Category Archives: Telecommunications

Missing. 6th December

Slat Mill Lock to Cropredy Marina

A very empty field

Not far today. First we rose up Slat Mill Lock infront of us and then pootled along the pound into Cropredy. There was something missing, well quite a few things missing. Firstly we only saw one canoe out on the water, secondly where have all the cows gone? Normally along here the cows are so noisy they keep you awake at night wading in the canal! But not one was to be seen in the fields today.

There was a chap sat in the van, possibly having just mended to water point

When we’d moored up yesterday we received a C&RT notice saying that Cropredy Water point was out of action due to vandalism. It was a good job we’d reversed back to the water point in Banbury yesterday. If the weather had continued getting colder we could have found ourselves iced in and running out of water. But we had a full tank and the weather was warming up so no problem there.

No woofer in the fence

Cropredy Lock and I noticed something was missing here also. The little toy dog that sat in the white picket fence is no longer there. Hopefully it’s owner has reclaimed it and not just a passerby picking it up. I was a touch disappointed though as it was there each time we passed through the lock last year. I had a good hunt round to see if it had been moved to somewhere else, but no. I may have to buy a new dog for the next time we are here and leave it tucked in the fence again.

Sand bags and planks

New additions to the lock cottage were sandbags and planks around the fencing. When we had all the rain a few weeks ago the levels of the canal were affected, so these must have been positioned here then to try to help protect the cottage from unwanted water.


Not much further until we turned into Cropredy Marina. Of course the wind built itself up today because it knew we’d be pulling in here! Wonderful gusty wind too, just perfect for manoeuvring around a large open space, not!

Hello Herbie!

We pulled onto the service mooring letting the wind push us into the side, a fat fender at the ready as some of the timber edging was missing and large bolts were sticking out. We headed straight into the office where we were given a warm welcome. The lady gave us a choice of berths all close to the entrance and services. I chose the one that would suit Tilly the most with no track for vehicles right by the boat.

We were asked to pull in bow first as the edges of the marina are all soft and reedy, we’d noticed everyone was facing the same way. After parting with some money we reversed Oleanna back quite a distance into the marina. The wind was doing it’s best to push us off course, but Mick gave Oleanna a good run up to slot into our chosen berth.

A good sunset and view of the pooh sucky machine

Well this is a funny outside! Just how many boats does it take to tie it up?! Hundreds! I had to check a few to see that they were holding onto it, they all were. Not surprising as it was very blowy out there, it got right up my bum!

It takes all these boats to hold this outside still! Wow!!

There’s some friendly cover, but it all looked suspiciously like it would end up being a wet pounce if I found anyone so I refrained. A couple of interesting trees too, but they were on the other side of a very little canal. I did calculations but very quickly concluded that the little canal might be little but it was too big for my pouncing capabilities. So instead I kept Tom and She busy coming and going. For some reason they didn’t want me using the back door, I didn’t see a problem in it.

Mid afternoon Mick headed off in a taxi. This afternoon there was a reunion in London for the Lloyds Bank telecoms department where Mick used to work. So he headed off to catch the train, leaving Tilly and myself in charge of the washing machine. As electric is included in our mooring fee we will be washing everything whilst here. The stove will be allowed to go out and the Alde boiler will use the electric to heat the boat.

Christmas socks. My family don’t read the blog so they’ll still be a surprise.

We’ve been busy packing presents and finishing off my Christmas knitting. I’m one pair of socks down on what I wanted to achieve, but my Etsy order must come first. I may just have enough time to do one more pair before the last post, we’ll see.

2 locks, 1.76 miles, 1 left, 1 big reverse, 0 cows, 1 hook up, 1 refill of water, 3 loads washing, 1 load drying, 2 many boats for Tilly, 1 clean pooh box, 1 taxi, 2 trains, 1st sweet potato wedges, 1 good view of the pooh sucky machine.

The Dead Of Jericho. 17th November


The mill stream and canal

Well we are still here in Jericho. C&RT have given us permission to stay put until the river levels drop meaning we’d be able to cruise past Thrupp. There is plenty of space here in Jericho and only the occasional hire boat is seen moving. This weekend two boats went out from College Cruisers, one had planned to get to Banbury and back in a weekend, a cruise of about 30hrs, so they wouldn’t be doing that even if the Cherwell was behaving. The other boat just came to moor in front of us and was used as a base for the weekend, very wise.

It’s SOOoo boring here!

Last Friday we’d planned to go and watch the Lantern Parade that kick starts Oxford Light Festival, but the rain put us off, our stove was more appealing to us than getting soaked.

Saturday we went for a wander to do some shopping as supplies were down. First stop was Osney Bridge to look at the river. Mick chose well when he decided to make a dash for it off the Thames a couple of weeks ago, he managed to catch the river at it’s lowest in around a month.

Here’s that boat again tied to the weir protection

Two weeks ago a blue boat that had been moored on the canal had moved down to East Street. In Mick’s photos it had been clinging on, today it was on a list with an extra rope attached to the weir protection. How had they got the rope there? Maybe they had used the engine to force their way upstream! Here are a couple of links to videos I took. Link1 Link 2 I am so glad that is not us.

All nationalities of yummy food

The usual market at Gloucester Green was full of international food stalls, no fruit or veg on sale for us. We walked on to Broad Street where the Christmas market for the Light Festival was located.


Nothing took our fancy, but a cheery chap waved at passers by. This is where last year we got to see a lady with a hot air balloon, we planned to come back after dark to see what was on.

Dormouse in a teapot
One happy cat, makes a change

Through the covered market where previous lanterns hang above the shoppers. An Alice in Wonderland theme with the Cheshire Cat and Dormouse in a teapot. The market felt very Christmasy and a bakers had cakes iced ready for six weeks time. On sale were gluten free cakes, but at the price they were charging I was very glad that I’m not partial to fruit cake.

A touch early

A stock up of my tea from Whittards. The lady was a bit brusk when I asked for my tea and didn’t have any containers to fill. I’d come on the off chance they had some as last year they only had old stock. But for future reference they will fill your own containers and give you 50p off. Now I bought 300grams of tea and was given a bag I could reuse, but I bet I’d only get 50p off not £1.50 if I brought three tea caddies to fill.

On the shelf of teas I spotted a caddy for loose leaf decaff. We’ve been looking for this all over. So we got some to try, it’s far more expensive than Yorkshire decaff in bags, but we’ll see if it tastes better.

For the telecoms fans here’s some more info on the exchange Mick saw in London

The actors in Chippy had been going on about Vick’s First Defence and how good it was at keeping colds at bay. I’d been starting to come down with a post panto sniffy nose and headache, so we called into Boots to see if it was as good as the turns had made out.

A small shop at Sainsburys would do us for today, making it more manageable to carry back to the boat. With Mick having a bad back I insisted on carrying everything, just enough for one person. But as we approached the boat a recurring ‘ping’ in my calf happened. Three weeks ago this had occurred whilst changing buses, gradually things had improved. But now I was back to hobbling along not wanting to go too fast. This sadly meant we wouldn’t be venturing back into town to see any illuminations tonight, instead we caught up on some TV and I got on with some Christmas knitting.

The start of a sock

Sunday, we had a trip out to the Co-op in Jericho, we know how to live! This is the nearest shop to us and stocked us up for a few more days, so no need to walk distances with shopping or having to take a bike as a mule. The Picture House in Jericho may entice us out if we are here much longer and The Old Bookbinders menu looked attractive.

I’d had enough walking for the day so we settled down to watch an episode of Morse, well we are in Oxford. Mick pulled a DVD out from the box set, the first episode The Dead of Jericho, how apt.

A spooky house round the corner from our mooring

The Dead of Jericho was the first Morse to be aired and could not have been closer to where we are moored. The first death takes place in a house right next to the gates of College Cruisers, the second in the house opposite, 9 and 10 Canal Reach (the street is actually Combe Road). The post office we’d walked past earlier in the day was there and I strongly suspect The Old Bookbinders has changed since 1987, well I hope it has! In Morse it was more like a working mans club, today it boasts French cuisine.

Stew and jackets cooked on and in the stove

0 Locks, 0 Miles, 3 bags coal, 1 gas bottle, 1 bored cat, 1 load washing, 0 lantern parade, 300 grams afternoon tea for the mornings, 100 grams decaff, 1 nose spray (which so far is doing the job), 1 bored cat, 3 for £10 co-op deal, 1 bad back, 1 owy leg, 1 Christmas sock started, 1 stew on the stove, 1 bored cat, 1st episode Morse, 1 tardis of a terraced house, 2 dead bodies, 210ft away!

Tip of Tilly’s tail

Meanwhile Back On The Water.


The ABC in Ealing

Whilst I’ve been away working life of course has continued on Oleanna. Last week Mick had a couple of trips to London. His first excursion was to Ealing, where he grew up. He said it was so that he could go to Morrisons for some peanut butter (their’s is made purely from peanuts and is our favourite) but he also had a look round. The ABC (Old Empire) has been demolished, the front facade left in place, now covered for protection whilst a new development is going on behind. Here there is planned to be 200 new homes an eight screen cinema, shops and restaurants. link

A shop window with it’s own Strowger exchange

He also had a trip over to east London to pick up our post, returning with three shoe boxes. Once the contents were removed Tilly tried the slipper box out for size. Quite a nice fit, I am reserving judgement though until I’ve tried the other two out.

It smells of sheep!
The Liver Building, Liverpool

Last weekend Mick headed up to Liverpool for a night to celebrate John’s (his brother-in-law) 70th birthday.

Quite a view

There were drinks over looking the Mersey from Panoramic 34 followed by a meal at Radison Blu Hotel.

View fro the Mersey

Then a trip on the Mersey Ferry which was followed by drinks at The Philharmonic where Mick would have taken photos of the toilets but they were in use.

The loos

Then an evening at The Philharmonic Hall where the choir numbering 150 were accompanied by the Philharmonic Orchestra playing British Classics, Britten, Vaughan Williams and some Elgar. A very good evening was had by all.

The tour party

In the morning there was a tour of the Williamson Tunnels. Joseph Williamson was an eccentric, who in the early 19th Century refused to give money to the poor but instead employed them to dig holes and tunnels for no known purpose. The tunnels had been filled in with Victorian rubbish which volunteers have cleared out and cleaned up. The extent of the tunnels is unknown.

Lots of Victorian rubbish

On Monday morning the level of the Oxford Canal had dropped since I’d returned home, the small weir by Isis Lock not overflowing as much, perhaps levels were starting to lower. But by Tuesday the water was on it’s way back up. Mick headed down to Isis Lock to fill with water and do some washing, there is a tap there for the permanent moorers and sitting in the lock you can access it, lets face it nobody would be coming up off the river! The sixth brick below the lock was showing.

Sixth brick just in view

On Thursday morning the levels were looking a touch higher, the canal overflowing the lock gates into the river too. Oleanna was rising on the canal and with the amount of rain over the last few days Mick preferred to stay on Oleanna for the evening rather than heading out to Chippy for Press Night. Being on board, should the levels rise anymore he’d be able to do something about it. There was already a plan to nudge up to the hire boats opposite should the mill stream top the towpath. Being tied up to them would mean Oleanna wouldn’t be able to end up sitting on the towpath.

Oleanna sitting high on the canal

Mick had a chat with a fellow from the Environment Agency, the level of the canal was caused by run off in Oxford and not from the river. So the canal should start to lower once the rain stopped. The river would need quite a lot more water to come over the towpath as the whole of Port Meadow was currently being filled with water, a useful flood plain.

The canal almost level with the edge

During the day someone opened the paddles at both ends of Isis Lock to help drain off the excess as the weirs couldn’t keep up with the amount of water. So when Mick came to meet me at midnight he had a windlass in hand to lower a paddle.

Two weeks ago there had been a blue boat moored near Isis Lock on the canal, the following day it had disappeared. A walk over Osney Bridge to get one of our bikes serviced and Mick found the boat. Somehow they had got down the river, were facing upstream and had just managed to tie to the end of the railings there. Maybe they’d headed that way backwards as the flow along East Street at the moment is very strong. I’m so so glad Mick made the move when he did to get off the Thames.

1 lock gone into but not descended, 1 reverse, 2 moorings close together, 1 trip to Liverpool, 2 trips to London, 1 ferry, 0 panto, 1 cat not that impressed, 6 bricks, 2 paddles up, 1 big step up, £91 bike service.

Panto Postcard 2. 2019

66.75 hours

The yellow line to Panto land

Early trains, two of them to get me to Banbury. Then the 488 bus to Chipping Norton, which arrived so I had a good half hour before the meet and greet with the acting company. The van was already being unloaded with the set pieces that had been built in Cornwall.

Pieces coming in through the front doors

There was time to make sure all was well before I’d be needed elsewhere. Unfortunately there were two pieces that wouldn’t fit through the front doors! I had given Ade and Lou what are known as the ‘Get in’ dimensions. The two offending pieces had a very quick straight cut put through them which will be disguised with a lick of paint when I get round to it.

Portals going in

The first day of rehearsals starts with meeting all the actors and other creatives, this is followed by a read through. This was very funny indeed, plenty of jokes for both old and young. Then it was time for Helen (the costume designer) and myself to be centre stage and show off our designs to the company.

Positions on stage

Over lunch time there was a production meeting with Lighting Designer, Sound Designer, Props Maker, everyone involved apart from the actors. My world that normally revolves at about 3mph was suddenly accelerated to ten times that speed and that is the way it has stayed for the rest of the week.

Starting the phone box

Monday saw the portals being put together and fixed in position on stage. By the afternoon a second van arrived with barrows, hanging baskets and the start of a telephone box. Plenty for me to paint.

Pepper being grumpy with me

Late afternoon I walked round the corner to pick up the key for my digs and drop my bags off. I’m staying in the same digs as last year, so no need to be shown round, just a quick hello to Suzanne and Pepper the cat and I was back at work within fifteen minutes.


Late evening we all retired to the pub where on the menu there was gluten free cider battered fish and chips, I obviously had no choice. The portion was huge and I did consider keeping half for the following day, but I did my best and polished it off.

Tuesday more set pieces went up, sliders were suspended. This all took time as the floor of the stage is by no means flat, in fact it dips by getting on for two inches towards centre stage!

Hanging baskets all blobbed and splodged

I took over the front foyer, painting smaller bits of set. Hanging baskets, kitchen counters, the telephone box. By late afternoon it was time to say goodbye to Ade and Lou. They very nicely gave me two bottles of this years apple juice that they’d just pressed.

Glitter tastic scooter

Wednesday was props meetings with John the Director and Jo the Props maker. The scooters Jo has made are wonderful. The huge vault door wasn’t opening quite far enough, so some major chamfering back of the built hinge was needed and I then had to promise not to put too much paint on it all.

Big hinge about 12 inches long

With the crew putting first and second coats of paint on things for me I could concentrate on doing the arty painting. Late on in the day more people headed home, leaving me with Gavin and Ash to carry on.

My pretty walk to work

Thursday the actors started to rehearse on stage. By 4pm the Pippins had joined them. These are local kids who get chance to be in the panto. There are three teams of four, songs are learnt on mass, but stage directions and dance routines all have to be done three times. I’m just about word perfect on some of the songs already!

K6 finished

This also meant that Gavin gave his health and safety chat to the kids. When I realised he’d started I made sure I went into the auditorium to listen. Sadly this year he’s changed the wording somewhat, Death wasn’t mentioned once!

Missed bits

During the evenings the stage is available for painting at the moment, so I’ve made use of Ash and Gavin to get more pleb painting done. This does mean that even though I’m last in the building I also tend to be the first, touching in the bits they’d missed before the actors start rehearsals.

Still things to fly

By the end of Friday night there were just signs and barrow dressing left to do for the market square scene. This scenery possibly has the most work, so on Saturday I treated myself to a sit down in a dressing room doing all the signage. The complicated floor has also been marked out, I just hope it’s still there after all the dancing next week.

Road sign finished

Once these were completed and a few jobs finished on stage I headed to get a Saturday newspaper and a few bits and bobs that Mick had planned to buy when he reached Oxford, but that just hadn’t happened. Leaving the theatre in daylight was a first this week, as I waited for the bus to arrive it went dark. Only the twinkling lights in Woodstock illuminated the journey back to Oxford.

Pub sign completed

I considered on popping in to say hello to our friends, Andy and Irene, who were moored at the end of the canal, but by now I was weary and wanting to get home, still with another bus journey to do. Mick met me from the bus and we walked back to the boat by Sandford Lock. After sausage and mash with a glass or two of wine I had returned to 3mph, Tilly doing her best to keep my lap warm in front of the stove.

Cat cuddles, only because I was nearest to the stove!

2 trains, 3 buses, 1 read through, 7 potatoes more,2 big flats, 3 lots hanging baskets, 1 street sign, 1 nick, 1 kitchen unit, 1 ancient Pepper, 4 free bottles Crabbies, 2 bottles apple juice, 1 wet day, 1 newspaper, 1 purring Tilly, 1 cosy boat, 1 day off.

Southern Woofers Have NO Manners! 20th July

Pyrford Basin to Send Church Footbridge

Rain hit Oleanna’s roof for much of last night, but by first thing this morning it had dried up. Mick headed off on a bike to find a Waitrose for a free newspaper, along with £10 of shopping. He was fortunate as when he returned we had a couple of major down pours, the sort that would soak you to the skin despite waterproofs.

Paws crossed for finer weather

10% chance of rain! Well we’d got that 10% and we weren’t going to set off whilst it was at it’s worst. By midday the sun was trying to make an appearance so we made ready to push off. A boat appeared from behind, we had a locking partner.

The Anchor Pub was already attracting customers and would be a handy place for a delivery should we need one on the way back. The crew of NB Montana were setting the lock when I reached them after dropping off some rubbish.

The Anchor

I’d set the bow rope on the port side roof, but as the boats came into the lock we ended up on the starboard side, I’d be needing a boat hook to get the rope. The hook we were left with at little Venice is nice and light weight with an aluminium pole so easy to handle.

We tied up as we’d done yesterday using the yellow post at the stern. NB Montana tied up using all three ropes, but not one of them round the yellow post. There was a lot of rushing around trying to stop their boat from surging forward and backwards, the centre line getting tighter and tighter whilst Oleanna just rose up the lock gracefully. I mentioned to the lady about the yellow post, she wasn’t aware if they’d been told about it at Thames Lock.

Time to turn the engines back on, not a rumble from NB Montana! He tried again and again, still no joy. We said we’d wait for them at the next lock, for a while anyway and left them to bow haul out of the lock making way for a boat to go down.

Pretty summer house

The next stretch was narrow and slow going. We think it was both the depth but also the current as we were heading upstream. A quick look at a map showed us that RHS Wisley isn’t too far away and to keep an eye open for an Elizabethan Summer House. There it was nestled in amongst the trees.

Walsham Lock Cottage
You don’t get bells like that anymore

The lock cottage at Walsham Flood Gates watched our progress, Mick was impressed by the telephone bells by the front door.


Now we were back on the river, wider and deeper. The moorings by the lock looked like they’d be fun to reverse out off and not get drawn towards the weir!

Waiting, but for how long?

A boat was just coming out of Newark Lock leaving it all ready for us. How long should we wait? We decided on ten minutes or until a boat came the other way. The sun was now out, layers could be removed as we waited. After eight minutes a boat appeared above the lock, oh well we’d have to ascend as we were in the way.

A lady came to help and we left her with a message for NB Montana that we’d wait at the next lock, they’re on a mission to reach Guildford today for dinner.

This looks a good place for the way back

I’d seen that NB Huffler had moored at Papercourt Meadows a few days ago, this had to be those meadows. Wide grassy, perfect place for a barbecue, maybe on our way back. We noted a couple of places that looked deep enough to moor as boats were already tied up.

Very pretty

I hopped off just before we reached the bywash from the weir and walked up to the lock, pausing to take photos. What a picturesque scene in the sunshine with the cottage and stepped weir, chocolate box.


A family of Egyptian Geese were preening themselves by the top gates which kept me occupied as we waited. NB Montana could be seen making her way through the meadows, as they got closer I spotted a second boat hot on their tail. Should we go up on our own or wait. We waited saving them an extra ten minutes emptying the lock.

This time they used the yellow post and both boats sat calmly as they rose, affording everyone chance to have a chat. Paddles were wound in unison. They’d had a chap this morning lift a paddle straight up which had sent the plume of water straight into their bow and inside the cabin. She got him to quickly close the paddle and avoid them sinking, they still had a wet floor that needed mopping up. Have to say we never go up hill with our cabin doors open just for this reason.

Nearly at the top

We led the way for the next two miles. Pretty rural turned into offices/factory at the cut side. Another flood gate at Worsfold where the National Trust work yard is. Nicholsons mentions a turf sided lock here, but we didn’t spot it, we’ll have a better look on the way back.

Bar on a chain to stop you leaning over

The river now winds and twists towards the next pretty lock, Triggs Lock with another fine cottage. The bottom gates when open lean over the channel so, as on other gates, there are chains and a bar to help you pull them towards you from a safe distance. This was to be our last lock of the day, so we waved NB Montana goodbye and hoped they had a lovely evening.

Triggs Lock

Through the next bridge was a trimmed stretch of towpath, we arrive just as a group of canoeists did, they loitered exactly where we wanted to pull in but they got the message in the end. The wind had been doing it’s best to aid us in mooring when the canoes had been in the way, but now had disappeared. Oleanna just wouldn’t go into the side, Mick hopped off but no matter how he pulled on the centre line she just wasn’t having any of it. A blast of reverse to get her back close enough for Mick to jump back on and we headed off to try the next place.

This was also too shallow, a shame as there would have been a great view of Send church from our bedroom in the morning. The next trimmed length we were determined to moor in. The bow came in close enough to hop off, but the stern wouldn’t. Any further along the river and we’d be too close to roads for Tilly, so here it was to be. Spikes banged in and plank deployed, the first time since the Lancaster. This reminded us that we really need to get a longer one very soon!

What is this?!!!

Excuse me!!! Just what were they thinking? This outside had water everywhere! How was I meant to be able to get to it? Tom showed me this sloping thing, it smelt like ours but really! No thank you!! A thin slice of tree is no good for anyone!


However the trees here were good. Good for climbing. I soon discovered that I could jump the gap over the water and onto the roof when a rude woofer came to see me. It didn’t stay long when I showed it what I was made of.

I really wasn’t sure about this outside, so She came out to go for a walk with me. I like this, both of us discovering new things, mostly trees and friends for me. Today however we discovered that most Southern Woofers are very rude!

One came running from quite a distance, so I decided to head up a tree. Here I had to cling on whilst it shouted at me for ages. It’s Tom just smiled and walked by calling it’s stupid name. In the end She had to risk her life and stand in between us as the woofer just wasn’t going to leave. Have to say I was glad when it did my claws were starting to ache!

Action shot

I discovered that I could jump onto the side hatch with relative ease which came in handy later on when the stupid Tom came back with his exceptionally rude woofer. Doors were closed very quickly on the boat locking it out. Why was the Tom stupid? He had a lead and knew I was there so why hadn’t he used it?! Stupid and selfish, if I’d been a little kid running away I bet he’d have apologised. Maybe he is scared of his woofer and can’t keep hold of it or is even afraid that it might bite him. Anyway my Tom was so not impressed! I now HATE woofers!

Last night I’d prepared a sponge for a loaf of Sour Dough, this had been getting frothier all day. So once we’d moored up I mixed in the other ingredients and added some yeast so that we wouldn’t have to wait until midnight to bake it. It rose nicely over a couple of hours. Then as I popped it in the over I happened to give the tin a slight knock against the grill pan. My recipe warns against this as with no gluten the loaf can collapse, all those hours of rising gone immediately to waste.

The loaf looked okay as it went in the oven, but when I turned the temperature down I had a look. It had sunk by about a quarter, a big dip in the middle! I toyed with abandoning it there and then, not wasting gas. But baked it in the end, we’ll see how it turns out for toast tomorrow.


4 locks, 2 flood gates, 5.19 miles, 1 summer house, 1 broken boat, 1 meadow mooring noted, 3 shallow moorings also noted, 0 outside close enough, 2 rude woofers, 3 woofer incidents, 1 freaked out cat, 1 totally selfish dog owner, 1 sunken loaf, 1 migraine brewing, 1 property game put off till tomorrow.

Pausing, Power and Phone. 15th July

Ballot Box Bridge

Those trees are talking!

Just as well we’d decided to stay here another day so that I could carry on working.

Notice Alert

Grand Union Canal
Starts At: Lock 101A, Thames Lock (House side)
Ends At: Lock 101A, Thames Lock (House side)

Monday 15 July 2019 09:00 until further notice

Type: Advice
Reason: Repair

Original message:

Due to a local power supply fault, Brentford Thames Lock is currently not operating until further notice.Engineers are currently working on restoring power to the Lock and an update will be provided when this becomes fully operational.

However these things don’t tend to take too long to mend so Mick checked on the C&RT website and made a phone call to book passage down onto the Thames later this week. At first he was told that they weren’t taking bookings, but then he was passed onto someone else. This person then told Mick that the lock was operational again. Sure enough a notice to that effect dropped into our inbox as he was on the phone some 52 minutes after the first one.

Apparently in the summer you don’t have to book 48 hours in advance to use Thames Lock, Brentford, but at least we now knew when it would be manned, as the river is tidal there this alters.

Crossing things off

I spent the day doing technical drawings for panto, working my way through the list I’d made yesterday and sadly spotting a couple of things I’d missed too! By the end of the day my box of bits left to draw up only had a few things left in it. Only a few hours left and I’ll be ready for my final design meeting.

Nearly there!

Tilly spent the day dodging bikes and runners. There is definitely a rush hour or two between 5:30 and 7:30pm. The speed some of the bikes go at! So much so her shore leave was curtailed for her own safety and hour earlier than normal. She wasn’t impressed, but then she has had two whole days outside and decided to have a nap. This nap lasted until we wanted to make up our bed and had to disturb her.

Towpath Tilly

Mick caught up on the Tour de France and then headed off to get a bus into Ealing, this is where he grew up and lived until he moved to Scarborough. He successfully managed to walk past The Red Lion without going in for a pint, but also successfully managed to loose his mobile!

Being in Ealing he knew there would be an EE shop and an Argos, so that he could get sorted . But where were they? He’d look on his phone…Oh. He’d give me a call…..Oh. He’d use a phone box, found one, it did have a phone but stank of wee…Oh. At the library he was signed onto a computer so that he could see where his phone might be, the outcome likely to be on the 297 bus….Ah.

Still talking

He succeeded in getting a new phone, identical to his last and a new sim card then headed back to Oleanna. As soon as his new phone was working he gave Perivale Bus Garage a call, they had a phone that matched his description and when he called in he was able to unlock it. One phone not stolen, just misplaced.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 buses, 1 bus garage, 2 phones, 2 boxes of bits, 1 almost full, 1 almost empty, 10 hours, 7 taken, 5 talking tress, 73 mph bikes, 4 running paws, 1 lock booked.

Shiny Boat Central. Day 2

Paddington Basin

A serious work day for me and as we are in London Mick was quite happy to head off for the day.

Traffic lights!

First he headed to Hammersmith where he used to work. Things have changed somewhat since those days, there are now traffic lights at Hammersmith Broadway. You’d no longer be able to race round in a Bedford HA van!


He took a walk up to the river, you can never keep a boater away from water long. The tide was out and numerous boats sat on the bottom waiting to float again.

On the bus

Originally he’d thought of heading to Acton to the Transport Museum, but changed his mind as an interesting plane had arrived at Heathrow. So he caught the tube to Hatton Cross and then a bus to Terminal 5. Here he went up to the car park to see what he could see.

Terminal 5

Not many planes were in view, but the one he’d gone to see was. A British Airways Airbus A319 which has been painted in the BEA livery which is who Mick’s father flew for after WW2.

BEA livery

Back at Paddington, I caught up with my Production Manager for Panto, we both got confused about a quote she’d had and I got on with painting my model.

Boats nudged round the pontoon, one boat wants to leave early Wednesday morning and if a long boat pulled into the available space next to them then they’d have been trapped. Their first move meant nobody would be able to use their original mooring as they were blocking access to it. We could have moved in there, but I prefer being on the outside without people looking in all day as I work. In the end another boat who is wanting to go for water moved to be next to them, they will vacate the mooring on Wednesday letting out the other boat at the same time when they go for water.

Shades of blue

By the end of the day I had made definite progress with my model. Putting everything back into the model box it suddenly looked right. Phew!! I just hope it still looks right in the morning when I put the different scenes into it.

You will let me out! You will ! You will!! YOU WILL!!!!

0 locks, 0 miles, 3 buses, 2 tubes, 1 trains, 60+ rules, 1 plane, 2 many terms, 8 hours solid painting, 1 very bored cat, 2 hours of being stared at, sorry Tilly.