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Peter X

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Peter X last won the day on September 7 2014

Peter X had the most liked content!

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    Crewing on other people's boats; see various topics in the Crew Swap forum.
    Cookery, gardening, carpentry.

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    IT freelancer, retired

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  1. I'm not a professional advisor (I was in IT and last worked on a pensions system in 1978 when rules were very different). But I'm an old codger who's got to grips with UFPLS a bit in the last year or two. If as it sounds the OP is talking about using UFPLS, i.e. taking one lump sum out of a pension each year, the rule is that 25% of that lump sum is tax free and the rest is taxed just as if it was normal income. So if for example your only income in the tax year ending April 2020 will be a lump sum of £16,000, you'll pay no tax because the £12,000 will be less than your tax allowance. You don't have to take advice from Pensionwise or anyone else, you can like me just talk directly to your pension provider, but they will then ask you a lot of questions like Mrs Doyle along the lines of "Are you really really REALLY sure you don't need advice?" Also, not all pension schemes allow UFPLS, but a transfer into a scheme that does should be possible. And mine expects the lump sum to be a multiple of 1% of the total in the pension, so you may find you need to draw a little more or less than you wanted in a given year. An application for UFPLS should be made in good time to avoid the winter rush, but note that the payment will be taxed on a month 1 basis, i.e. they may well deduct too much tax and you'll need to fill out a tax return and wait to get a refund. So the earlier in the tax year you draw the money, the longer you wait for a tax refund. Nov/Dec is probably a good time to do it.
  2. I can't remember the exact figure for the Thames. but i think a typical modern narrow boat costs about £35 for a one day licence (effectively you get two days, just enough to do the Oxford-Reading transit in spring or summer), or £60 for a week. Of course, for that you get to be on a Very Posh River, and the scenery is quite magnificent. As Athy says, what he was told could be very second hand and unreliable, but £50 for a short transit through the Middle Level does seem very steep. If anything in such a flat area can really be described as steep.
  3. On my very rare visits that far north I'm not sure I ever had fish and chips, but probably did the odd once or twice. So I can't really make a comparison, but growing up in Anerley, London SE20 (and later) I regularly used the Marlow Fish Bar and they were consistently good. Looking them up online, I see they're still highly regarded. It's even quite near a canal, but the section of the Croydon Canal in Betts Park hasn't been connected to the system since 1836.
  4. I worked in a desk job alongside engineers at Southern Electric in the early 90s, and was told that they had a real (expensive and dangerous) problem with thefts of copper from substations. One counter measure was to paint all the metal with the stuff they used to protect the iron from rust, even though the copper didn't need it, as the actual thieves at the bottom of the criminal food chain often wouldn't have the knowledge as to which parts would be copper. It wouldn't worry me if there was a substation in or near my garden, as I'd imagine that any electromagnetic effect wouldn't be significant outside it, but perhaps I'm complacent. The engineers will have a right of access, and you can probably guess what their route would be by looking at the gate to the site/building and any approach to that. But I doubt they'd need to visit it often, and when they do it shouldn't be a nuisance. Electrical engineers are all nice people.
  5. There's a lot of tragic people about. Last week my daughter came across a man stumbling around in the middle of a busy main road, behaving aggressively under the influence of something, and in imminent danger of getting run over by one of the many passing vehicles. It would have been dangerous for her to get near the man, so she called 999 and followed him at a distance until help arrived. Londoners can be reluctant to talk to strangers, but we will help them when necessary.
  6. Indeed, I knew that. It's not unknown for companies to have their own railway station, for example I think there's one called IBM near Greenock in Scotland, but somehow I don't think the marina is important enough to get one.
  7. The original question has been fairly thoroughly answered by others, i.e. it's probably best to get up the two locks, moor about 5pm on the first spot you can find after the locks, maybe eat in the Cape, and do the Hatton flight in the morning. I'll just add that as you're planning to do it in June, sunset will be after 9pm so you could contemplate getting up the whole flight before dark, but for two elderly people that could turn into a bit of a slog. Much better to have an early night then get up and go as early as you like in the morning; dawn should be about 5am! You might be able to share locks with another boat, but if not you can just take your time and not feel under any pressure. Also at that time of year it can be good to get a big flight of locks done before the hottest part of the day.
  8. A lot more good advice has been posted since my last post on this topic, and in your shoes I would definitely take up the offers of help from celiaken and/or mrsmelly. Apart from learning about coping with the various difficulties of being a liveaboard on the Lea, your priority at the moment should probably be to get the boat prepared as best you can, whether you end up going to London by road or by water. It's a good rule of thumb that most things cost more in London. Meanwhile you have to wait and see how long CRT will take to get the Gloucester Dock open, and consider what options you might have if it's still closed when your 28 day deadline is up, for example is there some temporary location you could get to and moor at until the lock opens? I don't know that area, but others on the forum with local knowledge could help you. If going by water, the shorter route via the K&A should probably be ruled out because of that stoppage at lock 16 that's been mentioned, as you won't get past there until 2nd April. Also this removes the need to face the perils of the Severn estuary. Get mrsmelly to take you up the Severn and onto the canals, teaching you stuff along the way, and the two of you should cope OK after that. But if you want help with the rest of the journey, ask and someone else will probably come forward. I've done long canal trips myself helping several people from this forum, and the going rate is just to provide your crew with their food and somewhere to sleep. If you end up going by road, depending on the date I may well be available to meet you at P&S Marine and help you for at least your first day's boating getting down the GU locks to the Paddington Arm. My 60+ Oyster card can get me there, the Metropolitan Line crosses the canal right next to the marina.
  9. I've never been on the Severn or the Lea or spent more than two weeks at a time on a boat, but all the above advice sounds good. So I'll just add these thoughts: If you're going to crane out in order to get off the Severn, you may as well go by road all the way to London, as the accepted wisdom of the forum is that once you're taking the boat out of the water, adding some distance to the road journey doesn't add much to the cost. If an inexperienced boater is going to do a move by water, first read the CRT boater's handbook and get someone to help you especially for the first part of the journey, and especially when on a river. As for the Severn, even people with experience of other rivers will hire a local pilot if they want to go down onto the K&A. Even on a canal, I feel it's a good idea not to attempt to go single handed until you have done at least a week with someone as crew. It's so much easier to do the locks if there are two of you. If going by water, allow plenty of time; at least two weeks via the K&A and three weeks if going via the Midlands, probably more. The K&A route would involve buying a temporary EA licence at Reading for the non-tidal Thames, and doing the short tidal stretch from Teddington to Brentford, where I'd recommend having someone aboard who's done that bit a few times before. Above all, please learn about the problems of living aboard in the ever-popular London area before you go there.
  10. Other parts of the south may have their own words for it, but to me, brought up in south London, any foot path between or around buildings which isn't part of a road is an alley. And yes, we do use yonks down here, I think it's widely used across England at least.
  11. I've only done the Soar once, going upstream, but I seem to remember it had some places to moor. As the OP is turning left out of the Soar and only going a few miles up the Trent, (1) the discussion of everywhere downriver from there is of course not relevant to you and (2) you won't need somewhere to moor in the brief time you're on it. It's a big wide river even there but OK if not in flood, and there's only Sawley Lock and the flood lock just up river from that to do, which are not too huge or scary. Once you're off the river onto the T&M there are plenty of places to moor just like most other canals away from London. There is also a section some miles further up the T&M where the Trent flows into the canal and out again over a weir. Venturing onto rivers for the first time, I think the main things to remember are: Beware of weirs, the current will take you towards the next weir downriver if you let it, so you want your engine to be in working order and you want to know where the weirs are. When mooring anywhere except in a lock cut, the current will be trying to get between whichever end of your boat is pointing upstream and the bank and swing you round. So be sure to get that upstream end tied to the bank promptly, once that's done you can take your time. Keep a good lookout, it varies depending on which river, but there tend to be more rowers, canoes and other small craft about, and sometimes big boats.
  12. Peter X


    Peter009, I think you need some more direct answers. My apologies if I'm restating stuff you know, but: All the locks on the Oxford canal are narrow i.e. 7 feet wide; your 12' boat is way too wide to fit through them, and many of the bridge holes too. The same applies to many canals especially in the midlands, so if your boat is in the north and not seaworthy enough to go around East Anglia, the only way to reach the Thames etc. is by craning out, road haulage and back in; not cheap. There are waters in the south which your boat will fit along, notably the Thames, the K&A and the Grand Union. The latter all the way up to almost the centre of Birmingham, but generally the further up you go the more awkward it gets for a widebeam. However lots of people want to live on a widebeam in the south, so moorings don't come cheap and you will need to shop around for the best compromise for you between price, facilities and location. It sounds as if you're not interested in moving far, so you'll be wanting a place in a marina really. You say you don't want to be on a leisure mooring, which will really limit your choice, but maybe others can point you to fully residential moorings in your desired area, perhaps somewhere on the Thames or along the GU through West London or up from there towards the Tring summit. It definitely won't be cheap; good luck!
  13. You're asking because you want to know why everything in this sub-forum is a question. I don't know that, but I have at least answered the question in the topic title, and hope that helps. I've tried asking pets and animals questions, but never yet got an answer out of them. I have a theory that they are all unable to speak.
  14. Indeed, I've been on a number of runs on the Thames on coal boats in recent years, and we expect to wait our turn in order of arrival. However it depends of course on what there's room left for as a lock fills up with boats, you get a wide variety of different sized craft on the Thames, and the lock keepers are pretty good at judging whether someone can safely fit into a remaining gap. We don't run to such a tight schedule as Salters, and the lock keepers will sometimes ask other boats to let them go first because they need the whole lock to themselves and are trying to follow a timetable. Generally a bit of polite negotiation goes a long way, and Salters or anyone else in a particular hurry is allowed to overtake. The same applies on the canals; most people will let through a hire boat that's late getting back to base if they don't get off on the wrong foot.
  15. You have to admire the fairness of the Devon police, checking just in case the man's story might be true: "Officers, who tweeted about the incident, said they found no evidence of an octopus on the road." There's a picture now in my mind of a forensics team taking swabs from the road surface so that a lab technician could compare them to octopus DNA. After all, octopus roadkill might not hang around long in that area, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is probably serving it up for dinner. Dr Bob, I'm not attempting any fish jokes, because an octopus is not a fish. Or octopus jokes, because I don't know any.
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