The Coronavirus Diaries, 16th July 2020

Another day, another beautiful animal not photographed. This time a dog called Henry, a black cockerpoo who is more cocker than poo. He was adopted by his current owners after the original couple who had him returned him to the breeder saying they couldn’t cope with him. He likes to bark, and barked at me when he realised I was about twenty yards away from his boat washing the rear cover. His owners came out to shush him and to tell me he was not aggressive. I had already been on the receiving end of a play bow, so I had guessed it was nervousness, not a sign he was about to savage me. He was as skittish as the young calves, but as the owners and I talked he got braver and sniffed at my legs, and then sat down near me. He’s just over a year old, and a real people dog despite the barking. He stole my sponge and rent it into several pieces, investigated my buckets, and just in time I thought to keep my rubber gloves, which I had removed as we talked, out of reach.

I stopped to allow the cover to dry and to make some lunch. When I returned to my task, bringing the front cover, to give it a second scrub he barked at me again. But quickly Henry remembered we had met and decided I was his playmate for the afternoon. He also found the bag of rubbish I had left by my boat and ripped it open, running away with the cardboard insert from the old jar of tahini. It took a while and the production of a stick to get it away from him. The good thing about this interruption was the cover cleaner got to work on some of the stains, and the front cover does look quite a bit better now. Not great, but better.

Unfortunately for me Henry’s owners left mid afternoon, taking my new friend with them. I may have to bring a tennis ball next time. The covers washed and dried I then applied the proofer supplied by Keith yesterday. I was unsure if I should wash the covers a third time, but Keith reckoned they were pretty good. He had spent the day dealing with an engine that kept overheating and getting rid of a rope that had tangled round the propeller. Then he left too. Stuart arrived and fitted the CD/radio player. The previous radio/cassette player gave crackly reception at best and had forgotten how to play tapes. I was not expecting clear sound, but the speakers which are Blaupunkt were soon blaring out Radio 4. You could have a rave with these, said Stuart. So while I was preparing supper I popped in a Van Morrison CD. Heaven. What a waste all these years.

MasterB would like to go out. He has been at the window several times.

One cat contemplating the outside world

But he can hear voices. There’s a couple on a nearby boat who turned up about seven o’clock. They are sitting at the back, drinking from mugs, and my guess is they live somewhere nearby and will go home soon. That’s what they did last time I saw them, so the boy should get some shore leave and I’ll watch the nibbling swans.

Right on cue they have just walked to their car and driven away. I shall wrap this up now and get the boy outside. But first I want to relay a story Keith told me. Maybe it’s been in the papers. Just before lockdown a man, in his eighties I think and a yachtsman, decided he didn’t want to be trapped in his home, so he loaded his boat with tinned food and set off from the south coast. He reckoned if he went west he would be stopped and turned back, so he headed for the North Sea, went round the coast: England, Scotland, Ireland too Keith thought and then reached Land’s End. But lockdown was still in force, so instead of returning to port he headed for the Azores, and then Porto where he met his family. Somewhere along the line he ran out of gas so had to eat cold food from his tins, but apparently that was sorted too in Porto. Amazing.

Stay safe.

Two swans a swimming

One swan a nibbling

Two swans a nibbling

Keep well.

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