It's winter! Not real winter but English winter, a sort of dark and damp place which is good for mushrooms but not a lot of fun for people. Still everybody tells me to be happy as Christmas is on it's way, but the only thing I have really noticed is that the ducks are more pushy about being fed. Luckily being a bit of a hermit I hardly see the razzmatazz of people trying to impose retail therapy on me and look forward to simply eating, drinking and talking with family and friends.
Winter is the time we try to sort out the mess we have made of the boat over the summer, do some of the things that have been on the todo list for more than two years and move the boat as infrequently as possible. We are up on the canals this year so instead of moving every 2 days we have the luxury of only moving every 14 days.
Cruising Notes is somewhat difficult when we cruise so little, so the plan is to try to tell you about lots of odd things that have never fitted into previous notes.
People have pets and boaters have pets but for some reason most dog owners seem to think that that is not true and often let their dogs off the lead the moment they get on a towpath regardless of moored boats.
Some boaters are aware, but in all honesty, it's probably too late by the time dog owners read this message.
Being highly vulnerable to being burgled, boaters often have dogs, frequently big dogs, whose job it is to guard their boats. German shepherds and retired greyhounds are quite common. Whilst not having pets ourselves we have been involved in the odd incident. One such was a man who let his three dogs off the lead on a towpath. One, a little fluffy one decided to try to get in a boat through a side hatch. In that boat were two greyhounds, They knew exactly what their training was when they see a little fluffy animal. There was mayhem. The guy ended up in the canal, one dog needed a vet, The guy threatened to come back and burn the boat, the police were called, the paramedics were called. This was one of the incidents that ended well. Dogs are, infrequently, killed on the towpath. Incidentally I got to recount this tale on radio in their programme on “towpath rage”.
I said this Notes was about odds and ends so let us press on.
Most narrowboats are both large and unwieldy which is fine most of the time. That is until some idiot plonks a roundabout in the canal, two examples below show that this actually happens.
Then there are Places which do not recognise that boats need to pass each other. Yes it is one boat width.
Most boats actually look a bit like boats, but this is, in my opinion the ugliest boat I have ever seen. I wonder if it is actually carrying a raft on top.
There are duck houses, why I cant think as most ducks seem quite happy without a permanent residence.
Mind you I never knew that ducks could read! I suppose that the other side says “Foxes keep out”
Then the perennial misplaced footwear.
lets take an advert break:
Over the past year or more I have been writing a couple of apps (we called them programs in my day) for Android phones. The first is CruisingLog which is is deigned to help boaters
keep a log of where they moor, this is a recommendation by most waterways authorities here.
Then there is Multilog which is designed to record multiple locations per day to show that you have visited one or more places.
For those who may be interested, these are on sale on Google play (used to be known as the Android market) for the price of a pint. You can of course buy me a pint and get a copy free.
Information is at www.gpslogs.com
And back to boating!
We have pirates, mostly on hire boats,
but sometimes they are “owned” boats and done a bit better. The boat is, of course, named the “black pearl”. Probably the best bit of artwork I have ever seen on a boat.
There are things that just seem out of place:
Like this lighthouse in west London (far from the sea)
The odd dragon
The odd crocodile, or alligator (I don't know how to tell them apart)
The odd prophetic sign. I took this a few years ago, before Nokia started it's downward slide as a phone producer.
The odd onlooker as Judy works the lock. They were both very timid in reality and both ran away when offered an apple. I guess their mother had told them nor to accept gifts from strangers.
The odd campsite. Interestingly this was moored about a mile from a major tunnel, and whilst it is obviously a tunnel tent, I hope he took it down before trying to go through.
The odd gypsy caravan, actually we often see these tucked away on farms.
And most useful of the things shown, a nearly complete bulb of garlic comprising a single clove. I hate peeling garlic cloves!
I promised you an incoherent story, That was it folks