Life

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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Mucking about in the Umeå snow

When visiting Umefolk recently we came across a snow castle in the city centre. It would have been impossible not to have a go…

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The end of Umefolk 2012

Play the MP3 and imagine this. I recorded it walking through the musicians.

A weekend festival, with a 25 year heritage and massive following, is drawing to a close. Hundreds and hundreds of people must have passed through its doors. Headliners such as Garmana and Hoven Droven have drawn in crowds, impromptu sessions have brought out nyckelharpa players, and a large variety of players from all over north-east Europe have entertained and captivated. The event is winding up, and on the dance floor Anton and about 30 young people are playing for the final dance…

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Umea and Umefolk

I spent the last week at Umefolk, a folk music festival in Umeå in the north of Sweden. We met Anton Teljebäck, who runs the festival, at a small festival in the UK and he invited us. Umefolk is well established (the first was in 1986), and Anton was keen to spread the word further afield. We are no strangers to Scandanavian music in Oxford. There is a budding session which has found its feet in the last few months, run by Ed Pritchard, who plays a nyckelharpa amongst other things.

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