Sunday, 25 December 2011

Xmas Day

Happy Christmas everyone.

Though, not such a good xmas day for the grey haired lady, who overstretched herself while feeding the ducks, and fell into the river. Didn't hear the splash, but popped my head out to see Alan running down the jetty clutching an oar, while Sue followed after him with a blanket. By then, she'd managed to swim around to the pub boat, and had hauled herself out over that. She was soon surrounded by a number of concerned Bourne End dogwalkers, who called an ambulance for her. 20 minutes later, and she was on her way to hospital.

Sumo enjoyed opening his presents. Bounced around like a puppy when he saw his new glow ball.

But now he's having a little nap.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Xmas Eve

Bit windy. Cold. And not a day for shorts. Was thinking of going down to the Cliveden islands for a couple of nights. But by the time I'd got supplies and water together, time was getting on a bit. Doing Cookham lock solo wouldn't have been a problem, but I didn't fancy mooring up in the bushes down there, on my own, in the dark. So I've decided to stay put. Got plenty of coal, logs, food & water.

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Thursday, 22 December 2011


The best december ever. Feels more like august, than two days away from xmas. So warm, I broke out my shorts. Not a cloud in the sky, and lots of lovely sunshine.

The batteries came out OK, with a bit of huffing and puffing. Bit of a long winded process just to find out everything was OK, but easy than fannying around with mirrors on sticks. Relieved to discover that they don't need topping up. And they went back in, a lot easier than when they came out.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


My cold has retreated, and the wind has stopped. It's been almost springlike today, so a perfect opportunity to get out to the shops, clear the back deck drainage channels, and hoover out the engine hole. Batteries were 12.87v, two hours after running the engine for an hour. So I'm thinking I should oik them out and see if they need topping up, before the bad weather comes back.

Now that my sinuses are no longer bulging, and my eyes feel normal in their sockets again, I've been drawn back to books to pass the long winter evenings by the fire. Last night I read this..

Level 7 ~Mordecai Roshwald

Published in 1959, Level 7 is presented as the diary of a military man who is permanently stationed thousands of feet underground in a self-sufficient bunker. His job is to sit in a room awaiting the command to push a button to fire nuclear weapons at an enemy country.
A jolly little tale. Of especial interest to me, because in another time and place, I also worked in a bunker. An underground facility built on springs, capable (we were told) of withstanding a nuclear attack. And all of the times I went to work, I never once suspected that I wouldn't be able to come out again. Or that the people in charge could be so stupid, as to start an all out nuclear war. One of the most chilling parts of the book for me, was when X-127 realiases he is down there for life. The geopolitics may have changed since the book was written, but the detachment from emotions and daily diary updates made for a fascinating read.

Something a bit lighter tonight, I think. I was reading Peter Ackroyd's Biography of the Thames, but got frustrated with his many references back to Hilaire Belloc's The Historic Thames, that I thought I had better go and read that first.

Found a free copy here.. Thankyou, Project Gutenburg.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Bah, humbug!

Wiped out by manflu. I do little sorties off the boat, to attend to Mr Sumo's wants and needs. But otherwise, I'm staying put beside the fire, as the wind cuts straight through me. Our supply of seasoned xmas logs is rapidly dwindling, but thankfully we still have lots of coal and wood on the roof that needs splitting. xmas is not my favourite time of year, and I will be glad when the whole thing is over and done with.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Back on Boat

Back on the boat again for xmas. After a weeks absence, i'd expected to smell damp when i cracked the hatch open for the first time, but was pleased to discover that we were nice and dry inside. There was a "welcome home" whiff of dog, engine oil, diesel, and woodsmoke, but no sign of fungus or damp anywhere.

The outside temperature dropped considerably last night, and there was ice on the inside of the windows when I woke up this morning. River still not flowing fast, so there is the possibility of venturing out, when/if Sheena manages to shake off her cold. (She is still in Devon, until she is well enough to travel).

Our inverter has been sent back to Holland, and we've been warned "not to expect it back before xmas". Our friend Matt said that it was most unusual for a mastervolt unit to fail twice, and we've been very unlucky. Another friend, who sells them for a living, has offered to give us names and email addresses of high up people in the organisation. But what we don't want to do, is antagonise them, so that our unit gets slipped to the bottom of the repair pile. It's a tough one. I feel we have every right to be annoyed. But we also just want it fixed, and back on the wall again, so we can get on with our lives.

Engine is starting OK. Bit slow to pick up, given the cold weather. But I haven't had to get the heat gun out yet, and it is keeping the batteries nicely topped up.