Monday, October 31, 2011

Oliver Travels Part 2

Oliver Rofix arrived at St Katherine Docks Marina, London, on Friday, 28th October, after sailing ‘Jolly Olly’, his Vailiant 18 around Britain*. When I first saw his boat I didn’t think she was a Valiant, but sure enough she is, and probably the best fitted-out of her class. She was extensively renovated and refitted by Olly and his supporters.

From photos posted here you can see a lot of her gear. Starting at the bow, there’s a Delta anchor by Lewmar, a furling Genoa, a stainless steel kingpost, two mooring cleats, a pushpit and a u-bolt fitted to the stem. The deck is overlaid with Flexiteek simulated planking. She has a substantial fore hatch, perhaps by Lewmar. Her mainsail is stowed in a lazy jack system, made by Jeckells. For protection from spray and wind, there’s a smart and practical spray hood with a large flexible window for forward vision by Suffolk Sails. There are instruments in the cockpit mounted beside the companionway for measuring things like water depth, wind speed and boat speed. Bolted to the aft deck and above the transom there’s an ‘A’ Frame for mounting antenna, of which there are at least two, possibly for radio and GPS navigational equipment. Inside the boat there are several pieces of electronic gear, including an Icom M505 transceiver. Mechanical propulsion would appear to be an internal Saildrive engine; the boat also has a backup engine in the form of a small Suzuki outboard.

Olly did well by recruiting at least 37 commercial sponsors for his fund-raising circumnavigation. They gave generously of equipment, money, time and effort to help make his mission a success. Well done to them and especially to Olly for raising money for the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Text for the Day

Matthew 6:3, 4 ‘But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.’


*Oliver Travels

Olly’s Website

Jeckells Sails

Suffolk Sails (Spray Hood)

Flexiteek Decking

Bolenda Engineering (Stainless Steel Fittings)

Raymarine (Electronic Equipment)


Saint Katherine Docks Marina

Suzuki GB Marine

Lewmar (Don’t think they sponsored Olly, but he had a Delta anchor, one of their products)

Valiant 18 Bilge Keel Yacht

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Silly Season

We are here again at the ‘Silly Season’, the time of ghouls, witches, spells, ‘trick or treat’ and all things horrid – the time of Halloween and of the burning of Guy Fawkes effigies. Spoil sport! Yes, I know. On top of it all, there are fireworks, bang squish, bang bang and pop pop. Oh, it’s only a bit of fun for the kids, but is it? Fancy dress, treacle apples, muffins and popcorn; what are these things all about?

I’ve already mentioned my dislike of Halloween (See the first link* below), and need add nothing more, but of Guy Fawkes, please continue reading.

Why do we commemorate the horrific death of Guy Fawkes, a Catholic conspirator, who with others had it in their minds to assassinate King James 1st to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne? As far as I can gather, this poor chap was never burnt at the stake; never did he die by being burnt on a fire. According to Wikipedia he committed suicide by jumping off a scaffold and breaking his neck! Others say that he was executed. Who to believe, I don’t know!

Apparently, bonfires were lit on the night of 5th November 1605, the day when Fawkes was caught red-handed in a cellar, under the House of Lords with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Bonfires were burned that same day by way of celebration, because he and his co-conspirators had not been successful with their planned attempt at assassinating King James 1 by blowing him up.

The tradition of burning fires on the 5th November has continued ever since, including the burning of Guy Fawkes effigies.


The practice is rather stupid. Kids and adults get injured every year because of being burnt by fireworks or because of falling into fires. Fires get out of control, necessitating the callout of firefighters. Even properties are not exempt from being damaged or burnt down as a result of fireworks getting too close to them. Household pets are disturbed and frightened by the sound of fireworks, and these animals hate the smell of smoke. Fireworks and bonfires cause needless pollution to the air, and heat generated by them is added to the atmosphere. Under certain conditions, smog can form, causing distress to those who suffer from breathing problems. Quite often, firework night is celebrated on days either side of the 5th November; consequently we end up with the sound of fireworks going off for several nights. Thankfully, this year, 5th November falls on a Saturday, which could mean we may be spared somewhat, and sleeping babies may sleep soundly.

Sadly, commercial interests will ensure the preservation of Halloween and Guy Fawkes, because by the sale of related paraphernalia, those who sell them make millions - even shareholders of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the like will gain.


I concede that there may be a case for well-supervised, organized fireworks displays, for celebratory or entertainment purposes.

Text for the Day

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’”



Should Christians Participate in Halloween?


What does the Bible say about ………. the tradition of Halloween?

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes

The Firework Shop List Blog

Sainsbury’s Fireworks (Buy one, get one free)

Standard Fireworks Factory Shop

Ban the Bang

Fireworks (Comprehensive information about fireworks)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oliver Travels


After a 213 day marathon, sailing around Britain, Oliver Rofix finally arrived in London yesterday. To have done it aboard an 18’ twin-keel Valiant sloop, after recuperating from a rare form of leukaemia, was indeed a fine feat of endurance. He said that without a generous donation of bone marrow and pioneering treatment at Addenbrookes Hospital none of what he had done would have been possible. He had been given his life. In return, he wanted to give something back.

En route


To this end he undertook the challenge to raise awareness of the Anthony Nolan Trust and to recruit 40 potential bone marrow donors. So far, 35 potential donors have been registered, and £2,410 has been raised by Olly for the Trust.


All photos for this article are cropped images of photos taken by me of my TV screen.

Text for the Day

Luke 6:38 ‘Give, and it will be given you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.’


Oliver Rofix’s Website

Oliver’s Fund-raising page for Anthony Nolan

Anthony Nolan Homepage

Addenbrookes Hospital

Sail Making News

Raymarine News

Your bone marrow gave me a tomorrow

Oliver visits Town Quay Marina, Southampton

The Jolly Olly

Friday, October 28, 2011

Delights beside Tidal Waters

Besides water’s edge I can find space and freedom, time to dream; open horizons where sky meets sea, or closed vision of salty mud and putrid muck in forlorn saltings, no longer worked. Sky and water subtly morph as tides ebb and flow. Sunlight reveals nature’s hues. Clouds intervene, casting enigmatic shadows with dramatic effect - changing moods from elation to sombre tone. Water reflects and refracts; it ripples, tumbles, foams and roars; angry then acquiesces, sublimely calm. Oily, nauseating undulations slowly move, and I want to puke.

Waters ebb, hidden secrets manifest, reveals acres of oozing mud or golden sand; elsewhere rounded pebbles stretch to cresting waves where they are drowned in ocean’s depths. In salt-laden weed are hidden lurking crabs. Nearby are cockles, mussels and winkles galore. In crystal pools there are crustaceans, sparkling fry; starfish, urchins, sea slugs and the like - all citizens inhabiting galaxies within their aqueous universe. At quiet backwaters Egrets strut, and lone Heron stalk. By river’s bank Peewit call, and screeching Tern wheel and dive; Gulls squawk while Redshank and Sandpiper forage too.

These are my delights by tidal waters.

Text for the Day

Psalm 85:10, 11 ‘Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed. Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven.’

Thursday, October 27, 2011

‘Kudu’ for Sale at Ebay

Nathan's photo of 'Kudu' at Ebay

On 24th January, 2010 I did a blog* about ‘Kudu’ and her owner, Nathan Whitworth. He set out from London with the intention of sailing his twin-keel Corribee Mk 1 Bermudan sloop along the South Coast of England to visit his granddad at Christchurch. Instead, after emerging from the River Thames he headed north. He continued cruising northwards along the East Coast and while doing so, he came up with the idea of sailing around Britain, but by the time he reached Stonehaven, on the East Coast of Scotland, he ran out of money. It was getting very late in the season and weather prospects were poor. At this point he abandoned his around Britain cruise and had his boat taken by road to Preston where he put her up for sale – that was in late December, 2009.

As far as know, ‘Kudu’ has been for sale ever since, but I can’t find her on Preston Marina’s Brokerage list. However, they do have a fin keel Corribee Mk 1 for sale at £2,750, complete with a launching trolley. Nathan is now advertising his twin keel Corribee Mk 1 on for £3,500. Maybe that’s a tad too much, but I can’t say without seeing his boat, and a boat is always worth what a buyer will pay. A seller need only find one buyer!

‘Kudu’ may be the very yacht you are looking for, but my advice would be to never part with your money without first seeing the boat of your dreams. Perhaps Nathan could be persuaded to reduce the asking price? Time and again I have observed boats rot because their owners wanted more than the market price. Meanwhile they had to pay storage fees while their assets decreased in value. By selling at a lower price they would have saved money in the long run.


Roger Taylor of, ‘The Simple Sailor.Com’, rates Newbridge Corribees very highly. He sailed his junk-rigged Corribee, by himself across the Atlantic for thousands of miles, including a visit to the Arctic Circle. ( Also see links below for Ellen MacArthur and Katie Miller who independently sailed their Corribees around Britain.

Text for the Day

James 1:5-8 ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, without doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man supposes that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.’


‘Kudu’ for Sale at Ebay for £3,500

‘Kudu’ Still for Sale

Nathan’s ‘On Kudu’ Web Site

Nathan’s Professional Web Site

*’Kudu’ and Nathan Whitworth

Nathan’s YouTube Videos via my Playlist

Nathan’s Twitter Page

Corribee (Info here about Ellen MacArthur’s circumnavigation of Britain via the Caledonian Canal)

Katie Miller also circumnavigated Britain in a Corribee

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New TV Aerial

Not long ago my wife and I bought a new TV. On the whole, we have been very pleased with it, but now and again reception hasn’t been all that great, because signals were inefficiently received through non-digital aerials. Something needed to be done to improve picture quality; therefore we decided to have replacement aerials. I made a few enquiries for quotes, and in every instant I was advised that only one aerial would be required.

Yesterday morning I was expecting a TV aerial fitter to arrive at about nine o’clock. Therefore you can imagine my surprise, when at that time, a colourful Sky TV van stopped outside. I had not ordered an aerial from Sky, but the puzzle was solved when the van backed into my immediate neighbour’s drive, and moments later an anonymous white van backed into mine. What a coincidence! What were the chances of two independent technicians doing TV installations at the same time to adjacent properties?

Our man installed our new aerial in just under an hour-and-a-half, including dismembering the old ones so that they would fit into the recycling bin. He tuned in both TVs, took payment, and beetled-off to carry out another installation 40 miles away - and this before lunch. Rather him than me! A hazardous job too.

High definition TV makes all the difference for quality viewing, and when such technology works well I don’t mind parting with my money. Picture detail is amazing – strands of hair, wood grain, textures of woven fabrics etc, they can all clearly be seen. There are no ghosting images, only sharply defined ones. I hope this will continue, even when there is a high pressure area over the UK. That will be the acid test.

Text for the Day

1 Corinthians 13:12 ‘For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.’

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beside the Crouch at South Fambridge

Looking north from South Fambridge

I have written at length about the River Crouch were it passes between the villages of North and South Fambridge. To me the location is a magical spot. No matter what the weather, the changing scene always stirs my heart. Day after day, month after month and season after season, the River never loses its appeal.

Closer view

From a different angle

I’ve mentioned before that I want my ashes to be scattered* over the waters at that very spot, where aeons of tides have swished to and fro at the behest of moon and sun. There will be no tombstone to remember me by, and in time, no person to remember me; no grave to tend, and no effort to spend, only the sigh of reeds, and the chuckling of moving water, but there will be joy in heaven and angels will sing. I shall see the glories of the Lord and the ‘pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.’

Text for the Day

Revelation 22:1 ‘And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.’


*Scattering of Ashes

Fambridge Riverside

Pillboxes, Killing and Warfare

My Love of the River Crouch

Monday, October 24, 2011

Visit to the Vet

Now in Petland

You can never tell for sure what you’ll be doing the next day, or even the next hour. This morning I thought I was going to take my wife to my daughter’s place and leave her there before returning home. Instead, to my surprise, my daughter handed me her cat and asked me to take the animal to a veterinary surgery, because her pet had suddenly been taken ill. My daughter was unable to go herself, because she had to work.

Allergic Chat

When I arrived at the surgery I told the receptionist what had happened. Then I sat down to await my turn to see a vet. As I waited, a young lady vet explained to a dog owner and her son how allergies affecting her dog could possibly be identified and treated. At the same time one of the receptionists spoke to a couple who had brought their cat to be ‘castrated’ – the receptionist’s word, not mine. The other receptionist, while answering the phone, advised the caller that she should have her rabbit immunized against myxomatosis, because it was at this time of the year that the disease was most infectious. It could be spread by birds, rodents or insects, so she said.

Sleeping Dog - please do not disturb

Sat next to me there was a man whose dog had received an anaesthetic that was slowly taking effect. When the dog became unconscious, he and a male vet put him on a stretcher and conveyed him to an operating theatre.

Cute onlooker

My turn arrived, and I was shown into a treatment room where the cat was examined. The vet diagnosed a severe swelling of a kidney which had caused the creature a lot of pain. On account of the cat’s age, and the severity of her affliction, it was advised that the pet should be put down. Phone calls ensued between my daughter and the vet, and a decision was made to kill the cat by administering a lethal injection. Afterwards the animal would be incinerated and her ashes would be given to my daughter, if she so wished.

In the afternoon, when I went to my daughter’s home to collect my wife, I chatted with my three grandsons who were saddened by the loss of their pet, whom they said had died and gone to Petland.

Text for the Day

Matthew 15:27 ‘And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”


Petland – at least, she won’t go hungry there! The airfare could be a bit expensive, though.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wallace and Gromit

Cropped photo of my TV screen showing Wallace and Gromit in Nick Park's film, 'A Grand Day Out'.

You either love or hate Wallace and Gromit. I happen to enjoy them, particularly in the film, ‘A Grand Day Out’, which I chanced upon yesterday when it was shown on BBC TV. My wife can’t stand anything to do with these Plasticine morphs; therefore I had the lounge to myself. She magnanimously offered to watch our second TV which is one of the old type, converted to digital by the addition of a cheap Freeview box.

I have yet to see the full feature film, ‘The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’, directed by Nick Park and Steve Box, and produced at Aardman Animations studio in Bristol. From all accounts, this 2005 film was well received by fans, and at the 78th Academy Awards it won the Best Animated Feature Film award. As you can imagine, a film that lasts for 85 minutes has a more involved plot, and more characters than Park’s 30 minute films, i.e., ’The Wrong Trousers’,’A Close Shave’, ‘A Grand Day Out’ and ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’.

What is truly amazing is that these films take thousands of hours to make using the stop motion animation technique where one second of film consists of 24 frames which approximately translate into a day’s production! To get a feel for Wallace and Gromit films you can watch 10 very short ones under the heading ‘Cracking Contraptions’ entirely free by visiting:

Text for the Day

Matthew 7:3 ‘Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in you own eye?’


Wallace and Gromit

Wallace and Gromit

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Cracking Contraptions

The Wrong Trousers: Cracking Toast

Nick Park

Wallace and Gromit: Twenty Questions with Nick Park

Composer of Music for Wallace and Gromit Films - Julian Nott

Julian Nott’s own Website

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Snapshots at Hullbridge

On the afternoon of Wednesday, 12th October 2011, I walked along the footpath beside the River Crouch at Hullbridge. The autumn sun shone with bright clarity; colours were vibrant and the air was pleasantly warm. Instead of heading east, as was my custom, I took the path westwards where shadows were cast by the overhanging trees of Kendal Park, a local nature reserve. My eyes adjusted to the dim light, and to my right, openings in the foliage revealed yachts at their moorings. I could almost have been fooled into thinking I was beside the Helford River in Cornwall, apart from the lack of high land on either side of the river.

Continuing, I emerged into the sunlight where the path joined the Esplanade, a cul-de-sac with classy properties and riverside jetties, some with yachts moored to them and others without. The ebb had not long started to run, and to the north on the other side of the river, Fenn Creek snaked away towards the village of South Woodham Ferrers.

For some unaccountable reason I was the only person walking the path. I had expected at least a dog walker, but none was to be seen. I was thankful that was the case, since I am wary of dogs, because I had a bad experience when I was young. I was attacked by one that bit me on the leg and shredded my trousers. Ever since, I’ve found difficulty in being at ease in the presence of a dog.

My aim was to gently exercise my body and free my mind before returning home for a short snooze, and I had no intention of turning the walk into a marathon; therefore I went no further than another half-a- mile to where pylons support a highly-charged electric cable that crosses the river. As I approached the pylon on my side of the river I could hear a sizzling sound from above, and I wondered if the associated electromagnetic energy would in any way affect my mobile phone. Thereupon I purposefully turned around and made my way back towards the village, but to my trepidation a dog walker was coming along the path. By experience, I have learnt that if I indicate to a dog by my body language that I am not in the least interested in it, the animal will ignore me. This has worked every time.

I was somewhat relieved when we passed without incident. The gentleman and his dogs were soon behind me, with the gap between us ever-widening. Almost subconsciously while on my walk I had been taking snapshots with my camera. This I habitually carry in my trouser pocket as a handy means of recording the appearance of things that interest me. Back at home, and after my snooze, I linked the camera to my computer for viewing the captured images. The better ones are reproduced here for your enjoyment.

Text for the Day

Revelation 21:23 ‘The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it.’


Hullbridge Footpaths

Old Photos of Hullbridge

South Woodham Ferrers

Fenn Creek

Helford River

Friday, October 21, 2011

‘Talitha’ in Hibernation

'Talitha' awaiting lay-up

I’m a cold morsel, and when I feel the cold I can become very cold. Part of the problem is that I suffer with Reynaud’s syndrome, which is a blood circulatory disorder. Contact with cold air or cold water triggers a reaction that causes spasms within blood vessels preventing blood flowing through them. Extremities of the body are affected, primarily finger tips and toes, but in extreme cases, ears and noses can also become victims of the disease. The result is a temporary loss of feeling in those parts. When circulation is restored, the patient senses tingling and pain, which can be acute. Loss of circulation can be for a few minutes or even hours, according to the degree of exposure. Repeated and prolonged bouts of Reynaud’s can bring about skin ulcers and dry gangrene, but they are more usually associated with secondary Reynaud’s disease which develops because of other medical conditions or work-related activities - smoking in some instances.

The best way of avoiding loss of blood circulation in my fingers and toes is not to expose myself to the cold. Consequently it is not wise for me to go sailing from November to March inclusive, as they are generally the colder months of the year, i.e., where I live in the northern hemisphere. If I were to fall into cold water, I would be in severe trouble. As it is, most people cannot survive in freezing water for more than 15 minutes. If the temperature is between 21 and 27 degrees Celsius, they can be expected to survive for up to 3 hours until exhaustion and possible unconsciousness sets in. Fit people may survive within that temperature range for longer periods, according to their stamina and physical build.

'Talitha' in hibernation

Well, three mornings ago, when I left home, I felt cold air on my face and hands which reminded me it was time to lay-up ‘Talitha’ for the winter. She now resides in hibernation under a miscellany of covers in my garage. I placed her sail in the loft, where it will remain until the beginning of spring next year. My sailing season is over. Meanwhile, I have plenty of time for planning where I could take the boat, along with my tent, for a land-based sailing holiday next year. I love sailing on tidal waters, but for a change I may try a freshwater venue – any suggestions? I’ve never been to Loch Ness. Could this be a place where I may find a camping site by a gently sloping slipway?

Text for the Day

Jonah 1:15, 16 ‘So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.’


Reynaud’s Disease

Renaud’s Phenomenon

Cold Water Survival

Off-season Boating, Cold Shock and Hypothermia

List of Lakes and Lochs in the United Kingdom

Loch Ness

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dale Farm – Travellers' Reproach

My blog of 13th October, ‘Dale Farm – Has there been a Bumble?’ highlighted the frustrations of the law-abiding majority because of the ineffectiveness of the law to sort out the mess by coming to a speedy judgment. This business of unlawful occupancy has been ambling along for a ten year period. Finally, Wednesday, 19th October was a day of action, which started the process of eviction.

Supporters of the travellers who took up residence at Dale Farm did not heed requests on the part of Basildon Council to allow their bailiffs legal right of access. Indeed, they prepared and strengthened barriers and improvised weapons for attack, such as stones, bricks, bottles and the like. To prevent serious injury to bailiffs there was no alternative than to have police overcome those who forcefully resisted the due course of the law. All along, these supporters maintained they would behave peacefully, but in the event, they did not.

I’m convinced that the law-abiding majority are not without compassion. They feel for the families who will lose their homes, the frail, the sick, children and the elderly, but at the same time, there’s a realization that all citizens are subject to the law. There can be no exceptions. By knowingly building homes and setting up caravans on Greenbelt land, deliberately and persistently, they have brought reproach upon themselves. They have besmirched the reputation of travellers to the extent that nearby boroughs such as Harlow have taken action to prevent unlawful occupation of their citizens’ green spaces.

Text for the Day

Romans 2: 12 ‘For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law.’


Dale Farm – Has there been a Bumble?

Harlow Council Acts to Prevent Travellers Setting up Illegal Camps

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Invader 22

Invader 22 at Hullbridge

There are thousands of small sailing cruisers for sale, which means there are bargains to be had for buyers. If you are on the lookout for a small yacht, you may consider a bilge or fin keel Invader 22. She has a lot to offer a small family, including a separate heads and a dinette for four on the port hand side. She also has a galley with standing headroom on the starboard side. Up forward she has a double ‘v’ berth, and under her cockpit, to starboard there’s a large, but secure quarter-berth. Full internal mouldings make for a clean and easily maintained yacht.

Another Hullbridge Invader 22

Designed by David Feltham, Invaders were built by a number of manufactures, including Walsham Marine and Isles of Norbury. I have not sailed an Invader 22, but from what I’ve seen, she should perform well under sail, because she has ample sail area, a high-aspect ratio Bermudan mainsail and a masthead Genoa. I like her large, deep cockpit which can safely accommodate a crew of four. Mechanical propulsion comes in the form of an outboard engine mounted on her transom. One or two Invaders were fitted with inboard Seagull engines, and I know that at least one was fitted with a Volvo Penta MB2A four stroke petrol engine of the Saildrive type.


LOA 22’
LWL 19’
Beam 8’
Draught 2’ 8” Twin Keel - 3’ 9” with Fin Keel
Ballast 1,650 lbs
Displacement 4,000 lbs
Working Sail Area 212 sq ft (260 sq ft with the large Genoa)
Designer David Feltham

Text for the Day

Deuteronomy 30:15, 16 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgment, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.”


Review of the Invader 22

Pre-loved Reviews – Invader 22

Invader 22 for Sale - £5,950

Invader 22 for Sale - £4,950

Invader 22 for Sale - £3,950

Invader 22 at Ebay – offers based on £3,495

Other Yachts Designed by David Feltham

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Greenpeace – ‘Rainbow Warrior 111’

Greenpeace International is a worldwide organization whose main aim is to motivate people into adopting sustainable lifestyles that do not damage the world’s ecosystems. The Organisation is dependent upon finances derived from donations and sponsors, and upon the support of voluntary workers, both paid and unpaid. Without the cooperation of governments throughout the world, their objective of attaining their goal is unlikely to succeed. They are acutely aware of peoplepower, and to that end they have an excellent website that sets out their aspirations and achievements.

Their latest weapon on the front line is the 190 foot, 680 tonnes ‘Rainbow Warrior 111’. At a cost of 23-million euros she is an eco-friendly vessel, mainly propelled by wind and solar energy. In line with green principles she has an onboard recycling system, including biological sewage treatment. Her double 50 metre bipod masts enable her to carry 1,200 square metres of sail which can propel her at a maximum speed of 10 knots. Her modern hybrid engine which is expected to be used for approximately 20 percent of the time she is operational, can push her along at 15 knots. This remarkable vessel can accommodate 33 people and remain at sea without replenishing stores for a month at a time.

Communication is especially important in the fight against those who ill-treat the oceans and those who destroy their resources; therefore ‘Rainbow Warrior 111’ is equipped with the latest digital communication systems, enabling live coverage of events as they unfold. Her communications centre is fortified to withstand access by unfriendly boarders for up to half-an-hour, which is sufficient time for alerting the world as to what is happening.

It is my hope that the crew of ‘Rainbow Warrior 111’ will be victorious in overcoming pillagers and polluters of the oceans. May God bless them and keep them safe in their endeavours.

Text for the Day

2 Corinthians 13:14 ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.’



Greenpeace – New Rainbow Warrior

Greenpeace Rainbow Sails Again

Rainbow Warrior and the launch of direct green action

Rainbow Warrior 111

Rainbow Warrior 111

Stories from the Rainbow Warrior: Getting on Board!

The Rainbow Warrior III is afloat

Greenpeace Ship Rainbow Warrior 3 Launches

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bury St Edmunds

Yesterday I paid a fleeting visit to Bury St Edmunds, West Suffolk, England. The most notable feature was the Cathedral, adjacent to the Abbey Gardens. Time being limited, I could only spend half-an-hour in the gardens which were bathed in autumn sunshine. Magnificent trees and beautiful flowers brought a sense of tranquillity, despite there being many people within the gardens. Some were sat in groups on the grass, while others strolled along paths or wandered among the ancient abbey ruins.

I was there long enough to gain a flavour of what was on offer to visitors, and wished I had more time to take it all in. Even at this time of year, the Rose Garden has many fine scented blooms. The history of the Gardens makes for fascinating reading, with mention of King Sigebert of East Angles, who established a Christian community on the site in the 7th century. Catholic King Edmund, from whom the town takes its name, was martyred near Norwich by Saxons in the 9th century. If you would like to learn more about the history of the gardens, please visit the link* below.

Text for the Day

Matthew 28:18, 19 ‘And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”’


*History of the Abbey Gardens

Bury St Edmunds Gardens

Trees in the Abbey Gardens

Bury St Edmunds Cathedral and Abbey Gardens

Sunday, October 16, 2011


There is nothing more fundamental than playtime for children; hence schools generally set aside two sessions for playtime each day when youngsters come together informally. They have freedom to interact socially by playing games of their choice and by chatting with one another. A child who is denied access to communal play is deprived of opportunities for learning necessary skills that will equip him for adulthood. Through play a child learns how to communicate, how to react to situations, how to be creative and use his imagination. He learns to accept both success and failure. At the same time he develops verbal and numerical skills. Without play he is less likely to become emotionally secure and to have the tools for maturity, i.e., to become a person who is sensitively aware of the needs of others and one who is not overly assertive in attaining his desires; in short, an unselfish, caring adult.

There are times for organised and adult-led play, such as well-planned parties overseen by parents, or events at children’s play centres. The latter are increasingly popular, perhaps because purpose-built centres can offer more adventurous activities than can be staged in a child’s home. One obvious advantage from a parent’s point of view is that there is no mess to clean up after the party!

My wife and I recently took our three grandchildren to a play centre as guests to their friends’ (triplets) birthday party. Two sets of triplets and a dozen or so other children made for a lively and noisy affair. The venue was a factory unit on an industrial estate that had been converted into a well-planned activity play space with climbing frames, slides, a stage and areas set aside for party meals. Fast foods, tea and coffee were availbale at a refreshment area, from where parents were able to keep watch on their children as they played.

The party was well-managed by a professional leader who understood how to engage children in group activities and how to let them have fun at the same time. He was aware of their limitations and their needs. By offering a series of play tasks and by punctuating them with short periods of entertainment, he was able to sustain their interest. Towards the end of the party, all the children sat around a table for snacks. Before setting off home, each child was given a bag of goodies. Everyone was pleased, and there were lots of smiling faces. The whole venture had been a great success.

Text for the Day

Luke 18:16, 17 ‘But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” ‘

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dockrell 17 Dayboat

The Dockrell 17 would appear to be a stable day sailer, easy handled and suitable for a crew of up to three people. Information taken from the Dinghy Cruising Association’s website suggests she’s not the easiest boat for getting on and off her road trailer; that’s on account of her weight, i.e., she has a displacement of 1,100 lbs. It can take up to an hour’s preparation before she’s afloat and ready for a sail. Apparently, rowing her is not all that easy; therefore it’s recommended to have an outboard motor of at least 4 HP. On the plus side, she’s very forgiving and there’s plenty of space for stowage. She can be fitted with a folding canvas cuddy. Some were manufactured with hardtop cuddies, giving sitting headroom. The addition of a boom tent provides plenty of room for overnight camping.

There never has been a big market for day boats per se; therefore, for anyone seeking such a vessel, a Dockrell 17 could be a good choice. She’s robust enough to be left on a mooring, but best with a cover over her cockpit, because her central drain has been known to become blocked. Built-in buoyancy in four separate chambers ensures she will remain afloat if she becomes severely flooded. There is a lockable lazarette for stowing the engine, and an outboard well helps make the task of fitting and operating the engine that much easier than without.


LOA 16’ 09”
Beam 06’ 04”
Draught 03’ 00” (Plate down)
Sail Area 150 sq ft (Fractional Sloop)
First Built 1975
Hull Heavily constructed GRP

Text for the Day

Matthew 8:25, 26 'Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!"

But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?"

Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm.


Dockrell 17

Dockrell Yacht Owners’ Website

The range Dockrell consisted of the 17, 22, 27 and 37 foot models.

Dockrell 17 Forum

Dockrell 17 Specification

Dockrell 17 Day Sailer – Ebay – good photos – auction ended – no bids at £990

Dockrell 17 for £3,750

Dockrell 17 – Good Photos¤cy=GBP&units=Meters&seo=0&checked_boats=2279094&boat_id=2279094&back=/core/boats/1991/Dockrell-17-2279094/United-Kingdom&boat_id=2279094

Excellent Photos

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hunter Minstrel

In collaboration with the boat designer David Thomas, Hunter Boats of Rochford, Essex, launched their shoal draught cat ketch-rigged ‘Liberty’ in 1979. She was a pretty double-ender with simple open-plan accommodation and a separate head. Her lifting centreplate and kick up rudder made her an ideal yacht for those who wanted to explore estuaries and shallow creeks, and yet she was robust enough for coastal cruising. Later, Hunter Boats extended the hull to 22’ 8” and named her the Liberty 23.

By popular demand Hunter offered a gunter-rigged version with a single wooden mast which they named ‘Minstrel’. In all, 30 were built. When her plate was fully down she drew 3’ 6” and just over 1’ 2” when raised. With a beam of 7’ 3” and firm bilges, no doubt she would have inspired confidence in her helmsman when sailing on the wind. Attractive features included a spacious cockpit, usable side decks, a forward hatch on the cabin top, and a very sensible anchor well.
By description she is a 3-berth trailer sailer, and with her shallow draught she can be launched and retrieved with the minimum of fuss. Rigging the mast is simplified by the use of a small tabernacle.

Text for the Day

Galatians 5:1 ‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free.’


Archived Information about Hunter Minstrels – nice photos

Java Interior Views within a Hunter Minstrel

Hunter Minstrel for Sale £8,750

Hunter Minstrel 23 for Sale £8,750

Hunter Minstrel for Sale £8,350 – Details of boat, but advert is no longer active

Hunter Liberty and Minstrel Owners’ Association

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dale Farm – Has there been a Bumble?

Dale Farm as seen on my TV

Procrastinations and innumerable appeals regarding the rights of travellers at Dale Farm, Basildon, Essex, has in my view brought the law into disrepute. This situation of evictions from illegal plots at Dale Farm has been ongoing for ten years. The possible total cost of evicting travellers who have broken the law is reputed to be in the region of £22,000,000. Eviction will entail removing caravans and certain structures, before returning the land to Greenbelt status. Police and other agencies involved will all have to be paid for from a stash of money that has been set aside from local and governmental taxes, gathered in the main from law-abiding citizens.

Today's paper

At long last, the Courts have ruled in favour of Basildon Council, the members by a majority vote agreed to carry out the sanctions, most likely making a start on Monday, 17th October, but I understand there could yet be a final appeal on behalf of the travellers to the Court of Appeal. Previous court rulings have confirmed that a certain number of them broke the law by illegally setting up properties and structures on Greenbelt land, but each time evictions were scheduled, further successful challenges prevented bailiffs from doing their work.

We can be thankful that we live in a land (UK) governed by a Parliament, subject to the rule of law, but when the law is paralyzed by intricacies preventing it from working effectively, the saying of Mr Bumble in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, “The Law is an Ass”, is truly pertinent. Parliament, must of needs review what has happened, and come up with a remedy to prevent similar situations arising again. No more bumbles, please.

Text for the Day

Matthew 5:17, 18“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law of the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”


Phrases – ‘The Law is an Ass’

Court of Appeal

Dale Farm Travellers Lose Eviction Battle in High Court

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tony Smith (Creeksailor) and his Beloved Blackwater

'Shoal Water's', previously owned by the venerable Charles Stock, now the valued possession of Tony, who is an honourable custodian of this fine vessel.

Take a God’s eye view via Google Earth of the River Blackwater and surrounding countryside; then you’ll be utterly amazed at what you see. It is indeed a sailors’ paradise. One who knows of the riches of this watery kingdom is Creeksailor. In his book, ‘Ready About on The River Blackwater’ he tells of his experiences exploring this sparkling diadem, studded with colourful jewels. Yes, you need a discerning eye to see and appreciate them, but they are there for the initiated. Others only can see mud, decay and signs of a life long-gone, no longer applicable to the cybernetic age in which we live.

Like me, you may have sailed on the Blackwater, but never really explored the crown jewels which are the myriad of creeks where only shallow draught vessels can gain entrance for sojourn overnight; to be mesmerised by the call of wading birds, take in the fragrance of wetland flowers, hear the wind whistling in the rigging while your vessel slumbers in oozing mud, and next morning sample the yellow glow of the rising sun through a veil of wispy mist.

My Copy of Tony's book

Tony describes these things so very well in his little book which is full of fine photos illustrating the haunts of his delight. For those who want to have a greater knowledge of the Blackwater, including the history and heritage, I would recommend you put your hand in your pocket and part with £11.99. You won’t regret it, and into the bargain, you may ditch your deep draught yacht for a ditch-slider explorer for gaining access to the crown jewels.


Tony’s book is sold out, but more are on the way. To obtain your copy when they become available email him at: or visit this page for up-to-date details:

Text for the Day

Psalm 14:2 ‘The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that understand, who seek God.’


Ready About on The River Blackwater (Perhaps shortly to be available at Amazon)

Tony’s Blog

Creeksailor Awl Creek

Gavin Atkin’s Review of Tony’s Book

Charles Stock and ‘Shoal Waters’

Nice Photos of ‘Shoal Waters’

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Funeral Eulogy

I recently wrote about my new address book which superseded the old one. Many names that had been in the old book became erased with the passing of time. There was no place for them in the new book. These were people who had departed this life, or who had moved, or those with whom I had lost touch for various reasons.

Well, today I attended the funeral of a friend I had known for at least six years. She contracted a disease that progressively paralysed the muscles of her body. She became a paraplegic but maintained her dignity. Never did she lose her love for people, not just for those who helped her manage her life, but for all human beings. Whenever we met, she always had a welcoming smile and invariably asked about my family. She genuinely was concerned for their welfare and wanted to know about each individual.

Her transition from this world to the next marked the passing of an era. At the age of fifteen she started playing the organ of the church she first attended, and for over seventy years she continued to do so, Sunday, after Sunday, until her malfunctioning muscles prevented her from doing what she dearly loved. Eventually, she became so weakened that she could not leave her home. As the end drew near, adequate care for her needs could only be found in a nursing home. Even there, while suffering muscular spasms, she would ask about my family. Never did she want to talk about herself.

She was one of those rare selfless people whose life is defined by service for others. At her passing, it was the world’s loss, for she was one who cared for the lost - those who do not know her precious Jesus, the One who came to serve.

Text for the Day

Matthew 20:28 ‘The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’

Monday, October 10, 2011

Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre

Passageway on 2nd floor

If there is one thing I thoroughly dislike, it’s traipsing around after my wife when she’s exploring an indoor shopping centre such as Lakeside or Bluewater. I can make little sense of what is going on. Such an operation can take a long time; getting there, parking, walking around stores, examining goods; then the journey home. On my return I feel exhausted, and when I see what has actually been accomplished by way of purchases, sometimes none at all, I question why we went in the first place.

Entrance to Next

Recently, a new shopping centre opened at Stratford, right by the new Olympic stadium. Inevitably, I knew I would be asked by my wife to take her along to see what was on offer. A quick search via Google revealed all. Westfield Stratford City is the latest, glitzy shopping mall - more than a mall, a huge semicircular building comprised of three floors packed with stores, catering for the whims of all ages, but primarily targeting the under 40s.

In view of my recent awareness of the advantages of living a lifestyle more akin to those keen on green issues, I felt I could not justify the journey, but there was no way I could wriggle out from going along with my wife’s request. There was no point in presenting arguments in favour of not going, and as for including a view that we should reduce our combined carbon footprint, that case would have been absolutely hopeless. We recycle items, and have low energy light bulbs, but that’s as far as we harmonize on green issues. My wife does not consider being green important. Rather than getting uptight and refusing to comply with her request, I thought about possible positive outcomes.

Open plan bar

What positive issues could there be? Well, I dearly love my wife. We have been happily married for over half a century and I value the wonderful contribution she has made to the fullness of our lives. By taking her to Westfield I could share with her and help her enjoy the experience. I could try understanding what goes on as she walks from store to store, examining and touching items that appeal: a long winter coat, a woollen jersey, a pair of shoes, an oak display cabinet and so on. We actually had a good time together, but I did not enjoy the car journeys, because the roads were crammed full. Many of the drivers were impatient and there were examples of truly dangerous driving. If we were to go again, it would be by train, which would be quicker and cost about the same, but with less CO2 emissions!


You can see how difficult it is to change the habits of elderly folk. Getting older people to think in new ways is not easy. Computing is a good example. I know contemporaries who would not dream of trying their hand at a computer, and yet their lives could be enriched by the experience.

Text of the Day

Genesis 2:23, 24

‘And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’


Westfield Shopping Centre

Lakeside Shopping Centre

Bluewater Shopping Centre

Olympic Stadium

Men Are from Mars, and Women Are from Venus (A book about marital retationships.)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

New Address Book

I was recently given a new address book. The one I had been using was about 30 years old! At first I wasn’t motivated to transfer addresses to the new one. I procrastinated, until I found time and energy. What a rollercoaster I had while doing it. Names of people long gone, dead or disappeared, brought back memories of them, but embarrassingly, I could not recall who certain people were. I had no recollection of them whatsoever. They must have been casual acquaintances, people I bumped into during my travels and sailing adventures.

Certain friends, true friends have departed this life, while others await their turn. Of the latter, who will be taken first, they or me, I cannot tell. Working alphabetically through names, a few individuals cropped up time and again, because they had often moved home; others had remained where they had first settled, and two of them, older friends, are alive today. My new address book has 58 addresses, and the old one contained 168. That speaks volumes.

Over the passage of time we may meet many people beyond our family circle: workmates, members of a church, a club, a team, a choir or friends with similar interests who are not just passing acquaintances, but people with whom we socialize and strengthen our ties, even those with whom we forge bonds of loyalty and trust. Life is a journey, and along the way we have the privilege of meeting people, sharing our experiences, helping one another and giving support in good and bad times. A parting of ways can come about because our friends of necessity move, perhaps to the other end of the country, or to foreign lands. Others develop new interests and new friends, preferring them to former ones. Inevitably, death brings about the loss of loved ones. Friends may become less in number, but family may increase with the coming of grandchildren and great grandchildren.

One day, my name will be removed from address books, and eventually there will be no trace of me. The same fate awaits us all. Even the great, who have their names engraved in stone, those with statues in city squares or cathedrals will no longer be the talk of the town. At the very end of time there will be no history books, no computers, no pyramids, nothing to remember people by, and no earth, as it is now, but what a privilege it will be to experience a new, fuller life of sharing with the Creator who invites us into His kingdom. Entrance to that kingdom is through faith in His Son.

Texts of the Day

Matthew 11:28 ‘Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest.’

Ephesians 2:89 ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.’

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Market Gardens/Garden Centres

Pirate in disguise

Where I live in the SE of England a whole new industry has come into being. There is great enthusiasm for do-it-yourself gardening - in the main, more for decorative gardens than for vegetable and fruit gardens. Market gardening is a competitive business, each centre doing what it can to outdo the other. Very large centres like Alton at Basildon can provide a wide range of plants, garden furniture and related equipment for their clients, whereas smaller ones tend to specialize in particular varieties of plants, flowers, shrubs, etc.

Because of their popularity, large garden centres can offer products that have little to do with home gardening. Alton has a restaurant, and it runs seasonal themes for promoting their goods. Preparations for Christmas are underway, and if the seasonal display of related items for sale is not yet open to the public, it very shortly will be. Most likely they’ll have a grotto, complete with Father Christmas. This will be an incentive for parents to bring their children along when they visit the centre to buy decorations, candles, cards, wrapping paper, presents etc.

There is an upside and a downside to market gardening. I have no grumble with the upside, which is the healthy promotion of plant growing, whether floral, herbal, vegetable or arboreal in kind. What comes with them is the downside, things like garden furniture, outhouses, pergolas, patios, fences, rockeries, and worst of all, garden machinery, such as garden vacs, petrol lawnmowers, electric strimmers, mechanical saws, and even battery-operated hand shears! I confess I’ve been guilty of buying such things.

Battery operated Strimmer

The nurturing of plants is to be encouraged, for without them we cannot exist. Along with them come creatures that are also dependent upon them, including birds and bees. If the chain of interdependency is broken, there’s a problem. That’s an extraordinary fact. We are responsible for playing our part by working with nature, not against it, and yet, we so often do more damage than good by using power tools. We lay patios, and pathways; we cover areas of our gardens with broken slate, pebbles and concrete to facilitate easy maintenance. By so doing, unwittingly we prevent the growth of plants, including weeds, which play their vital part within the ecological chain.

We can get caught up in banditry without realising the damage we cause.

Text for the Day

1 John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’


Alton Garden Centre