Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Skype last night

We spent a couple of hours on Skype last night catching up with our son Liam, his wife, & baby Ryan who’s now 5 months old.

How time flies, takes you by surprise!

They’re all supposed to be coming over here in summer when Liam’s got some leave, but we don’t know any dates yet.  

We still haven’t met little Ryan in person, because dad’s based in Germany. So this is the closest we get for now... 

Inquisitive…? (Bless)

Video call snapshot 1

Video call snapshot 4

Video call snapshot 5


Monday, March 28, 2011

An official fly past while we went for a pump out with the people

We were on our way back from the Dumpout Palace this afternoon, and as the sun shone down on the (occasionally) righteous. This Boeing 747 flew over us on it’s way across the Atlantic, the 4 vapour trails ID it…

So I took these stunning photos & was only going to post the one but sod it, if you find plane photos boring look away now…







Wow, notice how the plane itself almost appears translucent in comparison to the vapour trails…

Anyway back at the Dumpout Palace it was a very “pleasant pumpout” indeed. Because while the extractor thing was doing it’s stuff (?) Nearly everyone off our pier came along for a good old chinwag.

Steve was going to Tesco so we gave him our shopping list (well he did ask). In fact several other people joined in requesting various items from their own shopping lists too. He also got a different request to go clean someone else’s boat when he got back.

Dave was a gentleman & got some coal for someone else, whilst also replacing the bag he nabbed off Steve last week.

I started cleaning the side of the boat at some point. But gave up due to the sheer numbers of “people traffic” dropping by for a visit. Much more interesting than mooching about with a squirty thing & a duster.

I asked Mark the Spark & his bag of rubbish if he’d like to continue the cleaning ceremony for me, while I went to put the kettle on…?

The extremely polite reply went thus: “I’ve only got one word to say, it’s got 4 letters & ends with “OFF.” Now the word OFF is written in shouting mode, because at least 3 of us predicted the 4 letter word & said it for him.

Then our good friends Mark & Liz arrived, they’ve been away for a couple of weeks. So we had a tea party on the back of the boat, which started at just about the same time as the extraction process finished.

Meantime Steve came back with our offline Tesco order (ok it was just some semi-skimmed milk), but it’s the thought that counts.

So we had a party “without a plan” that lasted over 2 hours, (good job nobody else’s tank was full to the brim). Hence the title of my next book will be:

“How to share a good pumpout, without effluence influence.”

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Exempt from boat licence fees or not?

Do any fellow boaters know if certain small areas of the inland waterways are licence free for canal boats? Not that I’m looking for such a place! But I heard about {somewhere} that’s the case.

I’m not a whistle blower so I won’t say where, except it’s part of a canal that’s owned by British Waterways, & is supposedly legal. But I’m not sure how that works, maybe it’s something to do with who owns the land, there must be some explanation. By the way, this has no connection with boaters who just don’t pay, moor up anywhere (illegally) & get away with it. So I’m just curious.

I was reminded of this minor mystery when the BW “police” (well that’s what they look like nowadays) came round the other day checking boat licences. [Easy targets in marina’s as usual]

Must be a nice day out that, sod going down the towpath where they should be looking – they might get their uniform muddy, or even turn an ankle. God forbid.

Said kit must cost a fortune, not to mention all the hi tech gadgets attached to their whereabouts. We only noticed this change of wardrobe last year. The system was already cash strapped, so whatever happened to priorities? I mean why not just give them a pair of overalls for goodness sake.

Personally I think all the gear they wear is about as relevant to the job as wearing a dinner suit & matching dickey bow.

Anyway getting back to the original question, does anyone know how “no mooring fees” works…?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A familiar boat

Barry is a friend of ours who wanders the towpaths of the northern canals taking hundreds of photos, & uploading them to Picassa Web Albums…

He sent us the album he’d compiled a couple of days ago, very interesting. There’s 3 photos of a boat called Takey Tezey in there somewhere, but alas the owners weren’t there to do the posing thing. Perhaps Barry thought it best to wait till we’d gone out & then come out from behind his tree, very sensible that.

He also adds high quality written content about his travels with descriptions of each photo on every album. It’s all very well put together & has links to the canal / boaty albums he’s created. History of the canal system is his speciality, not a boater himself but he knows his stuff.

I gather it was sometime last week Barry peddled round these here parts on his bicycle, & as it turns out he did a tour of the marina too…

Monday, March 21, 2011

Well do you like the new template then?

I got a request whilst in the pub the other night to tart the blog template up a bit (alright, do a makeover), so I have…

During my recent fun & games amidst the land of noughts & ones. I changed the blog template I’ve used for years because it had a problem. Which in turn caused me a problem. So the only answer was to put it down take it down & change it to one of the boring original Blogger templates for beta testing purposes, it failed but never mind.

Next on the agenda: Health & Safety took over as brain cell overload set in, so in a last ditch attempt to get somewhere (not sure where exactly). I changed it back to one of the new templates. Alright it was a bit drab but it cured the problem, the question was. would it stay that way if I started faffing about with colours & backgrounds? Are you still awake…?

Well, 2 days later its off the critical list & appears quite stable which means it could even be the final version. Then again nothing’s guaranteed where I’m concerned.


A couple of other changes that may have gone unnoticed over the past couple of days:

The moon was 5000 miles closer to earth on Saturday night than it usually is (on any night) creating a “Supermoon” effect.

On our way to the pub that same night there were no clouds & the sky was clear, the moon didn’t look any bigger just brighter. However, for some strange reason it was totally out of focus on the way back…

Swan update

Oops, well I did say I couldn’t confirm the details of the swan’s fate in this post were correct:

One of my little pals who reads the blog came round this morning to let us know the swan hadn’t been shot. The real story is that they were mating & the female “wasn’t in the mood.” Then the male swan just simply lost it & got overly aggressive. The female tried to get away from him by clambering up some pilings & breaking her leg in the process. No wonder he looks forlorn in those photos, perhaps he feels guilty too.

Tony the Mop also appeared this morning. He likes to subtly announce his presence by pressing his nose up against the lux con, & making a noise similar to that of a very loud fart.

Anyway he suggested we all club together & buy a remote control plastic swan, complete with an engine & a rudder as a companion for the guilty swan.

Typical Mop, “The problem solver,” he has an answer for everything & none of them make any sense…

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The boat that guy built, I mean fitted out – stats & facts

I’ve noticed this TV series, several words of wisdom get repeated a lot every week, it’s quite fascinating really. Here’s last weeks episode stats:

Heck = 16 times

By heck = 7 times

Flippin heck = 4 times

Chief = 6 times

Hecky thump – once

It also appears to be getting a bit silly in parts, surely this series should’ve been more aptly named:

“Guy visits the things that other people built.”

Yes, I think that would be much more appropriate considering the facts:

In this weeks episode the boat itself was filmed for all of 2 minutes out of 30. And considering this week he needed to “source” a clock, (separate alarm clock) & mattress. Why didn’t he just go to Matalan & spend time saved working on the boat? No need to go into detail but the same principle could be said for each episode so far…

Also, about that alarm clock, well not only was it OUTSIZE, it was mounted outside the boat on the roof (WHY?). It would go rusty over time (excuse pun) & seize up, it would also impede vision while driving the boat. Imagine being moored up next to him in a nice quiet spot {horrors} to be woken up at 6am by the boating equivalent of Big Ben?

As for the other OUTSIZE clock for inside, I always thought space was of a premium on a narrowboat. There just seems to be so much content in the program that doesn’t apply to working on the boat itself, (the title of the series implies it does). And what bits he does acquire for it on his travels are totally impractical.    

Hecky thump chief, does he know anything about boating besides the industrial revolution that was just the start of it? I mean our country’s history for being at the forefront of the industrial revolution was awesome. Visiting Britain’s heritage sites & promoting them is all well & good. But by heck, the program’s got the wrong title…

How cruel

We heard a very sad story yesterday, apparently one of the 2 swans that visit the marina regularly has been shot dead out on the canal. The RSPCA rescued (the female) but couldn’t save it. I can’t confirm the details are correct because we didn’t witness it, or even know about it. But we had noticed one of the swans was on its own all the time which is most unusual.

This photo is from last year, Samson & Delilah  sat on their nest out on the canal…

004 (4)

And here’s Samson now, all alone, looking lonely & forlorn…


Lost without his mate…


What kind of cretin could do something like that…?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Summery scenes

The sun comes out & so does the fisherman…


Uh Oh, he saw me…


Droops Oops, I only bought these yesterday…


The flowers at the other side have faired better, but not by much. “Guaranteed 7 days” it said on the wrapper, typical Tesco…


Police helicopter in a rush…


There were 2 of them, one following the other. Plus a low flying duck…


Fishing, flowers, helicopters & a duck, it’s a diverse mix if I say so myself.

Except for one thing – BLUE sky…

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The power of blogs

After I’d told you about my debacle with the “Happiness Engineers” at WordPress on Tuesday. I sent my “unhappily engineered” reply email roughly based on that blog post.

To my amazement I received a happy email from Andrew the unsuccessful “Happiness Engineer” with an apology today. He also said the domain name had been scrapped along with the payment. (Well we already knew that but never mind).

I got the impression it was a highly unusual turnaround. So I’m guessing they got so sick & fed up of me making them feel unhappily engineered, they thought sod it let’s get shut…

Smiles all round then.

 Open-mouthed smile

Sod it, I’ll remain faithful as a Google Blogger. 

With ref to my new found talent I wrote a brief booklet today called:

“How to create online cheer & success for your friends who may be going through cyberspace hassle.” As it turns out the title is longer than the booklet itself, but never mind. No Happiness Engineers were harmed or even required in the making of this beta version of a best seller…

Note: I’m about to change my Anti-Virus suite, so be prepared for a www. meltdown later on this evening…


A SMILEY observation: I saw this sticker on the back of a car yesterday which read: 

“I’m not drunk, I’m just avoiding the potholes”

Simple but effective…

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The first arachnid stow away of the season

Let me introduce you to Sinbad the stowaway…


Who’s busy outside the lux con front screen, (that’s spider central in summer), constructing his new abode. Must’ve thought he’d get in there first & avoid the crush…

Big mistake, he he…

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

RIPPED OFF by WordPress

On my return from cyberspace last week I got a nasty surprise, I’d paid £25 for a web address from WordPress. But what with the complexities involved in their own system, & lack of assistance I haven’t used it, & don’t intend to.

Since then there’s been negotiations going on by email with a WordPress “Happiness Engineer” about a refund. Believe it or not that’s an “official” title – not one I’ve made up. Well there’s no need to is there when it’s that ludicrous? No-one could top that for entertainment value.

I can only imagine the title of the “manager” who’s paid around £200,000 a year to come up with such inane job titles. Perhaps they’re computer generated or perhaps he / she is. I mean they could pay me to do that job, I could even add to the silliness happiness factor by including “alternative ways of describing items of office furniture.” For example:

Filing cabinet: How to escape a board meeting.

Swivel chair: A way of ejecting an unwanted bored board member.

Executive desk: A place for executing unwanted bored board members if the swivel chair jams.

Computer network: A group of clever people who surf the net searching for knitting patterns.

The first job title I’d rename would that of the toilet cleaner, he / she would be the new “Controlled Effluence Officer” or CEO of the company. And in an effort not to get bogged down with this new responsible name, a custom made throne might keep the new CEO happy. Said  throne would be installed within the confines of the upgraded storage cupboard, which would be renamed “The hilarious cleaning products & mop office.”

Anyway, back to the emails with the Happiness Engineer, it’s made fascinating reading. Not only did I feel like I was talking to a teaching assistant in a primary school. The level of intelligence from said teaching assistant was on a par with the pupils. 

After some discrepancy about which email address I’d sent originally. “Tiffney” the “Happiness Engineer” asked me to supply the correct key code I’d been issued. (From the same email address as the original), which I duly did.

At this point I was under the impression my refund was imminent. But the complexities involved with their own system, & lack of basic intelligence from “Tiffney,” indicated I was dealing with a “Stupid Engineer.”

Proof if ever it was needed: 

“Hi Heather,
Thanks for sending the API key. Now that your identity's been verified we can discuss your options. Your original message was sent on March 10, and your domains were purchased on March 7. Unfortunately this puts you right outside the 48 hour limit that we have for canceling domain registrations.
I'll be unable to issue you a refund for Would you still like it canceled, or would you like to keep it as it is bought and paid for?
Happiness Engineer”

Ok then, let’s play happy families & note the highlighted errors in the email above:

  • Domains – that’s plural & I only bought the one.
  • Tiffney can’t spell Cancelling.
  • It wasn’t it was so it makes sense there’d be no refund for the former.
  • Tiffney can’t spell Cancelled either. 
  • Best, Tiffney? Shouldn’t that have “all the” in front of it? Or does she mean she’s the best? Whatever the case I’m not best pleased, even if it is fun to read.

My subtle reply went like this:

“Hang on a minute you're the "Happiness Engineer" aren't you? When I read the terms & conditions (which I did) it said "14 day money back guarantee if you decide to cancel." I checked it out twice. I've paid for something I can't cancel within 3 days while I worked my ass off to set up your WordPress software & gave up??? Give me a break, there's a 7 day cancellation period with anything bought online...
YES CANCEL THE DOMAIN NAME. I won't be using it again  But I still have the right to a refund…


I was tempted to write “Best Heather” there but thought better of it.

This morning I received this from a male Happiness Engineer called Andrew, I gather Tiffney gets unhappy, & can’t cope when she doesn’t live up to her title…

You purchased the domain name on March 7th, 2011. As we state here:
"You may completely cancel a domain name purchased through if you notify us within two days of purchase."
Since you contacted us after the first 48 hours we are not able to cancel the domain nor refund the money. If you saw a 14 day cancellation policy somewhere could you please send a link to that information?
At this point the domain cannot be refunded nor cancelled. You're welcome to use it with any other web host by updating the nameservers as we describe at:
If you have any further questions feel free to reply to this thread.
Andrew | Happiness Engineer |”

In total contrast to Tiffney (who asked if I wanted to cancel, thereby giving me a choice). Andrew here prefers to spread happiness by informing me that I cannot cancel.

Now the thing is I haven’t replied yet. But I’ve found a 15 day cancellation period (sod 14) if suspicion of fraud was mentioned. So to cut a long story short (blimey it is long):

Straight after the WordPress “purchase” I tried to buy web hosting from a company recommended by them, (number 1 in their list). End result? Turns out they tried to stuff me too!

My bank rang up to let me know £300 in 4 separate transactions had been flagged. Nice to know they still care, I mean it’s not like I’m a millionaire. Fortunately they also prevented all of those spoof transactions, no need for a refund after all!! Ha Ha, I’m so happy…!!!

So what has a WordPress “Happiness Engineer” ever done for me? Given me nothing but STRESS. An email stating so has been sent.

Balance Settled…

Monday, March 14, 2011

Clean Curtains

Well the nesting season is upon us, so it must have something to do with us women feathering the nest in spring or something.

This morning after I’d got up, (but before I was awake), the curtains came down & got shoved in the washer. Just the bedroom one’s for starters. It was a “test case” thing, because knowing my luck they’d all come out the size of a postage stamp.

I got lucky, but there was no way they were going in the drier, so this was my ingenious solution…


And I don’t do ironing either, so I let the sun do it for me. Oh & the window opposite looks the same as this one so I won’t bore you with yet another curtain call…


Blinded by the light? Well they’re waiting for the linings to be done, ok then, re-done, don’t ask.

PS: An informant told me earlier today there was a duck egg on the end of the pier, I was going to take a photo of it & wish you all Happy Easter. A bit early I know, but it’s been Easter in the shops since Christmas. Anyway when I got there someone must’ve bazzed it in the water, so Happy April Fool’s day instead. Well it’s almost upon us too, & guess what:

That’s the day we have to pay our mooring fees…

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Boing,, spring has sprung

And it seems I’ve sprung a leak because I can’t stop going to the loo today. Must be that scientific experiment I did last night. Start off on the white wine, & move on to red about half way through the evening. Yuk.

But never mind, the sun is out, I’m sat in the lux con, the gongoozlers are a gongoozling & Dave’s watching rugby (Yawn).

See, I told you it was sunny, even the moon was in this photo when I took it, but it’s disappeared…


  And this here cloud thinks it’s a tree…


Warning, the remainder of this post contains even more digestive content

There was a bizarre conversation going on at the table next door to us last night. Four people with rather LOUD voices were discussing bowels & piles (I kid ye not). So in between tittering, Dave & I carried on our own perfectly silly conversation (in hushed tones) the likes of…

Me: I’m glad I don’t have to go round dusting all the bottles they have on the shelves in here.

Dave: I’m glad I wouldn’t have to stand behind you while you did.

At this point the woman at the bowels table started leaning over trying to ear-wig OUR conversation, she didn’t half make it obvious too. Turning away from the other boring bowel people & resting her chin on her hand, she was even doing the eye contact thing. {Weird}

So we deliberately carried on our own conversation (still in hushed tones), & she actually leaned towards us in an effort to tune in. Might as well have picked up her chair & parked her bum at our table. Thankfully she was totally oblivious to the fact that we were taking the piss, well I think she was…

Even more about bums: There was also a rather portly girl at another table with a builders bum. She was wearing jeans & at first glance one hoped the pink knickers above the jeans were enough to keep things dignified, but horror of horrors they were hanging down too.

Then a guy walked out in (a different) pair of jeans with a zip that went right across the back of his bum, it gaped open & revealed most of his underpants. Thankfully there were no visible signs of anything lurking about in there.

I came to the conclusion they would’ve made a lovely couple, complimenting each other nicely. Except you wouldn’t want to be walking behind them anywhere. I’m sure there’s a link with the bowel people. Perhaps it was a convention or something.

Well there you go, if we don’t bring the entertainment with us – it comes to us anyway…

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yet another fine example of the Big Society, aka the Big Liability

We watched a highly entertaining news item last night, I guess it was one of those “you had to be there” things. So I’ll do my best to convey why I was howling laughing for about half an hour afterwards.

Up to now I’ve seen a grand total of about 3 reports promoting how & where the “Big Society” is working “as planned.” It’s always been amongst a small village community full of rich people, (probably ex bankers). With a lot of spare time on their agenda & some very silly ideas.

In reality of course this can only be defined as a “Small Society” made up of bored inhabitants who are quite powsh & a bit dumb. In my opinion this doesn’t quite fit the criteria for BS, but then again, when it’s put like that maybe it does. So now we’ve got things in perspective this was yesterdays report, not word for word but close:

Under the Government’s plans for a Big Society, a group of volunteers in (a small village) have worked together to create a local shop for, um, local people.

At this point the camera pans round to a porta-cabin situated on a 90 degree angle to the side of a house, with a sign called “THE SHOP” above it. Roughly 20 “volunteers” were filling roughly 20 small shelves overnight, & were up at 4am ready for the grand opening at 9am.

9am: Once the official opening ceremony had taken place, the crowds came flocking in & the 20 volunteers struggled to cope with demand. They jostled with each other whilst running round to serve a grand total of 2 customers, both of whom appeared quite bemused by the setup.

Towards the end of this intriguing report one of the 2 customers, (a young mum with a baby) struggled not to laugh as she exited the superstore… Then when the over enthusiastic reporter bunged a microphone up her nose & asked what she thought? She had no need to answer – it was written all over her face.

And on a similar note, I mean principle. It was announced that Bob Diamond, (the head of Barclays Bank & the owner of a cheesy grin) got a 6.5 million squids bonus. The very same day that finance cuts for charities were to be increased further.

I wonder if Mr Bob Diamond was one of the “The Shop” volunteers? THE ultimate fat cat guilt trip…

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Some flowers & a mushroom

I’ve seen some gorgeous photos on the blogs of snowdrops in abundance. Brings warmth to the soul after such a horrible winter doesn’t it?
So here’s my little contribution, it’s one of the plants from my garden “on the jetty,” but I’ve forgotten the name of it (typical). When the flowers in the middle start to come through they look like snowdrops for a while. Honest they do.
A pretty plant, without a name…
Hard to believe that it’s survived when this post shows all my pots & plants totally covered in thick snow during the big freeze. They remained like that for over a week because the snow froze solid.
So today the sun came out to play, & the menfolk set about doing the same, I mean boat jobs.
Here’s (the worst looking) mushroom that hasn’t been polished up since before winter. Gasp…
Yet with a bit of elbow grease…
Amazing, cue the rain clouds…
Yep, he did them all, not just the one, couldn’t get them all in this photo though…
So getting back to the green stuff, I potted up my miniature Christmas tree this aft.
Yet another one to add to the GROWING collection of potty pots down the side of the boat…

Here’s what it looked like at Christmas, I can’t believe it’s been sat quite happily in the lux con for over 2 months now. It’s even become part of the furniture really, hope it likes being outdoors…

Friday, March 04, 2011

4 Boaters a’ Bowling

Last night we went bowling with Mark & Liz – our good friends & fellow members of the “No Hopers” quiz team (proud). We had a great laugh, went for a meal later on & then came back to the local yokel pub for last orders. Another night to go down in the history of silly archives…

Mark in action, he won both games…


Dave in action – he didn’t win both games…


Liz & me choosing balls :-o


Liz in action…


Heth to Dave: “Sure you’ve got the right colour ball there dear…?”


Me in action? Well I have to be different…


Meal at Nando’s later on – yummy…


Sums things up nicely – just don’t ask me about the scores…

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The International Space Station

Was supposed to go over us in an “arc” last night at 8.17pm and would be visible for “just one minute only,” with the space shuttle Discovery strapped to its side. So we both lined up outside with the binoculars at 8.15pm prompt. Well we didn’t want to miss it & stood there searching aimlessly for 10 minutes, (well it could’ve been late, a bit like a bus).

During that time we made a lot of false assumptions between us, identifying various planes / stars incorrectly & shouting “That’s it!” {space} “ Oh no it isn’t!” 

Anyway the upshot is it didn’t show up at all, NOTHING, NADA, what a let down. Perhaps they took a diversion when they spotted us, thought better of it & did a U-Turn. It was a great night for star-gazing if you’re into that sort of thing. But not when it’s freezing, you’ve acquired a crick in your neck & the binoculars are useless.

Coming up tomorrow: How to build a portable telescope out of 2 toilet rolls, some masking tape & a piece of string…