Sunday, May 22, 2005

Wow !!!! Who needs solar panels! I will start wearing a toupee in future. I have as much chance of being struck by lightening as meeting Annie Lennox :o)) Posted by Hello

Whoa!! Hold on. I have promised to stop swearing

What a photograph? someones upset!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bad weather day

Well I`ve been to the cafe and had my breakfast, my daughter has just phoned to find out which day exactly she has to move in (to house sit) and they My wife and her are meeting up for shopping therapy in Guildford. Boy is the house quiet, just me and the box.

Last night whilst feeding the Vixen the lady next door stuck her head through the fence (yes there is a hole in it through which the fox transits with the food, taking it back to her cubs) and asked me if I would like to see her cubs as they were waiting in line at the bottom of her garden, which I did.

The mother was taking the food that I gave her and feeding each one individually (no free-for-all) in turn.

Her ( the lady next doors) three young sons 10,12,14, were each now able to hand feed her too and she was now quite at home with them.

Whilst I worry that we are destroying her ability to find food for herself!. Given that we have just gone over to secure wheelie bins from black sacks for our rubbish, I therefore console my fears with the thought that we are acting as a transition period, feeding wise, until she gradually gets back to her natural hunting (finds another heighbourhood that has black sacks for their rubbish). I watched the faces of the kids whilst feeding her and it was a joy to behold here was three young men that adored wildlife and were helping to nurture it in the community. OK only foxes but who knows what these little guys may go off and do as a result of this encounter. Game keepers, wildlife rangers, vets who knows what. I think its great!!

Already this has had an effect on the community as the lady next door at her daily staff meeting in a well known supermarket, was praised for taking the time to consider the local wildlife. Much to a disgruntled fellow members surprise " Bloody vermin" they said "crapping everywhere" to which she replied "not in my garden they don`t I only get the cats in mine doing that"
the disgruntled person is a cat owner owning 5 and living in a 1 bed flat Phew!!eeeee!

I love the wild life! I do miss my regular attendance at London Zoo when I was a fellow of the Royal Zoological Society. As one of the few priveleges, I could visit on a Sunday morning before the visitors were allowed in, it was a very special pleasure to me even though I don`t agree with animals in captivity, there is a very special need to keep safe a gene pool of the very rare and endangered species. Stud books are alsovery important (why arent I on one? Ah! I remember... thats self evident!) As a very fine line exists between the Zoos that exists for human pleasure and human need!

Whilst TV isn`t smelly-vision I don`t necessarily condone the keeping of the non endangered animals, although many of those are very quickly becoming members of the edangered list.

Yes TV does show us things like a now famous presenter (so called Zoologist and animal specialist sitting with Gorillas) but the cost of that was that the group of Gorillas now pinpointed by the large amount of equipment and personell needed to film it successfully, caused them to be slaughtered for bush meat immediately after the cameras left. What a price?????

One name that I do think that I should bring up at this juncture was a very "hard charging" lady fighting for the gorillas of Rhuanda, Diane Fossey, sadly killed by a "fellow part time ranger" it is believed her relationship with Digit and the rest of his group was a special turning point in animal rights (much like mine and my fox oh yes its all relevant :o))) forget those prats that stand outside vivisection joints with posters or beat up security guards so as to let out 2000 mink in Norfolk, which wiped out the fenland wild life in five year. We must all do our bit and the urban fox, to me, is as important as any other animal in the education of, the young and old alike, as to the importance animals play in the correct natural balance of this world that we live in. Pheww heavy!!!!!!!.............. Boy I really shouldnt get on my high horse!!! Now thats another point in the worls of Horse racin................ forget it Rob let it go!!!!!!!.......... dont get started again!!! :o))

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Atlantide A most beautiful boat found on a beach in Malta and brought back from extinction by a loving and caring owner. To my mind the most beautiful of boats above decks as well as below, with her gratious furniture Lalique glass, cut glass mirrors and sculpture, created by her owner. She now spends her time as a support ship for a racing "J" class yacht. Far from the sounds of an ongoing battle Posted by Hello

Blue Bird a very proud survivor of Dunkirk Posted by Hello

Sir Donald Campbells boat Bluebird

Once owned by Sir Donald Campbell, she ferried many people off thew Dunkirk beaches

Greta a Thames sailing barge used to shallow water and ideal for the task of approaching the beaches Posted by Hello

All sorts of boats pulled our guys off the beaches

Boats were taken without the owners permission and collected in the upper Thames until the time was right to take them across to collect and ferry soilders back onto the awaiting battleships and cruisers. The Valliant little boats with their navy crews did a great job. One houseboat owner had gone out to get some shopping with the meagre amount of "Coupons" only to find that her home had gone along with her pet cat whilst she was away. on the decks of the boat you can see some of the very same men that were ferried off the beaches.

Don sitting at the wheelhouse in Dunkirk inner harbour having left Ramsgate some five hours before. Posted by Hello

Dunkirk a small reminder of what sort of boats and what sort of people!

Above is a photograph taken five years ago at the last Dunkirk reunion I attended as an observer. The boat in the picture is called Bou Saad and was owned by Don Kahn
( sitting in the wheel house, at the wheel) Don was at Dunkirk as was his boat but not togeather at the time. He was a founder member of my boat club at Weybridge and until recently an active member if only at the bar. it was the likes of Don and many others like him that gave us British the ability to sleep in our beds at night free from the Reich. Don`s boat was always kept in pristine condition until it became too much for him, at over eighty years of age. I believe that he now lives in Spain and with failing health probably the best place to live out his days in the sun and the bosom of his family.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Dunkirk visit (nice weather needed)

Well! I am booked into the Dunkerque marina for the duration of the D Day "festivities"! I am looking forward to visiting the old town again having last been there for those very same "celebrations" some five years ago.

It`s great to watch the old veterans, of both sides as they proudly represent their countries in the rememberance of their dead comrades. Not for personal pleasure but safe in the knowledge that we all now know that this should never happen again. The numbers of them attending get less and less each year and those that do attend, do so in a less mobile way (many wheel chairs and sticks are becoming evident) but still they come. The highlight of the "Parade" always used to be the Lanchester with a spitfire on the port and a hurricane on its starboard side flying low over the small "Dunkirk boats" fleet, dropping a million poppy leaves as a tribute to those fallen in the war. I wonder if they will do it again this year as it is the 65 celebration.

The trip, for me starts from Surrey on friday next as I am taking a boat down to Ramsgate ready to be taken across the Dover straights at the given time. I will then head off down to my own boat and bring it along the south coast to Dover, where I collect a couple of friends and we will then cross to a point just off the port of Calais and turn and head up Channel to Dunkirk, arriving some time on the Thursday evening/night.

Then depending upon the times of the Lock opening High water + - 2 hours approx we will enter into the inner Marina where all the commemorative fleet will be staying, and moor up for the weekend.

A few of my boat club (10 boats)will be joining us there as part of a formal, organised cruise so it will be good to meet some old friends, they will have attended from Surrey arriving in Ramsgate after the vessel that I delivered, and departing from Ramsgate at the same time as it.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Joys of boating

I have been assisting a couple of friends with their boat which is currently out on the hard. Their hull hasn`t been out of the water for four years and the bottom was dirty so the old antifoul has to be scraped off and new applied for the coming year. So there we are standing under the boat scraping and scraping and scraping Booring!!! Blah!! arm and back aching work not to mention the toxic nature of the crap that comes off, Yes I know I should have worn a mask Boy have I been sick.

Anyway the first thing I discovered was rampant Osmosis (fibre glass pox) everywhere. the hull needs to be peeled of gellcoat and steam cleaned well and allowed to dry before re gelcoating. It won`t however get it as funds are short (they are old live aboards and intent on travel next year to reduce the frightening costs of owning a boat and living in the UK.)

Each day I would present myself for duty (O eighthundred) and at the end of the day about twenty hundred, wend my way back to my own boat and have a shower (the water would be blue from the antifoul dust)and the warm water would heal my old aching bones.

Then it was off to the the restaurant for my dinner, delightful chats with the Polish waitresses and home to "Horlicks" my book and bed! What a bore you might say? but I love it, I do exactly as I please when I please.

The joys of boating! I really do love it! nothing is ever what you would expect. the people the tasks or the boating world in general there is always something to do people to see or places to go.

When in the commercial world of boating it is of course more pressured butI think I am leaving that behind for now with its delivery dates and booring people back to my book, soon to be blog, when I get my laptop up and running on the local free Wifi system (is there really such a thing as a free lunch? Nah!)

I really love my life!!! why am I so lucky? will it last? even my friends on the Blog are great! I love em all! Snooooooreooo!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Todays a day to be sick!!

I am sick and tired of listening to the leader of the winning party of our general election, droning on about how they now know what we the british public want. With their representation in Parliament down to 36% and the oppositions up to 33% I should think that it is pretty obvious what the public want, still a further session will allow them to prevent the approaching recession they will have caused ....NOT!!.

Enough of that I am not a political animal so I will tell you about my little foxy friend. each night at about 18.00 she waits for me to come out with the dog food tin and spoon and doesn`t make a move towards me until I tap on the bowl, .

Whilst feeding her the other night. My neighbour poked her head through the fence and asked if I was feeding the fox as she was too and that her boys have indeed named the cubs. She was surprised to see that I was feeding her straight out of my hands as they couldn`t get anywhere near her. I guess the kids were a bit noisy (three boisterious, footballing, young boys)

Tonight She ( the fox not my neighbour :o))) waited at the top of the garden as usual and at the same time as I tapped my spoon on the dish the eldest Boy from next door stuck his head through the fence, and asked in a loud voice, if I was going to feed the fox and she immediately took fright, and so I didn`t get to have the same close feeding time as usual. she did however visit and take the food from the bowl but was very careful to do it whilst she was alone.

I was going down to stay on my boat for the weekend today but my wife developed a cold yesterday and is coughing and sneezing for England so maybe we will go tomorrow. the weather doesnt look too good for the morning but will brighten up in the afternoon (yea right!)

I am gradually getting the boat ready for my visit to the Dunkirk memorial service visit. today I scrubbed the dingy. and yesterday I manufactured a stainless fiddle for my gas hob (to prevent pans from sliding off when at sea) I am now clearing up the mess in my workshop and garage Blahhhhh hate it!!! I have just heard that I can get WIFI for free in my Marina so that will be a treat I look forward to that (yea right!! if its true, theres no such thing as a free lunch)!

No change!!!!!!!!

Well the British General election is over and the same government is back in power. Im not a political person but I am glad in a way because we (the country) is heading for a depression, within two years, and the current party has borrowed so much money from the IMF that it would be unfair for the opposition party to get it (which is usually what happens) and then have to spend a long time sorting out the mess.

The previous party when in power sorted out most of the problems and were ready to sort the rest and then the great British public decided that it was time for change! and hey Ho! the current lot took power and made the same changes that were already in line to be activated, under their own name and for a while we had prosperity.

Now we have had to borrow so much money that the Depression will come as we try to pay it back. The last party will be voted back in and off we go again Bloody democracy!!! what would you do without it? :o))