Tuesday 31 July 2012

The Big One (16-6)

Tuesday 31st of July 2012

Black Country Museum to Autherley Junction.

The weather overnight was continuous rain and so this morning when we spotted a break in the weather - we decided to go for it and head for the Wolverhampton flight. Which is just a small climb down 21 locks. From Tipton almost all the way to the Wolverhampton locks the canal is quite shallow in places and weed growth is becoming a problem.

The Big One (16-5)

Monday 30th of July 2012

Birmingham to the Black Country Museum.

It's been a day for very changeable weather. It was on and off rain after lunch. However, it was a late start that saw us leaving Gas Street after a we had been waiting for a midday visit from daughter Steph.

A few boats were on the move first thing. They were obviously aware that in the afternoon the rain would arrive. After a while we were caught up by one of the few hire boat that we have seen. However, this one had the engine going flat out. Complete with a huge bow wave and the beginning of a rooster tail at the rear. We were doing a good steady speed between 3 and 4 mph so I estimate that the hire boat was going at 6/7mph. A half an hour or so later we saw the boat turn left at the next junction towards Netherton tunnel. It took us 14 mins to reach the junction so that put the boat about 1 mile ahead. When we looked down towards the tunnel the boat was already inside and out of sight.

The Tipton flight of three locks was short of water. The two middle pounds of the flight were very low. There was no water passing over the bywash. Add to this - all of the locks were empty. So we had to flush some water down just to make the passage. We also dropped the top lock down after we had cleared the lock. The pounds still looked low.

The moorings at the Black Country Museum were full and we had to wind in the basin entrance. Most of the boats on the moorings were ones that we recognised as being moored up last night in Birmingham. We plodded back down the canal a short distance past the museum and moored up next door to Eric and Allison on Nb Swansong. Nb Harnser is moored in front.

A trip to a nearby pub for a rare treat - a pint and a chip butty. The pub we went into was holding a games night. The teams slowly filled the pub. People were milling around and tables were being set up in readiness. As we sat eating in a corner we could tell that we were occupying seats that are used on games night. We were obviously about as welcome as a fart in a space suit! We decided to move on and to relinquish our seats. We even saved some of the meal leftovers to feed the ducks on our way back. Even the ducks demonstrated how welcome we were, by ignoring our offerings!

Tomorrow it's the Wolverhampton flight - maybe - all depending on the weather and how good the Black country Museum turns out to be. 

Daily Total
Miles: 8.4
Locks: 3
Swing/Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 1
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 3.8
Diesel: 0

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 1005.7
Locks: 725
Swing / Lift Bridges: 119
Tunnels. 16
Pump Outs: 12
Engine Hours: 2293.0 


Tumbleweed on the canal!

It's the last day of July - you know the month with the well worn description of  flaming-July. An ominous overcast sky and the wind blows in from the west. Cue a large ball of tumble-weed which rolls by. It could be the opening shot in a Spaghetti Western. However, it's the state of the canals. There is a an almost complete lack of hire boats and holiday makers. It's the school holidays and yet it is so quiet. That's what gives the canal this almost deserted eerie feeling.

Monday 30 July 2012

Trades Description Act

Moored as we were near to Gas Street Basin and watching the various trip boats go and down the canal from this "historic" site. I can't help but wonder if the trades description act would prohibit using the word historic as most of the old canalside buildings have been replaced since the 1990's by high rise flats.

I'm all for redevelopment of any old industrial area's. However where those areas have some historical merit. I only favour redevelopment as long as the historical context is maintained. This can be done by redeveloping the existing buildings or where new builds incorporate the look and feel of the area. I fail to see how some of the developments in and around Gas Street have done either. 

The Big One (16-4)

Sunday 29th July 2012


What a changeable sort of a day. We started out with bright sunshine but with a cool breeze. At lunch time we went out for a Thai meal which was only a few hundred yards from the boat. The meal was a wonderful one shared with daughter Steph and boyfriend Scott. On the way back it started to rain, then it became quite heavy and everyone stood under the shelter of a building trying not to look to wet as everyone was without a coat or brolly.

Sunday 29 July 2012

The Big One (16-3)

Saturday 28th of July 2012


Broken cloud and a cool wind were the order of the day. Plus it was a day for giving the dogs a trim to help them keep cool as the summer finally arrives - at long last. A pretty quiet sort of a day because the Memsahib is visiting daughter and helping to decorate the kitchen. Me and the dogs have been abandoned to our own devices. 

Whilst taking the dogs for a walk we came across a lady taking an early bath in the canal. She now is aware that one foot on the towpath and one foot on the boat is not a smart move - when reaching for the bow rope! She was safely extracted from the canal with just a little embarrassment. But as we said it was like crossing the equator for the first time and entering into Neptune's realm - your not a real boater till you go and have a look under the boat!

Later we had a word with another boater who had his arm in a sling. It seems that the day before he had also taken an early bath at Gas Street basin. However he also managed to dislocate his shoulder at the same time! He was now awaiting the arrival of a back-up crew to lend some assistance to moving the boat. The 48 hour moorings at Gas Street basin are not a safe place to be!

I had a walk into Birmingham city centre, on Friday evening. In the square there was a large screen set up. It seems that there is some sort of party going on in London. There are arsonists running around with flaming torches. Ex footballers breaking the River Thames speed limit. Plus television commentators doing a piss poor commentary which they had practised for in June at the Thames Jubilee thingy!

Walking back to the boat it was good to seen normality return to the city centre. Police vans and Ambulances parked ready to give people a lift to different locations around the city. City centre ambassadors standing outside the various pubs meeting and greeting punters on their way in - and helping to carry them out when they became tired, emotional and world leaders in projectile vomiting.

Yes, we have lots of our history to showcase at the Olympic party. Not only fields and farms - but suicidal farmers protesting at the price of milk. After all it was us who gave the world slavery and then went on to subdue other nations into becoming a reluctant part of our commonwealth. We gave the world the template for parliament. A place where the members can flip homes and fiddle expenses. A national health service which employs fewer and fewer medical staff but is wonderful work creation scheme for administrators. A land where our streets are safe and the crime rate is so low, we don't need bobbies any more so we are sacking them. A place where we can send our youth to fight a war of someone else's making and then give them a P45 in place of a medal.

Makes you proud to be British!

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

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 997.3
Locks: 722
Swing / Lift Bridges: 119
Tunnels: 15
Pump Outs: 12
Engine Hours: 2286.1


The Big One (16-2)

Friday 27th of July 2012


Late last night the cooling breeze arrived. The air inside the boat changed from warm and humid to cooling and dry. The lightweight duvet we recently purchased at Lidl proved to be something of a boon. 

Well another beautiful start to the day with a flotilla (26) of Canada geese in line astern rippling the water surface. Soon afterwards it was the turn of the bleary eyed late night drinkers to return to their stag night party boats. Then the plodding early morning joggers wheezing their way along the towpath. I find this keep fit malarkey quite tiring to watch!

Later a couple of accomplished lady runners seemingly floated along at high speed. Their feet hardly touching the ground. Stylishly complete with trainers, shades, baseball hats, water bottle and a ponytail that swings in time to the footfalls.

Cultural and ethnic diversity (PC correct gobbledegook) is very apparent in Birmingham as people of many different skin colours and national identities turn up on the towpath. There for a common purpose. I enjoyed the sight of a woman clothed in a plain "Muslim" style of dress standing alongside another woman of the West African origin in her brightly coloured dress and the bright flamboyant head scarf tied in a huge bow.

So what is this shared common purpose?

They are all there to chatter with each other whilst at the same time feed the ducks and geese. I watched as one group of geese precessing along the canal, did a quick about turn when they recognised one visitor with a child in a pram. Soon they were calling to be fed. The lady dived into a carrier bag and brought out a few slices of bread. The child was enthralled and soon wanted to join in with the feeding fun.

At lunch time, there is a "feeding" shift change. Now its the turn of the workers coming to eat their sandwiches on the canal side. The birds seem to know when the crumbs are about to be distributed.

The evening shift arrive sometime after dark. Calling the birds to feed with loud screams, shouts and laughter before feeding the birds with a concoction made up of MacDonald's leftovers or Pizza crusts served up in a tastefully designed cardboard or polystyrene box. The geese have not yet been weaned on to the joy of cardboard or polystyrene as most mornings the boxes are still to be found floating in the canal.

How many canalside rubbish bins are there to be found in the "jewel of the canal crown" that is Gas Street Basin and it's surrounding area - How about zero - nada - zilch - none! So how about a BW rubbish disposal point, zero - nada - zilch - none! Sanitary station, zero - nada - zilch - none! When it comes to disposing of the detritus of the late night pizza or kebab the canal is such a handy place!

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

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 997.3
Locks: 722
Swing / Lift Bridges: 119
Tunnels: 15
Pump Outs: 12
Engine Hours: 2286.1


Saturday 28 July 2012

The Big One (16-1)

Thursday 26th of July 2012

Hawne Basin to Birmingham.

Just in case some of our regular readers have been wondering why it has been so quiet on the RoA blog. The Memsahib has had a short break from boating. She took the opportunity to return home to take care of some chores that have been added to our "Must Do" list whilst we have been away on Rosie. But we are now back aboard and the voyage continues. 

The regular grumpy social comment on all things weird and wonderful happening in the world has continued even though we were not spending much time logging locks and miles under the keel. Most of the postings have been waiting in my drafts for the opportunity to be published.  One of the nice things about blogger is that you can choose a time and date for publication of any of my witterings in advance. (I have 22 items in draft form waiting for a suitable time and date at the moment)

This is sometimes creates a problem because where we actually are on the canals and rivers on any particular day or date can be historically out by one to seven days by the time they are published. We have had comments from one or two boaters who have said "we were watching out for you passing so we could say hello and we seem to have somehow missed you." We are sorry if we missed you! It's good to talk and exchange either a quick hello-goodbye as we pass. Or alternatively to tarry for a while and have a good chin wag and a cup of tea.

We have had a good few days on the Dudley canal. Doing the 3027 yard Netherton Tunnel, Visiting the wonderfully named Bumblehole and even survived the cork-in-a-bottle Gosty Hill tunnel.

This Weeks Solar Panel Data.
Average 38.8 Ah per day  High 51Ah Low 20Ah

Daily Total
Miles: 12.4
Locks: 0
Swing/Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 3
Pump Outs: 1
Engine Hours: 5.0
Diesel: 40L

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 997.3
Locks: 722
Swing / Lift Bridges: 119
Tunnels: 15
Pump Outs: 12
Engine Hours: 2286.1


Friday 27 July 2012

Observations please!

Next time you take a stroll along the towpath, have a good look around and then take some time to reflect upon what you are really observing. 

If you should observe a lock where water is leaking out of, by leaking through, leaking under or leaking around the gates. 

What you are observing is evidence of the abject failure of British Waterways management to properly maintain and improve the canal system.

Next time you struggle to open or close a paddle or lock gate and putting yourself at risk of injury

What you are observing is evidence of the abject failure of British Waterways management to properly maintain and improve the canal system.

Next time you see racist, homophobic or other questionable graffiti on a bridge or balance beam. 

What you are observing is evidence of the abject failure of British Waterways management to properly maintain and improve the canal system.

If you should see deep puddles of standing water on the towpath, areas of deep mud or collapsed towpath edges. 

What you are observing is evidence of the abject failure of British Waterways management to properly maintain and improve the canal system.

Every shopping trolley, every plastic bag, every bottle, aluminium beer can or polystyrene container.

What you are observing is evidence of the abject failure of British Waterways management to properly maintain and improve the canal system.

If you should  observe  rampant weed growth that prevents navigation or falling trees blocking your way. 

What you are observing is evidence of the abject failure of British Waterways management to properly maintain and improve the canal system.

If you should  observe  the aftermath of rare flora cut, strimmed and hacked into oblivion before having the time to set seed. 

What you are observing is evidence of the abject failure of British Waterways management to properly maintain and improve the canal system.

If you arrive at places where the water is too shallow to moor a boat close to the edge. 

What you are observing is evidence of the abject failure of British Waterways management to properly maintain and improve the canal system.

Every pound you observe that is low and leaking.

What you are observing is evidence of the abject failure of British Waterways management to properly maintain and improve the canal system.

Every area of canal that needs to be dredged.

What you are observing is evidence of the abject failure of British Waterways management to properly maintain and improve the canal system.

This is the British Waterways management team who were paid more than the prime minister and he is supposed to look after the whole country. But a failing Prime Minister we get to vote out.

This is the  same management team that is going to lead us to the promised land of plenty through CaRT. Yet we all know who will be getting the plenty!

Welcome to the bright new world of the "volunteer". The volunteer who according to BW/CaRT are the answer to all the problems that have beset the British Inland Waterways.

  • Which volunteer will do the dredging?
  • Which volunteer will maintain the lock gates?
  • Which volunteer will repair the towpath?
  • Which volunteer will clear the canal of cans, bags, bottles, trolleys and a whole myriad of pick-and-mix of detritus?

Ask yourself, which director or senior manager, will be leading by example? Welcome to the world of CaRT and Porcine Avionics!


Thursday 26 July 2012

Twisted Knickers!

The old mobile phone had reached the end of its serviceable life. It was about to be consigned to the drawer to languish away with a couple of others. So a new all singing and dancing version was purchased. Android seems to be the name of the game - a bit like the old Betamax -v- VHS wars from an earlier time.

I have had the phone now for about three weeks and I am learning a bit more about it each day. The built in GPS mapping - Weather and news - photographs and video - all need to be mastered in turn.

I spotted this application on Google which will help me to find my phone whenever I happen to misplace it. Having perfected the art of misplacement over many years (keys being a speciality) I decided that at 99p I could just about afford to splash out without compromising the bank balance. 

Then it happened - I misplaced my phone. 

A quick look around the boat in all the usual places did not turn up the device. Other lost keys locations identified over the years were checked - coat pockets (even if the coat had not been worn) plus the old regular for misplacement of keys - in a pocket in my jeans in the washing basket - failed to turn up the damn thing.

In a moment of lucid thought - I thought ring the phone. But I could not find my phone to ring it - twisted knickers logic - but I was getting a little fraught by this time. I know i'll send it a text. I start up the computer, put in the dongle and send a text to the phone. After a while, no phone was heard beeping in the boat.

If it isn't in the boat, its time to start racking the last few of the brain cells to try and remember the last time I had used it. I had spoke to the Memsahib on the phone. She was away in Sheffield, where was I when I rang her - yes! I was in the boat. Another boat search was needed but this time in a more organised way!

An hour or so later the phone was still missing - I even checked the dogs beds just in case they had thought it was a new toy! Nada, Zilch nothing! Have a walk around the boat yard retrace my steps from last night when I took the dogs for a walk.  Nada, Zilch nothing!  Into the boatyard office to ask if the phone had been handed in, Nada, Zilch nothing! Ah - Then I remembered that I had been in the showers last thing, Nada, Zilch nothing! But I did find my bar of soap that I had left!

Then I had a sudden brainwave - the answer, why had I not thought of this earlier! I can locate the phone by tracking it down on the web and getting it to ring. I fire up the trusty old steam computer. Login to the "Find-your-lost-phone-you-moron" website. Send a text with the activation code - da-da! - It's on the map and about a mile or so away from the boat? 

Then came the realisation, someone must have nicked it! The sleuth was on the job. Taking the laptop I follow the map towards the phone. It's a route along the towpath, that I have been over before. Half an hour later - I'm in the field where I took the dogs for a walk late yesterday afternoon.

I had been so busy looking at butterflies and birds that I had stumbled over a rock and almost went full length. After regaining my composure - and then doing that "quick look around to see if anyone had seen me thing" - and getting that good "no one has seen me feelingI had returned to the boat.  

But now, I am stood in the middle of a field and I could not see the phone anywhere. The grass is quite long. So I sent the activation code from the laptop to make the phone ring! - A few seconds later the tones could be heard about three feet away to my left. There is the missing phone cocooned deep in the grass. A quick check - only one message received - the text I had sent from the laptop.

I was overjoyed to be reunited with my little friend. The phone rang - its the Memsahib. A very tentative "hello love" is soon followed by the reassurance "yes we are all fine. I'm just taking the dogs for a walk. Ah! your back in Birmingham - and on the bus back to the boat. Yes, I'll see you soon - I will come and meet you at the bus stop!"

Quick dash back to the boat to hide the evidence - Well most people would not turn up at a bus stop complete with two dogs out for a short walk with a laptop under their arm! 

All is well in the world and the boxers are quite a comfortable fit once more!


Wednesday 25 July 2012

You don't know what you are hawking about!

A documentary series created by Stephen Hawking poses the mathematical certainty of extraterrestrial life – but the brilliant theoretical scientist recommends against trying to establish contact. Now everyone knows that Hawking is a deep thinker and that he is not one for jumping to conclusions.

Hawking said “To my mathematical brain, the numbers of planets alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like. That’s where the sense of caution sets in, because if they’re anything like us – rapacious warlike predators – then perhaps keeping a certain amount of distance is the better part of valour. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach. If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

I never thought of Hawking as a social commentator or historian. There is no doubt that anyone who can become a best selling author based upon a book the topic of which was the beginnings of the creation of the universe has to be a very good author.

However, my favourite comment on Hawking was the wag who said "Stephen Hawking is writing a follow-up to "A Brief History of Time". It's about time too.

The best comment attributed to Hawkings was when as a young man Hawking attended a symposium. When the next speaker asked "Can you all hear me out there?" Hawking was said to have replied "Yes I can, but I'd be happy to swap places with someone who can't."


Ants in your pants!

I took the dogs out for a walk in the sunshine. I can' describe how much of a  welcome change this made from the recent never ending spell of bad weather. Orange Tip and Meadow Brown butterflies were out in force. Red Coach Men beetles and myriads of Hoverflies were abundant. Midges were everywhere under the shade of the trees. The insect life was out with a vengeance at long last. 

However, the greatest spectacles of all, is upon us – flying ant day. Vast numbers of flying ants were out in the late afternoon to perform their yearly nuptial flight. Millions of colonies seem able to synchronise their emergence, to find a mate from a different colony. It was a food bonanza for the birds. Sparrows, Tits and even pigeons were spotted eating the ants as they emerged.

The Society of Biology is asking everyone who sees flying ants in 2012 to make a note of the time, date, location and weather conditions, and submit records through an online survey. Click Here to record your sightings.

Dr Adam Hart, an ecologist and insect expert at the University of Gloucestershire, is working with the Society of Biology on the survey. He says: "After such a wet summer it's wonderful to see all these flying ant reports coming in, interestingly at a very similar time to last year."

I have just returned from doing a bat survey, on a short section of the Dudley Canal (number 2). Daubentons and Pipistrelle were encountered in good numbers. Some unidentified Myosis species were also noted. This is the first time I have had such good numbers of bats out and about this year.


Tuesday 24 July 2012

Consumer Health Warning

According to the Macmillan English Dictionary, if a place or an organisation is going to the dogs, it is not as good as it once was in the past. The inland waterways is such a case in question. Once it was the leading edge of the industrial revolution. The inland waterways were the transport motorways of their day. The times changed and other quicker and better alternatives took their place. Through private ownership and subsequent nationalisation the Inland Waterways continued to be wilfully neglected. 

Boating people would often say things like “British Waterways is letting the Inland Waterways go to the dogs. Things aren't run like they were years ago and the costs to use the waterways are far too high.” The people have a valid point. They see the board of BW as incompetent and not fit to run a paddling pool never mind the thousands of miles of canals and rivers that lay within their remit. But there was no will in the people and the government to make changes.

People are becoming more and more aware of what is going on around them. They now challenge the bankers pay, they challenged the MP expenses. They saw at first hand the greed and avarice of the people in charge. They want to reward success and the want to replace the fools and incompetents. They want to do this  at a fair wage.

I can make that statement in the certainty that things are not going to get better under the auspices of CaRT. There is one reason why things will not and cannot get any better. It is the perceived loss of face and the inability to admit their own shortcomings when things have gone wrong. Transparency is not an option for the board because of the sheer scale of incompetence it would highlight. 

A siege mentality has now taken hold, like the heads of state in some middle east countries. There is a groundswell of the peoples opinion who are seeking a change of management from the top down. There is no alternative for the BW board even in its new guise as CaRT but to continue to fight a rearguard action. When its a rearguard action the battle is always lost.

CaRT is the new "Group 4 Services" - Containing lots of froth and promises but delivering no real substance. 


Monday 23 July 2012

Gone but not forgotten.

Do great people sometimes get it wrong or do you need to look deeper into their words and meanings to truly understand the message of a great mind.

Albert Einstein said - "Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."

Marilyn or Albert?

Reading is an important life skill to have, it helps the individual to attain a level of knowledge. But whilst reading is a crucial ability to have. It does nothing for creating understanding which can only be attained by reflecting on what you have read. Reading and knowing is worthless. It's not the same as reading and understanding. Many people read as a diversion to boredom. For others it is an escape from thinking. For many an escape from the reality of the world that surrounds them.

As a child I often went with my mother to visit family graves. We would just go to tidy up the graves and plant a few flowers. Mother always talked a little about the individuals who were buried in each plot. She would tell stories and tales, describing them as she remembered them. Their work, their features, their temperament, their likes and their dislikes because she thought it was important that I should know. I took a mild interest and I always liked the funny stories that she would tell of their escapades.

Many years later I decided to look at my family history. I read a few books and started as a complete novice working my way through the usual records of births, marriages, deaths and places of burial. Lots of dry facts but very little in the way of any substance. I could find out their occupations from census records. The names and ages of their siblings. I could find out something of their status from where they lived. Lots of little clues to piece together to gain some awareness.

The things my mother had talked about gave much more of an insight into the real people. I remembered much of what she had said of their little foibles - who liked a drink - who had a ready smile - who had a sharp tongue - who was religious and who was a rogue.

One comment that mother made has always stuck a chord. It was made when we stood on top if the hillside overlooking the graveyard. There we were, with a vista of hundreds of gravestones. She said "Each one of those is a life and once they were important to someone, but now they lie forgotten." Whenever I visit mothers grave, I remember her words. Once I just knew, now I understand.


Sunday 22 July 2012

A little anonymous-ity!

Wow, I have had another question from Anonymous. 

As you know, all comments from anonymous automatically go into my spam folder. From time to time I flush them out. There is only one way to send me a message that will get through and that is a blog comment with a method so that I can reply directly to you. In other words include your email address. It also helps if you can spell and have an understanding of punctuation. I don't do Txt talk LoL and the only smiley face is mine!

Oh! and as one recent anonymous commentator did - don't do cut and paste in such a way that you included stuff from a previous cut and paste you did not want me to know about. That one was Priceless!

There are from time to time the odd questions that people send in anonymously  that I do eventually get round to answering.

One such question was "Why do you often write about non boating stuff when the blog is supposed to be about narrowboats?"

I think that any blog that is on a single subject will ultimately become quite staid and predictable in content. Postings that are off the main topic (boating) are intended to lighten up the blog and to cover the things that interest me. 

There is a template that I could pull together which would cover most of my boating days.

Morning: - Weather, location, departure time, etc. Afternoon: - What we have seen so far, who we have met, what we have visited. Evening: - What time we arrived, where we arrived and what we did later. Night: - Things that went bump in the night.

Blogs should have a wide variety of blog post topics rather than always sticking with the same ones. While it's fine to record just your days activities on your blog, if that's all you do, it could get pretty boring. There are some do's and don't to observe such as Do refer frequently to the Inland Waterways Don't stick to one area of interest. Do highlight good as well as bad things. Do try to give a balanced point of view. Don't be single or bloody minded. Do be humorous.

Apart from Narrowboats I have many more interests that I enjoy writing about either on this boating blog or occasionally on other blogs that I operate.

As it says on the front page:- Warning "If you take the blog seriously then you are on your own."


Pee Wee Patrol.

The Inland Waterways are without a doubt a very dangerous place to be. CaRT the whole new singing and dancing replacement for common sense has just released its latest Elsan Safety Regulations.

CaRT will provide the safety policies and risk assessments. The correct personal protective gear  such as overalls, boots, gloves and eye protection to ensure that users are protected from inadvertent splashes as well as accidental contamination by sewage.

CaRT will ensure that suitable sanitary provision is made for the quantity of people anticipated to use the facility at the same time. (To a maximum of four per seat.)

CaRT will ensure that thought is given to location, access, lighting, signs and paper strength. Attention should be given to fast access requirements for the incontinent.

CaRT will position the elsan facilities close to any area set aside for people with special needs such as viewing platforms.Toilets must be clearly visible, lit and signed. Where appropriate, the individual units, should be colour coded with the existing d├ęcor.

It is essential to pinpoint toilets so that people are sheltered from bad weather. It is also essential that ramps and steps are provided for short arse boaters.The units ought to be steady and fitted with a non-skid seat surface. Make adequate provision (posters and pamphlets) for short intervals or breaks in user performance.

Preparations ought to be made for the rapid clearance of any blockages after a barbecue. A calculation must be made of the suitability of the pot size for the nature and duration of each visit. Consider placing toilets at places of high interest such as no mooring areas.

In all situations, the sanitary facilities will be subject to the users personal profile. To estimate sanitary provision requires knowing the audience size and then estimating the projected male to female ratio. The type and nature of food and fluid intake.

Organise the facility to ensure that the ground does not become waterlogged leading to localised flooding. The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 will apply with regard to sanitary accommodation for people with special needs.

Please look after the facilities and keep everything clean and in good condition. A special dispensation has been given for the toilets seats. Teeth marks in the seat are acceptable for those with constipation.


Volunteer Needed

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal runs between the industrial towns of Ashton-under-Lyne in the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside, Greater Manchester, and Huddersfield in the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, West Yorkshire. At its centre below the picturesque Saddleworth and Marsden Moors lies the unique Standedge Tunnel, the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel in the country.Having achieved its aim of the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal to through navigation and public use, the Huddersfield Canal Society intends to take an active role in the canal's future, assisting British Waterways with operational and development initiatives.

Volunteer Needed by Huddersfield Canal Society

The Marsden Shuttle barge carries passengers on the 12-minute journey between the village railway station and Standedge Tunnel on Sundays and bank holidays between April and October.The service, which is run by Huddersfield Canal Society, can carry up to 12 people at a time. The group is now looking for a volunteer to organise the crew rota next year. The role is unpaid  but expenses are covered. 

For more information call 01484 686136.


Saturday 21 July 2012

Five down - nine to go!

Another win for people power! 

On Wednesday, a worried-sounding man from Coca-Cola called the 38 Degrees office to say they wouldn’t be using the Olympic tax dodge. But it didn’t stop there. Later in the day, VISA, General Electric and EDF all confirmed that they were out too. 

That’s five big companies down - and nine to go.

The bigger our petition has grown, the more companies have hurriedly announced they won’t be dodging the tax. Can you help this campaign go all the way by sending the petition past 200,000 signatures?

Please ask your friends and family to sign:

Sign The Petition here Olympic Tax Dodgers


Global Fat List

I love the weird and wonderful, so that will go some way to explaining my interest in CaRT. I have just discovered one almost as weird as CaRT called the Global Fat List.  I have a BMI index of 26 and nationally I have a lower BMI than 69% of males in my country. This sounds pretty good until I read. You have a higher BMI than 63% of males in my age group globally throughout the world. 

The real bummer came when I read. If everyone in the world had the same BMI as me, it would add 28,962,903 tonnes to the total weight of the world's population! But when compared to males from the countries listed below I have a slim and sylph like figure!

Micronesia, Tonga, Croatia, Samoa, Argentina, United States, Austria, Czech Republic, Qatar, Chile, Solomon Islands, Malta, Germany, New Zealand, Bahamas, Greece, Finland, Jordan, Australia, Uruguay, Mexico, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Kuwait, Canada, Spain, Grenada, Switzerland, Italy, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Hungary, Panama, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Luxembourg, Belize, Guatemala, Israel, Libya, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Poland, Bolivia, Colombia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russian Federation, Albania, El Salvador, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Suriname, Belarus, Armenia, Ecuador, Portugal, Peru, Costa Rica, Denmark, Slovenia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Paraguay, Sweden, France, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Honduras, Turkmenistan, Guyana, Latvia, Nicaragua, Syria, Bahrain, Lebanon and Macedonia.

It seems that if I want a low BMI index, I don't have the correct body shape. It seems that I am just a little bit on the short side for my weight.

How do you measure up - check yourself Here.


Memory is a funny thing!

Memory is a funny thing, its very selective and there are always things that you remember which seem to be very insignificant now - but must have had for some reason an impact at the time. 

I was reading one of those "Do you remember when" websites. One of the questions was, "what was the first book you read from the library." I can remember going on my first visit to the library with my mother. I was about six years old. I had been taught to read long before going to the infants school and even then I was quite comfortable reading a newspaper. 

The bit that I don't recollect but it was recounted many times by my mother in later years. When the woman stood at the library counter gave my mother a "joining card" to fill in. Mother passed the card to me and I quickly filled it in and passed it back - to the surprise of the librarian.

This was a time when you had a small cardboard folders that were kept in a long thin filing drawer. The card had your name and other details on it. When you chose a book, there was a small book stub in a similar cardboard folder inside the front cover.  The stub was removed and placed in the folder with your name on which was then carefully filed away. The book was then date stamped on a flyleaf for when it should be returned. 

What I do remember was walking around the library, selecting three books and returning to the counter. The librarian said "You may only choose one book on your first visit." I looked through the three books and decided which one I would take. Then the librarian said "You can only choose books that are located in the children's section." I had chosen my books from the adult section of the lending library. 

So, I looked around the children's section. It was in a small side room. There was a fenced off section with small bookshelves. At the time, there was nothing I could find that I wanted to read. I remember thinking that the books were far to young for me.  So mother used one of her library tickets to get the adult book for me. Now the strange thing is - I can't remember what the book was or what it was about. I remember some of what took place at the time. But what I do remember was my older sister took out a book about horses called "Red Conker". 

Why after all these years do I remember her book and not the book that I had chosen - a strange quirk of the memory cells. But I also remember reading "Red Conker" before it was returned.

A few weeks later, I went with mother to see the chief librarian. He was sat in an oak panelled office with a huge desk. I was there because mother had requested that I be given access to the adult section of the library. He asked me to read a passage from a book. Then he asked me a few questions about what I had just read. We all went down to the main desk where my "blue" children's ticket was exchanged for three "olive" adult tickets. The strongest recollection that I have of the chief librarians office was the smell of books and leather. It's funny how you can have memories that include smells!