About Me

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I'm Fred. I arrived on the scene in 2002 in a paper bag. I was given as a birthday present. I live with "Him" and "Her". I spend a lot of time on my shelf above their bed thinking. We also spend quite a lot of our time on our Narrowboat "Jophina II" . My blog is about my thoughts and experiences.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Lots of Lots!

I haven’t blogged for a while so to my avid readers around the globe I apologise. There has not really been any reason – I just haven’t got ‘round to it!
Last Saturday He went off to an auction in Market Rasen. There were over 1400 lots laid out in the car park of the Racecourse which were sold in three simultaneous auctions. There were hundreds of people there. It’s called a farm collective sale and there are two a year; the lots comprise just about anything from a garden rake, through farm equipment and machinery to cars, vans and vintage tractors. He says that apart from being able to buy a few things ( some of which I suspect he didn’t know He wanted before he went!) it was good entertainment and an opportunity to meet a few folks he hadn’t seen in a while.
So what did he buy? Well he came home with a selection of weights ( the kind used on large farm scales for weighing potatoes and the like) and half a barrel! I really don’t know what to say but He seemed pleased so we shall see what he does with them. Quite eccentric I would say!
On Sunday He spent the day clearing out the garage so that the youngest one, C, can have a 16th birthday party in it next weekend. I was sorry to see that He threw away the placards from my peace camp some years ago! It’s all clean and tidy and I await with anticipation to see how He copes with an army of 16 year olds next weekend!

Friday, 24 September 2010

The world did not end last night ...but the Homework got done!

I’m pleased to report that the world didn’t end yesterday! It wasn’t foretold that it would I hasten to add (that is some date in 2012 I am told) but it had the capacity to. What was this world event that shook the globe and sent millions into a frenzy. Was it President Obama’s address to the UN or some terrorist event? No. ….FACEBOOK CRASHED! Not once but several times and in the UK was “out” for most of the evening causing anguish amongst millions of teenagers ( and adults) and no doubt a massive increase in the usage of other social networking sites and the mobile phone companies dealing with a surge in text messages. I imagine that the ether was so full of Tweets that the birds couldn’t hear themselves think. Mind you the homework got done.

The irony in all this is that is that the movie The Social Network is about to be released in the US and there is a scene in which the network has a near meltdown as an investor threatens to pull out and the servers are threatened with being closed down whilst Jesse Eisenberg, playing a young (!) Mark Zuckerberg, fights to save his dream. But is it irony? Some might say that the real world shutdown of Facebook yesterday has drawn significant attention to the movie.

Incidentally Mark Zuckerberg (26) was recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s richest men worth $6.9billion based on the value of his shares in Facebook. According to my bear brain though, if Facebook doesn’t work then those shares aren’t worth anything!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Locked Out....a boating term?!

He and L went off last Thursday to get the boat back after the bottom blacking. They took the train to Long Eaton and having dropped all their gear off on the boat which was in a dry dock they went to the pub for a meal and a couple of drinks. Very tired they went back at 10 o’clock and as he tried to open the door lock on the boat the key sheared off in the lock; the language was quite choice. Fortunately the Dry Dock was in the same building as a workshop and after some rooting about He found some tools with which to “gain entry” otherwise known a breaking in! Phew.
Next morning the boatyard owner had to cut off the padlock with an angle grinder. After that they set off for home and after a 9 ½ hour journey they arrived in Newark just as it was getting dark. Nik was waiting for them outside the Barge Pub (appropriately) with a pint in his hand!
Next day they left at 8am and got to West Stockwith at 4pm where after refuelling they spent the night moored up outside the Waterfront Inn. The final leg back to the home mooring was done on Sunday morning in pouring rain. A good time was had by all.

In the Dry Dock

Flooding the dry dock

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Bottom Blacking!

Now that the title has got your attention, I should perhaps explain that this is not another example of cruelty to bears, but a ritual which has to be performed on narrowboats from time to time.

Last Thursday he and I set off from Clayworth in the afternoon and travelled down the Chesterfield Canal to where it meets the Trent at West Stockwith. Early on Friday morning we headed out of the lock onto the Trent and 5 1/2 hours later we arrived at Cromwell Lock near Newark which the limit of the tidal river. After another hour and a half we moored up in Newark itself where She and C joined us. We had a leisurly cruise up the Trent on Saturday to moor up for the night outside County Hall in the city centre. On Sunday we carried on to Trent Lock on the Erewash Canal. In the afternoon She, C and I went home by car whilst he stayed on to see the boat safely into the the dry dock the next morning.

We are off again later today to bring the boat back, this time with L and Nik.

Lincolnshire Wolds Railway

On bank holiday monday a couple of weeks ago we went to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway at Ludborough near Louth. A fellow blogger had given me the idea when I read her blog.

It's only about a 3 mile trip but none the less enjoyable. The locomotive that pulled our train was only a year older then Him. Tee Hee!The name was amusing as well!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

A visit to the Dales

Last week they took themselves off to Malham in Yorkshire for a couple of days. I went as well but they didn't let me out of their hotel room! They did quite a lot of walking around Malham Cove and Goredale Scar. They had a good time and by all accounts ate well in the pub where they stayed. Their visit coincided with the Malham show which they went to and greatly enjoyed; He was amused by the Longest Dandelion Root competition and also the quest to see how many items beginning with M in a matchbox!








Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The trip continued

On Sunday he got up early and set off at 0730 down the New Junction Canal. As he didn't have a crew (apart from me) he had to do all the Lift Bridges and Locks himself. By lunchtime we were in Thorne where L and her boyfriend Nik joined us. He was grateful for their help.

We got to the Vazon Railway bridge near Keadby by about 4pm only to find that it was out of order. This bridge is now unique in that it carries two railway tracks across the canal and slides diagonally to allow boats to pass. Anyway, we had to wait for Network Rail to fix it and eventually got to Keadby at 8pm.

We then went home for a day and returned to the boat on Monday night. Yesterday (Tuesday) He and C went through Keadby Lock on to the tidal Trent to West Stockwith where he made a bit of a mess of getting into the lock. He says he misjudged the wind and tide but when He shouted "Hold on" I knew it was time to hide. We made it and after five more hours we reached out home mooring at Clayworth where we were picked up.

River Trent - M180 bridge

Chesterfield Canal

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Birthday!

It's his birthday today which I suppose means it's mine too. Well I arrived on his birthday in 2002 so that's the closestI have to one!.

We woke up in Leeds whee they gave him presents before we set off. We arrived at Lemonroyd Marina about lunchtime where they all left leaving him to carry on alone with the boat. We ended up at Southfied Junction on the New Junction Canal. A bit of a long day.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Back in Leeds

We left Skipton on Monday and arrived in Leeds on Thursday afternoon. It was a pleasant journey and here are some photos He took along the way.




Monday, 9 August 2010

Skipton

We've spent three days in Skipton and liked it very much. They have been to Bolton Abbey, shopping, eating out and generally mooching about while I looked after the boat.
These are some pictures of Bolton Abbey.





To get there they went on an old Diesel train. It should have been steam but unfortunately that wasn't working.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Skipton

We moved on to Skipton today in showery rain. We are moored up right in the centre. It's a really nice town and they have already been to the shops. Fish and Chips for tea! Yum!!
There's only three of us now; L went home yesterday.



Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Bingley 5 Rise

From Rodley we moved on to Shipley where they met up with friends and went out for a meal. They didn’t take me!
This morning they went to look at Saltaire and at Salts Mill they did some shopping before moving on. The fist lock we got to was a single, the second a double and the third the Bingley 3 rise (triple). Then it was on to one of the wonders of the waterways; the Bingley 5 rise (five locks in a staircase) which lifts the canal over 60ft. It took about a hour to get up under the watchful eye of three lock keepers.
Here are some photos of the day


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Through Leeds

We had a busy day today working through locks on the way out of Leeds. I lost count of how many but it was quite a few. They were all so busy nobody took any pictures.
We are moored up in Rodley for the night.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Royal Armouries

They came back yesterday and we moved from Lemonroyd to Clarence Dock in Leeds.
We've spent the day moored up outside the Royal Armouries museum and they all went there and enjoyed it. Tonight they have been for a curry at a restaurant right behind where the boat is moored.


Friday, 30 July 2010

At last the pictures of the Teddy Bear Parachute Drop 2008

Well I don't know where they have gone but I'm not that bothered. It gives me plenty of time to do what I do best....Think!

In one of my earliest posts (January 2010), I commented that I had been asked to be involved in a Teddy Bear parachute jump back in 2008 and that I had refused. I said that I would post some pictures of the terrible event and I have only just found them.

The idea was that She (His wife) who is involved with the church organised this event to raise money for Claxby Church. Well I'm all for that, but to wantonly haul bears up the church tower in a basket and then throw them off as some kind of spectacle is just not on. Bears have rights you know and I doubt that many had a choice in the matter. Some were fortunate to have owners who knew how to make a passing attempt at making a parachute whereas other poor souls were literally cast adrift. One poor Bear even decided to "come out" as being gay in an attempt to be spared!

I and another bear of like views decided to form a protest camp. He helped to construct it at the church gates and as She ushered the public toward the church to view the torture she couldn't understand why everyone was stopping at the church gates to take photos and look at at my peace camp. Disappointingly He kept his distance!

The event still went ahead and here are some pictures of the terrible day taken by a sympathiser called Penny.

This is me in the peace camp with my friend. Note the placards.


These are some of the poor bears being hauled to the top of the tower and of some on their drop to the ground. The outcome in some cases was so grave(!) that I can't post some of the pictures.







A sad day for Bears!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A very short day!

If yesterday was long then today was very short indeed. Only about an hour and a half from Castleford to Lemonroyd. He and C have gone off somewhere - He didn't say!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

A long day.

We set off quite early this morning from Thorne. At Bramwith we joined the New Junction canal which is one of the more modern canals in the country. It is 5 1/2 miles long and as straight as a die. Mind you there are several swing/lift bridges and one lock to keep the crew occupied. This is a guillotine gate at the south end.



Then it was onto the Aire & Calder. Passing through Ferrybridge this bridge once carried the Great North Road (A1).

Much of this area is given over to coal mining and power stations - the two of course going hand in hand. Many of both have closed down but some remain. In former times coal was transported from the colliery to the power station using Tom Pudding compartment boats which were towed in "trains" and then unloaded by lifting them up and tipping out the coal.
FERRYBRIDGE POWER STATION


TOM PUDDINGS

SITE WHERE THE TOM PUDDINGS WERE LIFTED



All in all 9 hours travelling.

Monday, 26 July 2010

A close shave and mingling with big boys

We set off on our journey yesterday. We left Clayworth on the Chesterfield Canal in the middle of the afternoon and went down to Misterton about four hours away where we spent the night.As you can see from the photo we have the Kayak on the roof and He had one or two nervy moments as we went under bridges – none more so than this! A close shave!






Today we made our way to West Stockwith Lock (above) which is where the Chesterfield Canal meets the tidal Trent and after a bit of a delay we were off on the outgoing tide Two hours later and we were at Keadby Lock. He said that the entrance was a bit tricky and I can see why. Mind you he also said that what he did was “text book” which I took to mean that we didn’t actually hit anything! Just before the lock we were mingling with the big boys.




From Keadby we joined the Stainforth and Keadby Canal and we are now spending the night at Thorne.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Ready to go and the Globalisation of Fred

I'm all ready to go, my meagre possesions packed. He and the younger daughter C (not forgetting me) are taking the boat to somewhere near Leeds. We set off tomorrow and I will report as and when I can. we're taking a Kayak as well so that will be fun.

My hopes of going global continue apace. Now I have a visitor from Brazil who has visited twice in the last few days.Bem Vindo (or vinda as the case may be).

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Viva Las Vegas

I get visitor statistics for my blog and I notice this month that there has been a visitor from Las Vegas. OK you might say "so what". Well the so what is that apart from them checking up on me whilst they were in Florida, I have few international visitors ( I don't get many at all truth be told)but now I have had one from Sweden and one from Las Vegas. It seems to me that I am poised on the brink of going global.

Air Show

Earlier this week He visited the Farnborough Air Show which He found interesting. The pictures below are of the massive Airbus A380 and the new, very attractive , Boeing 787.





We're off on a trip soon and I shall report further in due course - providing He remembers to take me!!!

Monday, 28 June 2010

The weekend

Well that’s that for England. What more can I say.

They spent the day on the narrowboat yesterday with friends so didn’t watch the match. Everywhere was eerily quiet except when they were going through a lock where there was a boat moored up with the occupant obviously watching the match. From within the darkened hull came what can only be described as cries of frustration, despair and anguish; says it all really.

Incidentally there was a nasty moment with the new hat – it blew off! Fortunately it didn’t go in the canal but it was a close thing!

Wisely or unwisely He mentioned my blog to a number of people on Saturday night (maybe one Indian Lager too many?) so if, as a result I have new readers, then welcome. My web statistics need a boost!

Friday, 25 June 2010

A new hat!!

They went to the Lincolnshire show earlier this week. After wandering around looking at Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, Goats and all manner of other beasts, except Bears of course, they visited all the trade stands which seemed to entertain them. He bought himself one of those Australian Hats to wear on the narrowboat although I suspect he’ll wear it other places as well!




It must be his age!!!

Thoughts on the World Cup so far......

Now I’m not a football bear usually. I don’t have one of those shirts which “owners” make their bears wear to support a particular team so I should be thankful for that. He doesn’t take much interest in football normally ( more of a Rubgy fan) but has been watching various matches from the World Cup.

England’s performance or lack of it in the first two matches was disappointing. They just seemed to lack any drive. To see France and Italy knocked out so early on is a surprise but, to be honest, adds a little spice to the whole business. The performance of the Japanese team has been, in His totally non-expert view, very creditable. They play as a team (unlike the French) and with energy and enthusiasm abounding. Setbacks are taken in their stride without histrionics and they just get on with the business of playing the game and winning the match.

The performance of the French team on and off the pitch has been a different kind of entertainment. A friend of his sent him a copy of an article which appeared in The Economist which seems to sum up how a game (football is a game isn’t it?) and society become inextricably linked and reflect the everyday tensions of living. I particularly like the photograph at the end. Allez les Bleus and don’t bother coming back seems to sum it up!

Three neuroses on their shirts
What the travails of Les Bleus say about modern France
Jun 24th 2010 | PARIS

BAFFLED, shaken and finally repelled, the French have watched aghast at the existential drama that unfolded this week in South Africa, on the pitch and off it. World Cup winners in 1998, France were eliminated from this year’s tournament without winning a single game, and flew home in disgrace. But it was the team’s performance off the pitch that so appalled the French, described by the sports minister, Roselyne Bachelot, as a “moral disaster” that had “tarnished the image of France”.

The fiasco began with a dressing-room row, in which a star player, Nicolas Anelka, yelled insults at Raymond Domenech, the coach. The French Football Federation sent Mr Anelka home, prompting a mutiny by the players, who refused to train for the next match. As recriminations flew, the captain, Patrice Evra, said that the problem was not Mr Anelka but the mole who leaked the row. The unloved Mr Domenech called the players “imbeciles”. Players and staff rowed in front of the cameras. President Nicolas Sarkozy even held a crisis meeting in response.

The affair has provoked much agonised introspection. Aime Jacquet, the victorious 1998 coach, said he was “ashamed”, describing the team as “the laughing stock of the world”. Le Monde, the bible of the Paris intellectual, described the team as “a mirror of French society today. Dominated by tormented egos and star salaries, cut off from the reality of the country and their fans, split into clans”. Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister, called it “an appalling soap opera”. Jacques Attali, an economic adviser to the president, hoped that the affair would “act as a wake-up call” and show the French they could no longer “be satisfied with past glories…glory is the worst enemy of power, and nostalgia the worst poison for the future.”

The debacle, and the reaction to it, says as much about French neuroses as it does about football. First, there is the prickly matter of race and religion. Most of the French squad are black, and many are Muslim, including Mr Anelka, who is a convert to Islam, as is Franck Ribery, who is white. The 1998 triumph was hailed at the time as a turning point: the country finally recognising, and celebrating, its multicultural make-up. Since then, between banlieue riots and talk of burqa bans, France has struggled to integrate its minorities. (Of the 23-man Algerian squad, 17 are French-born.) The team seems to reflect these tensions, with rumours of tribal divisions. Sensitivities are so acute that to criticise the players’ values, discipline or team spirit—one philosopher called them “a gang of yobs with the morals of the mafia”—is to be accused of racism.

Second, it exposes French distrust of money and globalisation. In a country that still has a wealth tax and whose president has declared laissez-faire capitalism “finished”, the footballers’ fabulous incomes—many earned playing for English clubs—are regarded as undeserved, if not corrupting. The World Cup fiasco, said Fran├žois Hollande, a Socialist leader, revealed “the excesses of French society: money, individualism”. He dismissed the French side as a “team of traders”. Even Rama Yade, the junior sports minister, denounced the team for staying in a five-star hotel.

Lastly, there is the constant tension between the French and authority. The French tradition of rebellion reaches way back, past 1789 to the 1358 Jacquerie revolt, and beyond. With continuing scandals about ministers’ perks, unrest is once again in the air. On June 24th protesters against proposed pension reforms took to the streets. This rebelliousness makes France, like its football team, particularly hard to govern. As more than one commentator pointed out, the only unusual thing about the players’ mutiny was that it was probably the first time that French millionaires have gone on strike.

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