Monday 30 April 2012

The Big One (5-2)


Boathouse Marina Goole to Rawcliffe Bridge and return.

We are enjoying our enforced stay in the marina, if only for the chance to do something different to watching the rain run down the windows. I was awake early for two reasons, first because of the sunshine through the portholes. Secondly because of the birdsong, it's uplifting that the morning chorus has returned. I listened to Chiff Chaff, Robin, Blue tit, Great tit and an almost ethereal Blackbird who was in full song. The recent weather will have played havoc with any bird that tried to breed early. However, most will have a go at raising a second brood if the first fails.

After a couple of days of loading the washer with clothes to clear the backlog. With a bit of luck, today should see the last of Mrs Wishy Washy's clothes dried. - That name just, tripped off the fingers and at the same time brought back a memory from the past. The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. I remember reading the books as a child. Especially, The Magical Faraway Tree. And the three central characters getting soaked by Mrs Wishy Washy's waste water as they climbed the tree! Reading was always a big part in my life as a child, a form of escapism on rainy days. But I digress again.

The cloud cover and the constant downpour of rain yesterday was so heavy it was playing havoc with the satellite TV signal. So we gave up and I rigged up our standby terrestrial ariel. So we were able to get our weekend fix of silent witness and the football highlights. 

We have a flat screen Avtex television, multi-standard (PAL NTSC SECAM) which also has digital terrestrial and a DVD player built in. It even links the audio output to the boats stereo radio, via a low power FM transmitter.  


If you are looking to get a TV set for your boat - have a look at the Avtex range. The number of facilities built in as standard make them a very good alternative to a normal TV and all the extra boxes.




I have had a request to make an apology to a fellow "if now incognito" blogger. Apparently I made a minuscule and as yet uncorroborated mistake. Unfortunately the blogger in question made a much bigger mistake if they believe that such an apology is going to be forthcoming within the foreseeable future. However, complaints about my blog are managed elsewhere, so you are free to go to Helen Waite.


Later we had a short sunny cruise to Rawcliffe Bridge visitor moorings supposedly to let the dogs have a run on the grass, well away from the marina and the roads. The Memsahib took the opportunity to go shopping. We returned back to The boathouse moorings earlier than we had intended. The nearby chemical plant was not helping with the stink it was kicking out! A quick stop on the way back to take on board some cut logs left over from the last organised towpath tidy day. 


Rawcliffe Bridge Velodrome.
It was such a nice day that even the local scrotes were out on the towpath. Riding a small motorcycle at high speed. A bike that was only built for one and that obviously had no exhaust. 


The two safety conscious "Teflon skinned" and "Thick sculled" individuals demonstrated their lack any concern for the safety for anyone else including themselves. 


I wonder how CaRT's future sponsors will feel about paying to provide even more towpath for illegal motorcycle riders!  So much for the safety of cyclists, walkers, children, fishermen and boaters .




Wildlife: We saw a pair of Marsh Harrier. The pale male and the much darker female were spotted  flying over a large reed bed. There are less than 400 breeding pairs of Marsh Harrier in the UK. Two Mallard broods with six and two chicks were observed. However, its not uncommon for chicks to move between nearby broods. The mystery bird call, had be stumped for a while until I realised it was a Peahen calling from a house over the far side of the Dutch River.


Daily Total
Miles: 4.8
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 5.7


Accumulated Totals
Miles: 634.6
Locks: 645
Swing / Lift Bridges: 104
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2088.8

Later....

Sunday 29 April 2012

The Big One (5-1)

Sunday 29th of April 2012.

Good morning.

Rain, Hail and a Full Blown Gale in the Willows. Just remind me as the rain comes once more to beat down on the roof. That like Toad, I believe that there is nothing, simply nothing, worth doing as much as messing around in boats.

08:00 We are moored up on a floating pontoon with the makings of a grand old gale slowly brewing up. The usually calm water in the marina has a bit of a chop on it. The wind is on our port and is gently rolling us up against the pontoon. Its in the cold windy weather like this that you find all those places where drafts emanate from. The Memsahib has just made up some of those lacy curtains that cover the bottom half of the windows below the vents. As a defence against nosey people walking along the towpath.

09:00 So with three split logs that I have just added to the fire. The half filled kettle placed on top, I am waiting for the kettle to start to sing. (This is one of our little LPG fuel saving tricks that we do) The curious thing is that the Kettle will heat up the water to just below boiling point and seem to stay there no matter how hard the stove is working. So the kettle is pretty well always sat on the stove. The Memsahib also cooks whole meals or the parts of other meals that need to be slow cooked on the stove as well.



The kettle begins to sing, so it's time to make the first brew of the day.

£2.49 for 50 tea bags.
We usually start with a cup of welcoming Chai tea. We were first introduced to Chai in India. Chai is a mildly spiced tea. It is generally made up of black tea and various mild spices. The spices used can vary and the most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Twinings also do a very acceptable version of Chai in tea bags.

By varying the length of time you leave Chai to brew (we use a cafetière for loose leaf Chai) you can adjust the taste to your own preference. Top up the cafetière once again with hot water and leave a little longer for a difficult to resist second cup.

For our loose leaf Chai tea, we use Whittard of Chelsea Spice Imperial. This is as good as it gets. There are also lots of recipes for Chai on the Internet.  As well as in good Indian cook books if you want to make up your own from fresh ingredients.  Chai It is not everyone's cup of ... (sorry) but even the dogs love it!





10:00 In a fit of foolishness I take the dogs out for a walk. We are all kitted up in our wets. Poppy loves to run for a ball no matter the weather. Abbey on the other hand loathes rain. So whilst one is eager to keep traipsing, the other wants to go back to the boat and her toasty warm bed. As I begin to loose feeling in my hands, I side with Abbey and we head for the boat.

11:00 I am finally warm and dry again. The Memsahib is doing another batch of washing. It should soon be time for the sports news on TV. The marina is deserted not a soul to be seen anywhere. But lots of smoking chimney's tell their own story.

I'm finding it increasingly more and more bizarre. On the news its reported that  ground to air missiles are to be deployed in London. An east London estate, where 700 people live, has received leaflets saying a "Higher Velocity Missile system" could be placed on a water tower. Just for a grand sporting event.  I wonder if the government will deploy submarines on the Thames for Madge's pageant. If not why not, maybe the U Narrowboat could be deployed.



Daily Total
Miles: 0
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0

Tunnels: 0

Pump Outs: 0

Engine Hours: 5.0


Accumulated Totals
Miles: 628.8
Locks: 645
Swing / Lift Bridges: 104
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2083.1

Later....

Rivers Canals and a Young Lad

I have just finished reading "Rivers Canals and a Young Lad" by Mike Routledge.  
(ASIN: B0053YTW0W) 


Mike was ten years old when he started to help in a local boatyard. He left school aged 15 and started work as mate on a river tug (towing barge) running between Nottingham and Hull. 



A pleasant read about Mike Routledge's early years around the cut and his working life on the rivers and canals. A time before the Health and Safety Taliban highlighted some of the activities that were done without the need for a risk assessment. All done in the days when wooden canal cruisers were the de-facto hire boat. A time when the canals had been allowed to deteriorate and were in a terrible state of repair. Mike brings to life, canal characters of the time and  hire boat incidents both funny and poignant. A little insight into a time when the future of the inland waterways of the United Kingdom was still uncertain. A good read, where nostalgia for the good old days of the 50's, 60's and 70's is evoked.  At the same time, the story seems like a timeless reflection of our society and its lackadaisical attitude towards the canals. 

Later.....


Saturday 28 April 2012

The Big One (4-7)


Saturday 28th of April 2012.



Goole Boathouse Moorings.


Today the sun made a valiant effort and so the rotary washing line was filled with the remainder of yesterdays washing. By early afternoon the wind had a bitter edge and the rain was threatening once more. We had a visit into Goole and did a bit of shopping. We walked into town, but the wind chill made us come back on the bus. As we arrived on the pontoon - so did the rain. The logs we acquired last week have been supplying fuel for the fire. Rosie has been toasty and warm. We want to pay a return visit to the boathouse club again tonight. But first, I want to catch up on some reading.

I read today about a New York woman called Debbie Stevens, who volunteered to donate a kidney so that her boss Jacqueline Brucia, could receive it. An amazing and very generous offer.The two women had surgery on the same day in August 2011. But Ms Stevens claims that when she returned to work after the operation, Ms Brucia became inexplicably "curt and dismissive", and angry with her. She was moved to another branch of the car dealership she worked for and then eventually fired last month.

She is seeking damages and compensation for loss of earnings. Jeffrey Brown said it was "hard to understand why his client has been treated so badly. She acted out of the goodness of her heart. She never expected anything in return. It is shocking to think that someone who just received the gift of life could be so callous and inhumane." Ms Brucia through the company has released a statement "It is unfortunate that one employee has used her own generous act to make up a groundless claim."

Which all goes to prove, the milk of human kindness - can go sour!


Later.....



Daily Total

Miles: 0

Locks: 0

Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 5.0

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 628.8
Locks: 645
Swing / Lift Bridges: 104
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2073.1

Friday 27 April 2012

The Big One (4-6)

Friday 27th of April 2012.

Goole Boathouse Marina

Due to the nature of the weather and not wanting to over stay on the visitor moorings, we have moved into the marina. This has given us access to mains and the Memsahib AKA (Domestic Goddess) a new lease of life.

The Victron inverter is not powerful enough to power up the washing machine. So we can either link in a second inverter to double the capacity or add in a diesel generator. Now that we are on the mains the washing machine has been on overdrive. The saloon looks like widow twanky's laundrette.

Later we went to the Boathouse Club for a few beers - However, after feeling the strains of the day we  returned back to the boat a bit earlier than intended and ended up collapsing into bed. 

Daily Total

Miles: 0

Locks: 0

Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 0.0




Accumulated Totals
Miles: 628.8
Locks: 645
Swing / Lift Bridges: 104
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2068.1




Later....






Thursday 26 April 2012

The Big One (4-5)

Thursday 26th of April 2012.

Dutch Riverside Moorings.


Boredom Alert: 
Being as we are hemmed in by the inclement weather conditions and that the River Ouse is in flood. I have been having a look at our fuel consumption and how we are currently using it. We leave the engine running at all times even in locks. The engine is then supplying domestic hot water and electrical power only. So far we have done 118.48 miles in a time (under propulsion) of 57 hours and 30 minutes. 118.48 / 57.5 = 2.06 mph! Our starting engine hours on this trip was 2004.9 and our current engine hours are currently 2085.0.  2085.0 - 2004.9  = 80.1 engine hours. 80.1 - 57.5 = 22.6 hours non propulsion or domestic.

However, allowing a calculated average of around 10 minutes for each lock and lift or swing bridge we have passed through. Different locks take different length of time to fill or drain. (By making a note on the length of time taken at each lock or bridge we can get an educated estimate of the average.)  Starting total 527 locks + 93 swing/lift bridge = 620 Current total 645 + 104 = 749 (749 - 620) / 6 = 21.5 hours. 22.6 + 21.5 = 44.1 hours non propulsion. (44.1 / 80.1 * 100 = 55% non propulsion) So the calculated split (so far) to declare at the next fill up is propulsion at 45% and non propulsion at 55%
Alert Over:

14:00 A fantastic storm arrived, one where it goes as dark as night. It was accompanied with monsoon type rain and thunder and lightning. The rain came down so hard it flattened the choppy water. More of the same is promised for tomorrow.

There is a saying that things come in threes.

One: Took the dogs for a walk and when we returned we had a broken window on the boat. So I went into "Old Goole" and found a UPVC window company called "Pacific Windows". They cut me a sheet of glass to size for £5. After cleaning up all the shards remaining from the old window. I had the new glass fitted in no time at all. It might be a good idea to replace the glass with a plexiglass laminate to avoid shards being scattered around by any future broken window.
Two: The Memsahib says there is a leak under the sink. We have had a the odd tiny leak from the kitchen tap from time to time. So I fitted a complete new mixer tap. Then the braided tails would not fit the existing pipework and I had to make up a couple of adaptors.  
Three: I have just knocked a large cup of coffee onto the saloon carpet. Kitchen roll and some clear water seems to have done the trick.

With a bit of luck, that's all three out of the way for today.

So its back to reading my next book in my electronic book pile on the Kindle.


Daily Total
Miles: 0
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 0.0




Accumulated Totals
Miles: 628.8
Locks: 645
Swing / Lift Bridges: 104
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2068.1




Later....



Chickens, mules and two old fools.

I have just finished reading "Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools." by Victoria Twead.

The story of a couple who are fast approaching retirement and feeling that they need a change in their lives. Joe and Vicky decide to play a form of Russian Roulette, that includes a soviet era style "five year plan." 

El Hoyo a small village in the mountains of Spain is their location of choice. The book is a delight in two ways, first the story and then all of the culinary recipes. With a Spanish flavour that are thrown in for good measure. Their new family includes a batch of chickens, with delightful names that reflect the chickens character. A handful of human characters including locals and expats. Not forgetting the mule in love. 

All are woven into a light hearted tale. Reliving televisions "The Good Life" in a sombrero instead of wellingtons. A charming story written with a relaxed attitude that reflects the manyana lifestyle that Brits find so hard to understand - but all so easy to adopt. There is no central plot other than the building one. There is however, much to tempt both the heart and the taste buds.

Also by Victoria Twead.
Two Old Fools - Ole.
Mouth Watering Spanish Recipes.
Two Old Fools - On a Camel.

Victoria's Website.
http://VictoriaTwead.com

Monthly Updates.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

The Big One (4-4)

Wednesday 25th of April 2012.


Dutch Riverside Moorings.


Once more the weather dominates the news. The wettest April on record. First its a full blown drought and water is going to be on ration. Then it's hosepipe bans even the likelihood of standpipes in the street. Then its the atlantic conveyor bringing in low pressure systems after low pressure systems thats to blame. Now its the jet stream staying south of us and allowing the cold fronts to move south. The rain is going to continue for some time, flooded fields suround us, various rivers are over their banks. The drought situation it seems has not improved one iota. 


I blame the conservative government under Thatcher, for selling off the national assets (Railway, Water, Gas, Electricity) or "The Family Silver" as they were described by Harold MacMillan. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963. Nicknamed "Supermac" and known for his pragmatism, wit and unflappability. MacMillan championed a strategy of public investment, he presided over an age of affluence, marked by low unemployment and high growth. He told the nation they had "never had it so good" and he was proved right.


We have a national water shortage, which in a country that is normally awash with water is a scandal. The creation of the water grid as proposed by J F Pownall way back in 1942. This would give a huge increase in capacity by creating a huge linear water reservoir and at the same time providing a large infrastructure project that could create jobs and help to kick start the economy. It gets to me even as a Gallophile, that the French as a nation own and benefit from a good chunk of our "Family Silver." 


J F Pownall, came up with a plan for a lock free canal for moving water and freight which he called the Grand Contour Canal, (Later called the National Water Grid) which would follow the 310 ft contour of the hills all the way from the Scottish borders region, down to the South East of England.


07:00 A red sky last night, the moon and stars were out for the first time in a week or so. So much for the old "Red Sky at Night Shepard's Delight" malarkey then. First thing this morning we had a clear sky and light breeze. By 10am it was clouding over and the wind had picked up quite a bit. By 11:30 the rain was horizontal and the wind was gusting with a vengeance.




I have had a bit of a strange experience, by talking to a robot voice, I had a phone call to my mobile from my local hospital. The robot was booking an appointment for me and making sure that I would attend. All I had to say was "yes" or "no" to the robots questions. Its amazing stuff the what can be done with a few wires and some electrickery.


I'm going to let you into a secret. I have had an interesting email exchange with a young lady from an award winning film maker based in Canada. I think from looking at their website they do "fly on the wall" documentary stuff. It would seem that they are going to be coming over to the UK in the near future and they want to speak to me about whatever it is that they are filming. I know what the subject matter is. It's one dear to my heart, but I might have to keep it confidential for now. So that's a wrap then!




What's the ugliest boat you have ever seen. I have one that we first came across last year when it was out of the water being blacked. It looked like a block of 1960's concrete flats laid on their side. If you come to Goole at any time you can see it moored up outside the marina entrance.




Ugly Pig


We call it the "ugly pig" because someone has taken a saw to the bow and lopped it off. (Talk about cut off your nose to spite your face) To help improve the appearance, a car tyre has been hung in its place. Yep, its an ugly pigs snout of a boat without a single redeeming visual feature. The steering position is through a hole in the roof, above the patio doors! However, when its out of the water, it has a couple of under water fins that run most of the boats length. So it looks ugly under water as well. It don't move very often either!


The trees under the electrical power lines have had some of their height chopped off. The contractor has handily cut the wood into nice sized logs that fit into our stove. So we now have a store of cut logs and split logs that will last us a month or so. With a bit of luck the warmer and drier weather will have arrived by then.


10:00 Whenever we get down to Goole, I enjoy listening to the docks radio traffic on channel 14. Today being very windy it was obvious that some of the vessels that were "penning" (going through the approach to, and into the lock) were doing it  a bit gingerly. 


The waterways museum is just outside our boat - so today we are hoping to spend a bit of time inside having a look around the place. It's funny that we always seem to save visits to such places for rainy days - then miss out on the opportunity.


13:00 Feeling trapped we went shopping, its about a mile and a half to Tesco and we did a big shop to make sure that we can still eat if we get holed up by the floods. This tested our wet weather suits, we both returned home dry above the ankles. However, our boots need a good waterproof spray application. 


Football News. Bayern Munich -v- Chelsea it is then. I so wanted Real Madrid to beat Bayern and let "the special one" come back to Chelsea for his moment of truth. However, both teams will be using their youth teams as most of the players managed to get yellow cards and a ban for the next game.





Daily Total
Miles: 0.0
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 0.0


Accumulated Totals
Miles: 640.2
Locks: 645
Swing / Lift Bridges: 103
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2083.3






Later....






Tuesday 24 April 2012

The Big One (4-3)

Tuesday 24th of April 2012.

River Went Aqueduct to Dutch Riverside Moorings.

The day started out a bit downbeat when the carcase of a dead deer came floating by. There are sections of the canal where stones have been tipped into the canal to provide an exit point for animals that are unable to climb out because of the pilings. As we left a mallard with ten chicks came begging for food.

08:00 While the Memsahib prepared breakfast, I did a bit of boat tidying. I have purchased a few additional rope fenders and so I spent some time locating the new ones in place.

10:30 A pretty uneventful trip ensued with only a couple of other boats moving in the opposite direction. The weather has improved a bit and the weak sunshine raised our spirits. A few more mallards with chicks were noted as we made our way along the canal.

12:05  Goole visitor moorings, friends John and Tracy were waiting with a backlog of snail mail. We have tried as far as possible to change everything over to electronic mail. But the unwanted advertising stuff still seems to arrive OK.

Started to make a simple template of the cratch cover. I should then be able to transfer the measurements to paper and get a few quotes done. I gave up after a while as the wind picked up and made it impossible to mark out the material. Bumped into Anne of Pipistrelle II who we met up with last year.

Seagull
Very heavy weather is predicted for tomorrow so we will be battening down the hatches so to speak. A few large  commercial  barges are moored up at Goole. I grabbed a few photographs.

Joyce Hawksley


Eden

We also came across Brodsworth that we usually see moored up at Eastwood Lock.

Brodsworth

There is also an old Thames Pilot moored up here.

Thames Pilot

Even the wildlife was having a relaxing time. A pair of Swans are nesting inside the marina entrance. The Pen and Cob seemed to be totally relaxed about people walking past within a few feet. The bowl is for food scraps from boaters in the marina.




Daily Total
Miles: 6.6
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 2.5





Accumulated Totals
Miles: 640.2
Locks: 645
Swing / Lift Bridges: 103
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2083.3





Later....





Monday 23 April 2012

The Big One (4-2)


Monday 23rd of April 2012.

Pollington Lock Visitor Moorings to River Went Aqueduct

We were awoken by the first large barge of the day at 7am. I enjoy the inadvertent early morning wake up call. A cup of coffee for me and a cup of Chai for the Memsahib. The movement of water created by the barges is such that even though we are on mooring rings, I have had to deploy springs to reduce and cushion the boat movement. The weather has been dire, so we made a good choice to move in the watery sunshine and showers yesterday. In-between the breaks in the rain, I have been splitting a few logs to aid the drying process. We salvaged a plastic sheet from the canal which has been used to provide some shelter for the remaining logs.

The field opposite the visitor moorings has a small flock of sheep and we have been watching lambs come in to the world. The photograph was taken at long distance during a heavy shower. The new born lamb can just be made out on the right of the Ewe. 

After a short time the lambs are up and about on spindly shaky legs. The older lambs are already chasing around the field and doing what lambs like to do. That reminds me - I need to add the mint sauce to the shopping list.

At Pollington next to the visitor moorings is a rather interesting capstan operated swing bridge, which the farmer can use to get to his fields on the other side of the canal. The swing bridge is normally left in the open position.




Wildlife was a bit sparse today because of the dreary weather. In the main consisting of Swallows, Black Headed Gulls, Greylag Geese and a few Mallards




17:30 At long last the clouds part and a bit of weak evening sunshine breaks through. The ideal time to enjoy a short evening cruise and move on to our next overnight moorings. A few boats moored up in out of the way places. A Barn Owl was observed quartering a field. out before sunset means that the last few nights have been due to the weather unproductive for hunting. We observed the owl drop to the floor - so maybe a welcome meal was on offer. Later, we spotted a large bird of prey, it was to far away for a clear identification - but the local crows who would normally gang up on a bird of prey. Were all up in the trees and keeping well out of harms way. 

18:30 We arrived at the River Went Aqueduct. Just before dark, a pair of Great Crested Grebe came swimming by busy feeding. 


The Dutch River and The River Went are over their banks and the nearby fields are in flood.

21:30 The Humber Princess passed us on her way to Rotherham heavily laden with a load of oil. Moving at a very slow speed as she crossed the River Dun and River Went aqueducts. We could feel her movement in the water for around a quarter of an hour after she passed.

The last time we were here we had a few Pipistrells and Daubentons bats that we detected and the eerie calls of a couple of Tawney Owls from the nearby woods.


Daily Total
Miles: 2.4
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1.6




Accumulated Totals
Miles: 633.6
Locks: 645
Swing / Lift Bridges: 103
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2080.8




Later....





The Gripes of Froth


Life on the canal and canal life continues to surprise me. I have to admit, its not what I expected. (a sort of microcosm of the life ashore but with webbed feet) Most of the people you meet are straight forward and enjoying the life. However, from time to time the different characters are encountered and the variation in their personalities are a constant source of amazement and entertainment. The longer I observe the more I have come to enjoy the variation each day brings.


I have written about some of the introspective aquatic types that I have come across already. Many are odd-ball characters who bring either a breath of fresh air or alternatively a sharp intake of breath. Today its my observations of a much rarer breed. 

This time in a volte-face of the Mad Mardi. A sort of "Florence of Arabia" in a tutu, meets "Sanders of the River" with piles. This water-borne character is full of honour, duty, angst, merde and comes complete with a liberal helping of British flag waving. All in all a watery version of Bosambo. (or in this case a wet M'bapi)


When I suggested Sanders of the River, I was not thinking about the version with Paul Robeson (Bosambo) and Leslie Banks (Sandy). I was thinking of the spoof version (Old Bones of the River) with Will Hay (Tibbetts) and Jack London (M'bapi). (This film parody has been described as one of the most comprehensive trashing of the British Empire)


The special talent of M'bapi  is to precipitate what could be best described as a native uprising along the river. As a strong smell of old goat permeates the canal, M'bapi comes to the fore. Constant Cruising on his lugger as a sort of nomadic Womble. M'bapi feels he is personally carrying the white mans burden, rather than recognising  that M'bapi  is the burden.

Kipling's "White Man's Burden" is a poem and a metaphor for a condescending view of a moral duty and obligation to interfere whether wanted or not. A good old British colonial tradition. 

Happiness is a myopic view on life and the profound belief in the virtues of being a mixture of a Wimbledon Womble and Constant Cruiser. Insecure in the knowledge that everyone else on the cut is out to get'em. 

With all the finesse of a water buffalo with earache. The vexed question that is keeping him awake at night "are Constant Cruisers just free-loaders" is regurgitated up once again, for another airing. With all the makings of a self perceived mountain cobbled-up out of what was in reality just a shallow depression in the ground. M'bapi then played his trump and opened up and released the whole can of worms.

There were proponents and dissenters. The publication of the comment caused a flurry of arguments and a fluffing of indigent feathers on both sides. After the tsunami ripple had subsided. Peace and quiet has broken out once more along the riverbank. Toad and Ratty aided by the doves of war have eaten all the worms. As for the Womble - well - M'bapi wombles on to the sound of "Land of Hope and Gory." Secure in the knowledge and certainty that  M'bapi  has done everyone else a favour. Many are now hoping M'bapi will do them all a favour.


Later....


Sunday 22 April 2012

The Big One (4-1)

Sunday 22nd of April 2012.

Ferrybridge Flood Lock Visitor Moorings to Pollington Lock Visitor Mooring. 

Tina Turner sings "I can't stand the rain falling on my window pane." So Tina could have been on our boat last night, through to the morning. There is something about the noise of the rain on the boat roof that is a bit soporific. Poppy the guard dog was giving frequent growls as people walked along the towpath at the other side of the canal. Her hearing is more than good, its amazing. She can hear footfalls across the canal, while rain is falling on the roof and I have the TV turned on to watch the football highlights. Abbey would not flinch if there was a firecracker in her basket, when she sleeps a marching band would not wake her up! I spent some time cutting up some firewood with the chainsaw in readiness for the bad weather that's been promised to come. 

10:00 We were on our way, stopping at Bank Dole Lock to fill up with water. We turned around in front of the lock and headed off down the Aire and Calder Navigation.  Very few other boats seem to be moving as everyone sits out the poor weather.

Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff Warblers seem to be singing away in every bush as we pass. Easy to identify from their almost continuous chiff-chaff chiff-chaff calls.


Quite a few Cormorants and a pair of Great Crested Grebe. We spot our first Mallard and chicks (6) of the season.

A Little Owl was spotted peering out of an owl box and large numbers of Swallows were busy feeding almost eveywhere along the canal.







Pollington Visitor Moorings
15:30 We arrive at Pollington Lock and decide to moor on the low side of the lock. The visitor moorings here have lots of picknic tables. A water point and lights that illuminate the towpath after dark. After dark only a single Daubentons bat was detected.


The photograph of the visitor moorings was taken after dark. Using a 24 second exposure, with my Lumix digital camera placed on a picnic table.



Later.....

Daily Total
Miles: 9.1
Locks: 2
Swing / Lift Bridges: 1
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 3.1


Accumulated Totals
Miles: 631.2
Locks: 645
Swing / Lift Bridges: 103
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2079.2




Later....









Understanding politics and business.

Understanding politics and business is getting harder. The demarcation between politics and big business is becoming more and more blurred. If you have got a spare £100,000 and you can have the ear of the politicians in high office. What do you get for your £100,000 the politicians would have you believe - breakfast or dinner. They would also have you believe its all totally above board.

Here is a guide to understanding how it works, or in reality how it doesn't work!

Socialism:  You have two cows and you chose to give one to your neighbour.

Communism: You have two cows and the state takes both and gives you some of your own milk.

Fascism: You have two cows then the state takes both and sells you some of your own milk.

Nazism: You have two cows. The state takes both of your cows and then shoots you.

Bureaucrat-ism: You have two cows. The state takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

Capitalism: You have two cows.You sell one and buy a bull.Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.You sell them buy a boat and retire on the income.

Venture Capitalism: You have two cows.You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened  at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

American Corporation: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

French Corporation: You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

Japanese Corporation: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.

Italian Corporation: You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

Swiss Corporation: You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

Chinese Corporation: You have two cows.You have 300 people milking them.You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

Indian corporation: You have two cows. You worship them.

Spanish Corporation: You have two cows but owe Santander for 6. Nobody drinks milk.You have a siesta and read about the collapse of the Euro.

Greek Corporation: You lease two cows and pay somebody three times the going rate to milk them using borrowed money. You refinance the four cows to secure the services of Goldman Sachs. They sell the future milk production of the sixty cows and fund your lifestyle.You retire to anywhere that doesn't use the Euro.

British Corporation: You have two cows. Both are mad.

Iraqi Corporation: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the crap out of you and invade your country.You still have no cows, but at least you are now a democracy.

Australian Corporation: You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

New Zealand Corporation: You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive.

Argentinian Corporation: You don't have any cows. But you claim sovereignty over the ones belonging to your neighbour.

Later....

Saturday 21 April 2012

The Big One (3-7)

Saturday 21st April 2012

Castleford Visitor Moorings to Ferrybridge Visitor Moorings.

I woke up bright and early to find brilliant sunshine streaming in through the port holes.I took the dogs up to the lock to have a look at the water gauge. The river level has fallen by about three feet and is now just out of the red. So the Memsahib went to do a bit of last moment shopping and I did a few bits to get the boat ready for moving on.

A few more Swallows passing through on migration to their summer breeding grounds. I wonder where the Sand Martins and the House Martins are. Last year House Martin numbers were down on previous years. I thought it might have been something to do with a poor breeding season the year before. But the weather has been topsy turvy so far this year - so maybe the weather conditions are not conducive enough to bring the birds back in numbers yet.

After lunch a few boats started to arrive from Ferry Bridge and everyone reported an easy trip up river. So we decided to go for it. At 14:00 We pulled the pins and headed for the lock. We shared the lock with Dave on Nb Red Rock. The river was just on the line between green and yellow. The uneventful  trip down stream to Ferrybridge was over in a little over an hour.

We decided that the visitor moorings at Ferrybridge would be a good place to stop. A very secure place and one where we could let the dogs run free for a while. Later, GRP Video Star arrived with "Elvis" on board. Elvis is a stunning one year old Dalmatian. The dogs had a great deal of fun chasing each other around. Later when the lights came on, a few Pipistrelle bats were detected hunting down the insects attracted to the lights.

Ferrybridge Visitor Moorings

The sun broke through the clouds and lit up the moorings against the black back ground of the storm clouds. A few moments later the rain arrived.  A few more Swallows swirling over the water feeding on insects in the last of the sun light. A few Cormorants were also observed flying down river. A few Willow Tits fluttering around in the trees. Its beginning to feel like summer is not all that far away!


Later.....


Daily Total
Miles: 4.8
Locks: 2
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 13.3

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 622.1
Locks: 643
Swing / Lift Bridges: 102
Tunnels: 6
Pump Outs: 8
Engine Hours: 2075.9

Later....

Bored Of The Rings

Good morning - it's the weekend and for some people a time to relax. 

However, for others such as us, there are no such thing as weekends. Being retired, the biggest change to get used to was that there are no weekends. In fact - weekends are now to be avoided by us. The weekend are the busy days in most towns as people rush about trying to get all of their chores completed before Monday comes around again.

So I find that I have to make a concious effort to find things to keep my mind active. Writing a blog is one of them, but in itself is not enough to give me my daily fix of mind and imagination stimulation. For me, radio is a good medium for stimulation. With the odd viewing on the goggle box. Now on radio and television we are beginning to see the start of the rugby scrum that is the Olympic games. With just less than 100 days to go!

Designed by Wolf Olins  at a cost £400,000

Iran is threatening to boycott the Games after “Internet documents have proved, using the word Zion in the logo of 2012 Olympic Games is a disgracing action and against Olympic’s valuable mottos.” 
Iran objects to the logo for the 2012 London Olympics, contending it is racist because it resembles the word “Zion” and warning of a possible boycott of the games. The secretary general of Iran’s National Olympic Committee said Iran sent a letter to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge. The letter claims the 2012 logo spells out “Zion,” a biblical term widely recognized to refer to the city of Jerusalem. Secretary general Bahram Afsharzadeh said the letter urges other Muslim states to oppose the “racist logo.” “There is no doubt that negligence of the issue from your side may affect the presence of some countries in the games, especially Iran which abides by commitment to the values and principles,” the letter said.

The London logo until now has been criticized only for its design.  I can't see the word Zion myself. 

“It is an invitation to take part and be involved.”
SEBASTIAN COE

However, the Olympic Games are no longer a sporting event. The Olympic Games like football and motor racing are big business. I love sport the Olympics are supposed to be a sporting event, but the rampant commersialisation of it sickens me.

How big a business is the Olympics?

Three years ago, the Government introduced some sledgehammer legislation to protect the copyright of the London Olympic Organising Committee. The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 made the words "London 2012" ,  "2012" and "various derivatives" protected trademarks.It also tried to take ownership of the English language by making it unlawful for advertisers to combine certain key words such as "London", "games", "medals", "gold", "2012" and "summer". This government really does have a messed up sense of reality. Its made it illegal to have a 2012 calendar and my watch shows the year as "2012" I must run and hide!


Lets take a look at just one tiny aspect of how big the business is.

The British Olympic Association is out of kilter with the rest of the world. If a competitor is found guilty of cheating, then they get a sporting ban at the end of which they either return or not to their sport of choice. Our competitors are treated differently and The British Olympic Association could now be landed with legal costs of up to £200,000 if, as anticipated, it loses its attempt to bar Dwain Chambers and David Millar from competing in this summer’s Olympics. BOA's policy of life bans for convicted drug users such as Chambers and Millar are likely to be overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Any costs will be mitigated by the fact that the BOA’s counsel in the case, Adam Lewis QC and David Pannick QC, are understood to have agreed to appear for significantly reduced rates.

Carrying The Olympic Torch has been used as for years as an advertising medium. Advertising is big big business! Who better than "Coca Cola" to be an event sponsor!

Many times the flame has been carried by hand, on the sea, and in the air. Using a device similar to the one invented by Sir Humphrey Davy that works to protect the flame. Now, after carrying out tests, the Olympic torch has emerged with its flame alight and been pronounced "weather proof" by Olympic organisers. But what exactly was the torch subjected to, given it has only to survive our hopefully soggy summer. (We are in a serious drought after all) 

Tecosim Technical Simulation have tested the way that the torch would react to extreme weather.The criteria: stated that the torch had to work within temperatures of -5C to 40C, as well as in 95% humidity, rain and snow, in wind speeds of 35mph, gusting up to 50mph.  Remembering our only space woman Helen Sharman, the torch also had to also survive a three metre drop test. 

Gary Landsdown said "We had three torches - two were ours, prototypes of the ones designed for the 2012 relay - and one was a "benchmark torch". It was from the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics as this torch was considered to be the best previous one with the least number of flame-outs." He added "The torch can survive rain as long as it's not bucketfuls of water." He also added "An energy efficiency solution using Elephant grass was looked at for the torches. But the problem was the timescale required to develop the fuel. The torches are so high-profile and there are such high numbers of them that there just wasn't time. But it was useful to do the work on it, and the research will have other uses.

Gary was able to get the name of the fuel sponsor in, when he said "We took the torches to beaches near the EDF (French owned) nuclear power site in Dungeness, Kent, which has 20-39 mph winds. EDF are supplying the fuel for the torches. It's a pebbly beach and you can't measure the exact amount of dust and grit in the air, but there were lots of areas that were dusty and dry." 

Maybe if the torches go out, after their visit to Dungerness they will at least glow in the dark. Sounds like a good reason for using a good old Davy Lamp as a back-up device. It would save such a lot of dosh. Or do they know something we don't know about the long range weather forecast for our summer?

Nigel Williams said "It needs to burn for a minimum of 10 minutes, but with the gas cylinder and burner we've got now, it will last 13 to 14 minutes." Clare Pelly said "The average distance each torchbearer will travel with the torch is 300m and each leg of the relay is expected to take between three and six minutes. We've allocated one cylinder per torchbearer." On health and Safety she added "We are issuing a torch safety document for the Metropolitan Police, who as part of the torch operations team will turn off the gas on each torch when it has been used. The torch then has to cool for 10 minutes before being handled. Safety is paramount - our youngest torch bearers are aged 12." 

Clare Pelly said "We always have the mother flame in a back-up lantern. We're able to use the lantern to relight a new torch in extreme situations and we'll always have additional torches within 30 seconds' reach."

So, apart from a bit of kudos with their school friends, what's in it for the kids? 

The Olympic torch bearers who are giving their time free of any charge.  Will have to pay if they want the ultimate souvenir of the relay - their own torch. From It will cost the torch bearers £199 to buy a torch from Games organisers. However, if they want the one that they carried during the relay the cost rises to £215.

The Olympic organisers suggested that anyone finding cost a factor in buying a torch should consider fundraising in their community, with a "cake sale" or "sponsored swim" as possible ideas. Payments by card are accepted only on Visa although cheques, cash, postal order or bankers draft are also acceptable. Torchbearer merchandise is also available, including a torch stand (£39), pin badge (£7), commemorative book (£19.99) and t-shirt (£21).

Each torch could have been auctioned off for charity, something like like CaRT for instance.  However all is not lost, for if you think your missing out - have a look on eBay after the event!

Yes, it has to be said "I'm "Bored Of The Rings"


Later.....