell of an almost cooked chicken and roast parsnips is wafting through from the oven - ahhhh!

Monday, November 17, 2008

What's on your nuts?

Well these frequent my fathers bird feeders several times daily! I took these pictures Sunday morning through the patio doors. They are a pest! They invade my fathers garden like mad, fly over in flocks squarking and are so tame.
I have to say they're quite pretty though!
Travelled back this afternoon and now back home ready for another week of parents evenings and show rehearsals.
A really good weekend. It was nice to simply get away and although part of it was sad whilst revoking memories of my mother before she died, I feel refreshed and ready for work again!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Multiple moorings or 'free' moorings?

On the back of Andrew Denny's latest post on Granny Buttons regarding multiple moorings, I felt this post was appropriate! Well said Andrew - I witnessed first hand and blogged on it from the scene when I visited during the summer. Well, new to me but a very reliable source has reported to me that apparently the local council, (unsure which one,) actually purchased a whole load of narrowboats and worked their way down their housing waiting list asking if anyone wanted to live on a boat. The local police had a splurge on new age travellers resulting on an increase in the length of the council housing list. I guess throwing them onto the waterways was an easy option to meet targets and certainly much cheaper and simpler than finding bricks and mortar for them. Another indication of the extremely sad deterioration of the K & A. I wonder, under the freedom of information act, if BW could tell us exactly how many boats out there are having their licences paid for by local authority housing departments!?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Enjoying but not paying!

It's lovely to watch a beautiful vessel like Clarence taking shape without having to pay the bills each stage!
Doesn't she look stunning! Derek, her owner, (along with Sheila,) reports, 'a few finishing touches, more scrolls and artistic bells and whistles and the painting will be finished....'

I'm getting quite excited at the prospect of seeing her in the flesh soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Quite a week for remembering this week. Today being remembrance day our school, like many others held a very respectful 2 minutes silence. There's been a lot of talk and many films on TV regarding the 'Great' wars and some have been very interesting and quite poignant.

The forthcoming weekend and Sunday in particular sees the 10th anniversary since my mothers death. I plan to travel down south on Saturday morning to spend some time with my father and visit Pricess Alice Hospice where mum's name is in the book of remembrance. An amazing organisation who were so very friendly and personal to us, even though mum never needed to use them as events over took the need. I don't teach on a Monday as it's my Deputy Head day so I've managed to get the day out of school so that I can travel back on the Monday and stay over at dads on Sunday night. This does mean that I will miss the recording on MOnday of our show songs for the CD but hey - life will continue!!

Talking of the show, things are progressing well. Pyrotechnics arrived yesterday and we have now managed to get the kids to perform on stage with the loud flash and bang going off behind them at the end of one song without them reacting or jumping! One lad nearly fell off the stage from the highest point during the curtain call rehearsal this morning - I sympathetically told him to let me know if he was going to do that on the night so that I can have my camera ready and get the £200 from You've been framed! 2 out of the 3 scene change sets are now complete, props are done and it's just a case of rehearsing the simple process of getting 2 coffins, a large computer and a set of candle sticks on and off at the right times as well as change the scenes, have the mics. switched off and the lighting all out as well as avoiding 105 children all at the same time! One smoke machine packed in this morning and we discovered the complicated system of hose pipes used to duct the smoke from the machine to the 2 coffins, (for when the monsters come alive,) had become clogged - back to the drawing board!

I reported during my recent half term trip of a leaky pipe from the top of my calorifier. John did a temporary fix but wasn't happy and we had hoped to hang on with it until my immersion heater element can be fitted and then he was going to replace the pipe properly. Too late! This evening, my boat is listing slightly more and the back cabin carpet is squelchy. Tomorrow morning before going to school, I shall strip out the wardrobe and John will come and replace the pipe for me bless 'im!

Late nights loom as the next 2 days herald my first meeting with the parents of my 08/09 class! Parents evenings tomorrow and Thursday and then again more next week.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Evening off!

So, I've opened the side hatch, closed the side hatch, got up to get another beer, went and put the glass back in the kitchen, stoked the fire, turned it up, turned it down, got a cake then put the cake box back in the cupboard: I just can't settle! I've given myself the evening off and it's just too difficult to sit and do nothing - I don't know what to do so I've decided to write this blog to keep the mind active!

Had an excellent day in school today. Got in at around 11.00, (so I guess it's not really a full day,) once I managed to escape here and left this evening at around 4.30. You get so much done with no children around! Managed to get done all I wanted to and more so I feel very pleased tonight. Tomorrow, ironing, take on water and boat chores together with going through the show script and writing in all the props and backdrop cues of when they need to change. This evening, I'm officially 'off any duty', (pending disasters, emergencies or alarm call-outs!)

Friday, November 07, 2008

What's in store?

Work, work and work really! That's my weekend summed up!
On Monday we have our link inspector coming in to review results from 2007/2008 and set targets for 2009/2010, (2008/2009 already set.) This means we've been very busy preparing for this and together with rehearsals for our show I have got very behind with all my work. The weekend is planned to be spent in school again! I have 2 cupboards to put the wheels on, sort out the maths equipment and put them in the new cupboards, catch up with marking, rank all our children in order for their 11+ results, sort out costumes and props for the show, write notes on my childten to hand over to other teachers for parents evenings next week, (another week of late nights,) to name but a few jobs!
Our school fireworks display went off last night with a few thousand people attending and muggins 'ere doing the PA system. All very well except that my gear is all wired in for the show so we had to borrow some old bits! A random twin CD deck that kept doing bizarre things, a microphone that kept cutting in and out and a single Peavey speaker better suited to an electric guitar than a PA system for making safety announcements!
With just over one week to go before our show goes live, the acting, singing and choreography is good, some costumes have started being sorted but we've had no rehearsals with scenery or props. Some of the effects still haven't arrived such as flame projectors and pyrotechnics, we have no idea how we're getting half the props on or off the stage but hey it'll be allright on the night so they say!! Still, tickets are almost gone for all performances and the programmes at the printer at last so some good!
Anyway, enough whinging - here's Clarence with some clothes on!
Doesn't she scrub up well! What an incredibly smart looking ship.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Clarence update....

A second post just to post some updated pictures of NB Clarence. The build is getting to the 'exciting' stage it seems and the latest post from her owners suggest they are too!
You know things are 'getting there' when the TV is installed.... well as the fridge for the beers!
.....and yes - that is an engine even installed!
My unnoficial survey of boat yards reactions to the diesel issue has now crept into the lead the number of yards who plan to sell at a 60/40 split with no choice, one price at the pump and a 'take it or leave it' attitude. OK the margin is only 1 but in a survey sample of 6, 1 is a statistical significance!! Personally I think that's what should have happened to start with. That way, we would have all had a little moan, got over it and got on with life - watch this space......

The day of reckoning has arrived!

So just what the heck is going on??
The topic of conversation for the past week has been the loss of derogation on our red diesel. 1st November was the magic day when strange things were going to happen. Well today is 1st November and it seems as if there is no idea whatsoever as to exactly what is supposed to be happening! I have spoken to every marina and diesel merchant I have met on my trip and have now heard of 5 TOTALLY different systems that are going to be operated. Search the internet - try and find a definitive document telling us what is happening and you simply can't! The most authoritative system I have seen seems to be so complicated and completely diddles the boater. I am an honest person. I will declare anything necessary and be completely honest about it but it seems I am being forced to lie by the 'systems' that are imposed on us. Whilst berthed my boat is going nowhere, my engine isn't being run, my propellor isn't turning - 100% of my diesel purchased is for heating the boat or hot water system but it seems as if I'm not allowed by the 'system' to declare this without council tax bills as evidence, (apparently my brick house one doesn't count!)

So what do they do in other European countries? They bend the rules to suit their system! You see Europe says 'jump' and whilst other countries are saying, 'yeah OK - I might jump at some point if it suits me but then again, if it doesn't; I'll run or walk or maybe even skip!' England says, 'OK - how high? How long do you want us to stay in the air? What surface shall I take off from and how much paperwork do you want me to keep to record the jump?'!! I predict and am willing to wager that within a year the system as present, (whatever that is,) will change to something more simple - it will have to if it's ever to become clear, manageable, useful, compliant, consistent or policable!

I ask - where are all the waterway user groups here? They seem to be conspicuous by their absence. Are they just as confused as the rest of us? I am currently not a member of the IWA or any other user group as I was evaluating which one/s to join. I had decided on the IWA but am now very disappointed that none of them seem to be kicking up an effective noise on this one. This could and hsould be a major focus perhaps of SOW but they too are silent, preferring to be a one trick pony.

Now, if I have any readers left, (and just remember this blog is primarilly designed for me to rant and document - others are welcome to eavesdrop!) on to more mundane but more exciting matters - my new sofa!

Here it is in all its glory....

Simba seems to be quite at home!

...although he is banned from it except by kind, (and rare,) invitation! Seems to work - I like it. It's not the same as my brothers as I didn't get the sofa-bed version but opted for one with separate removable cushions. This evening I shall try it our properly and report on it next time!