Life

Mapping Live River Conditions on the Thames

I love going out on my boat and I do it as often as I possibly can. Unfortunately the recent rain has meant that I’ve been unable to as often as I’d like. If the current is too fast, it’s not sensible or safe to do it. The Environment Agency has an excellent site which gives live information. But I wanted to put it on a map. Cue an evening of hunting down coordinates of every lock on the non-tidal thames (Google data is surprisingly bad) and writing an app to take data out of the online service and put it on a map.

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Jaga Jazzist Concert at the Barbican

I have been a devoted fan of Jaga Jazzist, a Norwegian group (they pretty much defy description) since around 2003, when I heard one of their tracks on a sampler CD issued by the Norwegian Embassy in London. This is the third gig of theirs I have been to. The first two were in the normal venues you would expect, with a lot of space for movement in response to the music.

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Graffiti Tribute to Hussain Mohammed

I live not far from the spot where Hussein Mohammed jumped in the Thames and drowned. Local youths have spray-painted their tributes in the underside of the bridge. Touching.  

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Grime and paint. : pictures

In the week after the engine came out, I was left with access to my bilges. These are usually hidden away behind an unmovable wooden wall, with access blocked by the engine. As far as I can tell these had not seen the light of day for two decades (my boat was built in 1993 and there are no signs of the engine having been out since then). It appears that they weren’t even painted, or if they were, there’s no paint left.

I was appalled at the state of them, frankly. The rust was thick, and not in a good way. My boat is my home, as well as my boat, and the sign of that much rust really wasn’t a very comforting thought.

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The Great Engine Hoist : pictures

I come from an engineering family. I know no-one who enjoys playing with engines more than my father. Within days of me buying a boat he had opened up the engine and taken the cylinders off to re-fit the piston rings. Admittedly, the reason he did this is that the engine had failed and we were stranded thirty miles outside Oxford with an immobile boat. But I have a feeling it would have happened anyway sooner or later.

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Clandestine Mazurka, Brighton

Music in the bandstand in Brighton. Cold wind and rain by turns. We played and danced to keep warm. I took a couple of audio recordings but this one just seemed perfectly to sum up the day.

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Putting the Potatoes In

I’ve had an allotment since November, but I came into possession of it just in time to wind up the year’s efforts and withdraw indoors. I spent some time before Christmas digging over a patch (what turned out to be a small patch in the grand scheme of things) before my next door neighbour turned up with a rotivator. I am lucky enough to have a friend in Julian Cottee (of OxGrow) who furnished me with six chitting potatoes in six exciting varieties: Edzell Blue, British Queen, Isle of Jura, Salad Blue, Maris Bard, and Arran Victory.

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Animals and Documents

A friend asked on Facebook why there were no documents penned by animals. He claimed that ‘not a single one was to my knowledge written by an animal other than a human’. I disagree. Here are some notable quotes I have collected on the subject. ‘A cat could no more write a thesis on the plight of man than a man could on the condition of being a cat’

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First Torchbox Cruise of the Season

My first cruise of the 2012, the first Torchbox cruise of 2012 and the first outing for the new decking. Also check out Louise’s flickr set.

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How to Make Boat Decking

How to make boat decking in 11 easy but detailed steps. 1 : Find a load of scrap timber. Put in on the roof and pace up and down a bit. It is crucial that you stay away from the edges whilst pacing if there is someone else on board. 2 : Remark upon the awkward disposition of the nails. It is important to spare a thought for the craftsman who came before you.

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