Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Meine Frau sagt, mürrischen alten Mann

Sunday 20th September to Wednesday 30th September 2015

There hasn’t been a great deal of travel happening right at the moment, despite the weather being really very good; it has just been so easy to sit where I am and do not much at all – that is if you call working and crossing items off a list not doing anything.

So, what have been the highlights over this last week or so –

No one would really believe me at all if I was to say shopping for shoes – not that is if you knew me at all – I absolutely hate any form of shopping involving any type of apparel, and in this case the shoes were not even for me.

Diane thought that it might be a great idea to surprise Sam, our daughter, by getting her a pair of brogues here in London and post them back – Sam had seen Diane’s and was a bit envious – not of the black and white colouring but just the style.
So armed with the size and style I headed over to the Clark’s outlet at London Design Outlet beside the Wembley stadium.
Of course, the information that I had was incomplete to get anything.

Even after Diane now discussed it with Sam the original criteria had changed, so a second trip was required and this time – still no luck – not the style, not the size – just not the shoes in stock.

The second event of any note was almost being punched by a pregnant woman – well girl at least.

Diane will tell you, if you ask her, that I do not tolerate people walking along playing with their mobile phones – its OK if they are actually talking on them using them as a phone – but these days it is the texting whilst walking that leads to problems.

Anyway where there are lots of pedestrians and little room to move, I value the space of walking in a straight line and others move to the other side.
Anyone coming the other way that is not concentrating on where they are going suddenly is confronted by yours truly who simply stops and waits for them to react.
On this occasion it happened to be a pregnant girl – probably no more than 18 – but these days to me they are all young.
So she is walking along, texting, plenty of other people around so am I going to inconvenience them by having to dodge this girl so I plant the feet and stop – she keeps walking straight into me and seems to expect an apology.
Words along the lines of “you should get out of the way of a pregnant person” “why are you such an ars___le?” “you old fart”
Were replied with “you look more like you have eaten a few packets of chocolate biscuits than pregnant” “you should be watching where you are walking instead of playing games on your phone” and “If you are pregnant then I pity the baby – IQ is inherited – yours is starting from a low point”

With that I walked on, smiling all the way – she was left with a couple of people having a bit of a giggle at her expense.

I did however bring the boat down from Cassiobury Park to Croxley and have enjoyed three days here without having to run the engine at all.

The sun and solar panels were cooperating and the thinking is that one more day here will do just fine before the exhausting trip down to Rickmansworth and after that it will be further south.

I was up early the other morning – Tuesday, I think – to see the “super moon” but the pictures didn’t turn out that great.

The countdown has now reached 30 – just a month to go.

I think that she is having a bit of fun there -

That's right dear - make the old girl stand

yet another selfie

with the pool in the background

Did someone say cake?

...what and cider as well - she may not want to come back
My wife says Grumpy Old Man

3 Miles, 6 Locks
YTD: 812 Miles (1307 km) , 514 Locks, 14 Tunnels, 11 Lift Bridges, 16 Swing Bridges

Total: 3706 Miles (5964 km) , 2635 Locks, 112 Tunnels, 45 Lift Bridges, 167 Swing Bridges

Monday, 21 September 2015

Mo - you will be missed

We have just found out the terribly sad news that Mo (nb Balmaha) has passed away after a battle with cancer.

It is something that has just hit us both for six and we cannot express our sadness at this time.

Naturally our thoughts are for Vanessa (Ness) and all of the family.

Mo was just such a cheeky guy that you could not help but instantly like.

We first met both Mo and Ness back in 2008 after we had finished with a hire boat and they could not have been more welcoming to two newcomers.
Over the years we have caught up on a few occasions as happens with all of us.

So so sad and upset with this news.

Saturday, 19 September 2015


Saturday 12th September to Saturday 19th September 2015

I know that it has been a week since my last informative blog but at the moment there just isn’t a lot of variety or interesting things actually happening.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to tell you about going to the supermarket or that I have done the washing – the usual and normal domestic stuff that still happens, even on a boat.

What did happen that was interesting – nothing at all.

Sometimes it can be just uninteresting.

Sure I have done a bit of travelling – firstly from Cassiobury Park down to Croxley Green where Phil and Nikki now live with the two girls – Mia and Jessica.
I was very kindly invited to dinner on two consecutive nights – nothing flash, just good wholesome home cooked food and a chance for some conversation.

Croxley Green was interesting in a not-seen-it-before sense – worth a walk up the hill to see a varied group of shops offering quite a lot really and the Croxley underground station is right there as well.

A couple of days there and then it was down to Rickmansworth – nothing against it but I did need to empty the cassette and that was the nearest elsan point – I did however stay a couple of days – it was Champions League time and the White Bear shows all of the matches.
After that, I wanted to go down to Uxbridge – for fuel and I needed some packing rope for the stern gland. The fuel was only 59 ppl (self-declare) and I filled right up to the brim – it had been over 5 weeks since the last fill and I was happy with the 140 litres.

There was another boat waiting there at the same time and I was talking to the woman on the boat when she asked me a question that I had not been asked for a long time by a newly acquainted woman……

…..if I could guess where she came from, she had reached the conclusion that I was Australian. It is an indication of my improvement in picking some of the variety of accents of the UK that I almost immediately picked it as of a Mancunian origin.
If you were thinking that she might have been about to ask me some other type of question then ….. you were wrong!

We compared notes on a few things but predominantly pump-out tanks – she was about to have hers removed and I informed her that we had done so last year – and could not be happier with the result – there, the conversation always comes around to toilets – the batteries being quite OK.

After that – it was back on the “road” – the water road (to use the title of Paul Gogarty’s book) and up to Harefield – why there? – well I was a bit tired, it was starting to rain (for the 5th or 6th time that morning and fairly heavy this time) and it was nice and open for a TV signal to see the Rugby World Cup.

And today, Saturday, it was such an incredibly brilliant day – the sun was out from the very start and stayed out until disappearing behind the tress – a lovely warm day – and being the weekend there were so many people out and about; the sun giving them a new energy to engage with others.

This shot above Common Moor Lock was so peaceful and showed how lovely not
only the scenery was but also the day

I don't recall seeing a dutch barge going through a lock but that is exactly what
was happening at Lock 77 today

I finally moored up back at Cassiobury Park from whence I had left just 4 days previously but I think I will be here until next weekend when I will wind and head back south again but perhaps carry on past Uxbridge.

There, not much of an interesting week at all; I have hardly done anything at all.

Somewhere in there I have resealed the bath, cleaned the Reflecs stove; done a check on the stoppages over winter to see where we can cruise to; and of course a few loads of washing (had to get that in for Paul and Bruce).

Someone is bound to ask about the heading for this blog – why 41?

If I had written this yesterday then it would have been 42 and I could have given erroneous answers about the answer to the ultimate question of life and the universe, but quite simply it is a countdown.

There are now 41 days left until Diane returns.
Whatever caption I may wish to add may not be a wise move on my part, just
to say though, she is the best...

19 Miles, 24  Locks
YTD: 809 Miles (1302 km) , 508 Locks, 14 Tunnels, 11 Lift Bridges, 16 Swing Bridges

Total: 3703 Miles (5959 km) , 2629 Locks, 112 Tunnels, 45 Lift Bridges, 167 Swing Bridges

Monday, 14 September 2015


Monday 14th September 2015

Just a bit over a week after one daughter has a birthday we have the youngest one celebratoring hers as well.

Today it is Sara’s birthday and to us she is our daughter, so we wish her all the best for today, but as I understand she and Mitchell have taken off for a week and are somewhere down south of the Californian border.

Friday, 11 September 2015

I don't think it's broken but it hurts like hell

Monday 7th September to Friday 11th September 2015

I stayed put for one more day before deciding to head on - the mooring was not great - mostly shaded during the day so that meant the solar panels weren't in the sun for as long as I would like; and there was nothing holding me here anyway.

So a fine day on Tuesday and I was off - not very far mind you, it would only be to Cassiobury Park which only took me a couple of hours - slower going on your own and really no need to hurry.

It is easy to tell that schools have all gone back - much fewer boats around and I didn't come across one boat moving during this short trip.

Found a very quiet spot above the lock in the park, with as fully open as you can get around here, so the sun has been working its magic - and mostly it has been lovely weather - generally quite fine and full sun in the morning and then partial cloud in the afternoon.

For my part it has been a bit full on with work - seems that everyone has been saving it all up and sending it through en masse as a reward/punishment of some description. Anyway it has meant that the mornings are spent deep in work and only a chance to get out in the afternoons just briefly.

I did wander outside early on Thursday morning to adjust the panels in readiness for another fine day when wallop I went over unceremoniously, slipping badly on the wet/dewey grass alongside the towpath. A bit lucky not to fall in as well, but unlucky that the big toe on my right foot was bent backwards in a position that was not at all in the owners manual.
Managing to right myself, I could tell that not all was right with it at all - it hurt like all hell and the slightest pressure on it - you know, like trying to walk, which was sheer agony.

I have broken this toe and the corresponding one on the other foot a few times over the years and none felt as painful as this, so my first thoughts were that it definitely was broken.
Coupled with this was a fair degree of back pain - obviously I have twisted that in the process.

So I limped/hopped/crawled back inside and elevated it to relieve some of the blood rushing to it - this helped and after some time you could see the bruising starting.

If I cannot walk on it for a while, then I may as well get some work done and leave the foot raised.
About lunchtime I thought about giving it a spin and seeing how I would go actually walking; surprisingly, I was able to walk on it - just up and down the boat.

The next step would be to fit the foot with a sock and shoe - just putting the shoe on was an exercise in self-torture, but upright I remained and managed to get up and out of the boat and took the foot for a bit of a walk around the park.
It wasn't a good look on the face with each step but I was moving - fortunately the back was a lot better - not great but a good improvement.

Now, with another day under my belt and more walking, the toe is still very sore, but there is some movement in it. I still won't be chancing my luck with a marathon or anything else athletic, but I am pretty well confident now that it isn't broken.

A lot more bruising has come out - but it will be at least a couple of weeks before it starts getting back to normal.
Not something that you want to look at whilst eating your breakfast - my horrible
foot which is whole lot more horrible
If there is one thing that is a problem when you are single-handing, it's anything that restricts your mobility.

The usual thing that happens when you walk around with some part of your leg in such a state it that there is a compensatory thing that happens to allow for the loss of normal movement - I have found that my right calf is terribly sore and very tight - well at least that is only muscular and better than getting a hip problem - especially for someone of my age.

I may have to get the walking stick out to use - just in the short term, mind you; but sometime over the weekend or early next week I will be wanting to move the boat, so where I said earlier on that being on your own makes it a bit slower, I suspect that being invalided will make it even more so.

Anyway, we will just get on with it and see how it all goes - it's doubtful that the absent crew will be returning over a sore toe.

One last thing is that I have been a bit slack this last week with the blog and have only just seen comments that people have sent in - I have added these just now and also added a photo of Rachel and Kelvin (nb Serafina) to the blog from last week - apologies.

2 Miles,  5 Locks
YTD: 790 Miles (1271 km) , 484 Locks, 14 Tunnels, 11 Lift Bridges, 16 Swing Bridges

Total: 3684 Miles (5929 km) , 2605 Locks, 112 Tunnels, 45 Lift Bridges, 167 Swing Bridges

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Trial Separation?

Sunday 6th September 2015

For those who know, it came as no surprise, but maybe for those who didn't it will probably be a bit surprising but I can now tell you that Diane has left me, on the boat, and returned to Australia via Los Angeles.

Of course she will be coming back in a couple of months we aren't splitting up or anything like that, but she has gone home to see her parents who are having a not so great year

The timing of the trip was to be a secret to surprise our daughter, Sam, for her 30th birthday, but it appears that there has been some leakage of "state" secrets and a full-scale enquiry will take place with those responsible being dealt with quite severely - there will be feather-dusters and tickling involved.

She split the trip up by stopping in LA for a couple of days to see Mitch and Sara. This will now be the future travelling arrangements.

From all reports that I have had they all had a good time and there was another house guest there - Emily Flanigan - whom we know from Mitch's junior tennis days.
we think that they are just a lovely couple

The sign in the background says it all

Diane met up with Sara's brothers - Matt and Luke - and went out to a ball-game as she saw the LA Dodgers take on the San Francisco Giants.
So now there will be a Dodgers hat to go with the Yankees hat
But for now she is safely at home in Melbourne and will be flying to Queensland very soon.
Like I said yesterday - the wacky gene has defintiely been passed on

The selfie-queen is at it again

lucky Mum made it home - at least she will be there to help with the cleaning

In the meantime, I have renewed my single-handing skills and moved from Hemel Hempstead down to Hunton Bridge where I shall spend a few days.

4 Miles,  9 Locks
YTD: 788 Miles (1268 km) , 479 Locks, 14 Tunnels, 11 Lift Bridges, 16 Swing Bridges
Total: 3682 Miles (5926 km) , 2600 Locks, 112 Tunnels, 45 Lift Bridges, 167 Swing Bridges

Saturday, 5 September 2015


Saturday 5th September 2015

Parents are justifiable proud of their kids as they grow up, but it gets a bit scary when they hit milestone birthdays, but Diane and I are both very proud of our daughter Sam as she now celebrates her 30th birthday.

It is meant to be a time when someone finally becomes a bit more serious but we cannot see that happening any time soon.

She started off as such a lovely child...

...we knew that she had some coordination problems...

....we knew that she was one of the kids ...

...and a bit on the beautiful side...

She appears to have inherited the "whacky" gene - mainly from her mother

and sometimes she does have the "never-growing-up" side to her

but we do love her so very much

So, Sam enjoy today and tomorrow and then the day after that and on and on, for life was meant to be enjoyed

Friday, 4 September 2015

A different sort of week

Sunday 30th August to Friday 4th September 2015

Well after a couple of weeks of fairly lengthy travelling the boat has been in the same spot all week.

Diane decided that we should have a bit of a walk down along the tow path - she had wanted to see if she could find nb Serafina (Rachael and Kelvin) - she knew they were in the area.
The rain made it a case of a take the umbrella with you kind of walk. I did ask her what the colour of the boat was - easier given the rain to look for a colour than necessarily try to read all of the names - the reply was "a red one".
Didn't see a red boat corresponding to the name and we reached bridge 154 and there was nothing further on.
mmm- she loaded their blog to see if they were where we thought - I caught sight of the picture of their boat - not exactly red - from the small picture on the phone it looked dark blue - that shed a whole different light on it, so we back tracked and found it - it was actually a darkish green.
It  didn't matter, they weren't there anyway - later knowledge told us that they had actually done the same to find us - and we weren't there either.

We did enjoy a lovely Sunday roast at The Steam Coach which is just along in St.John's Road - very nice indeed - on the Wrenbury scale it was an 8 out of 10

Again we were quite lucky to have a cricket match going on right opposite the pub, so we finished our drinks sitting outside at the pub but able to watch and afterwards just strolled across the road to see it just that bit closer.

Monday was a pretty casual day - my last day of leave from work so we explored a bit and had lunch out again - this time we found the 'spoons which appears to have manifested itself in the old picture theatre - not the first we have seen thus transformed.

Tuesday it was back to work and it has been pretty much that for the rest of the week - catching up on emails and things that customers want.

Strangely, as I was coming back from Aldi where there were a few things needed to reinstate into the kitchen I managed to meet up with Kelvin and Rachael - they were just passing Ferndale so there was a bit of a chance to have a chat - not long enough really, but there will be sometime in the future.

Next year we will enjoy a drink together - good travelling you two.

The rest of the week has been a bit full on with work and not much else until today when I managed to get a few jobs completed on the boat that had been on the list and also got around to an engine oil change - always happy to get that done.

So now it is time to sit down and relax and ready oneself for the weekend.

I shall update with some photos tomorrow - hopefully.