Loo views

Loo views

Thursday 31 December 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all who find this blog. May your horizons be limitless, your hope endless and don't let your fear stand in the way of your dreams. Well that is what I am telling myself!

Sunday 27 December 2015


Cheating slightly. This is a view from my cratch rather than the loo of my home mooring.
I have just got home after being away for Christmas. I had to drive down the M40 and around the M25 to get to my family in Seven Oaks. I haven't driven on the motorways for some time and the trip down on Christmas Eve was dreadful. The rain sheeted down for the entire trip and there were strong winds to contend with too. But what really shocked me was how rude and aggressive other drivers were. Most of us were down to about 40mph because of surface water and no visibility and yet others were weaving in and out of the traffic, driving at insane speeds for the conditions. Others drove right up my backside to force me to go quicker. Some were driving without lights and so were virtually invisible. It was terrifying.

It made me reflect on my normal mode of transport and the difference between the two. When your average speed is 3mph the world is entirely different. There is no point getting impatient at a slower boat, as the most you can be delayed by is 2mph. If someone does something silly in front of you, there is no point in getting into a rage as, unlike a car, you can't yell at them or blast your horn and then speed away. You are likely to be sharing the same bit of canal for quite some time as you amble along and so it is best to be forgiving. When there are traffic queues at, for instance, locks, instead of sitting alone, fuming at the hold up, you leave your boat and meet up with other crews at the gates and help each other through, passing the time of day as you do.

This makes travelling a pleasure and a communal activity, where as driving a car seems to be a lonely, competitive, stressful challenge. In fact this can be a metaphor for life in general. Do we want to be lonely strivers, struggling to get ahead of the rest and resenting anybody that gets in our way? Or would we prefer to amble through life, helping people we meet and having a laugh and a chat along the way? I have lived both lives and I know which makes me happier and healthier!

Saturday 19 December 2015

Seven years on the water

It is seven years today since I bought my boat 'Don't Panic and moved from land living and a full time career to canal living and earning just enough to keep the wolf from the door.
I am now financially poorer than I have ever been. I have almost no security as far as where I live and how I live. From hardly being able to change a light bulb, I now have to service my boat engine, cope with things going wrong like my inverter blowing up and provide my own power and heating. I have to dispose of my own poo, fill my own water tank and work locks, lift bridges and other canal challenges alone apart from my dog. Having been a detective sergeant on murder squad and a deanery evangelist for the Church of England, I now clean loos and showers for a living. I am regarded as little more than a gypsy by some, a lapsed Christian by others and a bit of a loafer by many.

I have never been so happy in my entire life.

Flushed with success!

I was in two minds about going into the marina today as the forecast was rain and wind. I can cope with the rain, but wind against the side of a 50' narrow boat can get interesting. Particularly since, at Kings Bromley, you have to pirouette between the moored boats and then reverse onto the diesel dock. I came through Woodend Lock in a gusty rain and spent a while fishing logs out of the lock so I could open the gates. But I decided to push on and get it done.
My stomach always clenches a bit when I have to do a tricky manoeuvre, but it went really well and I brought her stern first smoothly to the dock. Fortunately no one was watching as I punched the air and said 'Yes!' in a rather boastful way.
Emptied of poo and filled with diesel and gas, I was satisfied but not finished. I still had to work so I threw Bonny in the boat for a rest (she always rides on the roof when cruising. She sees herself as an essential member of the crew). Then I changed into my Kings Bromley Marina uniform and off to clean the facilities. A couple of hours later I was done. I reopened the boat and took her into the woods to moor up for the night (hence the new view from the loo). A walk for Bonny and I am finally sitting down. Phew!
I'll go back down the flight tomorrow and then return to Kings Bromley for a staff Xmas drink. No rest for the wicked.

Friday 18 December 2015

Shadehouse again

Not the keenest of boaters today as I struggled up Fradley flight after a morning of working. It's not too wet but a couple of the gates on the lock flight nearly defeated me, they were so heavy.
I was so tempted to leave pumping out and dieseling up until after Christmas, but who knows what it will be like, weather wise by then. I am moored at Shadehouse and will see out the forecasted rain tomorrow here and walk to work. Then into the marina on Sunday for the necessary, then back down the flight to hopefully moor up before more horrible rain on Monday. Lord, I think I'm going rusty in all this dampness!

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Internet enabled at last!

My laptop is back home after an extended hospital stay. And I can finally use it to update this new blog. I still haven't figured out quite how to design this blog to my satisfaction, but I have managed to fiddle a bit. I have managed to write a bit in the 'about me' box but realised I have missed out a very important member of my crew. Here she is, a 6 year old Cairn Terrier called Bonny... The first picture is her as a youngster when she first started riding on the roof of the boat. The second is her preferred position and the third is her on our mooring at Fradley Junction.