Monday 20 August 2012

The moment's spur

Woke up this morning with two things on my mind. First was to see our friend Rich about repairing the paintwork under the (now fixed) leaky window. Second was to work out what on earth is happening with our TV reception. There's an omnidirectional aerial on Erin Mae's roof. Very cool-looking, and very convenient because you don't have to re-set it whenever you moor up, even if it is less efficient than normal aerials. Following a wet spell on Friday, partly due to a downpour and partly to me washing tons of avian poo off the roof, we noticed that (a) the indicator light on the aerial had gone out and (b) we weren't getting any TV. I did lots of diagnostics and came up with nothing. I refashioned the aerial end of the cable, just to be sure, and on Saturday evening the indicator light was on again, though we still had no TV. Sunday we got some TV, though very few of the regulation (if largely useless) 110 channels. The signal amplifier in the boat was the chief suspect, but appeared to be working.

I rang the manufacturer and they said the best thing was to send them the aerial and the amplifier for testing. That's great, except for having to rig something to cover the hole in the roof. But at least I could see a possible Next Step. Meanwhile, it appeared that Rich was off on holiday, boating somewhere, and would be back at the end of the month. So the window will have to wait.

That left us, at about 4 p.m. this afternoon, wondering what to do. Drive home and do some database work on site, where it's much easier. Or go boating. Quick check of the weather forecast settled it – we go boating. There's time for us to get to Norbury junction before any real rain, where we can fill up the diesel tank and still be in pocket. So, replenishing the larder from the farm shop, we set off about 5.30.

Tranquil it was. Any sensible person had already moored up for the night. Lots of reflections in the water as we drifted through Tixall Wide, past our friends Dave and Jenny on NB Misty, and Paul and Lynne on NB Piston Broke. Down to Bridge 101 on the Staffs and Worcs (still haven't worked out how to say it) where the canal bends sufficiently away from the railway for us to have a wonderfully peaceful evening.

Does anyone know what the "spur" in "spur of the moment" actually is?


  1. Reacting to an urge, spurring on?

    Best guess...

    1. I think you must be right – in origin it must be linked to being spurred on, presumably by the demands of the moment. But when I use the phrase, it feels different. Language is a wonderful thing!

  2. Sometimes, you get asked a question but realising that you don't know the answer. You let it slip and forget about it. Then sometimes you get a question and it gnaws away at the back of your mind. I have asked a few knowledgeable friends and various kites have been flown. In the main, nothing of any significance has come of it. A couple of days ago I was talking on the radio (I'm a radio ham) to a friend and I mentioned the question. After the conversation had finished, I was called up by another ham and we had a short conversation about it.

    It seems that spur of the moment is a basic cavalry tactic. In the old days the cavalry did not charge headlong into a waiting line of troops as most people including me would think. Their role was to collectively mill around on the edge of the troops and try to distract the foot soldier's to strengthen their defence in one spot whilst weakening it in another. When the weakness was identified someone would charge in at that spot and at that moment. Sounds quite plausible, but then what would I know....