NO, I DEFINITELY SAID CHOPPING MAUL!...
There is a guy moored next to us (about 100m away), he is in his seventies and lives on the canals with his dog. We first met him last year at a water point further up the Oxford canal. He was very polite and chatty, but I do remember how he had said that he walks a lot. In fact he walks his dog every few hours and prefers walking to the shops than using his bus pass. Having been moored next to him for 10 days I can see how he said he walks about 10 to 15 miles a day. I haven't asked his name as characters we meet along our journey if I only remember a name will soon get forgotten ("you know, John lived on a narrowboat, has a dog, old boy - see my point?)
We affectionately call him 'walkie man'. Walkie man was up and about early yesterday and as he had previously told me was walking further down the bank to cut some logs off a fallen tree with his little chainsaw. Now fresh unseasoned wood is about 70% water and is very heavy. A big log can easily top 20kg. Walkie man as well as being in his 70's is about 5'6" and probably no more than 9st soaking wet. It took him about 20 mins to cut the wood, carry it up the bank, split it with his maul and store it on his roof. It was probably about 1/3 the amount I did at the marina, but it took me half a day and a few blisters! I need one of those saws and a chopping maul!
Every one stops to talk to walkie man. Jogging woman even stops her jog to hop on board and say hi. Walkie man stops to chat to everyone. He was even talking to star gazing man on the opposite side of he canal in his bashed up old hippy hutch.
I had explained to Deb that we needed better wood collecting plans and this would involve a shopping trip. Armed with the boat warming money that Pip had given us we set off for town. First stop was to pick up our chosen saw and associated bits and bobs, then screwfix.
I could see Deb was looking a little bit disappointed on arriving on an 'edge of town' industrial estate.
"Well, where is it then" she said, "we're here" I replied
"well it doesn't look like much of a shopping mall" blank looks and head scratching followed before the penny dropped.
"No!" I said, "not shopping mall, Chopping Maul"
Confusion over we headed back to base with arm fulls of man toys and, unfortunately nothing from the list that Deb expected to get from the shopping mall.
Walkie man popped over to see how my log pile was getting on and to offer Deb some boat polishing advice (yes she is at it again today). He said he has been out walking most of the day, (nearly back to the marina that we started at!) stopped off for a drink at the pub and brought us some free range eggs from the chickens that live opposite the pub on the canals edge.
As I have said, people seem to be friendly on canals.