Monday, 27 June 2011

Gimp My Ride

I used Gimp to do a quick view of how my boat may look if I have the cabin cut back. (The water reflects its shape today.)

And then I might paint it a blue-grey colour, sometrhing like this:

I could paint some blackbirds in flight along the cabin sides too.

I've been doodling on bits of paper to work out how the inside layout would alter but that will have to be another post, another day.
Wow it's hot today! I had a lovely, lesiurely boat trip from Rickmansworth to Watford and was glad there weren't queues of boats behind me as it was too hot to rush through the locks. My washing dried very quickly :-)

Thursday, 23 June 2011


This entry is born of the frustration of not being able to comment directly on Rose of Arden's blog and say how brilliant their post about bats is! Have a look HERE.
I find bats fascinating and didn't know ordinary people could get bat detectors (although Mags and Mike may be extraordinary, I don't know!). They've put links to hear the different sounds bats make. I never know what kind of bats are zooming around my head late at night but I like the fact that they live so secretly from humans. I also like them because they remind me of hot summer nights in France. We walked back to the boat, late on the evening of the solstice and had them swooping overhead - lovely,
Here's my own little bat, imaginatively named "Batty".

Friday, 17 June 2011


Banardos does some fantastic work to protect children in the UK. I worked for them in a very humble position myself, years ago. Which is why I’m particularly upset to see their involvement in running the newly opening detention centre for families and children at Pease Pottage. They will be working in conjunction with G4S (Group 4 security) who are currently facing possible corporate manslaughter charges after the death of Jimmy Mubenga during a forced removal on a flight to Angola. In 2010 alone, there were 700 complaints made against G4S, including assault and racism.
The last government announced the closure of the Yarl’s Wood detention centre (mainly women and children), saying it was inhumane and investigations showed that even short spells in detention prisons were deeply traumatic for children. Incidences of weight-loss, depression, bed-wetting, traumatised behaviour, nightmares and self-harming were common. Kids taken from school, from their homes in front of neighbours and friends, very often from the only homes they've known, to be bundled off to a prison without time to pack toys, clothes, say goodbyes.. The Children's Commissioner, Sir Al Aynsley-Green said in his report that detention was harmful to children and should be stopped. After the 'End Child Detention Now' campaign, started by ordinary people and backed by more famous people with a bit of clout, the last government finally agreed to shut down Yarl's Wood in May this year.
But now we have a new government and with it, a re-branded imprisonment of children. The name is now 'Pre-departure Accommodation Centre' but it's the same disgraceful locking up of kids. There was an initial reistance among a few mp's but the involvement of Banardos has given it the veneer of care and compassion needed to get it through the planning process.
As one protestor says, 'Barnardo's endorsement has given this sham a fig leaf of legitimacy with the councillors who granted it planning permission expressing that they are reassured by Barnardo’s involvement.'
In fact, the former chief executive of Banardos, Martin Narey, slammed the imprisonment of asylum-seeking families as “unnecessary” and “shameful”. Out with the old and in with the new, it seems. If all decent children's charities refused to get involved in this shameful set-up, the centre couldn't open.

If anyone cares about this and doesn't want to see Banardos sully its fine reputation, they can send an e-mail messga eon their feedback form here.

“I am so scared of the Home Office. It is hard times for me and my mum. She would rather kill herself than go back." A child who was in detention.

Friday, 10 June 2011

I have peas!

Happiness is small round green things in pods.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


I know this may be a bit unusual but I've been thinking for some time about shortening my boat. Well, what I really mean is shortening the cabin length, to give me a bigger hold. The boat is 52ft long and has a very small cratch area of about 3 or 4ft long floor space. I don't particularly want a bigger boat but I long for more outside space. I guess there's all the countryside and towpath to be had, but I want to lug it all with me. And sit out in it. And grow veg and small trees in it. And make things that I can't make indoors.
I'm wondering if it would be cheaper to get Blackbird altered rather than sell up and buy something a bit different and I'll have to start by getting some quotes from boatyards. I think I'd prefer to keep my boat as I'm very attached to it.
So, it would mean losing my large sitting-room so you'd come straight into the kitchen area from the front entry. Then the room that is currently a spare bedroom/work space would become my sofa area. So I'd probably make the kitchen/new sitting-room an open plan space, partly divided, with the stove moved up to this area.
I'd lose a lot of bookshelf storage but gain maybe another 13 ft of hold. Would it be worth it? I'll have to measure up properly, do some proper sketches, get the boatyards to come up with some figures and decide if it is!