Monday, 31 March 2014

Overheard last night

"Is this bit where the poor people live?"
"Yes, it is."

Getting ready for the off. I've spent the last few days in my overalls, painting what needed painting, and grinding what needed grinding. It's all whizzed by in a bit of a blur, because I wanted to squeeze the most out of having shorepower and some good weather. We're leaving on Tuesday morning. Hoping to spend a couple of days down at Cliveden islands, then maybe travel up to Beale park (river willing), before Sheena has to resume carer duty again. We're saving the River Wey and Basingstoke canal expeditions for later on in the year.

It will be nice to be moving again.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

What's in the box?

Sumo's birthday present arrived today. He's getting a brand new reclining chair, with a built in massager. It came slightly less "flatpacked" than we'd imagined it would. But I managed to sneak the bits inside without him twigging what it was. Under strict instructions not to assemble it before the 1st of April. Sorry mate, you have to wait.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Got Wood?

I've had another narrowboater moored up next to me, which blocked out all the sunlight and zapped the internet signal. As it was nice and sunny, he decided to play his radio extremely loudly, and bonk his girlfriend senseless all weekend. If he'd started up his genny too, it would have been the 'ultimate perfect score' in bad manners. So, this is why the next time someone asks "Please can we moor up next to you?". The answer will be "No, Sorry". (barring an emergency).

What's all that 'kin wood doing there?

The dude made good on his promise, and delivered on the silver birch front. Unfortunately, it's temporary location didn't prove too popular, so I had to shift it. If there is any of it left by then, it should sort out every boater on the marina next winter. Advice from Adrian the gardener: "Get it split, quick. Because it will be a bugger to crack when it's dried out".

Mister in the River
Riverbeast enjoyed the Sunshine.

'Clean Shoes. No Shouting'.
£4.50. Made in Taiwan. Highest quality polyester. Just don't smoke anywhere near it! A temporary stopgap measure, until our mate Dave can sort us out with some whipping for our posh flag.

Things are fine, this evening. I'm not hemmed in. I have my view back. Access to the internet. And I've bagsied these nice looking chunks...

Summer Reserve

Wehey. Some logs to chop.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Slap it on..

De-scuzzed and rust free. Terrible photo. Reflected gleam playing havoc. But you get the general idea.

Thursday, 13 March 2014


Sorry there are no pictures today. I've been far too busy, because the sun came out full force. And baked us with full-on summer sunshine loveliness. Started off with de-scuzzing the well deck. It was all looking a bit sad up there. Some rust blobs needed anglegrinding. And green algae from the winter deluge had to be bleached away. We had some rare and exotic form of spagmum moss growing underneath the bow lockers too. All gone.

The rough spots have been stripped back and treated with Vactan, in preparation for painting tomorrow (or the next sunny day). Underneath the bow rails, I noticed that our most previous paint job was 'tic tac orange'. So very grateful that was changed.

Then I remembered we had half a tin of bitumen left (because I tripped over it, on my way in), and one side still to black. I managed to lean over the bow and stern to paint down to the waterline. And dangled off of the marina tug to sort out the middle section. Wehey! Had enough left over to do a second coat on the other side, so that everything matched up. Our hull is now not looking quite so sad and unloved anymore. And I still have time to turn my attention to the bits above water that aren't black, before Sheena gets back.

Washing up my brushes, Cris (Wb 'Odin') came over to tell us about a place in Oxford which might be able to haul us out for a quick survey. And a local tree surgeon knocked and asked if I had any use for silver birch logs. A whole fallen tree of them! Not sure where I will be able to put them all, as the shower is already full of kindling. But I said "yes please".

Some people are not too keen to travel with a roof full of wood over the summer months. Fair enough, I guess. But it seasons really well up there. And it's one of the few things in life that aren't taxed. In addition to the warmth, the satisfaction gained from burning free wood is immense. Summer wouldn't be summer, without chopping a few logs in the sunshine.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


Sheena castigated me for not updating the blog more often than I do. "It's boring, going there and seeing nothing new", she complained. "Why don't you write about chopping a log, or something?".

So, here I am, family, friends and followers. With an update. Of sorts. My apologies if you were concerned or worried. We've been OK. "Getting on with it", until Sheena can come back and we can enjoy being together again. Nobody is moving anywhere at the moment. The river is still on red boards for it's entire length.

The reason I've not written much, is... Normality was not restored. I was a bit hasty with my last post. The river went down a few inches. AND STOPPED! Then it came back up again. About a foot over the bank. So, banality was restored. The day to day business of trudging about in waders. Which, I am pretty sure, would be as dull to read as it was to photograph. I could talk about how life affirming it was to have done it, I suppose. The sheer 'boatiness' of having to clamber up the sides, after your gangplank has collapsed and you've fallen in (and your dog has landed on top of you). But I don't believe I could do the subject justice.

And, then there are the paedophiles in parliament. vanishing airliners. stupid unneccessary wars. government funded subversions. and general fundementalist religious nuttery in seemingly every corner of the globe. It seemed somewhat crass and egotistical to whine on about small petty things like the smell of fresh boat baked bread or the pretty daffodils encountered on a walk. When some parts of the world are engulfed in *FULL ON CRAZY*.

I realise that some people read boat blogs to escape from the existential awfulness and the ridiculously fast pace of modern life. But, sadly to say, there has been nothing much to write about recently. I enjoy good health. The beech logs have lasted all through winter. And despite spending huge wodges of time without my wife, I'm happy enough. I enjoy the solitude, and the space to sit back with my feet up, reading book after book after book in front of the glowing stove. The pace of life on a narrowboat is infinitely more natural and slower than on land. The flow of the river carries away the little bits of stress and bullshit that do manage to reach you. And for that, I'm extremely grateful.

So, folks. As soon as we can move, we will. It's been a long old winter. Not a cold one. But a right royal pain in the backside, sometimes. And our second year of bad flooding. Looking forward to cruising, whilst Sheena is snoozing. But also, very much, living in the present moment. Hope everybody is happy and in good health out there.

I'll be back, when I have a log to chop.