Sunday 15 November 2020

I know it's been a while and soooo many of you have asked when will I write another blog. My answer to both of them is here it is. My last blog in July was about the publication of my new book "Sorry I was Miles Away" which hasn't flown off the shelves if I'm honest-bit too serious and fact-filled for many who were probably expecting another jokey tome.
I hope to revert to type with the third effort which will be about my life in Bits....sorry Boats and which I was going to make a serious start on this week whilst on holiday in Norfolk, Needless to say I aint there cos of the lockdown and anyway I'm not in a book mood. So I'm warming up with a blog.
Michael (aged 10ish) rows the boat ashore

 Back in the first lockdown I wrote
 "I know it's too early to be worrying but if this lockdown business carries on into and even through the Winter it aint going to be possible to meet the occasional chum outside for a cuppa or a glass and the dark nights never fill me with glee anyway. Here's praying they get something sorted by October or I might be in need of the rubber room. The latest from HMG  on the "shielded" and relaxing the lockdown does not fill me with confidence. Placing more responsibility on he individual to act responsibly is fine but there are so many fuckwits out there that I fear the worse. I've just watched the scenes from Bournemouth beach and decided I aint rushing anywhere busy no matter what the Government say. Come the Winter I shall hide under the bed and live on fishpaste sandwiches."

Well you know the rest thus far and apart from one overnight stay in Kent for Pam's birthday I haven't left the county nor indeed roamed far from the Berkhamsted. The rubber room undoubtedly beckons but that will probably happen irrespective of Lockdowns.
Pam's birthday treat was to befriend the farm dog-not really but it was a grand weekend.
Pam took me to an excellent cafe on Oare Creek-outside of course but a real treat

As was my only visit to a pub since March and that was in the garden. It was very enjoyable and we were joined by Caz, Philip and family.

Back at the mooring, the House of Wisdom as it is now called, has been a regular source of succour. It started life as "The Marquee" then became "The Pavillion" and following Fulham's elevation to the Premier League  "The Fulham Pavillion"

As temperatures have fallen we have added more walls whilst ensuring compliant ventilation.
Then the erection was renamed by Roy as the
Bayt al Hikma which as you all know from my book "Sorry I Was Miles Away" means "House of Wisdom!

The H of W has certainly helped maintain a degree of sanity throughout both lockdowns providing a venue for a weekly quiz (which with the advent of Zoom also involves Mac and Carrie on the Orkneys and Peter and Kay in Exeter)

Danny has created his new waiter friend and I posed at a booksigning

Sunday Lunch

Fish and Chips supper


A Musical Soiree

Santa's Christmas workshop

Light and Heat
Political debate

Even a cinema. The Bargee of course.

A pleasing evening view

A honcho in a poncho

Roy even found time to paint his boat and very fine she looks

We celebrated VE Day

I bought a new loo! So exciting; it's a compost toilet from the wonderfully named
Very pleased with it and very competitively priced. I asked for the Pig on the front-I call it my Pigloo.

The loo arrives

The lockdown has presented the opportunity to do some path repairs before Winter floods us out

and the wonderful Jules Fuels keep us supplied with diesel, gas and coal

A bit of excitement at the Cowroast Inn last week. 7 police cars there all morning and it looks like squatters are in residence though the rumour is they are there with permission. For understandable reasons there has been no sign of the pub being refurbished/reopened

Thank God we always have nature to  support us even in the direst of time

So it hasn't all been doom and gloom but I do fear for the Winter and as many of you will know I'm very much a Christmas person but hey ho I've had 73 marvellous Christmases so far so here's hoping for a 74th.
I've suggested and my idea has general support that circumstances permitting we try and put on a bit of a show before Christmas with canalside cottages and boats displaying some festive cheer. Should be good. Fingers crossed. As I mentioned earlier I was meant to be in Norfolk this week on holiday/book research.  If lockdown ceases on 2nd December I've booked a place near Bakewell from 5th to 12th but I'm not holding my breath.

Away from the mooring Pam hosted a small gathering of the old Lamb crew.

It was grand to see them and hear how they are coping.

Returning to the subject of my book I am pleased to see that both the Berkhamsted and Tring "Living" Magazines have given an honourable top billing mention to my efforts. The magazines are published on 16th November so let's hope that might help sell a few copies.

That's it for now. As always I am grateful to all who keep in touch either on the mooring or elsewhere, by way of the 6 p.m. texted Cheers Big Ears or by the odd welcome phone call and also through Zoom. Let's hope things improve soon. November hasn't been a bad month with Trump and Cummings gone and the hope of a vaccine. 
Keep hoping. Keep coping.

Friday 24 July 2020


Why am I looking so pleased with myself? Smug almost.
Well it's because I have finished and published my second book in a year.If you would like a copy (and who wouldn't?!)
"I'm Sorry, I was Miles Away" is available
price £6+ p&p

The Kindle can be bought
for £3+p&p

If you would rather buy the book direct from me (assuming you wish to buy it at all) then the p&p will be less than Amazon especially if our paths should cross in which case it will be nowt. ( let me know if you want a signed copy)

Please contact me at

"Me and Some other Jokes" is also still available in paperback (£5) and Kindle (£2.50) both from Amazon.

The new book is totally different from the first (thank God I hear you cry) and I hope you enjoy my ramblings through seven chapters about subjects I knew little about when I started it and not much more now.

If you have already ordered a copy it will be with you very soon.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

July has proved itself to be as damp and UnSummery (didn't she have a chain of shops once?) as June was which has necessitated the expansion of the tentage on the mooring in what is known as the Panther Arms. With the addition of another marquee we can now stay dry and 6 feet apart.
Mind you at the time of writing I can't make it as far as the marquee-bloody knee is playing up something rotten and won't bear any weight of which I have lots.
My disability has meant enforced time re-reading my forthcoming book-it's amazing no matter how many times you read something or go through with the spell-checker you still find stuff wrong.
The first Book came out on 16th July last year so I'm hoping to hit the same date this year with the second.
Totally different from my first effort "Sorry, I was Miles Away"** is not a litany of old jokes but a series of seven essays on stuff I vaguely remember being taught or told about but didn't pay attention at the time. I hope people enjoy it. I've tried to keep it lighthearted as far as I can bearing in mind there is a limited number of jokes available in subjects as diverse as Isaac Newtons' Laws of Gravity and the Bay of Pigs Invasion. As last year I am very grateful to friend, Philip, who is applying his considerable editing skills to my final draft.

**Still available from Amazon-paperback or Kindle.
A Cowroastian Moon

It's Wednesday and we have cricket. England v W. Indies. So what is the weather forecast. You got it. The virus is pernicious and deadly but the English weather is still tops in buggering everything that's good. Ah that theme tune so evocative and TMS such a quality production. And the sky is as black as Newgate's knocker. Sod it.
Time for toast. 

The expression 'As black as Newgate's knocker' is generally believed to refer to the heavy iron knocker on the gate of Newgate Prison. That belief may be correct but, then again, it may not. 
Newgate Prison was a notoriously grim and forbidding place. It was rebuilt several times before being replaced by The Central Criminal Court, more widely known as the Old Bailey.

As black as Newgate's knockerPublic executions took place outside Newgate and it isn't surprising that it became synonymous with dark deeds. The knocker itself was probably singled out because of the alliteration with 'Newgate' rather than any special property although, as can be seen from the accompanying picture of the actual knocker from the door of the jail, it is indeed an uncompromising, black, cast-iron affair (bearing in mind that, given the many knockers that the prison must have had over the centuries, it is safer to say this is a picture of a Newgate knocker, rather than the Newgate knocker).
But I digress. My sanitiser production continues apace especially since discovering its excellent glass cleaning qualities (that's the kind you look through not quaff from)

I'm getting more into Zoom as the lockdown progresses. Whilst the nation rushes into pubs and restaurants I'm resigned to being stuck here till the Spring so any contact is good albeit via a laptop screen. Had a good chat with Moira and Tom and Valerie and Martin last week with another planned for 16th . During lockdown Tom has grown an immense beard-it's good to have a hobby.Aint technology wonderful. The Chancellor's decision to cut VAT on food and accommodation to 5% is great for people that can go out to play especially on a Monday to Wednesday but is a tad frustrating if you don't yet trust the easing of restrictions. 

The excellent Mike Griffin has now been spotted twice on the mooring which is grand. Poor chap has been hors de combat for 5 months since breaking his leg and finishing up in Stoke Mandeville/Wycombe/Amersham hospitals/home.Welcome back Mike.  

One thing that has definitely suffered over the last 16 weeks is my ability to do the Times Crossword. I just can't be arsed; even on a Saturday which is the prize one and would normally keep me amused well into the week. I think it's because I liked sitting alone in a pub, with a pint and the crossword and regarding it as a treat. Or maybe I'm just getting thick.

Returning to the subject of bookwriting I think I've decided, if God grants me time, to make the next one all about my life afloat- from early holidays on the Norfolk Broads, my first boat in Norfolk for five years, life on the Great Ouse again for five years and over thirty years on the canals. I'd toyed with a couple of other options and wondered if there aren't too many other boaty books out there but we'll see how it goes.

Enough for now-hoping you're coping and coping with hope.


I know it's been a while and soooo many of you have asked when will I write another blog. My answer to both of them is here it is. My la...