Monday, October 24, 2016

Towpath Idiot of the Year Award

Should the Towpath Idiot of Year Award go to the bloke who drove a motor bike straight at me yesterday, or should it go to me for deliberately standing in his way ?  Read on.

There we were, at West Drayton, doing our bit for the Trust. Our big boat Jena was moored just by the bridge, on board an exhibition showing the plans for towpath improvements


lots of charts, maps, leaflets etc and a few of us on hand to explain and answer questions.  Outside the boat we were accosting passers by and generally having a sociable time.


Then from under the bridge a young man appeared riding a trials type motor bike.  A couple of the CRT staff stopped him and asked him to take his bike off the towpath, it being illegal and unsafe.  The young man wasn’t at all impressed by this advice(surprise surprise) and forced his way through.  I was standing on the path pretty much exactly where I stood to take the above photo, so I thought I’d have a go at stopping him, standing in his path with my arms spread.  So what did he do?  Open the throttle and drive straight at me.  I thought he would stop when got to me, but he didn’t.  Luckily I remembered my matador’s training (OK that bit might not be true) and just got out of his way at the last millisecond.  We collided, but not heavily and he broke through and escaped. You might (or might not) be glad to know I was unhurt physically or psychologically, although I did spill the coffee cup I was holding, but it could have been much worse.  I’m sorry to say  although this was the first time I have been charged down by a motor bike, I have on a few other occasions been charged by nasty pedal cyclists refusing to stop.

Well, we thought we’d better alert Mr Plod so we dialled 999 and twenty minutes later two very nice constables arrived in a squad car and took down the details.  Naturally we couldn’t agree on how old the miscreant was, or what colour his clothes were etc etc. because it all happened very quickly and he was gone.  The policemen told us that motor bike towpath complaints were frequent in the area, a fact we already know because we did a little investigation of our own a year or two back.

It was all a bit poignant because only a week or so ago a couple of CRT guys who I know but will not name, were attacked by cyclists on the towpath near Southall.  That was much much worse and knives and bike chains were used against the staff.  Luckily no serious physical injuries were involved although as you would expect they guys were badly shaken up and are now understandably nervous about being out on the towpath in such places.

The official CRT advice (especially to volunteers) is of course not to get involved in confrontations, just walk away, but in the heat of the moment it’s hard not to try and stop people who are being complete bastards.

You’ll be glad to know that the rest of the day was fine even though we moved on to the notoriously dodgy area by Hayes bridge. and all in all we had discussions with about 120 towpath users virtually all of which were pleased about the improvement plans.  Today Jena moves (without me) to Uxbridge Rd moorings and then to the Black Horse.  Should you be passing by, do stop and learn about the coming improvements and give your views. You might get a sweetie and a cup of coffee.  Yesterday they even had Jaffa Cakes.  I’ll be back on board on Friday as we move ever closer to Paddington.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The devil in the detail – planning a CRT travelling event.

Next week sees a week of CRT led drop in events in West London

Here is what their official announcement says.

London towpaths are more popular and being enjoyed more than ever before. We are transforming over 16 miles of towpath between Paddington and West Drayton with work beginning at the end of 2016.

Supported by Transport for London’s Quietways programme, and building on previous improvements between Paddington and West Drayton, we will be providing:

  • - better quality surfaces
  • - wider paths
  • - improved access points
  • - new signs

bringing huge benefits to everyone visiting and enjoying West London canals.

Join us for drop-in events on the towpath!

Our widebeam, Jena, will be travelling along the canal this October half-term – come along to learn more about the proposed improvements, give us your feedback and find out how to get involved!

Please see our website for more information:

I can already hear the groans of boaters will complaining about the cost of it all – well most of the cash for the improvements is not from CRT, so that’s not such a big issue.  Others will of course sigh and complain that there is enough towpath traffic already without encouraging any more.  That is probably a bigger issue, which is part of the reason for the events, which will focus on responsible and considerate use of the towpath.  I’m saying nothing, except that I’m doing my bit in joining in with public education.

Anyhow, I’m involved in it in a couple of ways, first in helping out with the talking to the public, and also with moving Jena from place to place.  This latter job has caused a quite bit of head scratching and the guys at CRT probably groan as my next email pops into their in tray, cos I’ve been a bit of a thorn in their flesh .(splendid people all and good friends of mine, but they are sometimes unaware of some of the issues in moving big boats about).

It all seems easy enough, start here, move along a bit each day to the next busy spot, get to Paddington, then pop back to a popular spot for a second session towards the end and return to  Little Venice for a finale.  Simples.

In the way of these things, a few matters got overlooked. For instance when I thought to check on sunset times it showed us that some of the planned moves would be in the dark,( do you fancy steering a 65ft widebeam past lines of moored boats in the dark?)  or be so early next morning that I’d have to be up at 5am to do them. Next time I think I’ll suggest moving the boat each midday, which would still give the team a morning and an evening slot at each place.  Now I’ve just spotted that on the penultimate day Jena will be facing the wrong way and will need quite a trip to find somewhere to turn, but insufficient time has been planned to allow for this.  Does anyone know if a 65 footer can turn on the bend at Kensal Green? Or perhaps by Car Giant? I’d be glad of any advice. That might be our only hope, otherwise we’ll have to trudge out to Acton winding hole and back.

Never mind, we shall overcome, and it’s all being handled perfectly amicably.  Let’s just call it a learning experience for us all.  I wont be involved every day, but it looks like I’ll be involved for the first few moves.  If you’re in the West London area, look out for us, or better still come on board at one of our stops.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Things to see and do in Banbury

Having spend quite a bit of time exploring Banbury on our recent cruise, I thought I’d pass on a few things to look out for, all within walking distance from the canal.

First the stuff you already half know about.

Well of course there’s Banbury Cross.  Not having a cock horse we walked up that way. Some people never get that far, but if you can manage to walk past Wetherspoons in High Street without going in, you’ll be at the cross in half a minute.  Banbury used to have three crosses, used as places of pilgrimage until 1600 when the puritans demolished them.  The current one is Victorian and is a typical Victorian gothic edifice.  Perhaps a bit more exciting is the statue of “A fine lady on her cock horse” just over the road.

Another place rescued from architectural vandalism is the Globe Room at the back of the Reine Deer Inn.  Perhaps the most amazing thing about this lovely old room where Olly Cromwell is said to have planned the battle of Edgehill is that it survives at all!  In 1810 the brewery tried to flog it off to Americans or whoever, but a campaign, which seems to have gone national, fought the sale, then some of the oak panels and windows were sold, only to be bought back again.  It’s a good yarn and you can read the story here. Or you can visit the pub and have your meal in there.

Then of course there are Banbury cakes which you can buy in some of the bakery shops. Pretty much like Eccles cakes but more oval and having a touch more spice.  The recipe goes back to 1586 they say.

Now stuff you might not know about.

Turn right (North) at Banbury cross and walk a couple of hundred yards up Horsefair (A361) and have a butchers at St Mary’s Church, it’s well worth it.

Image result for st mary's banbury

We’ve walked past it a few times before, but this time, we went in.  Wow!




Not yer typically English church is it? Does it look Italian or am I wrong? Except perhaps for those lovely box pews According to the two ladies who were looking after the place when we went in, the organ is a belter and when the place is full at Christmas the atmosphere and the sound is great.  Well, not quite full, because the Fire regulations won’t let anyone  sit forward of that pillar you can see in the middle of the upper seats.  It’s the same the other side.We thought it was perhaps because of the weight, but no, it’s because there is only one small exit door to the stairs.  Anyhow, well worth looking in.

Then lastly, right next to the canal to the south of the town centre, comes a smell familiar and evocative to anyone who has ever been involved in iron casting. Mmmm I love it. The Swan Foundry.  You can’t go in for a look so you just have to peer across the canal at the moulding cases and smell the burnt sand.  Foundries are fascinating places but a health and safety nightmare I would think.  The interesting thing is that although this foundry is primarily involved in iron mouldings, they also have a facility (whether here in Banbury or not, I can’t tell) for making propellers. 

Standard Scale

But don’t get excited folks, look closely and you’ll see these wouldn’t fit a narrowboat, for it seems these propellers are for model boats only.  High precision things made by the lost wax process. However, if you’re thinking of making a working model boat, look ‘em up here. It looks like they’re the biz.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

A Perfect cruise before watching paint dry

We’re back home now after what must be a record breaking cruise for us.  In just over two weeks we covered only 20 miles (10 miles each way). Not exactly pushing ourselves you might say.  However we had a good time, meeting friends in Banbury, generally mooching about and doing a bit of painting.  The furthest we got was The Pig Place, just North of Nell Bridge lock where we managed to find a spot with a TV signal to watch the Grand Prix. 


The Pig Place is probably not a good place for vegetarians, because you can go and scratch the piggie’s backs and then go to the shop and buy the pork chops, but at least you know you are getting meat from well looked after and happy pigs.

Then next day we tootled back to Banbury in what I can only describe as the perfect day for cruising.

The canal was quiet, the sky was blue, and the sun was on our backs, not too hot so the air was fresh. The hedgerows were bursting with hawthorn berries, rosehips and crab apples, and, the locks were all in our favour.  I can’t remember a more enjoyable cruise. Perfick!

I remember someone once telling me that in an average year, there is only one day when conditions are right for boat painting. Well, I must have missed that day this year.  It’s been too hot, or too cold, or too wet, or too windy, but some stuff just couldn’t wait another winter, so I had a go anyway.  The most urgent bits were the sides just above the gunnels, which I already told you about, so I got them done last week, and much worse, the front part of the cabin roof.  Too many times have I left bags of coal up there.  Don’t do it folks, the wet gets underneath and if you leave the bags there it eats the roof.  Gert big flakes of paint were coming off, the rest of the paint was blistering and the rusty bits beneath had got very rough, so despite unsuitable weather I set about sorting it.  First wire brushing and sanding, then Fertan rust treatment (easiest and best), then sweeping,  washing and degreasing, all of which can be done in any weather (except possibly snow), then painting.  I’d left it too late in the year really. In the morning there was a heavy dew all over the roof, and by the time that had dried off there wasn’t much time to paint so that it dried enough before dew returned in the evening.

Never mind, one thing I have learned about painting bits of boat is that it is best done at high speed in order to keep a wet edge.  I waited until about mid day, then used a nice big brush and went as fast as I could,  finishing with a top coat yesterday.  Actually painting large areas quickly is very therapeutic.  I’ll put some more top coats on next chance I get.  Stupidly I forgot to take pictures of the damage before I started, so all I can show you is during and after.

Imagine it all rusty and cratered, then after prep and primer and undercoats ready for the top coat

roofpaint 1

Then after about 15 minutes painting the top coat – voila!

roofpaint 2

Please ignore the missed bits under the hand rail, I’ll do them later with a smaller brush.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Many a slip. Man overboard.

Did you ever see that episode of The Likely Lads where they spent all day avoiding televisions so as not to see the football results before they watched a match? Well that was us today, except these days we have to avoid radio, tv, emails, and Internet notifications in order not to see the result of the Grand Prix which was being shown at five o'clock.

We headed out into the sticks south of Banbury searching for a spot with TV reception and eventually rested just opposite The Pig Place near Nell Bridge where the lady told us just where to tie up to get a signal. A few yards in either direction would have been sufficient to lose us the signal!

Switching on the internet after the race, we now discover that we have missed the chance to meet Marilyn and David from NB Waka Huia in Banbury. Bah! Very sorry folks. One day . . .

Anyhow it was a lovely day weather wise, which was nice for the crowds going to the Banbury canal day, which we had already decided not to attend this year, although we've enjoyed it in the past.

Friday night saw us in the ReineDeer again, this time with Maffi and Oakie and a real surprise -Gordon and Ann. Gordon is a real old friend of ours, going back well over forty years. He even came to my stag night all those years ago. If I recall correctly he was secretly spiking my beer with double vodkas. I wondered why I was getting drunk so quickly. Anyhow he now's lives in darkest Lancashire so we hadn't seen him in a long time.

They were on a Napton hire boat and just happened to be passing through. In fact we discovered later they were moored just yards from us. Poor Gordon has been through the wars this week. First he fell badly in the boat's well deck and bruised his back so badly that when he was in pain in the Great Western at Aynho, the pub staff called out an ambulance for him. He was taken to Banbury for a checkup, but other than bruising he was OK. Then when they got to Banbury on the boat Gordon slipped off the gunnels and fell in the canal, going right under the water, until he stood up of course, then it was only up to his chest. It took four people to haul him out! Interestingly, he declared that the water was quite warm:-)


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Suspicious visitors

Banbury continues to hold us in its vice like grip. We'll have to leave soon before they kick us out. Yesterday, moored oustside the social club I was preparing to put a top coat of paint onto the strip above the starboard gunnel when I was approached by a strange gentleman who seemed to know far too much about me. "Must be one of those unfortunate people who read my blog." thought I, although I had a strong suspicion who it ought to be. Shaking my hand he introcuced himself as Eeyore, well known blogger and skipper of NB Sonflower, once moored in Banbury.

"Hang on," thought I, "this man might be an impostor," for he was far too pleasant and cheerful to go by the name of a notoriously glum donkey. Well I had to take his word for it even though he was suspiciously cheery and welcoming. Anyway he had a nice wife and a pleasant son who had obviously been well brought up cos he was very tall. I look forward to meeting them again.

Then today, Herbie was boarded by a less reputable, but equally welcome rogue, pretending to be our old pal Maffi, but it couldn't have been because he had a smart haircut and his dog Molly wasn't with him. After a cup of tea and a natter I chucked him out as I was ready to do some more painting. The problem was I had forgot to tell the met office and they sent an hour's rain instead.

I was keen to try out my new toy, a palm detail sander on sale at Wickes for a miserly £12.99. Being a miser myself of course I had to get one, and I'm happy to say that it works very well. The front end of Herbie's roof was in a a poor state from when I had foolishly left a bag of coal on it last winter. After the rain stopped I sanded, cleaned and primed a three foot length of the roof, the sat back on my laurels waiting for Kath to come back from a hospital appointment with the good news that tests show that she wasn't really ill at all.

So, to celebrate a successful day we retired to the esteemed ReineDeer Inn for a venison burger and a pint of Hook Norton's extremely wonderful Summer Haze, an absolutely delicious wheat beer that we have only just discovered. Surely a candidate for a Herbie Award come Christmas. The sad news is that it's a seasonal brew and they are not doing any more this year. Trust us to find it when it's too late.

Last evening we visited the diminutive Banbury Odeon, and along with about thirty other culture vultures watched the RSC's live screening from Stratford of Bill Spokeshave's Cymbelline. This is a play I knew nothing about so I read up the plot before going. It was a good job I did, 'cos it has so many twists and turns. If I had to describe it in three words they would be Ridiculously Far Fetched. Anyhow a good time was had by all, and for a change the good people in the play all lived to tell the tale and most of the baddies got killed. Oi'll give it three and a half out of five, with a special mention for the set designer and lighting person and the brilliant comic timing of a couple of the cast. These live Spokeshave shows are fun. You ought to go. Next up is King Lear, not sure I have the stamina for that, a bit of a marathon I think. If I go I might have to take marmite sandwiches.

Toodle pip.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Venice on Cherwell

Having got back from our friend's funeral yesterday, it was getting dark along the tramway moorings here in Banbury. Dusty had just passed us on his coal boat and out of the murk, from the direction of the town centre came an odd looking boat with what looked, from a distance, like somebody punting. I stood on Herbie's counter and waited for it to approach. Well you could have knocked me down with a feather.

Can you make that out? The light was so poor that it shows up best in back and white. Yes, it was a genuine proper kosher pukka authentic Venetian Gondola. No he hadn't taken a wrong turn out of Venice. The gondolier, it turns out, was an Italian gondola enthusiast propelling the boat all the way from Stratford-upon-Avon to London, raising money for a gondola restoration project. At the speed he was going, he isn't going to reach London any time soon. I estimate he was doing about one mile an hour. I bet his shoulders are sore.

Today we took the train into Brum to visit the jewellery quarter to get Kath an engagement ring. Well we were too skint to afford a proper one forty one years ago, (I did buy her a proper wedding ring) so I thought I had better get round to it at last. It's a great place to buy a ring but a bit bewildering because there are over a hundred jewellers within a few streets. The one we picked on seemed very good anyhow, and it was nice to be able to pick an individual sparkler with all its certifications etc and have it mounted in the setting and on the band of choice, and if the bloke who sold it to us was telling the truth, about two thirds of the high street price.

We went off to his recommended pub, the Lord Clifden (a cracker!) for. a leisurely lunch and when we got back the ring was built and ready. Does that mean we're engaged now? You can all buy us a toast rack.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

This way / that way up

Why did nobody tell me? All these years I've been squinting, blind as a bat without my specs, at bottles in the shower, trying to see which was shampoo and which was conditioner. Then today, in Banbury Morrisons, Kath revealed that the shampoos all have their lids at the top and the conditioners have them at the bottom. Well blow me down, so they do! Well at least she told me before I lose all my hair I suppose.

We've moved up to near the tramway moorings ready to catch a train home tomorrow to go to (yet another) funeral. While I'm home I can pick up some more tools to attack some of the rust spots on Herbie's roof. It's always the roof of a boat that's first to need repainting - all that exposure to the elements and then the influence of roof "furniture" like the feet of our solar panel. Speaking of which, even though it is late September, were still getting quite a few amp hours from our one panel, probably between thirty five and forty five today. However, we have signalled the start of Autumn by lighting the coal stove for the first time tonight. But I still hold that September is one of the best months to go boating. The weather is generally good and the canals are not too busy.

Last night we walked up to the Reindeer Inn, which as far as I remember was recommended to us by Oakie, who never lets us down in that respect. A fine old Inn it is too, incorporating the famous Globe Room where Ollie Cromwell is said to have planned the battle of Edgehill. We got chatting to a chap who was celebrating the arrival of his Decree Absolute with a bottle of bubbly. The start of a new life for him I suppose, and he did have a lovely new girlfriend (fiancée?) who seemed to suit him fine. Apparently his ex wife was quite happy about it all too. It's a funny old world.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Painting in Banbury

Well hello dear Reader. Long time no blog! Well we've been busy at home with this and that, and then we came out for some time on Herbie in the Land the Internet Forgot aka Cropredy. But now we're in the great metrollops of Banbury with bandwidth coming out of our ears, so can tell you what we've been up to.

Close observers of the above photo might notice my little footstool adjacent to the Good Ship. "Aha, "you say , "he's been working on his gunnels. "

Well sort of. In the six years(!) since we painted Herbie, the paintwork on the cabin sides has stood up pretty well, except for one thing. Observe closely.

Yes, at the foot of the cabin sides where they meet the gunnels the paint has peeled a bit, revealing the old dark blue paint beneath. I could speculate on reasons for this, and I have, but whatever the cause is, I have to remedy it. Rub down, mask up a one inch strip above the gunnels and repaint.

Over a few days at Cropredy I did the port side and now it looks like this.

We can only get at that side on our mooring in the marina. We have a rule that we have to have the boat bows into the bank to protect the reeds. This bit of towpath at Banbury lets me get at the starboard side at a good height so I'm making a start here. I won't get it all done here cos it's four coats of paint and I only have two days. I'll find somewhere else later in the week to finish off.

You can't see it in the photo, but the old paint has changed colour considerably over six years in all weathers, so you can see where I have applied the new paint. It'll weather in, and anyway the boat already looks miles better.

It's relatively quiet in Banbury. Loads of mooring spaces. It'll be full next weekend for the canal day. We decided not to attend this year, partly because the Theme is '"bubbles" and we couldn't think of how we would work with that. I hope people don't blow soap bubbles all over the place, they're not very good for your paintwork. Perhaps they should install one of those underwater air bubble pipes like they have at Paddington or shovel a lot of methane containing detritus in the water like at the bottom of the Hanwell flight where it bloops under your boat all night.

Sometime on this trip we're going to catch a train into Birmingham so we can visit the jewellery quarter where I have promised to buy Kath a posh ring for our recent 40th(!!!) wedding anniversary. Forty years. You don't, as they say, get that for murder.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Battling through to Slough

Jena was about an hour late arriving at her spot at the Slough festival today, but in the event I was pretty happy she got there at all.   Apparently the canal only became passable  day or two ago after CRT cleared a long fallen tree, coned off a sunken boat,


and cleared a bit of weed. 

That however, was not the worst of our worries, for Jena decided to become a steam vessel when she boiled off her engine coolant after only a couple of hundred yards, despite me having topped her up before we started.  Buzzers were sounding and red lights were flashing somewhat alarmingly, so of course we stopped. While we were sitting in a cloud of steam Nb Ketura AKA Christine’s boat, passed us on their way to the festival promising to warn those it may concern of our late, or possibly, non arrival. How ignominious would that be? After cooling her (Jena, not Christine of course) down and refilling about four litres of water I let the engine run for a bit with the pressure cap off and squeezed the hoses to try to get rid of any airlocks.  Well that seemed to work and we set off again down the arm anxiously watching the temperature gauge.  My guest crew today was our little Jacob (now six feet tall and built like a brick wassname), and he had a go at the tiller showing that he has not forgotten all I taught him when he was a little ‘un.

Word had obviously spread of our troubles, ‘cos when we got within half a mile of the festival  we met a scout sent out to look for us, asking how hot we, well Jena, was. Further on down, everyone seemed to have heard of our troubles and seemed pleased to see us. 

Jena has a big gangplank to allow the public to come safely on board so she has to moor with the starboard side to the bank, which meant that we had to plod on to the infamous (“Is this all there is?”) Slough Basin to turn round then make our way back to our designated mooring at the festival site.  On the way down, a boat, obviously in difficulties, came in to view. getting closer we could see it was Ketura with poor Christine lying face down on the deck with her head in the weed hatch.  The water sure was getting weedy with huge clouds of blanket weed and what looked like Elodea floating just below the surface.  In some trepidation we pressed on and passed another boat with it’s skipper also down the weed hatch.  It didn’t look good.

So you can guess what happened next.


So good of Jacob to “volunteer” to clear Jena’s prop.  You can see a small percentage of the spoils on the right of the picture.

Having done that we managed, just, to keep going to the basin, turned and headed back towards the weed bank, probably now worth calling the Slough Sargasso Section, where Ketura was tying up to the other boat which would attempt to tow her backwards to the festival.  We had to press on because Sam Thomas of CRT was anxiously awaiting our arrival so we squeezed past cheekily asking what all the fuss was about.  I’m not sure that Christine was amused.

Well we made it.  Better late than never I suppose. Richard Parry was also there enjoying the rain and showed some interest in our woes, although in fairness I think it ought to be below his worry line.  Having tied up we set off in search of the famous Slough Festival samosas which were as good as ever, had a peek at the stationary engines and the birds of prey and then headed off home to calm down.

I didn’t count the number of visiting boats but it was a fair old few.  If and when the rain stops the festival should be very jolly as usual, before we go back to rescue Jena on Monday to take her back to Adelaide dock where I hope they will try to further investigate her coolant problems.  It’s never dull being a volunteer!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Squeezing into Slough

This weekend is the moderately , OK partially, OK not very famous, Slough Canal Festival. It’s quite possibly the smallest of all our canal festivals but none the worse for that.  Even as I write, people are planning midnight break-ins into ferret farms to nobble the favourites in the ferret racing, and the good people of the local residents association are preparing the ingredients of their truly scrummy samosas.  Cheery old buffers in boiler suits are oiling and polishing their stationary steam engines and the Dulux dog is having a shampoo and a comb. 

For my part, it looks like I’ll be steering CRT’s mega boat Jena down the arm on Saturday morning ready to welcome the steady flow of curious visitors and their inevitable questions about boating and canal life.  I hope they get her innards tidied up a bit before the public come on board. With all that space, people do tend to just dump stuff.


Taking Jena down the Slough arm is no small feat as space is tight here and there, not least at the entrance to the arm itself.  fellow volunteer Richard did that immaculately.


At the moment Jena lies snugly tied up in the off side brambles just outside Packet Boat marina.  Getting back on board might be the challenge of the day.  There are good opportunities for falling in in the process. Yesterday we moved her there from Paddington in warm sunshine.  I fear that Saturday's weather might not be so kind. Sunday looks better.  if you’re in the area, come on down, It’s a cute little festival and has a good atmosphere.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

YouTube DiY beats telly for fame

If Andy Warhol is right, I’ve still fourteen minutes and fifty six seconds of fame to come after my starring role in yesterday’s One Show.  Ooh hang on a minute, I’ve already used up twenty six seconds on my famous youtube video of me scabbling Herbie’s well deck floor.  That has had an amazing 3,354 views.  It just goes to show, if you want to be famous, do a bit of DiY.  The other benefit of the youtube one is that you cant see my ugly mug or hear my voiceSmile