Sunday, 27 February 2011

Cold Start Kit

Bukh want £200.42 for the DV20 cold starter..

Bukh Cold Start KitOurs cost £20 from Sainsbury's..

Draper Heat Gun ~ 1000wTen seconds of this baby blowing down the air filter, and the engine fires up first time, every time. No more dangling off of the key and hoping. No more stressing of the starter motor. Hooray!

Endless Procession

Yellow Caution BoardLocks and Weirs of the Thames

Sorry for the lack of recent postings, but February has been an endless procession of grey & rainy overcast days. I enjoy writing the blog, and letting people know what we're up to, but I haven't wanted to bore anybody with the repetitive and sometimes mundane minutiae of day to day life in a marina.

Hurley and Hambledon locks are closed until the 1st of March, so our sojourn up the river to Reading has to wait until then. We did have one sunny day, and managed to cruise the boat down to Cliveden Reach for a jolly. Yellow boards were out, and it was a good chance to practice in "stream increasing" conditions. Mostly, the current and eddies pulled us into the middle of the river. Progress on the way back, was a little slow. But it was good that our 20hp engine coped well. It didn't overheat. And at full revs, it didn't produce any black smoke. We also didn't end up drifting backwards, unable to propel ourselves faster than the current.

It's a shame we haven't been able to "slip the ropes and bugger off", like we'd planned to, but Sheena's mum's illness developed into a long term affair, and we have to play with the cards we are dealt. Our current hope, is to get ourselves fully underway by the 1st of April.

I suppose it's 'better' that all these things happen now, whilst we're alongside, than when we're out on the canals, to find that some bloke is banging on the roof asking me to move the boat every few days. but it's frustrating to have to sit here and twiddle my thumbs, missing Sheena. The consolation, of course, is that I'm living on a boat. I'm a free man. And 99% of the EU bullcrap that landlubbing citizens have to contend with, doesn't affect me anymore. In that respect, I've never been happier, or felt more alive.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Good News..

Our inverter is repaired, plumbed back in, and fully operational again. It sounds much quieter than before, too. No engineer's report, or information as to what caused the fault. But now it's back onboard, we are free to slip the ropes and travel.

Cold start worry, a thing of the past. The engine started up beautifully after a five second burst from Steve's heat gun, down the air filter. Wehey!

Sheena will be here in an hour.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Sheena's wondering if "where we used to live" is relevent on our boating blog. As an illustration of the often bizarre & ridiculous twists and turns of fate, i think that it is. We had some wonderful times in that building. And in the future, whenever we wonder what became of it, we can look at the pictures... and KNOW. All of it's character was gutted, and it only lives on in our memories.

I feel like I should clarify the use of the word "despise" in my last posting. It's a strong word that I don't normally use. I don't hate anybody. What I despise, isn't Guy Ritchie, himself. What 'celebrity producers' get up to, isn't normally any of my concern. No, it's the lack of philanthropism, which I despise.

The Wiki of Philanthropy
Philanthropists and the Arts ~ Guardian Article

My Point? With the state axe making ever larger cuts on the arts, now is the time, more than ever for EXCEEDINGLY RICH PEOPLE to put their hands in their pockets, and think about how they can help people less fortunate than themselves. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. The Victorians did it. So why don't the modern uber-rich?

Imagine the good that could have been achieved with six million English pounds. How many of the next generation of film makers could have been helped and inspired. 34/35 Fitzroy Square could have been a centre for learning and excellence. A chance for youngsters in London to make their own independent films, without having to secure extortionate funding, and put themselves in debt. But no, it's going to become a jacuzzi, a steam room, and an indoor swimming pool. Way to go. how fabulous.

Sorry for the rant.

Sheena is back on friday. And so is our Inverter. So, I look forward to being able to write about boating again. Sorry if I've bored anyone, but seeing my old place of work reopened as a place of education, has made my millenium. The RFS are running courses on "How to Knit", too. brilliant.

Really Free

I sent the Really Free School an email of solidarity, and wished them well with their occupation of 34/35 Fitzroy Square (or 'Black Dog Towers' as we like to call it). They replied, and asked me if I'd like to pop down and "relive the space". Thrilled!

Unfortunately, Mr Ritchie's 'builders' have completely gutted the insides, and very little of the original Georgian features and charming period character remains. The RFS have found the 'renovation' plans, which include :-

a jacuzzi
a steam room
an indoor swimming pool
a gym

Mr Ritchie, you are a vandal. and a cliche.
as well as being a twat with too much money!

I'm appalled at the destruction. I knew that Mr Ritchie was a detestable mockney fuckwit before seeing the inside of his house. But now I know that he's also trashed a magnificent and historical example of Georgian architecture, I despise him all the more.

** Pictures courtesy of the Really Free Website

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


Squatters have moved into 34-35 Fitzroy Square.
Congratulations to them.

Really Free School
Daily Wail

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


Bourne End is very quiet and peaceful in the evenings. It's often nice to just light the fire, kick back, and listen to some old tunes from a bygone and more sedate era. Recently, I discovered a site that's a treasure trove for fans of vintage music and audio curiousities.. ~ Browse Artists & Keywords

The collection is comprised of recordings made on Edison wax cylinders and acetate 78's, between 1898 and the 1950's. Some suffer from their age, obviously. And the grinding noise of the gramaphone mechanism on some pieces may spoil your enjoyment somewhat. But if 'retro' is your bag, you'll be surprised at how many of them are totally pristine, and could have been recorded yesterday.

The Forgotten Crooner..

Whispering Jack SmithRadio announcer Jack Smith had a distinctive style, which was a combination of singing & talking in an "intimate" way. Using the microphone effectively, as opposed to just "belting" the song out. His suave "whispering" delivery developed as a result of a WW1 injury from poison gas, which kept him from singing at full volume.

In nearly every musical reference book, Jack "Whispering" Smith is not even mentioned. He sadly died of a heart attack at the age of 52. And his grave is unmarked.


Monday, 7 February 2011

New Batts

We got our new 135ah leisure batteries from They delivered with a fast, friendly service, and the best price we could find in the UK. If you are ever in need of any new batteries yourself, I would definitely recommend them.. ~ Leisure Batteries ~ Next Day Delivery

No news on when our inverter will be returned. If it's not here on thursday, Steve has said he'll ring Holland to try and track it down for us. Christmas is a long time gone, and it's been with them for nearly 2 months now. the unit was under warranty, and we feel like we're being messed about. The only positive of the whole situation, is that it's occured over winter, when river conditions have been very bad, and nobody has been moving at all.

Without an inverter to convert our batteries into 240v, we are limited to day trips. Without an engineer's report, as to what went wrong, nobody will admit to liability.


Friday, 4 February 2011

Pillow Comfort

Hog of the bed.


Happy Birthday to me.

Sheena is back for a few days, so we cruised up to Marlow yesterday. It was sunny, but also very windy, and we got blown about quite a bit. Nothing to be alarmed at, because with a slow moving boat, on a wide river, we get plenty of time to react to unexpected changes in direction. Today we were buffeted by strong winds from across the river. which wobble us about, and push us into the jetty. Not a good (or pleasant) day for boating, so we decided not to venture out.

With the fire lit, six nations rugby on the telly, and the three of us tucked up nice and cozy inside, it can blow as much as it wants. We love the wobbling about and the whistling of the wind. Bring it on..