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Saturday, November 29, 2008


Here I am once again the proud Grandad holding Batu second son of Steve & Ozlem. He entered
the world on Thursday last weighing 8Ib 3oz. Congratulations to you both.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The winter season is here and I find myself mooring up longer as i travel but after spending 11 days in one place while I helped Andy/Tina black their boat the urge to move overcome me and i took a short trip up to the Wendover Arm to check out the restoration progress but more on this on another blog.
One thing I have learnt since taking up this life and in fact the lesson was learnt the first winter was no way could I take a winter mooring and stay like some boaters do in one place for up to 3 months but as is said each to there own. A bit windy and none to warm as I set off but with the right clothing a couple of hours on the tiller is wonderful the trees are shedding there leaves after a dramatic colour change and the wildlife is still there with birds easier to spot in the almost bare trees and best of all the smoke rising from my chimney as a log slowly burns telling me the boat will be nice and cosy when i do decide to moor up. Yes there is a lot to be said for moving about in the winter.
It`s during this slower period i have decided to sort out my teeth and those that know me will be aware this was no easy decision as i have a real fear not of the dentist but the needle piercing my skin but the appointment is made for a full MOT that will for sure be a failure and will probably end up costing and arm & leg or maybe that should be tooth & gum.
Heavy frost last night so the central heating went on this morning and although the fire was still sleeping it wasn`t cold on board and it`s nice to get out of the shower into a warm boat.
The picture below is Bulbourne and the old BW workshops where lock gates were once made can be seen through the bridge arch.
The last two occasions I have cruised have been rewarded by the finding of some wood and after
using the chainsaw the logs are ready for splitting to provide some cheap heat. The ones below are i believe pine. Also in the pic can be seen my log storage box i made to keep the roof tidy.

The following 3 pictures were taken at Cassiobury park when the younger members of the family took the old boy out and i just happened across them on the camera.

The pictures below show carp in the canal at Cow Roast lock and although it`s not to clear in the pictures the water here is very clean and in fact closer to the lock the canal bed can be seen some 4` down. the reason for this is the pumping station next to the lock that pumps water up from the chalk beds or Aquifers to use the correct word. So maybe the carp hang around here in large numbers for the clean water.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Just recently topped up my diesel tank for the first time since the Nov. 1st fuel duty rise and the introduction of the propulsion/rebated fuel declaration started.
My purchase from work boat pair Bletchley&Argus was a top up of 50+ litres and 10 bags of coal even though i burn a lot of logs the coal is used for overnight heat and as an emergency if I run out of logs. At least with 10 bags on board I am guaranteed to keep warm should the availability of fallen trees decline.
The diesel peter on Bletchley told me was 115p propulsion and 72p rebated to be used for generation of electrickery and hotty watery. So what % split do i want to declare Peter asks and I`m thinking i`ll be standing with windlass in the right hand...............

I swear to declare the percentage
all the percentage
and nothing but the percentage
so help me Brussels

but no nothing like that just my signature needed on the invoice. 20/80 was my choice ie 20% propulsion and 80% generation.
Now I based this on the fact that since i last filled up a few days before the start of all this EU nonsense i have used diesel more for elec and water heating than for moving the boat....i think but i`m not gonna sit up all night working it out so maybe next time i might do a 30/70 split if i feel it to be about right.
Some fuel suppliers are only selling on the HMRC recommended 60/40 while others are using a figure based on the 60/40 say 92p. All together a right mess.
Think of this possibility, you fill your tank and say 40% is for propulsion but you do a lot of cruising and suddenly you`ve used that 40% and all that`s left is 60% of rebated fuel! What now do you commit a crime and push on using rebated fuel tut! tut! how could you possibly think a boater would do such a thing, shame on you all OR do you pull the boat along the towpath perhaps miles to the next diesel seller and buy some propulsion fuel. Well i think HMRC should take on the Catholic view and set up a confessional accessed via an 0800 free phone so you could cleanse your bilges and pay the extra duty by debit card.
Anyways getting back on the fuel purchase i paid £42.55 so it worked out roughly 81p a litre on my total of 53 litres. I worked out roughly it cost me 43p per day extra against the last fill up.
Maybe one day i will do some proper figures then maybe i probably won`t because at the end of the day the boat will not move without diesel so just have to grin and bear it, at least i`ve got my bus pass to save some money.
All figures in this document are approximate.
The author will not be responsible for any headaches incurred trying to follow the figures.
The use of cash decimalisation and the word litre is by kind permission of the EU.
No trees were harmed during log cutting.
Just trying to put a little humour in as it`s been a s . . t week with the funeral, Tina/Andy leaving and now Tina rings to say Harley her 20yr old cat has passed away but life goes on so lets be thankful each day we wake.
Nite all

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Monday was the day that I sadly said farewell to my friends Andy/Tina on NB Ytene as they are cruising to.........where they start work in a weeks time. We have been cruising together on and off since May 2006 after meeting at the Crick show and thinking as i type places coming to mind are Stratford, Llangollen,Wigan,Skipton, Chester, York and a hundred others in between.
Their reason for taking up boating, and I`ve heard many from boaters on my travels, was a change of lifestyle to slow down the pace of fast land life and why not a bit like someone taking extended leave. Anyway like myself they`ve not been a burden on the taxpayer these past years and have now decided to work for a while at a canal based site so the lifestyle will still be there in the background. Good luck to you both and I`ll call in as i cruise past.
Before Andy/Tina departed we spent the w`end blacking `YTENE` and she is pictured below coming out of the water resting on two trolleys being towed up into the shed. It was Friday first
thing and the idea was to jet wash off the hull and rub down the roughness of the waterline where the air and water causes most corrosion. Below is Andy supervising me and laughing as i remember when i mentioned how wet i was getting.
It was soon cleaned off and rubbed down and all that remained was to have another one of the
endless cups of tea supplied with a bacon sarnie by Tina and wait for the hull to be dry enough for the first coat of black bitumen.
With a coat on Friday and a second Saturday and Sunday an extra bit along the waterline it was done and all that remained was for Andy/Tina to finish the gloss on the gunnel`s.
Sunday night I was taken out for a Tai meal with wine and beers to follow but what made the evening was the company of them both. Thanks guys it was a magic evening.
After Sunday it was hard getting up on the Monday not hung over but the thought of `YTENE`

going back in the water and my friends sailing away. So there she goes back down the slipway
out under the marina bridge, and she does look smart eh. Below the hardest picture I`ve had to
put on this blog as it is of `YTENE` cruising away.
Bye for now, will pop in on you both as i cruise early next year.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Thankyou for your comments on the last post. I won`t be publishing them as I regard them as personal messages to me.

As you might gather from the title of this blog the Tiger pictured last time is an exhibit at the Tring Museum or to be precise "The Natural History Museum Tring" .
This collection of stuffed mammals,birds,reptiles and insects was known as the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum and in 1937 Mr. Rothschild gifted the building and the collection to the nation.

During his lifetime he accumulated;
  • 2,000 mounted mammals
  • about 2000 mounted birds
  • 2 million butterflies and moths
  • 300,000 bird skins
  • 144 giant tortoises
  • 200,000 birds' eggs
  • 30,000 relevant books
The museum also houses what is believed to be the finest ornithological library in the world housing some 75,000 books. The library is open to the public by prior appointment.
There are 6 galleries in the museum but one is closed at the moment for refurbishment with another partly closed for storage of items while work proceeds.However don`t let this put you off visiting as there is still a lot to see and they have provided windows to view part of the closed gallery so at least some of the exhibits can still be seen.

The museum is open daily 10-5 except Sunday when it is 2-5. I lived in the same county as the museum for many years and never got around to visiting not that i wasn`t aware of it just never got around to a visit. For the last 3yrs it`s been on my to do list as I was reminded of its existence by a guide to tring in the Nicholsons canal guide.
A 35 minute walk past the reservoirs at Marsworth and over the Wendover Arm is one access for boaters or a 10 min bus ride from the stop opposite the anglers retreat pub.
If you`re not a boater but interested in canal life Marsworth is a very popular place with its flight of locks, Wendover and Aylesbury Arms at each end, 3 reservoirs, plenty of moored boats and 3 pubs. So a good place for a day out combining the FREE entry museum and a walk around my world of water.
So I will leave you with a few more pictures and once again thanks.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

This page is dedicated to


who passed away early this morning

I`ll miss you bruv

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Leaving Cosgrove on the offside the Teepee pictured below which i was told by a residential boater along this stretch is lived in by a single chap, evidently it`s the real thing, an artic tee pee, not just a copy and he even has a fire going inside the smoke exiting at the top just like the red indians you see in the cowboy films.

Coming up through the Soulbury 3 locks we encountered a long delay and upon walking ahead
it became clear what was wrong. Two boats were ahead of us one going through all 3 locks and the other wanted to wind (turn) and come back towards us. Now this is an official winding hole so he is not doing anything stupid but un-fortunately the pound was low on water and he went aground. If you look on the right of picture the normal waterline can be seen on the wall.
The solution was easy all that had to be done was let the water flow through the lock behind where i`m standing taking the pic and fill the pound but the other boat was still in the lock and owing to only one paddle working and gates leaking it was taking for ever to get the boat out of the lock so we could open the paddles at the other end to fill the pound, 35 mins delay but that`s boating folks.

One of the long term moorers along this stretch had gone to a lot of trouble making this tin man from scrap metal and below the Heron decided to pose as i cruised by, usually as you approach they fly off and land ahead of you only to take off again as you catch up when the next take off takes them over a field to land behind you.
The picture below is the Wyvern holiday boat dock at Leighton Buzzard and passing this way last year there were 23 boats moored 4 abreast leaving just enough room to cruise by. As you can see
just one boat is moored but on reflection I think it was school half term so the fleet was all out on hire.

Just recently i either watched something on TV or read in the paper about computers, well the jist of it was we are sitting at our PCs me typing this then you reading it and thinking not much power is being used so we are only making a tiny carbon footprint but what I didn`t think of was the servers - you know the big computers the internet links to- that are running to supply our net needs and the amount of power that`s used to cool them. The small rooms housing these servers are the size of football pitches with hundreds of them squeezed in with large air con units cooling the room. Anyway the interesting point of this story is a company is leasing large warehouse`s in Iceland, country not the shop, to house their servers and they reckon they will re-coup the cost by a dramatic reduction in cooling costs.
So here`s me sitting thinking how good i am living on board not causing to much of a problem to the world.............

Anyway below is a preview of the next blog

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs