Saturday, January 26, 2019

A nice ice breaker break.

Our few days moored up in Banbury passed without incident, that is if you discount the fact that we just missed coming third in the reindeer quiz – no small achievement  bearing in mind that we were only two against about ten teams of six or more.  Our trip back to Cropredy was a lot more interesting and enjoyable then the rather cold and damp trip down with the sun in our eyes. This time Herbie transformed into an ice breaker!

It was a very cold bright morning, although the sun behind us kept our backs warm and we were glad not to have the bright light in our eyes and the dreaded sun reflections on the water.  Once we got out of Banbury and given our customary wave to Dink and Malc (regular boaters down there will know who we mean), the ice started.

It was mostly about 4 or 5 mm thick and here and there a bit thicker, so we were crunching along leaving a clear path in our wake.

We were making quite a racket, I would think you could hear us some way off.  I wasn’t too concerned about scraping off Herbie’s blacking as were due to be re-blacked this year anyhow, but in the event I think it stayed intact.  As to the locks, you'll be horrified to know that despite the ice I still managed to jump across the open bottom gates rather than walk round! Elf and safety would have a fit.

Patches of ice came and went and it was hard to work out why some places had frozen over and some not.  Some shady places were clear, some sunny spots were frozen.  My bet is on shallow water and lack of cover being responsible for most of the ice.  Anywhere where there was a bit of a ripple on the water was clear.  All in all though I suppose we were breaking ice for about half of the five miles.  Mercifully, the marina was totally unfrozen when we got back although the sun in my eyes when we turned made me make a right pig’s ear of getting back against our pontoon.  That’s my excuse anyway.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Are we mad?

Just as the weather turns bitterly cold, we're off out on Herbie. Last night we got ice and snow, and today it's even colder. Jumping across the lock gates was a bit scary, but I'm here (snug and warm in the Reindeer for the quiz) to tell the tale.

A couple of nights ago we went to a live screening of Bill Shakespeare's Tragedy of Richard The Second, in which the ruler of England was beset by stupidly bickering lords who couldn't agree on how the country should be run. Meanwhile.the king was distracted by issues in Ireland. Eventually he of course was deposed. Nothing like that could ever happen nowadays of course

Monday, January 07, 2019

Clearing up.

Here’s a bit about us not boating. We were planning to go out on Herbie this week, but we decided to enjoy a few days peace at home now that the family have departed back to their own places after messing ours up.  The house is wonderfully quiet and now we can walk across the floor without tripping over wires. People who know our Peter won’t be surprised at this picture of him spreading his toys all over our front room. I did offer him desk space upstairs but he prefers to get under our feet.  Bless!


It’s like this every time he comes home.  He’s the only person I know who buys a new electric guitar (just out of the picture) and instead of playing it, plugs it into an oscilloscope (which he just happens to have with him!)  and starts messing about creating distortion circuits.  No, he doesn’t work in electronics, he just likes toys. We’ll be getting resistors out of the carpet and microchips down the side of the sofa for weeks I expect.

Still, there was an upside. In tidying up after he went back home to Cambridge I found a missing piece of my camera tripod, so I was able to set it up in the garden by our bird feeders which are getting lots of visitors at the moment.  It’s so dark lately that I’ve had to resort to using the flash.  I thought it might scare the birds off but they seem to get used to it, and using flash gives an opportunity to take high speed images like this one of a blue tit.


I’m triggering the camera remotely from inside the house.  Shots worth keeping are running at about one percent.

I’m in a constant battle with the squirrels who try to pinch the peanuts.  The peanut feeder hangs on a longish wire from our lime tree. The thieves hang upside down from a twig, reach down to the feeder with their front paws and lift it up so that they can gnaw at the nuts.  I extended the wire today and after a few failed attempts the squirrel skulked of in disgust. Hah!

Another thing that likes to eat upside down is a nuthatch that has been showing up recently.  I’m still trying to get a good picture of him /her.  Here’s the best I’ve managed so far.


Now the Christmas decorations are down and the Christmas tree has been chopped up for disposal, and once we have overwhelmed our local recycling centre with bottles, cardboard, bits of tree and holly and ivy, we hope to get out to Herbie in a few days, especially as the threatened Beast from the East mark II doesn’t seem to be showing up.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Herbie Awards – New Year Honours

A change in tradition!  Having wantonly missed the Christmas Deadline to finish the Herbie Awards, I have decided to cover up my sloppy work by introducing The Herbie New Year Honours list. What fun!  I could award the Order of the Herbie Empire (OHE), or how about the CHE – Commander of the Herbie Empire (no, I think that’s Kath, or should she get Companion of Honour?).  I think I ought to eschew awarding the title of Member of the Herbie Empire, people might think I was staging a hostile takeover.  How about the Order of the Bath?  Hmm , that would sound like I was frowning on a person’s personal hygiene.  I know.  Got it! The Herbie Order of the Canal Knights.  HOCK. And I know just the people to award it to.

People who read the many boater’s blogs may not realise the effort that goes into writing them. It’s not just typing up a few notes.  Photos have to be selected and edited (not to mention taking them in the first place), headlines have to be invented, facts sometimes have to be checked, interesting themes have to be chosen and of course prose has to be authored.  Anyone who keeps a regular blog going has to put in the hours.  So this year The Herbie Academy salutes all those dedicated folk who keep us amused and informed about the goings on up and down the cut.  Accordingly, taking out my sword I ask them to kneel before Herbie as I tap them on the shoulder and award the

Herbie Order of the Canal Knights


All the Boating Bloggers

Thanks to you all. You keep Kath quiet for many a happy hourSmile