Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Holiday Update

Well Malta has been a slightly different holiday, I have had a nightmare cold and only managed one shallow dive to 9 meters and my sinus's and ears were in pain so we stopped the depth and stayed around there for about 30 minutes. I still have a blocked nose!!!!
I have also had my mobile phone stolen!! what a nightmare that has been, I have let o2 know and the phone is now blocked and they are sending me a new sim card which means I will be OK once I get back, well sort of, if you read this and you have my mobile number can you txt me with your name? I will then have your mobile number again, I had over 150 numbers in my phone.....and some very personal txts I wanted to keep...oh well maybe it was time to let go?
Malta is as Malta is, it doesn't really change, the prices go up but the ways and people remain the same, Mrs EB's brother and partner are great and we have had a wonderful time with them and Mrs EB has done some amazing dives. We have eaten out at some nice places and seen some nice things, we both feel rested and ready to attack November and Christmas and all of that chaos.
I have recieved notice that I have got a full interview for the job I am hoping to get on November 5th at 1:45pm, please could you pray for me at that time?
I'll do another update when I get back to the UK.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I have been reading some of my friends blogs and they have made me quite sad, a blog is a wonderful way of expressing yourself without having to say things out loud, and they have done that.

I am about to visit Malta again and I am very apprehensive about this trip, 13 months ago on Malta I received “THAT” phone call and really my life has changed so much since then in many ways. I guess that is why in one way I don’t want to go, in every other aspect, well apart from the flight that is, I am looking forward to going back. I love the diving, the company, the booze, the food and of course just being away with Mrs EB, but I feel that sense of dread and fear about going. I am a nervous flyer, I really do not enjoy flying, but this time it feels different I feel I will receive some awful news again? Or is it that we are flying out of Manchester?

I really don’t know why I should feel like this, I guess I sort of felt the same driving on a motorway for the first time after the accident, I felt it when Mrs EB would take a long trip with work, in fact I still feel uneasy about those.

Maybe these feelings are going to fade, I don’t know, I do know I am not in a good frame of mind at the moment. I hope this passes as we arrive in Malta in the morning and we start a week of relaxing and diving.

Anyhooo a catch up.

Saturday Mrs EB’s brother Bryan joined us on the boat with his friend Jenny and her daughter Fern, we had a wonderful time tootling up to Hoo Mill Lock and then back to Tixell Wide, we met up with Mrs EB just after the junction to the Wolverhampton spur as she was getting her cut and stuff earlier, It was a really nice day.

Sunday Mrs EB was leading the worship so we took it easy and went to Jimmy Spices for what a lunch it was. Very good value and wonderful food.

The boat is in for repair, the shower and toilet, and having a new inverter fitted so hopefully everything will be up and running by today, and will be ready for when we return.

Last night Shannon one of the volunteers came round for tea, she is a wonderful breath of fresh air and is from Fort Myers!!! Where Sanibel Island is!!!!!!! She has borrowed Mrs EB’s new guitar for a few weeks so she can practice her playing.

Well that’s about it really, I may blog in Malta? Who knows. If not after November 1st.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The smoking debate

My good friend Bob and I have been having a chat about smoking, Bob is a smoker and hates being told what to do..well that isn't quite true as he doesn't really go in to bars and pubs, but doesn't like the thought of Big Brother telling him he can't enjoy his cigarette when he wants one. The latest Highway Code was the straw that broke this smokers back as it recommends not lighting up whilst driving as it can distract you, being an ex-smoker I actually agree with what Bob is saying, no one uses two hands to light up, fag in gob, light fag with cigarette lighter with one hand whilst still driving, no more harm than changing gear....apart from when you drop a lighted fag in your lap, there should be no distraction at all. I did drop a lighted fag in my lap twice and it is a scary thing to do.

I don't agree with what Bob is saying about we should let each pub, bar, private club decide if smoking should be allowed on their premises or not as this could lead to confusion and also the breweries would soon be dictating this and not the landlords and within a few weeks we would be back to how it was June. Smokers can still "enjoy" their poison outside (most pubs seem to have a new area with heaters and roof just for this) and it is also a great incentive for those smokers who want to give up too do just that. I know when I gave up it was nearly impossible to stay stopped smoking by going into a Smokey pub or club, so really it is a good thing having a smoke free pub isn't it? I can list a few benefits from a non-smokers point of view, I don’t come home smelling of stale smoke needing to have a shower so I can sleep, I am not being poisoned by just breathing and chatting to friends, food tastes 100% better without smoke in the air and best of all my clothes stay fresher for longer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Catch up

Saturday was a top day, Amy popped to see us on The Robber Button and we had a little trip up to Hoo Mill Lock and then onto Tixell Wide. It was a lot colder and damper, amazing in just a week, Timelord visited us for a little bit of Mrs EB's cooking for tea, and he was a real gent and supplied the pudding.

Sunday we went to see my Ma-in-Law in Gloucester and took her out for lunch then a trip around the docks, a nice day, I did all the driving as Mrs EB was a little tired after her trip to Belfast in the week. I went to Church in the evening and was moved my Simon's testimony he was a troubled young man and his testimony was very similar to mine 20 years ago.

Monday I went for an interview, I won’t say too much here at the moment, only to say it was something that touched me greatly, I have a 2nd interview in November and if I get the job I will be changing direction slightly, this is a job that will be the most challenging thing I have ever done and there is no way I could do it without GOD. Please pray for me on November 5th that God guides me in what to say, and if it is his will I will get the job.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Artwork - The Jim McCormack way.

For the last two days I have had a privilege and honour to spend time with Jim McCormack ... who? well he was the signwriter for "The Robber Button". He is a real talented man who knows his job. He does boats in two ways either all free hand or a way called masking. Some say this cheating...I don't. It's a slightly quicker way of doing it, but it still takes an artist to do it.

Jim is someone who knows his job, he doesn't mess, he just does it at a steady pace, as long as he has plenty of mugs of tea and the odd bacon butty.

Jim designes the wording and scrolls in his studio, he emails his ideas to you. He then does all the cutting out then brings the stencil to the boat. He cleans the panel and measures and adheres the mask to the panel, he paints the open bits, lets it dry slightly, then takes the shading parts out, does that bit, removes the stencil, and does the free hand stuff. It saves two days work and saved us two days payment.

I am very happy with Jim's finsihed work, it looks a 100% profesional piece of artwork that is just amazing and stands out, and is far better than some on the canal network we have seen.

Below are a series of photo's of Jim transforming "The Robber Button"

Fixing the Mask

The Mask

Mixing the paint

Filling in the mask

Filling in the shade and blending the shades (a real peice of art)

Doing the shading o
n the nose free hand

Doing the Free Hand on the panels

A Finished Panel

The Other main Panel Finshed

The Double Panel full view

A long View of "THE ROBBER BUTTON"

I am so pleased with Jim's work it has made the boat "Ours" he is a dying breed of men who served a 7 apprenticeship and worked for and with his dad. It's a talent that isn't being passed on these days, which is a shame. Jim has ambitions to only do narrow boats working from a narrow boat, at the moment he still does lorries trailers and trucks and the odd food caravan.

As I said earlier it was a real privalidge to spend some time with Jim, learning about his job and things, I hope to bump into him again soon, knowing the talent it wont be long before he is working at Great Haywood doing more boats.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Boat Props and Paint

Today Jim came to the boat, he brought his paints and talents, and has painted the one side, tomorrow he does the other side. These photo's are only when he was painting and don't really give the artwork justice, I have some better photo's taken with my camera and not my phone (These are phone)

I will blog those tomorrow if I remember to bring the right leads home!!!!! Like a numpty I left my camera leads on the boat

Anyhoo the marine engineers took some photo's of the bent propeller which I have posted at the the end of this blog...they break my heart, but as you can see by the last picture the bend isn't as bad now. Well done John and John.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A boat trip with my family

The other weekend, my Mum and Dad brought my older brothers two children to the boat for the day. Pippa and Sam, both really wonderful children, very polite and well behaved. We had a days trip out to Acton Trussel. A lovely couple called Dave and Jenny lent us some life vests for Sam and Pippa (best to be safe rather than sorry)

They looked great in the life vests, and both took to the in seconds, after the initial shock that even big boats sway .....

We did two locks, and the one lock was whereI bent the propeller (grrrrr)

Ronnie had a go at the tiller and did OK, it is a lot harder than it looks and does take a bit of time to get your head around how it turns and moves through the water

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday Part 2

It's Sunday afternoon, it's a lazy day in a sort of way, I only have sound to do at Church this evening really. I am sat here reading blogs and surfing the interwebby, Mrs EB is snoozing the cats are asleep, the heating is on as the dampness of Autumn is setting in, all in all everything is just wonderful in my life at the moment.

We Prayed this morning about being thankful for what we have, as I am sat here I am so grateful to God for all I have. My health is slowly returning, now I am managing my blood sugar and taking the pills, I have a beautiful wife, a wonderful home, an amazing narrow boat, some of the best friends a person could have, a Church that has teaching and worship 2nd to none.

Today is a day I am so blessed to see, twelve months ago, I honestly did not think I could or would feel like this. I do still feel the pain of the loss of my two friends, and I think about them a lot, but God is a wonderful healer, and he is healing the pain within me slowly and again I am thankful to my Lord and Saviour for this healing.

It is Harvest Sunday and we are doing it in a different way today at SCBC, we are giving gifts to a servant called Steven, he works with the homeless in Birmingham, he has a list of things he needs to do his servant job. These range from bars of soap. rucksacks and sleeping bags to safety razors and many things in-between. As we listened to Team Leader preach this morning about being forgetful I was thinking about Matt and Chris and the last times I spent with them. (I never want to forget these memories) I won’t write about those memories here today, maybe in another blog? It struck home how easy it is to forget to say thank you, I do forget to say those two words a lot. I guess by tomorrow I will forget again, but today I am thanking God for my life, my friends and all I have. Without God it is worthless just a futile race to gain a few things then pass on to nothing. With God I have everything, and an eternity to enjoy it...Thank you, Lord.

Sunday Part 1

We had a great weekend, well Friday night and Saturday on the boat. Two friends who we go on Diving Holidays with came with us as our first weekend stop over guests. Amanda and David, they arrived about 7pm-ish so it was too late to set off as it had started to get dark, a unwritten rule is no night boating, you can but it is frowned up on. So we stayed in the marina and had a wonderful meal cooked by Mrs EB. We then had a few drinks and played Monopoly until 3am!!! and we were far too tired and a little to tidily to play anymore.

Mrs EB and I woke about 8am, and I made the boat ready and I started her on her way to Tixell Wide, David and Amanda got up when we were under way and we moored up at Tixell , Mrs EB made breakfast and tea and coffee. After Breakie we headed off for Acton Trussel and the Moat House for Lunch, this involves two Locks and quite few bridges, two really nasty ones with some very sharp turns and very narrow sailing area. Anyhooo David had a go at steering and did very well, as did Amanda. After a wonderful lunch we headed back to the Marina and got back just as the light faded away. I reversed into our mooring for the first time, not easy with a 57 foot boat let me tell you.

All in all a really nice weekend though I am a tad tired today.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Weekly Update

Pheww another week has flown by.

We took my Mum and Dad and Pippa and Sam my niece and nephew out on the boat for the day on Saturday, we had a great time. Entering Tixell Lock I heard a crunch and bang by the propeller...and the steering went light and we had a few shakes. When we stopped at Acton Trussell for lunch I checked the prop through the weed hatch, and one blade was bent!!! I was so upset and brand new narrow boat and now it is damaged.

On Sunday after the mornings service we went to the marina as it was the official opening, a hog roast and free beer!!! Whilst there I had a chat with marine engineers and they said they would take a look at the prop in the week. I also took the starting battery off as it was playing up.

Monday I picked Phill M up and we went to Braunston and took that battery back, they exchanged it for a new one but twice the size.... we then went to Great Haywood and returned the battery to the boat, I connected it up and nothing....I stuck it on charge and came home a little deflated.

Tuesday, I picked up Phil M and Claudio and we set off to Great Haywood for a day on the boat, once there I checked the battery , a good 12 volts, I tried to turn it over ...nothing? I popped and saw the John and John the marine engineers...Big John had a good look, he said it was an earth leak? he checked the connections and I hadn't connected the earth to the negative...I didn't notice one on before.

Wednesday I spent mixing the live blues album recorded in August in Garrigil with my brother in law Bryan, it sounds great a real good feel of their music. Also the guys at the marina took The Robber Button out of the water to look at the prop, and they have bent it back. I am not sure of the cast of this, I will find out Friday.

Thursday was spent at the Production house that uses me when their guy is away, I had a stressful but good day there, one session was with the comedian Hugh Dennis, a really nice guy and a good session once we could get the connection working.

Today I am at Church at Lunchtime mixing the sound for a lunch then I am off to the boat.