Monday, October 24, 2016

A visit to Portsmouth

 The big grey boats have been active escorting that Russian convoy through the English channel.
 The Mary Rose was built for Henry VIII in Portsmouth.  She was heavily modernised and sank outside the harbour during a battle with the invading French.
Here we are on the deck of HMS Victory.

The historic Dockyard is very well worth a visit.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Waterway finance?

I am a member of NABO.  A group of volunteers who represent boat owners at meetings with CRT.
Their latest News booklet includes a report by Stella Ridgway about the CRT Annual Report.  I wonder what the charity is doing with their income.

Apparently the total income was £188.7m.  Some of that comes from DEFRA, Boating and Property Investment.  Us boaters paid £42.4m.

Strangely it cost the charity £39.4m to raise funds!   Charitable giving alone cost 1.1m.  Apparently it cost £7.20 for every £5 given! What is the point of that?

Trustees do not get paid but get expenses to the tune of £19,897.  Richard Parry was paid £189,847, Stuart Mills got £207,161 and redundancy payments were a whopping £870,000.

Rubbish disposal costs CRT £1.2m every year!  Not all rubbish provided by boaters.

Finance it seems is a subject that can pull wool over ones eyes!  However the proof is in the pudding.  The charity has to maintain Navigation of the waterways.  That is their task.  As we boaters know the system is falling apart rapidly.  Vegetation is growing faster than contractors can cut it back!  The lock equipment is not being repaired quickly enough.

It is no wonder that that there has been less boat movement on various canals.  The Oxford canal in particular has become overgrown in many places.  I wonder if I will be able to get the boat out of the marina next year!

The latest news is that local councils are considering charging rates if your boat is your only residence if you stay too long in one place.  Even if you are in a marina.  CRT are considering relaxing the 'Continuous Cruising' rules if you have children going to school!  What then about going to work!

Sadly our boat is closed down for the winter.  Diesel tank filled and water tank emptied.  We hope to visit at least once a month to stay 'rough camping' for a few days during the winter months.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Winter works

While my brother was on board he went with Ann to see the Morris Men and Women dancing in the Banbury street.
This paddle at Broadmoor lock has been broken for many months. We saw it again while walking round with Molly.
October has been kind to us while on the move but it has been a bit cold in the mornings and evenings.  Now it is time to prepare for the winter months.  Just filled the diesel tank @ 70 pence a litre, zero rate.  Moore To Life only needs 0.7 litres an hour for the engine or heater so we are pleased with that.  Next thing to do is empty the water tank and get air in the pipes.

Then it is short visits each month till the spring.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

On the boat again

This time Brod met us on the boat at Cropredy.
Heading south and stopped below Bourton lock
As you see we found the 'Fine Lady' by Banbury Cross and Brod spotted the frog!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Our Heavenly Earth

We are explorers and have discovered the world that we live on.  As explorers we have sent out scouts to discover other worlds in the space beyond our blue sky.

So far we have found nothing out there that can keep us alive without protection.  Some of our human scouts have gone as far as the moon and back. Others have stayed longer on an orbiting space station.   We begin to realise that our long evolution on earth makes us vulnerable above the protection of that blue sky.

Our latest scouts, Rosetta and Philae, have just ended their robotic mission.  They sent back data and pictures to study and admire.  But it seems no life was found on that lump of rock.  Even though the building blocks for life exist out there beyond our blue sky.

Only our earth, it seems, has provided that blue sky protection for us to live under.  Let us do all we can to protect the earth so that we can continue to live in it's protection.

Monday, September 12, 2016


We met friends at Titchfield Mill for lunch on Sunday. Then walked through the quaint old village and found a stream for Molly to swim in.  May well have been a canal?

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Back down Claydon

We turned round by the pub and headed down the Claydon locks after a day of rain.
Here we are waiting in the queue of two in front at the top lock.
It was slow going because both boats in front were single handed! But at least they were helpful with Ann sharing the work.  Many boats coming up as well.
No TV signal at the bottom so we got on line to see the end of the F1 racing and Bake off.

Getting 'on line' to watch TV is a new skill to learn.  I had to register and log on to Channel 4 to watch the F1 race.  My account with them even knows my home address!  The iPad refused to run the selected program because it lacked some essential facility.  I am collecting specific Apps on the iPad to get the various TV channels either live or 'catch up'.  OK on the Mac without Apps once I had logged back on to C4!  The screen is bigger anyway and my head hurts after all that!

I have a 'smart phone' now to get on line by making it a 'Personal Hotspot'. I have nearly abandoned the use of the 'Osprey' MyFi dongle because I only use it on the boat, not at home. Not worth the  monthly expense when we are not on board!