Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Which Way Now?

Even I would find it difficult to get lost on the canal. Now the road - that's a different matter. I have always needed a little help in that department as my family will, I am sure, confirm after having passed the Eiffel Tower several times on a Sunday afternoon drive.
Some of you out there on dry land may remember the sad passing of 'Roada', the satellite navigation device I did not always get on with.
I always thought of her as being a bit of a girl about town, with very little interest in the job in hand, which was trying to keep me on the straight and narrow as it were. I often imagined that she was doing her nails or carrying out some other titivation, especially on a Friday night when there was a definite delay in her responses to my inputting a request for directions.
Her insistence on my constantly performing U turns was at best irritating, and I sometimes felt she was completely unbalanced. This became more apparent one day, when I pressed her buttons during a short journey to Hounslow, only to hear her say, I had 1,675 miles to go to reach my destination. I knew then,that she was not long for this world, and sure enough, shortly after this, she passed away and I returned her to her final resting place, the waste bin at Curry’s,Uxbridge.
All was not lost however. I replaced her with the super efficient ‘Maggie' - a lady who is definitely not for turning. Maggie is different altogether and, like me at the moment, does not have the distraction of a social life on a Friday night. As yet, she has not let me down, but I will keep you informed.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Jumpers - What in this weather?

We have fleas!
Well, strictly speaking Mellors does, although I realised if I did not do something quickly, things may develop into a more serious problem and I may have to jump ship. Having done this before and not wanting to repeat my involuntary swim, I set off for the local pet shop to see what I could find to treat our little visitors with.
Remembering a past infestation, when I lived in a rented house, (I won't say where, as I am not entirely sure I conquered the problem before I moved out), I know that Mellors is not entirely keen on taking flea altering drugs, or even my using any topical applications on him. In fact, as you have probably gathered from my previous ramblings, Mellors is not keen on very much at all, apart from hunting, terrorising dogs, eating and sleeping.
I returned from the shop, my purse a lot lighter than when I set out, with tablets and a brush. I took a little longer than intended, having had a lengthy, and for my part unwanted conversation with the pet shop owner about her cat's constipation problem. I just don't understand people's eagerness to talk about thir pets most intimate bodily functions with such enthusiasm and detail.
Now I swear, as soon as I got back onto my boat Mellors sensed what I had in my bag.
I took a tablet out of the pack and crushed it between a folded piece of paper. He made a bolt for the door, but I was quicker. I then got out my secret weapon. Well, they say you either love it or you hate it - Marmite!
I squeezed some on my finger (yes it comes in squeezy jars now - what is the world coming too?) and pressed it down to pick up the crushed tablet.
Mellors looked suspiciously firstly at me, then at the closed door and finally at my finger. Sniffing at it, he could resist no longer. He licked enthusiastically as if his life depended on it, until my finger was clean - job done! And for those Buddhists among you, don't worry, no fleas or cats were harmed during the writing of this blog. The tablets don't kill the fleas, they just jump off and go in search of another host.
If only I could find the little devils. Now where did I put my specs?

Friday, 4 September 2009

How Was Your Day?

Well mine was all about what my friend Jill calls 'Dorising.' I am presuming that has a capital 'D' and was named after a very clean, house proud woman called Doris - unless anyone knows differently? Maybe I will look on Wikipedia later - distractions, distractions!
Anyway, no tweeting, poking or blogging for me - this was a work day.
About once a week I need to take Argy to the water point to fill up his tank. This involves manouvres that cannot be achieved on a windy day as Argy, willful as he is cannot cope with even the slightest puff of wind without completely losing his sense of direction. I found this out to my cost the other day as I travelled sideways down the cut for about 200 yards before managing to regain control of him.
The water has to be got weekly as the tank is quite small and when getting near empty, the boat takes on a very definite lean to the left. (Is that portside?). This makes sleeping in my bed quite uncomfortable and disorientating and I have to bolster several cushions up against the wall to stop the feeling that I am sleeping on the North face of the Eiger.
When I get to the water point, assuming there is a space to park, I attach the hose to the tap on the towpath and put the other end into the hole on the front of Argy.

While filling up, I take the opportunity to wash my hair at the sink, an operation which takes a fair amount of water and balance.
I throw the rubbish into the skip and the next delightful job is to empty the portaloo.
I go into the little hut and the floor is swimming in what I sincerely hope is just water. I have mastered the art of holding my breath for the entire procedure. You do not, believe me, want to know any more detail than that.
So by now the water tank is full and I have to turn Argy round to go back to my parking spot.
This is the easy part as he is small enough to be turned with the ropes. A bit of swift lassooing goes on and providing I have remembered to remove the chimney pot beforehand, it is usually trouble free.
I need to charge the batteries further before I can start a 'proper' days work on my laptop. But before I can start the generator I have to change the oil. I would never have known this had the man in the shop not told me, as he sucked in his cheeks and shook his head (I thought only car mechanics did that). "You need to change it after every 50 hours use or you'll bugger it up, then we won't be responsible."
I didn't think he looked the sort to admit responsibility for anything, let alone the damage caused by my lack of technical knowhow and loving care for my genny.
I emptied the old oil into a very small container through an even smaller funnel and refilled with fresh, but when I went to put the petrol in the generator the can was completely empty. I had forgotten to buy some the day before. So off on a 5 minute walk to the car, petrol can in hand and I think I might as well take the washing to the launderette while I am out.
Two hours later, back on Argy, I had finally finished the chores I need to complete just to start the day.
I switched on my laptop, it was now about 5pm, and I am not really feeling like work now, so I think a cuppa might be nice.
Filling the kettle I try to turn on the gas and...nothing! I have to climb on to the front of the boat and fiddle with a spanner to change the gas bottle, lugging the empty one out on to the towpath, (they are not light even when empty) to take on a trolley to the chandlery for a replacement. The chandlery, by the way, for those of you who have not completely lost interest by now, is near where I got the water from that morning.
I eventually return to Argy around 6pm. Far too late to start work now, so I take that good book I have been meaning to read for ages, lay on the, now perfectly level bed, and I think I must have dozed off...
So, how was your day?