The gentle movement of das Boot at her mooring, the creak of the ropes, the birdsong, are like a balm. The great crested grebes are nesting yards from the galley window, and watching them tidying up the nest, adding to it, taking it in turns to sit on the eggs, has fascinated me. When there was a change of shift last night, the one who had been sitting, the hen I think, immediately went off to collect more weed to add to the structure. Had she been thinking about this, looking about her for likely material during what must have been a fairly tedious afternoon?
Maybe Older Nephew’s and my coming and going provided her with some entertainment. We went to Ely and back, eating lunch aboard and enjoying a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc the ON had brought with him. The newly serviced engine purred. Not far from the marina we spotted a terrapin the size of a side plate. It was sunning itself on a stone. No doubt an unwanted pet, dumped in the river, and now a predator of small fish and young birds. I hope the baby grebes, when they hatch, will be beyond its orbit. MasterB joined us after a while, and as is now customary, I built him a cushion citadel. He seemed perfectly at ease.
I had planned to get to work with the water pump and washer and start to clean the gunwales of winter’s grime, but my cleaning has been limited to the boat’s interior, and I have read more than I have cleaned. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not. Until I got here I had no understanding of how tired I was mentally. Now I realise I have been running on near empty for a while. I have work on Monday, otherwise I should be tempted to stay on for a week. The forecast is for glorious weather as we reach flaming June.
MasterB has been sweetly accommodating, even when I went to bed at eight last night, shortly after hearing the cuckoo. There aren’t many people about, though enough, as well as a couple of dogs, to make the boy want to stay onboard during daylight hours. The new window locks allow him to peer out at the night, his nose to the small open space, his body stretched tall on hind legs, tail swishing, but do not allow him to push the windows wide, get off the boat and away into the fields. If he fell into the water while I slept there is no way he could get out. One drowned cat, and that would be the end of das Boot for me.
The new onboard luxury is an immersion heater, so even if I am moored up at the marina, I can enjoy hot water without having to run the engine. It had been bothering me for a while that the hot water seemed to run out very quickly, far more quickly than it used to. Having taken the decision to go for a calorifier, I discovered, or rather Stuart who did the work did, that the previous tank was cracked and leaking. The heating system was also serviced and much chewed garden kneeler found beside it, a remnant of the mouse infestation of a few years ago. How the mice got it into that space I shall never know.
Janet left half a dozen freshly laid eggs out for me, I bought fresh kale from the organic farm, and a bunch of locally grown asparagus from someone’s house. My store cupboard was full of things I had forgotten: lentils, butter beans, brown rice and even tahini. On the drive up I was wondering how much longer I shall be prepared to do this journey, but now I am here, giving this little slice of heaven seems unthinkable.
Maybe next year.