And the second harvest from the Boater's Garden is garlic raised and tended by Rob's fair hands. We like growing garlic, especially Solent White (as in photo above) as they seem to survive the winter floods. We have enough garlic to last us to next summer and beyond. It is currently hanging in our bathroom. When it dries we'll plait them together and distribute among friends and family.

Sweet Peas

From the Boater's Garden. The first official harvest after the flooding last summer.

The Ghost In The Darkness.

There are certain noises that, living in a narrowboat, take some getting used to. They are eerie and sinister: The sound of ice cracking and breaking against the hull; fish and bubbles rising in still water to gurgle around the boat; ducks nibbling at the greenery around the boat's waterline; a bird pattering and hopping along the roof... leading the hubby and I to exclaim "monster!" and run to investigate. Sometimes, these noises appear to have no maker at all. They mysteriously come and go.

One such noise only seems to happen at night and is similar to the sound of a plunger being used to unblock a sink. There is also a babbling in the water and intermittent tapping on the side of the hull - not to be mistaken for ducks feeding - we are familiar with that - it is a bigger noise made by something larger than a mallard.

Geese or swans, that was the obvious answer. We'd hear the noise and the hubby would go, camera ready, to catch the clamorous perpetrator. Only, he'd return and say there was nothing there. And then the noise would start again and this time I would go and look. There is never any visable source, and the waters are still and calm betraying no evidence of waterfowl, fish, or monster.

Who is our ghost in the darkness?

Technical Difficulties.

Bloody html technology templates thingys.

I'll be sat in the corner weeping if anyone needs me.


I accidentally managed to delete my blog template. It probably serves me right for faffing with it and not saving it beforehand. So, many, many hours later, I have a new watery theme.

I hope it works.

The height of kitty fashion.

Lewsey is recovering well after a trip to the vets to get "done". As she saw the boat on her return journey she mewed and purred. She was not so keen on her new collar and spent a few hours walking backwards before giving in and going for a nap.

Mandolin Man

The hubby plays the mandolin on a lazy sunday afternoon.

The Award Season.

Robyn gave me a little bit of a shock at the weekend by kindly presenting me with an award for my blog. I have noticed that there are quite a few awards on the arty blogging circuit and as it is my duty to pass this award on I won't be offended by those of you who have a blog full of awards already and don't fancy following the award rules for this one. The award creator might not agree though.
The award rules:
  1. Put the logo on your blog.
  2. Add a link to the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
  4. Add links to these blogs on your blogs.
  5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Right, so, without further ado, I would like to present the above award to:

  • Avus - Little Corner Of The Earth . He is just grand and so is his blog. We share a love for history and marmite.
  • HHnB - Accept All Offerings. Keeping it in the Avus family tree. HHnB is an inspiration with all her blogs. Can I give an award to each of her blogs? If so, HHnB gets three.
  • Mortimer Bones - Narrowboat Bones. She is wonderful and her blog is as wonderful as her.
  • Andrew Denny and Granny Buttons. For keeping me up to date with what is happening in the world of narrowboats. Andrew Denny's humour is the kind all narrowboaters should have. And he takes fabulous photographs too.
  • Julia and Mark on Narrowboat Poppy. 2 more cats on the inland waterways. Julia has a lovely style of writing and I'm hooked on her blog.
  • Rima - The Hermitage. This must be the most beautiful blog in the blogging world. Rima is a talanted artist and teller of tales who helps keep my love for folk art and fairy tales alive. Take a look at her amazing clocks!
  • Eretria - Midnight Tea. My mother hen. Eretria is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Her blog is gorgeous and filled with mouth-watering delights and beautiful photographs from her life.
  • Flotsam no. 2

    This rather garish cat design is from the Book Of Kells. Like the last piece I made it will find itself a new home when flood waters take it from my garden.


    On Monday HHnB posted a lovely photograph of what she saw when she looked up at midday and asked other bloggers to do so and leave her a comment so she can follow their trail.

    And this is what I saw:

    Storm clouds.

    A few minutes later the heavens opened and the storm broke.

    Another Snooping Council

    I'm very glad to hear the continuing hostility towards councils that spy on their rate payers. I must confess that it did not come as a surprise to hear how widespread and covert these council operations are, especially since we and our fellow moorers are part of a similar investigation.

    The Vale Of White Horse District Council are concerned that there may be people living aboard their boats in a location that does not permit residential use of moorings. We are the official security boat here and so have permission to be here in the capacity that we are. Every other boater who has a mooring here comes for some peace and quiet and for a break from the everyday stresses of life. In order to obtain a mooring at this site you must have a residential address elsewhere. But, of course, what reason does the council have to believe that this is true?

    At a public meeting of the Development Committee on 12th may 2008 the enforcement officer admitted that he had made 28 early morning and late night visits to the moorings and had taken over 214 photographs of the site. The council claims that this is perfectly acceptable as it "does not involve systematic surveillance of an individual". So, why have individuals had photographs taken of them arriving and leaving their moorings? Our boat and car appeared on photographs shown at the council meeting and one female moorer has felt intimidated by the actions of the enforcement officer towards her. Out of curiosity, how is 28 site visits not systematic, and is surveillance of individuals perfectly acceptable?

    It is also interesting that after a complaint from a boat owner the chief executive of the Vale Of White Horse District Council declared that the operation carried out by their enforcement officer was not covert but we could not be informed of the surveillance as we would change our pattern of behavior giving an inaccurate account of the activities at the moorings. was covert then.
    The same boater has also asked the council to provide him with the Planning Enforcement Policy and their Regulation Of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and has yet to receive a response. It is interesting that the RIPA Policy is available from other councils such as North East Lincolnshire Council who state that

    Covert Surveillance will only be authorised where it:-

    • is lawful under the Act

    • complies with Human Rights legislation

    • is necessary

    • is proportionate to what is sought to be achieved

    • is not “intrusive” (as defined by the Act)

    and will not be carried out for longer than is necessary.

    Are we to presume that this act differs between local authorities? The investigation of our moorings is still ongoing after 3 months - How long does it take to establish where people live? I would suggest that may be they start with the telephone directory. Might I also suggest that the council also pay attention to the Office of Surveillance Commissioners for some guidance and training on how to approach the delicate matter of surveillance.

    Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, a number of boaters have asked for copies of all photographs and logs recorded of themselves visiting their OWN property during this ongoing monitoring process. There has been no response to date.

    It is interesting to note that the local council describes anti-social behaviour as "any activity that impacts on other people in a negative way". I hate to be pedantic, but this systematic spying really is not the most pleasant of experiences. In fact, it is rather negative and perhaps qualifies themselves for their own ASBO.