Saturday, 26 February 2011

Computers again.... and skiing is on my agenda to sort out the computers I use - work and home. Work stuff you most probably don't wont to know about but at home I had a windows 7 box that sounded like an RB211 jet engine.

I also had the problem of complete lock up's which in my experience is usually due to over heating. I knew my brother in law had a new unused coolmaster case so last night on impulse I phoned him and did the deal, collected it and spent the next hour and a half taking all the bits from my old RB211 case into the new cool master case. I have no issues doing this I have built many computers from parts - I do not buy off the shelf desktops preferring to spec them for what I tend to use them for (games playing in the main)

He kindly included half a box of sound proofing (!) material that I liberally applied.

Pleased to say I connected it all back up and it booted perfectly but was still a little loud - solution was into the Bios and set the CPU and box fan speed now its perfect, I just need to download the Asus utilities so I can keep an eye on the temps as I play away !!

Now we are off to Tamworth snow dome for a two hour skiing lesson which was a Christmas present from Tom our eldest. He would like a family skiing holiday so this is our first taste - I'll let you know how I we get on.


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Better than expected..?

Jim off NB Starcross has an interesting update on the BW position when it changes into a charity


The real interest is that the goverment are now saying the property portfolio will go to the charity. This was really the only way it was going to work. I did have my doubts as I thought the Government would take this and sell it off before passing what was left to the charity. Now we just need to ensure the salaries are more in line with the real world and maybe, maybe some progress can be made.

One thing I hope is they keep the name and ID - no costly consultants and sign changing that would be hundreds of thousands of pounds. Lets take the practical cheap approach (for now) the ID can be changed when the charity is up running and making a difference to the canals?


Monday, 21 February 2011

Cycle rage

Not very proud of myself today.... I was pulled out on by two lads today while cycling between sites for work. I caught up with them and challenged them and he smirkingly admitted he had seen me but he needed to go for the gap !

When I said he forced me to skid into the gutter he smiled and shrugged. Red mist time saw me reach in to his car and turn off his engine, my intention was to lob his key across the road .... he managed to stop me and I cycled off.

At the next set of lights I cycled in the centre of the road stopping him overtaking me. The irony was I caught him up again when he got to the city centre - just as he went through a bus only set of lights.

Daft really as there were two of them and anything can go nowadays. On my return journey a taxi saw me go onto a roundabout and just pulled out on me and indicated I should slow down!!

Cycle commuting is a real challenge/risk and made much more dangerous with daft interactions - just let it go but that red mist !!

Anyhow more relaxed now after a coupe of hours of Call of Duty.

Take care (especially those of you who cycle)


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Computing the solution

At great expense of time and hair I have found the solution.........

Boot camp - a sort of marriage of Jordan and Stephen Hawkins if you like .

Test - it has Memory map on with my maps to the Iphone for walking and Geocaching plus games with no cd patches installed and the very reliable and user friendly Mac OS for those blogging and photo processing needs.

Not patented so next time you need to replace your PC do it with a Mac and bootcamp !


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Computers %&*?>

For those of you out there still using Windows I salute you. It is the biggest load of hype there ever was. I have a small Sony Laptop that should be perfect for the boat but having received it with Vista installed - aargh, that did not last long so I tried to down grade it (when I got it to XP - not all the right drivers were available for it so only 2/3rds of it worked.) I then had the opportunity to put Win 7 on it. The best so far but still way too power hungry. One thing a boater needs is a computer that is low powered or invest in a larger battery bank.

So it got forgotten. When on the boat last I tried it again and was frustrated by its slowness so I brought it back and have tried XP again, all the drivers are now available - took a couple of years.... but it is still not right. It appears you (I) have to install the drivers and utilities in a certain way, which I must not have done as I have a warning on startup regarding some software that will not now properly uninstall. Plus I have two unknown system devices under device manager.

I wanted to throw it through the window but Rachel would not let me.

Solution........ Mac

I have gone over 99% at work to Mac and only use my Macbook pro for work with the1% being some Access database stuff. I have parallels that I will use for that 1% when I have to.

So it will have to be my Macbook with me on the boat from now on. It has a 60 w power supply but from a full charge I can get well over 6 hours of use and it is so fast and reliable and nice and reliable and fast and good looking and reliable AND IT IS NOT WINDOZE.

Phew that's better, now bed time - where it that nice tight jacket I wear every now and then !


I wrote this on the Windoze machine and for some reason it appears in bold. Can't seem to remove the formatting - I recon they know you know ;-)

Edited... to add this

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Tweets tea and celebrations

After messing around with blogging apps for my iPhone I managed to get one posted that also updated my twitter position, profile status or whatever, Sue of NB No Problem messaged me back that they were just up the canal; outside Kings Bromley marina so we arranged to stop by on our way to wind the following day (Monday)

It was really nice to meet Sue and Vic again. They have been CC'ing for 10 years now - that is some achievement and shows their passion and enjoyment of the canals. Leia and Meg were instant friends and tired each other out chasing up and down the tow path.

Celebrations were for our 26th wedding anniversary. We had a lovely meal last night the boat is a very peaceful and romantic place to share such a celebration.

It was a really god news day yesterday with Les and Jacqueline announcing their engagement. Wow what great news, just goes to show what a blog can lead to ! Warm congratulations to you both - we have been together for nearly 32 years and its a journey to be recommended !

Today we are intending to go for a walk to Kings Bromley over the fields and then a slow cruise back to our home moorings - work for me tomorrow ;-(

Take care

Sunday, 13 February 2011

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday was a still sunny if not cool day. Contrast that with today's rain and cold wind. Some good fortune then that we were moored with the wind on our stern that allowed me some fishing from the front cratch. Perch and chub kept me interested if a little cold. Still got in two nice walks.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Bones beats me to it!

Third iphone app to see if I can blog mobile !

This one should include some photos that I took yesterday on the trip out.....................

Edited to remove the daft large photo and replace it with a more appropriate photo - taken yesterday on getting to the boat.

The Iphone does not do blogging...


Hard to believe.....

We eventually got away yesterday after a little car shuffling that saw me bringing waterlily upto the visitor moorings solo. BW should give boaters payment as entertainers at places like Fradley. They have even installed a bench at the lock at keepers !

Anyhow we are moored just above Woodend lock and pretty much where the HS2 rail line will pass. It is hard to believe that such tranquility will be shattered, so in answer to my own previous blog most certainly Nimby !!

Off for a walk and then stay put fire on reading fishing drinking computering.....

Saturday, 12 February 2011


Tiller arms ... we have two, our original that came with the boat now is the brolly mate equipped one and then we have the heavier hinged one that s great for getting a crew mate on and off the boat with.

We lock up by holding back in the lock and sliding up the bottom gates. Most I see use the technique of using the top gate plate as a slide. This is ok if your stern post is at a nice angle as it means the front fender can run up the plate in and keep the stern post off the cill. On our boat the stern post is very upright meaning it grinds on the cill until there is enough water in the lock for the fender to touch the plate.

When I have boated single handed I use the front gate with the boat in gear, when with crew we hold back and use the bottom gates. With enough reverse on the currents in the lock cannot hit the back gates and push the boat forward resulting in a uncontrolled charge in the lock to hit the front gates. This is also about how the paddles are opened of course so control of the lock by the boats crew is very important and on all too many occasions eager or sometimes malicious 'helpers crack open both paddles resulting in a massive surge of water that tries to push Waterlily off the back gates.

The reason for the lock technique explanation..... to avoid the rudder getting nipped by the closing gates as the water pressure forces them into the sealed position we put the tiller over to the side - this can result in the tiler arm catching obstructions as the boat rises on the side wall (it has nearly happened using the old tiller) so we can hinge it up avoiding this risk.

I'm sure you do it your way for a reason - these are our reasons.


Friday, 11 February 2011

Tiller job done

I got an email from Stuart earlier in the week to tell me the tiller bearings job has been completed. I needed a few bits from Midland chandlers at Willington so went over got my bits (news bilge pump and lamp oil) and carried on to Fradley.

I'm very pleased with the work done - to time to the quote provided and I now have a perfect rattle free tiller arm. I popped on the tiller arm, the lovely hinged one Rachel brought me for my birthday and fired the engine up and ran the boat in gear at a few different speeds (Sorry Mandy if you are reading this as it would have buffeted you a little) and all was well. One othr benefit was at certain 'engine charging' revs the tiller would hit a resonance that rolled through the boat - no more.

The real test will be this weekend when we go out on a mini cruise to celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary (Feb 14th) No sure where we will be going yet. I quite fancy Great Heywood but it has given really poor weather for Sunday so we may just go until we fancy stopping - as it should be.

The grease nipple thread was different so Stuart is sending me one over as I am happy to fit it myself.

I am happy to recommend Stuart. His email address is

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Write to your MP or lose the canals as we know them

Here is an excellent link to the NBW forums discussing the greed within BW directors. Click me.....

It gives some useful words to copy and paste into your own letters. Please Please put this on your blogs so we get many MP's receiving letters highlighting both the PM's promise and the greed of these 9 people. They cannot and should not be Tupe'd over to the new organisation with these salaries. The new organisation can stop this by not having these posts for them to occupy. They they become redundant ! People power will win the day.


Edited to add this link so you can find your MP

Monday, 7 February 2011

BW directors are a disgrace

From NBW.....

Its a sad time indeed for users and the majority of employees of the canal network. There is no way 20% of the workforce can be made redundant without significant if not catastrophic impact on the system.

It appears the maintenance is being contracted out which will mean more costs going out and less work being done - the shareholders will need paying!!

And....and the money being taken out of the company is unbelievable. See the salaries being taken

  • Robin Evans Chief Executive £566,354
  • Mark Bensted Regeneration Director £672,850
  • Steve Dunlop Director Scotland £170,764
  • Nigel Johnson Corporate Services Director £331,987
  • Stuart Mills Director of Property £308,154
  • Vince Moran Operations Director £327,824
  • Philip Ridal Finance Director £330,561
  • Simon Salem Marketing Director £413,584
  • Jim Stirling Technical Director £382,104

Total £3,504,182

It costs me £2,000 to have my boat in the cut I have no problem with this if it goes to workers to maintain it and money to fund the improvements. I cannot accept this group of 9 people are taking such a ridiculous amount of money. NO ONE needs that sort of money to live and they are not worth it by such a large margin.

In my home city the Vice Chancellor of my University which employs significantly more staff gets paid under a third of what Evans does and its the same story at the very large hospital in Derby

There is simply not justification for this and the fact is these greedy humans are expecting to be Tupe'd over on the same T&C's


At some point we have to act to protect what we hold dear.


Friday, 4 February 2011

NIMBY.....or progress?

Not In My Back Yard, so the saying goes. How does this work when it is a high speed rail line ? Chris from NB Belle recently blogged very comprehensively about the proposed HS2 rail line here

I am no expert on rail but my simple thinking is you would not put an extension onto your house if the roof was leaking and the foundations needed underpinning !

If it was my call I would be looking to re-open some of the Beeching cut railways, meaning more rather than faster. This would still no doubt impact on people and their property.

If you look at the image below (from Chris's blog) you will see the proposed route goes past the end of Woodend cottage and there is no detail on how the canal would be bridged. Bearing in mind the rail link will need to be as flat as possible I cannot see themn bridging the canal - more likely rerouting it above the route of the rail link?

I am all for trains - I like to hear then at night and don't mind mooring near rail lines. I would much prefer this than a road. It just needs to be done with full consideration and minimal impact - therein is the problem I fear. Plus these trains are not the clicky click they will be screamingly fast.

Interesting isn't it that even now the canals could still loose out to rail! I would be amazed if this was progressed as the cost must be astronomical in these austere times I'd rather have a police force and good hospitals.

Depends on who is building it and who in the government went to school with them I suppose - or is that too cynical?