Do I only post these days when I am away from home? It feels more and more like it. How have I become so time poor in my day to day life? That's something I'll perhaps think about, but it does make these escapes afloat and elsewhere particularly precious.
The plan for today was to head for the local Co-op and get my Saturday Guardian and a few bits and bobs I needed – celery, chilli flakes, brown rice – then come back and do some boat cleaning. However the weather had other ideas. Last night it rained and rained. MasterB and I cuddled together in the fore cabin and I watched Defence Of the Realm, a film I saw at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank in the mid 80s and which, along with the TV series Defence of the Realm with Ray Macanally informed much of my political prejudices and beliefs. I remember walking home feeling very unsettled. By today's standards it seemed quite tame, which made me wonder about how the world has changed in my lifetime, and how my expectations, despite the end of the Cold War, are bleaker. It was this film that introduced me to Paschabel's canon. In my memory this music played almost constantly. I was surprised how sparing it was actually. Incidental music to heighten tension seemed very dated and in fact probably reduced tension, seeming almost comic.
The rain continued today in sudden spiteful outbreaks of heavy showers, but it was the wind that deterred my cleaning plans. Having the water from the hose blown back in my face didn't appeal. Call me a wimp if you like. It'd not be far from the truth. But I did get my Guardian and groceries, plus flowers from the organic farm shop where I intend to go before I go home to buy fresh salad and kale. So I shelved the cleaning plans and read the paper with a fairly easy conscience, tried and failed to solve the problem of the airlock with the taps on board that just splutter and spit, listened to some more chapters of Phineas Redux by Anthony Trollope and went for a walk with my camera.
But the high spots started at just six this morning. MasterB was angling for his breakfast and fidgeting. I got up, looked out of the galley window, still ore asleep than awake, and saw a flash of iridescent blue from the pontoon a few yards away I realised was a kingfisher. For a few moments I was tempted to get up and watch in the hope it would be return, but sleep had the greater pull. I haven't seen a kingfisher here for ages. I'm not sure that the last time wasn't with Aunt several summers ago when just as I'd said I thought the marina was too busy for us to see kingfishers two landed close by us. I remember turning to her, silenced, my mouth open, to see my own delight and amazement mirrored in her face.
So I was just doing my washing up, dealing with the spluttering, spitting tap, when I looked up and there was the kingfisher again, right in front of me. Seeing some animals make me feel blessed, and kingfishers are on that list. Hearing the cuckoo makes me feel blessed, and in this birding territory I am blessed most springs. So two sightings before half past nine. Then this afternoon, returning from my camera walk, I went to the river and saw that magical blue again. My zoom wasn't powerful enough but I took a couple of pictures anyway. Knowing all the same that seeing the bird with the naked eye is better than any photographic proof. The evening is sunny now after yet another squally shower, but I am replete, complete with what I have seen. Terrorists may rage, ideologists may rant, politicians may proselytise, but it's art nature not money or ideology that makes this life precious.