Splashing About

On Monday (after some prodding from certain readers of this site…) I took up an offer from Ian to go canoeing on Regent’s canal.

It was a beautiful evening, just cool enough at half six to be doing some physical work, something I try to avoid doing as much as possible.  While I have paddled before (some Welsh rivers and a bit of time in the Mexican sea), it appears that canoeing is not like riding a bike, in that you can’t pick up where you left off.

Thankfully the club is understanding about those who aren’t the strongest paddlers – they have a welcoming attitude to people new to the sport.  After a bit of pottering about I began to remember some of the important things about balancing in the water and the effect that the wind has on your ability to travel in a straight line.  I managed to get the thing pointed in the direction that I wanted to go, and off I crawled.

The first thing that I saw was a dead fish floating in the water.  This was soon followed by a dead duck.

No matter – things die all the time (often when I’m around), so after a bit more paddling, only occasionally ending up spinning on the spot, I managed to take in the greater part of that little section of Regent’s canal.  There is a nice-looking canal-side pub, I saw some baby moorhens being protected by their parents.  A police ‘Serious Assault’ information board and a stencilled bit of graffiti under a bridge.

Then. under a lovely sunset, Ian and I chatted about various things – very relaxing after a couple of busy night-shifts.

It’s something I’d like to do again, unfortunately, as with everything else in my world, it all depends on shift patterns.  There are lots of things that I’d like to do but if it requires commitment (like martial arts), then it’s very hard to arrange when rotating shifts get in the way.

Oh well – such is life.

My mum and brother are away on (another) holiday for nearly two weeks, they are off looking at bears in Canada or some such.  This of course means that muggins here has to once more tape around 60–70 hours worth of television for them.  Including poxy bloody neighbours.

I’m waiting desperately for NTL to bring out their PVR solution (as the PVRs on the market don’t work with their cable box do they?), whenever I try to get PVR working on any of my computers it always ends up failing (and don’t get me started on MythTV or anything else Linux based for that matter).

So if you are in Canada and see a mad looking woman and her balding son, give them a wave – and if you can direct them to the bears they will be very grateful…

After they come back they have a day at home before we all head off for a family holiday in the Dominican Republic.  Gawd knows how they are going to cope without someone taping all the telly for them.

(Yes, that description of them is my revenge for being stuck at home).

7 thoughts on “Splashing About”

  1. Unfortunately TiVos were only on the market in the UK for a little over a year about 6 years ago, then Sky+ arrived but that's useless if you don't have Sky! I bought a TiVo as an early adopter (account number 4000 and a bit) and loved it to bits, but it finally gave up the ghost just before last Christmas. Then I went and bought a Freeview DVR, and my goodness, I'm horrified at how tv recording technology has regressed in this decade – yes, it will record two channels simultaneously in glorious digital, but the user interface is absolutely terrible, and the number of times it has frozen make me want to pull my hair out! If TiVo came back to the UK I'd buy one of their recorders in a shot.

  2. If you can find a PVR box that uses analogue (rather than freeview), that'll work just by connecting it into the NTL cable – it'll still pick up 1-5. Not really worth it though, given it'll only work for another couple of years until the switch off.Unfortunately you've banned me from mentioning the solution I have (working, and which my technophobe parents have adapted to quickly)

  3. No TiVo ? I can't believe that PVRs haven't caught on so much in the UK. I couldn't live without my Tivo any more – it's truly a life changing technology (especially when you have kids and can't fit your TV viewing time into neat little slots).

  4. A friend of mine has TiVo working with his normal (old) Sky box. TiVo came with an IR sender that would switch the external tuner device (Sky / Cable / whatever) to the correct channel before recording from the video-in connector. If you can find a TiVo / substitute solution that can also control the external cable / satellite system then will save you changing the tapes in the VCR.MythTV is great – but not simple to setup. Microsoft XP MediaEdition is pretty cool – but probably means messing around with your current machine / reinstalling.

    A great (free) PVR is MediaPortal that has all the features of MCE but works with a larger range of capture devices / tuners (Windows). A capture card that will also receive FreeView will set you back 50-70, depending on spec – try and get one with onboard MPEG encoding if you have a low power PC so that its not swamped trying to do the compression (usually slightly more expensive though).

    Watch out on eBay — some people have been flogging CDs of this FREE software!


    *I recommend checking compatabilities of any hardware / software before making purchases – MediaPortal is community developed and is tested on the kit folks have access to.

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