Sunday, 25 January 2015

January on the Marina

Well what a Month our poor old tub has been tossed around like a cork in a bottle. But as I have always said
“If you can’t take a joke you should not have signed up” Its now nearly the end of the month all the Ice has gone the winds have calmed down and the days are getting longer with signs of spring on the way the crocus’s are up, daffodils starting to poke through, Ducks are mating and the fish have started to bite so all is well with my world (at the moment)
This inclement weather has given me time to kill I spent it in quality meditation, contacting old friends, sorting out business and attempting to get some order back in our life. We have been visiting Maryanne and checking on our new granddaughter Pippa what joy she has brought into the world (like all babies do)  Our grandson Thomas has just discovered fractions and revelling in the joy of understanding them.
I the last Blog I said we were of to Istanbul in Feb well we have postponed that  because we hope to do a Pacific cruise whilst visiting Australia depart 27 August. That will of course cut our summer cruise down but hey swap the Leeds and Liverpool canal for swimming off Surfers Paradise no Brainer………
Though the Leeds and Liverpool is a very nice canal I do like the sun.
Other than that things are progressing I have just spent two weeks painting the inside of the marina’s newest Butty 60ftx 14ft house boat it’s a job I keep telling themI am an Artist not a painter they never say what type of Artist I am maybe you could have an Idea. As soon as the weather starts to improve I have my boat to paint, the bow doors and hatch doors to refurbish and then make two new top boxes I have a new and cunning plan for the top boxes if it works I will publish it
I have included a few pics of the recent weather as observed from Buggerlugs

See you all next month
Big Al

Evening is nigh
our mooring is at the head of the marina and is a 
liniar mooring that means no Protection

Iced up though it only lasted 4 days

Morning mist over a frozen Marina

These views show why we choose this life style .

Another Gripe

Hi everyone well as everything in January is very quiet, no money after Christmas, To cold to do any outside work, or painting. So my though to turn to Administration and getting everything in order for the coming season.
A gleam of hope came across my face last week when I realised I could get rid of my ISA’s which of course for years have accumulated me Bugger All in interest yes I could rid of them for good. I decided to invest the money in the new 65+ Bonds 4% apr  wow!  I’ll have some of that I said and started up the lap top the valves in mine take some warming up and a connection with the rest of the world when you are in a 60ft metal tube is somewhat difficult however difficult or not it was better than my first attempt at contacting the NA&I which was by phone realising that it would cost a fortune per min 0500 number and the young lady said I was in a 20 min queue. After an hour of being interrogated by a computer  programmed that had be designed to give anyone over the age of 65 a heart attack ( remember you can only get these bonds if you are over 65) I answered every question it asked me But! my size of underpants I thought why. Anyway you get my drift some questions are just completely irrelevant and some when you are over 65 you just cannot remember.
On completion of the form this same program thought now I will have him and asked for my money. Now I am not a tight person really but giving a machine a not so small a sum of money in my mind was like going to the Dentist Though not as painful as the next three days, having seen on line the money leave my account and not having as much as a receipt from NS&I you can imagine how tight my bum was getting? Not to worry four  days later I have notification by letter of my receipt so at least I had sent it to the right people.
Now it all started again with a nice big A5 envelope full of shi==te  it contained papers with all the questions I had previously answered on line but of course that wouldn’t be good enough do it all over again but this time in print and black pen only. WHY they already have that information WHY do they need it twice. After an hour I realised I was done, according to the leaflet only one more task lay ahead and that was to get it verified
Now I realise that this is to prevent money laundering and in such a world as it is today then that is sensible. This is where my big gripe starts to get my Identity and Address verified you have to provide a number of documents just like applying for a pass port, now that is all fair and just I have no problem with that. MY problem is the verification and the list of people that can verify your address and Identity. Just listen to these: Actuary, Notary Public (those two I got the dictionary out for), Teacher, Serving Police officer, Local Chemist, Doctor,  Dentist Bank official, member of the Judiciary and a host of other so called professional people. Now I know that 99% of our Police, Teachers, Doctors, Dentists, solicitors, and the rest are honest and upright citizens of our land. But lets face it we do have our ban ens. My point is this what makes them better than you who have known me for 30, 40, 50, 67 years? We live in one of the most big brother societies in the world anything bad about your Character is on file and easy to verify. Would it not be better to judge my character, address and Identity by the friends I hold dear and able to call on. In my case I know Teachers, Doctors, Dentists, EVEN a Teacher with an MBE but those cannot be called upon because they are relatives so what’s the Bloody Point
I believe that this system is a throw back to the Victorian era and subjugation of the Working class’s and the apprehension that to have a Profession you can be trusted? Yeh right?, Let me here remind you of the amount of corrupt Bankers, Politicians, Doctors What makes that lot more trustworthy than you.
That my friends are what I am fighting the forthcoming revolution on
NOW  I need to get out and start doing something whilst I still have some friends left
But on the Blog I intend to have one gripe a month I will always try to make them as amusing as I can. I will always mark the heading Another Gripe that way you can just delete.

God Bless All

Big Al

Sunday, 4 January 2015

2014 at a glance

Happy New Year to Everyone

 Well here we are again,
 Another year gone and another waiting to surprise, astonish, overwhelm, amaze, excite and God will fill us with joy and happiness
2014 for all it through at us wasn’t all that bad, we are still here to try again. I know for some 2014 was one that would rather be left in the archives of history and those who suffered great losses then may 2015 bring you peace.
I have neglected my Blog which I am very repentant for, my neglect is due to a few reasons, one I spent most of it either in hospital or waiting to go in which nobody wants to hear about, secondly I have been doing a little writing for some magazines (boating) and last but not least its been rather a boring year. The few things worth causing interest or a giggle I wrote about. However since the summer disappeared and the medical scientists have found another body to practice and experiment on, things have started to become more Normal ( I am still awaiting confirmation on the word Normal)
2014 as most years do now took away a number of my friends Geof went well before his time David Blackmoor went after some serious illnesses and only last week we buried Beryl one of our dear boating friends all will be missed by many family and friends, I am one of those lucky people who can honestly praise the lord for letting me share my life with them and celebrate in a the wonderful things they did. We have to celebrate life, we don’t have it for long so let’s try to enjoy every minute.  It’s true that the only two things certain in life are taxes and death but when it comes it is still difficult to comprehend. I now tell everyone who I love, or care about “I love them” or care for them as often as I can, one thing I have learn in my life is that once, you have gone there is no second chance this is not a rehearsal
I cannot abide wasted time so through my enforced lay up awaiting appointments  I have managed to build myself a Shave Horse for preparing walking sticks, a smoker made from a 4 draw filling cabinet, quite a number of small wooden boxes and a number of painted items ready for our travelling shop on the summer cruise. And a small inlaid oak table top for general use in the boat. I have taken a volunteer possession as the Area Representative for the RBOA (resident boat owners association) my area is the L&L from bottom of the Wigan Flight to Liverpool the Leigh branch and of course the Rufford branch responsibilities are varied very varied but it is mostly looking after our members. It does mean I get to go to meetings listen to boating problems try to find solutions, I go around visiting lots of boats and getting to know many boaters and of course helping others; as you all know helping is a great part of my life?, No honest I know I go on a bit but its always to try and make things better, I will always fight for the underdog; does that make me truly British or painfully stupid?
I have become a granddad again in November Maryanne presented us with a beautiful baby girl 6lb 12oz named Pippa the name is so apt she is just so wonderful, only a few weeks before Pippa was due Maryanne decided it was time to move from her very modern Apartment into a bungalow with her partner Steve who is a really nice young man so it was all hands to the pumps on a virtual rebuild  And yes with Maryanne’s guidance and Steve’s patience  we had it ready and its such a lovely place a 1930 Bungalow just on the out skirts of Chester  with panoramic views it’s a very nice and cosy a place they should be very happy in. Matthew and Lorraine have had a good year, they like many others are surviving and bringing up a family despite the governments attempts to ruin family life Thomas is growing up to be a really intelligent and thoughtful young man who is a pleasure to be with, he is also becoming a very good shot with a rifle I am sure he is destined for big things.
I do not tend to shout my families praises which is quite correct however this piece of new requires acknowledgement in this years Honours list Maryanne was awarded the MBE for her work with the disabled though Maryanne has difficulty with that phrase her students she says have just other difficulties that others don’t. Anyway we are very proud of her achievement not bad for a girl who when at Rydings high in Oswaldtwistle, I was told at one parents evening “your daughters hormones have gone wild “   ?????????

We have now decided on how we intend to attack this years events, its not often that we have a plan because lets face we are not good at it something always crops up UNEXPECTEDLY

However in Jan Feb we are having a break and off to Istanbul/Constantinople where West meets East in political and religious grounds that burst of heat should set us up for the work ahead getting the boat ready to cruise. April will see us moving out onto the canal with Kath and John on their boat Orion, we are first going into Liverpool spend a few days there and then we do the full length of the Leeds and Liverpool the longest single canal in Britain visiting all the usual places and a few surprises among them, from Leeds we are off to York which on our boat being 62ft is the furthest north we can get. .As we are trying to visit every Cathedral in Britain we wanted to get to Ripon but again we cannot get there by boat as ours again is too long so it looks like another bus ride.  On our return in late  August  we will get ourselves ready to nip over to Australia for a couple of months I am longing to see Mary’s new house and boat the pictures look awesome.
That should be it but no doubt things will change ?????????????
Now I will promise to keep the blog going but you must promise to comment even in two words just to prove that I am not talking to myself.

My New years Resolution is : To be here for the next one
God Bless you all

Big Al

                                                                Maryanne Pippa & Steve
                                                             Gorgeous Pippa
                                                                  Sleepy Pippa

                          spring time Piggy back out of the water                                                                                                                            Scrubbed Painted and ready for                                                                                                                                      going back