Monday 29 July 2019

From the sublime to the ridiculous

There are holiday hire boaters moored on a nearby visitor mooring. It's close to local shops and pubs, very green and fairly peaceful. They have a small dog and Beano stopped to play and I got into conversation with them. They have the boat for a week and are planning on staying put for the week. I'm not sure if they'll manage it as they are on a 48 hour visitor mooring. They are about 100 yards from where they picked up their boat!

A couple of years ago a lady near the same mooring had hired her boat for a long weekend, her crew consisted of two eight year old girls. She was complaining about how long it was taking to get through the lock. She informed me that she was in  a hurry as she was meeting friends in Bath the following evening!

Saturday 27 July 2019

I draw the line

I'm usually very conscientious about poo picking, I will even pick up other dog poo I see.

A few times though Beano has gone under a bush and I refuse to scrabble through the undergrowth to get to the deposit.

Yesterday really took the biscuit.

Beano went to the side of the path and positioned himself against a fence, the deposit went through a hole in the fence and dropped down a three foot bank, it can stay there I'm afraid.

I also use compostable bags to cut down on my plastic use.

Friday 26 July 2019

Why would you.

Buy a house next to a church and then complain about the bells.

Buy a house next to a school and complain about the children.

Buy a house by a canal and complain about the boats.

We moved off the marina today, we've not gone far, just one lock and one swing bridge.

We had decided where we wanted to moor, we've moored here a few times.

This time it was more complicated, firstly there was a small dog running around, Beano was on the lead as we'd just crossed a road. The other dog kept trying to hump Beano and though Beano is fairly tolerant he dislikes being humped especially on the head. I tried to separate the dogs but the other dog went for me, he was only a baby but shouldn't be out on his own. 

Whilst I was struggling with the dogs and trying to hang on to the centre rope on the boat a man from one of the nearby houses came out to inform me that we weren't allowed to moor there. I told him that as it was a towpath mooring we could stay for 14 days.

He assured me that C&RT were going to put No Mooring signs up imminently. He wittered on for a while but I told him again that it was a towpath mooring and we could stay for 14 days.

I noticed he complained to me and not Steve so obviously a coward.

Having checked with C&RT, we can moor here for 14 days, we only want to moor until Wednesday, but may stay longer just to piss him off 
C&RT know him to be a serial complainer and believe the homeowners were told by their estate agent that no boats would moor by them.

If this is true then it's a shame I know but it's not my problem, we pay in excess of £1000 to license our boat and that means we can moor on the towpath.

I've posted a warning on FB so no doubt the world and his wife will make regular use of this mooring.

Thursday 25 July 2019

I've started so I'll finish.

Once I started a book I used to always finish it, I'd plough on through no matter how dire the book was.

Eventually I stopped doing this, I think the first book I gave up reading half way through was Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

I tried, I really did, everyone was raving about it but it just didn't grab me.

A few days ago I was reading a book set in ancient Britain, it wasn't particularly accurate historically but as it was a novel I'm happy with a bit of leeway.

Then one of the characters, a druid, used the phrase ' what shall we do going forward', that was it, I couldn't read any more, not only did the phrase seem too modern, it was also a favourite of my last line manager. I will not read any more, it's a shame as it was the first in a trilogy but the modern phrase really jarred with me.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

So hot

Thunder, lighting and torrential rain last night but today was even hotter.

Despite the heat I managed to clean the other boat, it just meant Steve was sat in the doorway so he wasn't alone.

We are planning on leaving the marina on Friday, we won't go far, we will go to The Cunning Man eventually but I'm hoping to take three or four weeks to get there.

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Another viewing

Another viewing of our old boat.

I desperately need to clean it but I can't do it unless Steve is occupied, otherwise he's coming over every two minutes because he can't find a word on his word search, or his kindle won't download the book he wants to read or he can't find something that is under his nose. Or eleventy billion other reasons why he needs to speak to me, it's exhausting.
His brother is visiting tomorrow so I'll try to get it done then.

I get four hours off a fortnight, I know a lot of people get no respite at all so I am grateful.

Monday 22 July 2019

New vocabulary

When we bought our first boat we had to learn a new vocabulary.
Galvanic isolaters, sacrificial anodes, winding instead of turning.

Now we have a dog there is another list of words to learn.

Whereas I would say that Beano doesn't chase things it seems I should be saying he isn't prey driven. 

He's not scruffy, he's broken coated.

He doesn't always come when he's called, I think it's selective deafness.

But I'm told he's scenting.

There are loads more, but you get my drift.

Sunday 21 July 2019

A freebie and a yellow sticker

The yellow sticker first, we went to B&Q to buy a tub to grow herbs in and found this reduced to half price.

So we bought it, I've trimmed of the dead bits and fed and watered it.

The freebie was from a neighbour, they've been on their boat for the weekend, they had visitors but a couple of people couldn't make it. They have a long drive home and no cool box so gave us some posh sausages, that they hadn't used. That's a couple of meals sorted, I've stashed them in the freezer.

Saturday 20 July 2019

Quiet day today

We had a quiet day today as yesterday was busy and stressful. All we did was stripped the bed and walked Beano a couple of times.

Steve had a meeting at work on Friday, he is beginning to realise that he is unlikely to ever return to work. It's hit him hard, like a lot of men he felt defined by his job.

In the evening we went to a colleague's leaving do, we stayed about an hour, Steve was unable to cope any longer. He was struggling to recognise people and got very confused.

Fortunately DD2 had offered to be our taxi for the evening, so we didn't have to struggle with public transport.

It's heartbreaking to see, Steve used to love socialising but now he can only cope with one or two people at a time and then not for very long.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Always read the small print!

We winded today and returned to the marina ready to have the engine serviced.

We joined another boat in the lock as the lock at Aldermaston Wharf is huge.

On the boat were three lovely American ladies, all immaculately turned out and all probably considerably older than me.

They had collected the boat at the weekend and were aghast when they realised the boat wasn't crewed and that would have to steer it themselves.

They had bravely decided to have a go and set of along the canal. As it was the weekend there were volunteer lock keepers on duty, they operated the swing bridge, locked the boat through and the ladies continued their journey.

The next obstacle was Woolhampton swing bridge, a bugger of a side current and Woolhampton lock, again the volunteers were there and the ladies navigated all three.

They stopped overnight on the visitor moorings and visited the local pub. The following morning the ladies set of again and reached Heals lock, there were no volunteers at this lock, they enquired of other boaters and soon realised that from now on they were on their own.

There is a winding hole by Heals lock so the ladies turned around and navigated their way back to the moorings by the pub. And there they stayed until it was time to return the boat.

It took  them an entire day to get through Woolhampton lock and swing bridge and the tied up on the lock landing for the night. By the time they reached Aldermaston Wharf lock they were somewhat frazzled so Steve and I locked them through, Steve turned our boat around and headed back into the lock. I operated the swing bridge for them.

The arrangement with the hire boat company is that boats are to be returned facing the swing bridge. This means another lock and winding hole.

By now the ladies had had enough, they steered the boat in to the wrong bank and abandoned it, they clambered across some moored boats and left the hire boat staff to reclaim the boat. I can't really say that I blame them.

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Neighbours come and neighbours go.

Yesterday our lovely neighbours Anna-Marie and Jay moved on to pastures new.

Their space was filled a couple of hours later by new people.

The new people managed to upset almost everyone within a couple of hours of arriving.

They refused to speak to anyone apart from to complain about all the dogs nearby.

They ran their engine later than is considered acceptable and stated it again at sparrowfart o'clock the next morning.

Fortunately they only stayed a short time, they found us locals an unfriendly bunch.

Flat white

This weeks flash fiction.

Tuesday 16 July 2019

A mare of a day.

Yesterday was hard work.

It involved:-

Lots of driving, mainly through Reading town centre in the rush hour.

An audiologist appointment that took an hour as it was very thorough and left me feeling a bit nauseous, I now need an MRI as there is a gap in my ear where there shouldn't be, I assume my brain has gone walkabout!

A new cratch cover for the boat, it looks great but it meant I had to take Beano out for the afternoon to stop him getting underfoot.

A couple of hours childcare as DD2 had a work problem.

A very long phone call to ACAS when DD2 was told that she could not have the holiday she'd booked, this left her looking for childcare for four children for the school holidays, at a weeks notice.

A painful shoulder caused by all the driving.

When I finally crawled home Steve poured me a large G and T, part muscle relaxant, part pain killer!

Friday 12 July 2019

There are no secrets on the cut.

The towpath telegraph is spread far and wide.

We've had a few people speaking to us about our boat, telling us where they have seen it before. As I've said before it looks like a floating turd, very distinctive.

Earlier this week a chap stopped to chat and asked how long we'd had the boat, we told him we bought it earlier in the year.

He told us he'd seen the boat two years ago when he'd followed it from Gloucester Docks to Sharpness.

The previous owner had misjudged the height of one of the swing bridges and instead of waiting for it to be opened he'd attempted to go under the bridge and ripped the entire pram cover off the boat.

We had wondered why the pram cover was only two years old when the cratch cover is the original and so is ten years old.

Well, now we know.

More writing

I have resurrected my writing blog, more of my flash fiction can be found here.

Thursday 11 July 2019

Either or

We've been hauling the boat to and fro today. Because of the spacing between the trees on the bank we can either get a satellite signal or sun on our solar panels.
This weekend is the British Grand Prix so we moved the boat so we could get a satellite signal.

Unfortunately three boats came past at speed and dragged us along with them, less than a foot but enough for us to lose the signal.

Hopefully before the weekend some boats will go past in the opposite direction and we could be back in line with the satellite.

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Writing prompt

This is a piece of Flash fiction I've written in response to a writing prompt by Lyssa Medana.

She knew as soon as she walked in to the office that she was going to enjoy this job. It was the sign hung over water cooler that made it so. One of those stupid signs that read You Don't Have To Be Crazy To Work Here But It Helps. The casual use of the word crazy immediately lessened any feelings of guilt she might have had.

There were twelve of them in the team altogether and she immediately picked out the most likely ones.

There was the kooky one, Maybelle, who thought that cackling like a banshee made her kooky. Her desk almost invisible under mounds of hideous knick knacks, mooning gnomes and rude sayings. No room for any work to be done on her desk.

The mother hen, Joan, massively overweight and smelling of BO. Smiling fatuously, her desk was covered in photos of kittens. Always ready to listen to everyone's problems and offer advice but no time to do the job she was paid for.

The couple, Dan and Angie, eyes only for each other and no conversation beyond their planned wedding day. All their time was taken up with making lists and browsing pinterest for wedding ideas.

The letch, Peter, incapable of talking to any woman face to face, he talked to their boobs, all the time his hand in his pocket, constantly juggling what she hoped was his small change. 

People were so stupid, no one questioned why a temp had been taken on when there was barely enough work to go around. They all talked about the hatchet man from head office that was due any day, they all thought they were safe as they convinced themselves they were working hard. Pah, they had no idea what hard work was.

Still she'd made an effort to look as though she fitted in, no one would ever suspect her, she was small, quiet and self effacing. She changed her appearance from job to job, different hair colour or style, different makeup. She happily took on all the tasks the others didn't want to do, none of them realising that they were edging closer to losing their job.

Usually her decisions were based on facts, which members of staff were productive and which weren't but this time her judgment was clouded by that bloody sign.
As soon as she knew definitely who'd hung the sign above the water cooler the list would be complete and would be emailed to Head Office.
She hated that sign with a bloody vengeance, years of being pointed out at school as the girl who's mother was crazy.
Suffering from post partum depression wasn't the same as being crazy, she knew that now but she still hated that bloody sign.

Tuesday 9 July 2019

My version of slow fashion.

The last item I bought new was a bra, I bought it a while ago. I wash my bras by hand so they tend to last well.

When we moved on to our first boat three years ago I culled a lot of my clothes. I kept only what would fit in two drawers and on three hooks on the wall my side of the bed.

The drawers held two bras, ten pair of pants, a nightdress, six pairs of leggings, three thick and three lightweight, two scarves, one wooly, one silk and three pairs of hand knitted socks.

On the hooks were my hoodies, a jumper, my two tidy dresses, one sleeveless one long sleeved and six tops/tee shirts.

Fast forward three years and I'm still wearing the same leggings and pants, one bra disintegrated and has been replaced, I can go weeks without wearing a bra. I have the same two tidy dresses, I have three of the original six tops/tee shirts, the tee shirts get cut up for rags when they are badly stained, the tops cut up for sewing projects and have been replaced from charity shops so I still have six. A while ago I bought three vintage cotton skirts from Graig Trading via face book, these are cool to wear and dry quickly if I get wet whilst dog walking.

I have a lot more wardrobe space now but I have filled one cupboard with tinned food and long life milk etc and another one with yarn.

No more spoons

I'm not sure why but today I ran out of spoons about 2 o'clock.
Unfortunately my day didn't finish until later.
I collected Steve from stroke club about 3, drove home and sat staring into space until I realised Steve and Beano both needed feeding.
I was given a huge bag of cooked bbq'd meat earlier today so Steve warmed some up in the oven and I fed Beano.
Beano's been out for a very quick walk, I would have taken him further but he turned back to the boat as soon as he'd finished.
So tomorrow I'll aim for a lazy day, a phone call to ACAS and a few gently dog walks.


There were two people stood by my boat yesterday whilst I was sat on the back knitting.

The lady liked the look of the boat and said she'd like to live on one.

The gentleman with her told her that I didn't live on the boat I was just on holiday.

He went on to explain that boats don't have running water, kitchens or bathrooms.

I interrupted him to assure both of them that my boat did in fact have all the facilities necessary for a reasonable quality of life.

I would have offered them a tour of the boat but the gentleman got so cross at being contradicted he stomped off and the lady followed.

Sunday 7 July 2019

Beano returns to the rescue centre

Not because he moults like the devil and the boat is knee deep in swathes of dog hair.

Not because his attachment to me turns him in to Houdini if I leave the boat without him.

But because the rescue centre had a fund raising event on and we went to support it.

We didn't stay long as it started to rain but we bought Beano some chews and biscuits and contributed to their wishing well.

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Hypervigilance, obsessions and anxiety

Since his stroke Steve is hyper vigilant and is constantly worrying about me and Beano and the rest of the world. He sees danger everywhere. Today a large Labrador walked on to our boat and ate Beano's breakfast. Steve was in full on panic mode, the dog was very friendly but too powerful for his owner. Steve wanted me to stop the dog but he was just to big and he did leave as soon as he'd eaten.

Steve worries we will have an accident of some sort unless he is constantly on guard. He is forever telling me I must be AWARE, what of I'm not sure. This is exhausting for both me and Steve, Beano however is totally unmoved by Steve's as concern.

Steve is also obsessive and witters on endlessly, Monday it was the solar panels, he checked and rechecked them, constantly telling me there was something wrong, there wasn't!

Tuesday's obsession was water, he spent most of the day calculating how much water we use and getting a different answer each time.

We did manage to shop today and move off the marina, we've only traveled a few hundred yards but we struggled to find somewhere with deep enough water. When we did find somewhere Steve couldn't remember how to get on to the bank. I'm stood hanging on to the centre rope yelling 'Gangplank, use the gangplank'.

This morning we talked about today's move and I suggested once we had moved and moored we should stay put for the fourteen days we are allowed. Steve agreed, but once moored he started planning another move tomorrow, I reminded him that we had decided to stay put. He took some persuading but eventually agreed. No doubt he will get up tomorrow and want to move again.

Steve is suffering badly with fatigue but will insist on pushing himself which makes the fatigue worse. He seems unable to sit still, he is up and down from his chair constantly until he walks around the boat patting things and making sure everything is in the correct place checking and rechecking.

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Isn't this a great saying

My god look at the time, not a po emptied, not a whore painted and the house full of Spaniards.

I read this earlier today but have been unable to trace it's origins, I now just need an excuse to say it.

Steve finds many of my sayings strange. The first time he asked me if his tie matched his shirt and I replied Nobody is going to stop a galloping horse.
He didn't understand what I meant and I had to explain it to him.

Monday 1 July 2019

Fame at last

There is a very brief glimpse of Steve, me and Beano in this video as we helped Weir on the Move through the Woolhampton lock, we are the blurred shapes opening the lock gates for them.
 The link doesn't work but if you search YouTube for Weir on the Move, we are in the episode called The Lock from Hell

We have finally moored somewhere with the starboard side against the bank and I've been able to clean the windows outside, the port side windows have been cleaned fairly regularly.

Earlier in the week I locked a widebeam through Midgham lock, after he'd gone through I realised he'd left his windlass on the far side. I collected it and put it in with ours. Yesterday he came past us again on his return journey so I was able to return it to him.

Lights out again!

Yet again our on-site lights have failed! I'm up and dressed and about to visit our site manager who is due here today. Last time this h...