A tranquil evening on das Boot. MasterB, a hot cat, is stretched out on the floor; mischief far from his mind. The swans are nibbling and seeking out weedy morsels below the water’s surface; they look like icebergs, or, sometimes, synchronised swimmers.
The Shouty Man is here and I am unsuccessfully blocking out his voice. Somewhere nearby a boy is shouting, and someone else up river is sharing tinny music with us. The sounds carry on the still air. I admit I’d be happier without the Shouty Man or the tinny music. A water tank has just boomed and MasterB has growled and got to his feet. A little while ago a bare chested man paddled by energetically in his canoe.
Although it is just half past eight, I should be happy to call it a day and go to bed soon. Maybe the Shouty Man and his remarkably silent companions will head for the pub.
It’s Mrs Grebe’s turn on the nest. Her two hatched babies have just tucked themselves among her feathers.
Aunt was charmed. I picked her up late morning and we drove through the back roads. She hasn’t been out and about much recently so we made a day of it and the greenery and the fields brought a smile to her face. She exclaimed repeatedly at the beauty of the countryside; the comforting chill of the car. At Reach, I suggested sitting in the pub garden, and we found a table in the shade of a tree by a mass of lavender in flower. There was a light breeze. She pronounced it perfect even before we had established if the pub could meet her gluten free requirements.
I tempted her with a white wine spritzer. Aunt was tea total until Mother and I corrupted her and she discovered a taste for Vinho Verde. However, she settled on an orange and soda and I had a grapefruit and soda. Long, cool and wonderfully refreshing.
The pub has a chef who was happy to adapt the menu to meet her needs. I know she has been eating very little lately, so it was great to see her tuck in with enthusiasm to her bacon and chicken, even making good inroads of the salad, though I ate most of her chips.
I have photos, but I shall add them when I get home. I think the chance of getting them to upload this evening is remote and requiring more energy and determination than I have to spare.
We sat on, relaxed and comfortable. A two-year-old black Labrador called Bentley licked my hand assiduously. The pub staff came out to see if we were alright, and I asked if Aunt could take home the chicken she had not managed to finish.
When, in my turn I went inside to use the facilities, the landlord came out and chatted to Aunt. I haven’t seen her so happy and contented for quite a while. We visited the chapel, then the organic farm. Aunt came away with six newly laid eggs and a bunch of sweet peas. She was delighted with everything. I only wish I could get her ground floor accommodation in Reach. I think she’d move there like a shot.
At the marina we counted ten swans, and then some more appeared from upstream. The grebe and her babies made the toiling up and down the slope bearable, then we sat in the car, all doors open, in the shade of a weeping willow, and watched the boats and the ducking swans. I gave Aunt her birthday presents. Just three months late.
My new point and shoot has wifi, so back at her flat I was able to copy the pictures from our day onto her tablet.
It may be a while before we can have another such day out. I hope the store of memories will sustain her and supply a source of Wordsworthian inner eye moments.