The dangerous boat certificate BSS

Published Date 9/26/13 11:58 AM

Am making a documentary about moving off the traditional grid and alternative lifestyles in the face of climate change. This is a brief story about how bureaucratic processes can make the world more dangerous rather than, as some people imagine, more safe.

I have bought a very solid, German built, lifeboat fresh off a north sea oil-rig to convert to a live aboard video production studio. The boat had been installed on the rig for 12 years, and has just being started up and tested for safety every 6 months. The north sea oil safety certification is one of the highest standards in the world for boat safety and the boat has passed this. The boat is built throughout like a tank and every component is top of its class.

I bought the boat and 3 months later I put it into the British canal and river network. For this I have to get a licence, insurance and a boat safety certificate (BSS). The first stage is the BSS this is a basic test of mechanical safety of the boat fuel, electrics, and fire safety, it is obviously much less rigorous than that needed for a boat operating in the North Sea, The tickbox safety test is designed for British boats yet the lifeboat has high standard sea going components source from Germany and Scandinavia which do not tick these simplistic boxes.

The boat failed the basic BSS because it has fuel hoses that are not marked with the appropriate British ISO standard. These are the original high quality hoses with brass screw on connectors, they have passed 12 years of safety checks for boat operating in the north sea but fail the tick box of the BSS. It seems that I have to now replace these excellent German made hoses, with cheap Chinese fuel hoses bought off Ebay, the the screw on brass connectors have to be hacksawed off and replaced with cheap strap on jubilee clips. This tick box “bureaucracy” will make the boat less safe and durable, not more so, hence the BSS becomes the “Dangerous boat certificate”.

I hope to get some common sense from the BSS engineer to resolve this before I start hacking at the boat. If this doesn’t happen it will make a entertaining and DAMNING indictment of the BSS process in the finished 1 hour documentary “The man who bought a lifeboat” out in 2015.


The Man who bought a lifeboat

Published Date 9/23/13 6:46 PM

The truck arrives from Scotland.

Lifting the boat.

In the air.

To the water.

On the way to London.

Steve helping with a low bridge.

Had to get 14 cyclist as ballast on her the next day to get under the bridge.

Underway agen.

The locks are easer with two people, harder with only me.

Might just get there (:

Arrive in Hackney.

Home on the river.


Attempted Putsch at Balcombe

Published Date 9/15/13 11:09 PM

The camp has to move after the drilling stops every one agrees with this, I do, the only useful question/decision is when and were to next. What am documenting here is one groups decision and action that happen this weekend at the camp. Read this with a smile (or you might cry) Its been interesting to be in the middle of a attempted Putsch at #balcombe anti-fracking site.

I have been oncamp for more than 3 weeks, On Friday in the morning I got up early to go off site to get the main battery bank charged otherwise the camp would have no power for the next 3-4 days. After I got back the camp was quirt I got some tea mosed around said hi to the people I met, everything was working fine on the temporary power in the tech tent. By the late afternoon it was time for a sester in my tent, on waking I found a strange decision had been made. The same thing happened to a number of people for example Marina Pepper was doing legal support for the court case and was constantly phoning up people at the camp, this decision making was not mentioned, Prajna was off site doing arrest support he was not informed etc.

A decision was made to close the camp down in front of the fracking site and move all the infrastructure and tents 5-10-15 miles away (the location was not revealed) This visible wrong agenda was pushed though a exhausting 8 hour meeting by majority vote of the people left in the meeting after 8 hours.

* You can never get a good decision after an 8 hour meeting!

* That we would be evicted on Monday – actually the court process starts on Monday and as many experienced people pointed out this will be a long process with many delays. It should be possible to stay till the drill is removed in 2 weeks and then leave as we wont to not forced by a court process.

* The main argument was if the whole camp left before the court case they could turn up at court and say “what camp” and the injunction would not happen. This is a fantasy in that we would have had to evict the half of the camp that refuses to go to meetings and would reject this imposing of a nonsense agender by a meeting they ignore. Even if this could be done this would not have stopped the injunction as they would have argued that the camp would have just returned so they would need the injunction to stop this happening.

* Then the was the very understandable argument for the mental health and physical health of the core camp crew here since the beginning – the call to support the “family”. This is the only valid argument, but when looked at it is thin and self inflicted. The camp has collectively allowed a tiny minority of people to continuously hold stressful roles for month’s with out rest, this could have been mediated by the offered respite in locales homes or sharing roles with the large number of competent people at the site. The separate camp is going ahead anyway with out the camp moving for people who need time out this is a good thing and solves this issue if people take the time out they need.

The next day the was a very violent/bad tempered meeting where it was repeatedly coherently argued that the day before decision was damaging and wrong headed. Each point was refuted – the answer was imposed that we should STILL DO IT AS IT WAS DECIDED this wasted the whole morning till a tea break helped to clear the air. During the tea break the people arguing strongly for the camp to be taken down actually started to take down structures. This angry energy faded as the majority of people ignored them and didn’t take part in this.

The afternoon meeting was much calmer, apart form a part were the original decision was tried to be re-imposed by violent argument by a minority. The issue now (Sunday morning) is that online the original decision/agenda rolls on and locals with cars are turning up to take things, and owners of structures are reclaiming them still thinking the eviction is happening on Monday.

This ill timed and wrongly argued ripping apart of the camp might make it hard to move forward on a tactical agreement to leave when the time comes. This is the problem we have created and now face.


This happens nearly every day at Balcombe Snatch Arrest

A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs – On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views


Balcombe Snatch Arrest

This happens nearly every day at Balcombe. Peaceful protesters are being arrested with various degrees of violence by a police force who are supposed to be facilitating the public's right to protest.


Greenham women talks about protest camp life

Published Date 9/10/13 8:34 PM

This is a message from my mum who was an original Greenham women – she is wrighting in reaction to what she is hearing going on at Balcombe Community Protection Camp.

“I was on the original women lead march from Cardiff to Greenham Common. 36 women and six men marched from Cardiff to USAF Greenham Common in September 1981 to protest at the arrival of first strike, Ground Launched nuclear cruise Missiles. There was no plan to stay but when our request for a debate on TV was ignored we decided to stay living in the open in all weathers for almost 20 years. it was a new way of life aa amazing experience but with with many difficulties. wonderful world wide support. but personalities, money, infiltration evictions all had to be resolved.

Money at Greenham.

Anarchy – Greenham was amazing despite difficulties , When the camp was set up who ever got to the postman first opened the letters and took the money. One women used it to pay her mortgage. We opened a women’s peace camp coop bank account with two signatures who allocated the money each day. With discussion, so everyone knew where the money was spent, otherwise everyone considered their need was greatest. The camp belongs to everyone…..never forget our experiences with the security service recruits with MI5 and MI6 in practice missions.

Whilst Greenham Women were facing eviction in the 1980s Mrs Thatcher changed the law, Eviction notices did not have to be given to the person but could be fixed to the premises. At greenham this meant nailed to a tree like in the wildwest USA . We found out who owned of the land around the base. Some belonged to the local council, some to the ministry of transport, other land to the military and some was common land. When women were evicted They only had to move a few yards to land owned by another authority and the eviction process had to start all over again. often there were vague descriptions of women not even a name. when the polce carefully described what we were wearing we all the swopped clothes .The first evictions were in Newbury district court. and later in the high court. we just ignored our evictions.Many of us had a high court order banning us from as many as five counties which we ignored. There were so many of us from all over the UK and all parts of the world we could ignore the courts decisions some women did go to prison. WE WENT INTO THE COURTS IN SHORTS AND VESTS WITH BABIES WHO WERE BREAST FED AND HAD NAPPIES CHANGED IN THE COURT.. VERY DISTURBING FOR THE MALE LEGAL PROFESSION; jUDGES WIFES AT THE BACK OF THE COURT WERE ADVING THE WOMEN. The judge Jupp retreated so fast after evicting us…”

Thalia Campbell

If you would like a pack of post cards from Greenham (and some contempery ant-fracking ones) ask Thalia for her address and sender her a donation (:


How far is Balcombe camp a responsible alternative

Published Date 9/10/13 4:49 PM

Its interesting to be in the middle of camp life doing something that is core to the camp functioning. Am one of the crew responsible for the tech tent, we run a solar power set-up that charges the camp phones, runs the laptops and provides shaky internet for legal, media and wider camp community. This is currently working pretty well but we have a number of issues that need addressing, lets briefly look at each one:

We are completely reliant on a single source of power – solar – this as anyone knows is unsubstantial as people are finding out on dark rainy days – as we move into the autumn/winter this will stop working in a meaningful way. The is a blindness and intolerance to addressing this issue that is worrying and the wider camp is not taking on the responsibility for this issue.

The majority of people while expressing green views treat camp infrastructure as if it was normal mainstream home infrastructure. The is a tendency to get angry if they can’t plug their phone in when they wont to or use the internet after dark, or watch videos over our shaky internet connection. You can explain to them all you like but when you leave the tech tent to get a cup of tea often when you get back you will find 3 extra phones charging and the laptop left on with nobody using it etc.

The solution being pushed is HUGE increase in battery’s and solar panels and tech so you can treat natural resources power as if it was home power. This is a surprising and shocking unthinking indictment of our culture, its why fracking/dangerous energy is happening in the first place. It seems people are un-willing to move closer to nature (even though they are living on a road verge in the rain) rather they unthinkingly continue to use technology to bend nature to there convenience.

We still have individuals who are ripping apart working camp set-ups see my last post for motivations for this LINK The camp is not taking collective responsibility over damaging individuals and there actions, the camp meetings are dysfunctional and fractures, the only way most things are decided is be mob rule or attrition through boredom. Consensus is failing through a lack of trust in the shifting camp crew.

If you wont to challenge fracking and dangerous energy extraction in general you need to be at least able to offer and outline of a working alternative. How can you build a green/alternative with out looking at this issues/mind set in our own camp.


Balcombe Protection Camp has a working solar power station

Published Date 9/6/13 8:05 AM

While summer lasts we aspire to camp electrics being completely powered by solar power. Currently the kitchen, massage/meeting tent and the media/tech tent are working. We have LED lighting and can power 3 laptops and charge around 30-40 phones each day. Other structures have LED lighting running from fixed battery’s.

Hamish looking tired in the Balcombe  tech tent at the end of the day (photo Dik Ng)

Today’s observation is the tech tent has become quite boring last few days – the issue is that it simply works, the are no blown fuses, sparking wires or smocking components. The is just working laptops, phone charging and mostly working internet. This is a good thing of course, but I still have to spend my time in the space to stop people dismantling this working set-up. Here are some example bad energy’s that make this necessary:

* I would do this better, rip appart and plug to gather in a way which is likely not better and then leave everything broken and burned out

* I need this now for this very important – screening – music event – personal project – ripaprt and leave key parts missing/broken.

* Pilfering, I wont this component, its an open space, I will take it, lots of adapters and cables go missing every week.

* External saboteurs, its well documented now that most successful radical campaigns have had paid corporate spy’s, agent provocaturs and undercover police/police informers and that these roles often ambiguously overlap.

* Internal Sabotage, I hate you because you told me in public not to do something I wonted to do so, I will make something you are doing fail. Some people think these overlap with the external saboteurs…

This last one is more prevalent than you would imagine and I don’t think many people doing it actually understand that they are.

Back to a positive note, we have a working tech tent, YEHA!!! and a good crew (would like to name them here but have to ask first), Sean Peatfield


Camp tech needs for Balcombe

Published Date 9/4/13 10:11 AM

Currently we have half the solar panels we ordered working to power core camp phone, laptops and tech tent (250w) – with limited public phone charging. And a second 40w solar powered laptop, music and phone charging point in the large massage tent. In the kitchen we now have a permanent lighting set-up with 27w solar panel. The tolits also have battery lighting but no panels to trickle charge the battery.

(DRAFT) This is a list to build on what we have in our low power solar driven 12v tech tent (and wider powered spaces) at Balcombe anti-fracking camp.

3x small cheap laptops (Thinkpad X60-61) these can be sourced ex-corporate and are strongly built, only use 14-24w of power – less than a 3ed of a normal laptop)

3xcheap usb mouse for the laptops.

Big 2TB external hardrive (legal and camp media off site backup)

Small 1TB USB hardrive (on-site backup)

4 x universal 12v laptop chargers (these can be used to power most small electronics, we use them for the audio and LED projector for screenings)

Wifi booster x2

2 x solar panels 100w semi flexible for tech tent roof + charge controllers, so we can move the huge panel to camp events charging which is what its needed, configured and bought for.

4x cheap 5-10w solar panels to trickle charge the distributed lighting set-ups, they are small so we don’t need the cost and complexity of charge controllers. (NEED TO WORK OUT THE MATH TO SEE IF THIS WILL WORK WELL ANUF)

20m cable heavy duty

Box of mixed 12v electrical connectors

Cheap mobile phone/mifi to use as permanent hotspot (Sim has to be 3 network as this is the only one that works reliably, PASG data package)

6x Phone charging USB 5v adapters (these keep going missing)

20 x micro USB charging cables (these keep going missing)

5 x iphone usb charging cables (these keep going missing)


Ebuyer torch (AA bats) x4 (529074) £88

Ebuyer USB micro cable x20 (242264) £19

Ebuyer Apple connector x4 (451003) £12.60

Ebuyer single 5 volt USB adapter x6 (394741) £18.00

Ebuyer external HD 1TB x1 (396739) £55.00

Ebuyer external HD 2TB x1 (384253) £84.52

Solar shower bags 3 off £21

rechargeable AA battery 16 £20

8 cell battery re-charger 1 £20

3 network data sim card 10gb a month 6 months £90

wifi booster antenna x2 £70

small 10w solar panels + cables x4 £100

transport fund £500

big tarps x10 £180

cast iran Clark Victoria wood burning stove x1 £574

cheap RF bugging detector x1 £20

Parrot AR drone power addition x1 £320

Kitchen water filter + 5 filters x1 £80

phone mic in spliters x10 £40

Cheap small low power laptops think pad (X60) x3 £420

laptop 12v universal power supply’s x3 £90

100w solar panels semi flexible x2 £320

charge controllers PWM5 x2 £36

Heavy duty 12v cable 20m £20

solar cable connectors 10 £25

box of electrical connectors x2 £40

padlock combination x3 £60

Hiring of winter tent £500

Total £3802


Snatch Snatch Snatch

Published Date 9/3/13 6:14 PM

3 videos of police snatch’s from Balcome Protection Camp this morning. Already there have been 4 arrests today. Action began with with Nicky, a local resident, locking herself on to the gate to prevent deliveries to the fracking site. Then they started on the people slowing the trucks.