Category Archives: Musings

We All Live…

Wednesday 10 June 2020

We All Live…

We all live in something eminently less elegant than a yellow submarine. When I was little, I often thought about living in a yellow submarine – the Yellow Submarine. It still has an appeal whether via a working replica or somehow transported into the magical world. There was always something ‘right’ about it. It never seemed to have the claustrophobic feel of K-19: The Widowmaker and I never felt I would be hunted like Red October.

I loved the song, it’s one of my favourite Beatles tracks. I loved the film when I eventually saw it (I must have seen clips as a child but only sat down and watched the film in its entirety a few years ago. Both mu and I are big fans of animation. George Dunning produced the film for United Artists with the story by Lee Minoff. Heinz Edelmann provides the style through his drawings – he designed the Yellow Submarine. Wikipedia provides a lot of what there is to know about the song & film and is a good jumping off point. provides detail.

When it rains here in Whilton, we feel like we’re in a yellow submarine.


The idea of submarines also comes up in Brian Wood’s The Massive with one of his characters living aboard a nuclear sub – one of my favourite authors and graphic novels. Brian also wrote DMZ which is absolutely nothing to do with submarines but one of the best modern stories ever written.

It’s My Birthday

The song Yellow Submarine, originally released as a single with Eleanor Rigby in 1966 is found on the album Revolver. I found out it was released on my birthday: 26 May 1966 – I would have been 6 years old. It’s a nice tie-in and makes it that little bit more special for me. I don’t know if I heard it the year it came out but I like to think my mum had it playing on the radio.

They say you’re either a Revolver person or a Sergeant Pepper person. I’m both. Both albums are sublime and eminently listenable pieces of perfection. The albums provide some of the greatest songs ever written and recorded.


The reason I mention all this is because today, my order for the Lego Yellow Submarine (Ideas Range), which is now long since retired by Lego, arrived. I purchased it new (sealed box) from an Amazon Seller. I had to pay over the odds but it’s so well done. I wish I had purchased it when Lego first brought it out. However, it’s a birthday treat.

The box is a work of art in itself, the product being fully licensed from The Beatles/Apple Music but it’s the fact that once completed, it opens up and John, Paul, George & Ringo can fit inside. They can also stand in front in full Yellow Submarine garb – I know, I’m a big kid 🙂

I’ll post intermittent pictures of the build as and when. You’re never too old…

We all live somewhere. Where would you like to live?

rp – peace and narrowboats


19 May 2020


murpworks - The Tales of Silverdale - Adrift... - Boat on a Pond image

Adrift on a pond, a lake, a sea or a canal…

There is something about being adrift that brings freedom . You may be at the mercy of forces you are not in control of but this can lead to new beginnings. I think as long as you regain control, it may be good to drift for a while…

Tintin and Captain Haddock are adrift. There is no sign of an oar, a sail or an outboard motor and there is no sign of land. They also appear to be socially distancing but that’s another story…

To be in a small boat with someone means you have to get along. It’s a confined space and even though a narrowboat may be long (Silverdale is 59 feet), it’s narrow (hence the name) at 6 feet 10 inches. You can’t go and isolate in the East Wing. mu and I get on fine. We always have, we always will. So, we have no worries there. Tintin and Captain Haddock also get on well.

I like to think there’s a little of both Tintin and Captain Haddock in me. Tintin: the intrepid reporter/explorer and Haddock: the dependable sea dog who curses and likes a drink 😉

Time is passing quickly now and we shall soon be metaphorically adrift, floating to a new destination. Hopefully we won’t be physically adrift as that means the mooring pins will have come loose!

Soon you will be able to follow Adrift… a new animated webcomic that’s in development. Look back frequently for previews but to be in at the beginning, to see & follow you may like to sign up to buy us a Ko-fi

Ko-fi icon image

rp – peace and webcomics

A New Path

18 May 2020

murpworks - The Tales of Silverdale - A New Path - The Path image

A New Path

Yesterday we took a walk in the Wiltshire countryside. We took a new path. We had recently discovered and once off the road (which was still reasonably quiet due to the lockdown), we were in the green…

It won’t be long now before we take a different path. This one is going to take us up ‘North‘, off-land, onto the canals and into a different way of living.

rp – peace and narrowboats

A Lot of Things

14 May 2020

A Lot of Things

murpworks - The Tales of Silverdale - A Lot of Things - portfolios

A world turned upside down, a life turned inside out. Getting ready to move is difficult and stressful at the best of times. When reducing to move into a smaller space, things become doubly difficult

It’s not just a case of

‘How big a van do we need to transport everything?’

It’s a case of

‘What to take, what to give away, what to bin?’

Sorting through the things we have collected over a lifetime and deciding what to keep and what not to is difficult, rather than cathartic. We are moving on (both beyond and onto a boat) and starting afresh. It’s a newer beginning but it has to have continuity with the past. Well, at least for me it does.

I can’t just get rid of a lot of things, They show where I have come from. There’s a remembrance.

So, whilst a lot of reviewing has taken place (winnowed would be a good word to describe it), a lot of things will be making it onto Nb Silverdale – some Lego, some cleaning equipment, portfolios of work, some old software we can never use?

This is just a small selection of what’s making the cut – today. It may change. There are a lot of wide items to fit into a narrow space…

rp – peace and narrowboats


12 May 2020


murpworks - The Tales of Silverdale - Transition - narrowboat on pond image

Where we are at the moment we are lucky to be in a garden with a small pond. We sit in the sun that has graced these last few days, drinking tea. We have been taking notice of the pond. Ducks visit it from the stream that runs at the bottom of the garden. Dragonflies are starting to hover around the yellow buttercup-like water flowers. Pigeons teeter on the edging, bending over to take a sip of water.

In the past, we have seen frogspawn transition into tadpoles and then into small frogs. The frogs migrated away (or were spirited away by predators) and all that was left was a larger one that had maybe grown from the batch. It used to sit, half in the water, half out. It was in both the water world below and the air world above. I saw the frog as the transition between the two.

This year there are no frogs. They were taken by the ducks who scoured the bottom, feeding ravenously and indiscriminately.

To a Bigger Pond

Thinking of this small pond, we start to think about the bigger pond that will be the marina that Nb Silverdale will be moored in. We know there are ducks, herons and swans as we have seen them on our visits, plying the waters. There will be fish, as this ‘pond’ opens onto the canal. The canals of England & Wales support upwards of 20 different types of fish.

As we transition to this new way of life, we will be sat out with a cup of tea (things can’t change that much). This time however, it will be on the back of our narrowboat. We will just be looking out over a bigger pond.

I hope we see a frog or two.

murpworks AFLOAT

rp – peace and narrowboats

Home Sweet Little Home

09 May 2020

Home Sweet Little Home

Time inches nearer the move aboard Silverdale. It is going to be our home sweet little home. The boat is vacant possession so we can move our possessions aboard when we arrive.

Homes come in all shapes and sizes: from mansions to micro-flats and they come with varying degrees of craftsmanship. Some houses are ugly and some are beautiful but rarely do you come across one as exquisite as this one from nature

murpworks - The Tales of Silverdale - nest V image

mu found this ‘home’ in the garden, on the path at the foot of a tree. It had obviously fallen out. Hopefully it had been used and the birds hatched then, fledged. It is so perfectly constructed with moss, hair, twigs and even a small piece of plastic. It’s using recycling!

We believe it may be the nest of a Long-Tailed Tit, small and as mentioned, exquisitely formed. However, they are usually bottle-shaped with an entrance hole rather than open. If anyone knows, please let us know in the comments.

If we can make Nb Silverdale anywhere near as comfortable and beautifully appointed as this home sweet little home, we’ll be happy. We certainly can’t complain about space…

murpworks - The Tales of Silverdale - nest I image

rp – peace and narrowboats

One Ring to Rule Them All…

7 May 2020

One Ring to Rule Them All…

It’s getting nearer to Nb Silverdale day and preparation is paramount. mu is busily sorting tools, bolts and Lego (not necessarily in that order), deciding what will go on the boat. I am sorting vinyl and books, deciding that all will have to go on the boat…

During this review of worldly goods, I came across this book

murpworks - One Ring to Rule Them All... - book image

My well-read copy of Lord of the Rings. This is the copy I originally first read, back when I was a teenager. I’ve read it many times and am currently re-reading – I’m up to page 656. I actually have a copy of the same book that’s in one piece and that’s the one I’m reading.

Illustrated Ring

Another part of preparation is trying to get this blog ‘fit for purpose’. Its purpose is to document our life and times aboard Silverdale. With that in mind, mu created an illustration. It’s a life ring.

murpworks - One Ring to Rule Them All... - Life Ring sketch image

This one ring will be important. It’s going to form the mast head of murpworks AFLOAT!

Designer Ring

All this got me onto thinking about another ring. One from a long way back when mu and I started out. Mu designed fashion and I did some hand screen-printing of t-shirts. We had set up in the shell of the disused Avon Rubber factory in Melksham, Wiltshire. It had ‘converted’ into units for business start-ups.

murpworks - One Ring to Rule Them All... - Jazz image

A local newspaper of the time interviewed us and the article included a photograph. It appeared with mu and I, in a life ring, in some of mu’s clothing designs. The life ring was something we had to hand. I have no idea why! The photo under the heading read ‘The Designers Who Want to Come in From the Cold’ – there was no heating. I am trying to find the picture and when I do, I’ll post it. Back then, in the ’80’s, we never thought we would be living on a boat.

Three rings – from Lord of the Rings, through an illustration of a life ring to thoughts of a life ring. There is only one thing that could follow this

rp – peace and narrowboats