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. Continue reading
I have eaten all three of my meals at home today, not unusual, but either I am being particularly uncritical or the meals have been particularly good, for as I finished the last mouthful of my freekah based salad this evening I reflected that I could not have enjoyed better meals anywhere. OK lunch would have been improved by a side portion of rice, but otherwise it was all perfection. I reckon I have had fifteen portions of fruit and vegetables today, and that includes a rather lovely alcohol free cocktail of mango, orange and something I have forgotten Celia bought me at Sound Unbound this afternoon. It was made by Mix and Match Unlimited if you are looking to try it.
My neighbours B&J who looked after the incomparable MasterB when I visited Australia in 2016 told me about Sound Unbound. They also kept a close eye on him and gave him love and attention when I was hospitalised for a few days at the end of last month. But that’s another story, and yet another post I haven’t got around to writing. If you follow the link you’ll see we were spoiled for choice with music in a variety of venues, all for free. It was eclectic, it was vibrant, it was eye-opening and it was fun. I rather liked Zwarm who performed in St Giles Cripplegate, the church where my paternal great great grandparents married. I think they would have been quite surprised by today’s use of the space.
Zwarm at st Giles Cripplegate
The Big Cat
Despite the pictures of the Big Cat and Freddy, the story I am about to tell is about a dog. Or rather two dogs. I never met them, but I was telling a neighbour the other day that tonight I shall be lighting a candle to place in the window and remembering Cat and many other animals I have known and loved.
This neighbour knew Cat and expressed surprise that it was already eight years since his death. In all the time I have known her she has never had a pet. I didn’t know she had ever had one at all. It turns out she had. This is her story of her two dogs, Digby and Shane. Continue reading
The petition to revoke article 50 reached 3,000,000 at lunchtime. It’s now at 3,706,979 and I think it’s slowing down. There was a very uptight member of Leave Means Leave on channel4 news tonight who claimed it was open to fraud and that he personally had signed it three times within five minutes. Whether that is true or not, the excitement generated by this petition is wonderful, and it obviously has some ardent Brexiteers such as the oleaginous Farrago rattled.
Not that the Prime Minister has any intention of considering any changes to her deal. Is it lack of imagination? arrogance? stupidity? obstinacy?
Anyway, when I finish work at lunchtime tomorrow I shall be marching tomorrow for a People’s Vote, though whether I shall succeed in meeting any of my friends is doubtful. The sheer number of people last time meant I gave up and walked with strangers.
Next week 20th March it will be eight years since Freddy, aka Cat, aka Freddy the Gorgeous Boy, aka Monkey, died. My lovely boy. Again on the Sunday following the anniversary I shall be remembering him, and all the other animals who have enriched my life, by lighting a candle and raising a glass (or two). There’ll definitely be a toast to MasterB, Freddy’s very worthy successor. MasterB is Freddy’s legacy, and I love him as much as I loved Freddy. I am fortunate. Two cats, two treasures. Continue reading
There’s a walking trail from near Nadia’s house to Petone which she hadn’t had the opportunity to try out. I wanted to visit to Petone. Thus our plan for today was hatched. The trail follows the Hutt River, and so is imaginatively named the Hutt River Trail.
I have had a blister on my foot which is both surprising as I have been wearing my boots for some years, and painful, but today it was quite quiet. I have run out of Devil’s Claw tincture which I take for my poorly knee and Nadia has sore ankles.
Nonetheless we set out with high hearts. It’s a shared walking and cycling trail. Quite early on I remarked that it would be great to do on a bike. For me the absolute highlight was seeing a Tui in the tree directly above me. I stared at it, then reached for my camera. Too late, it flew away. There was a nice section through bush, but to be honest, as walks go, it was pretty dull, with little variety to keep us interested. Unsurprising we saw my cyclists than walkers. After 16km we called it a day and took the bus into Petone and a latish lunch.
The most interesting bit
My lovely Catsitter Birgit sent me a photo of MasterB. It was the first email I opened this morning. My boy looked content and relaxed which is wonderful. The downside was the picture made me immediately homesick. Gosh I am missing my boy.
Over the last two days we have been up and down in Wellington. Yesterday we started at ground level, walking along the harbour. It was Armistice Day, and there was a certain military presence among the shorts and ice creams.
We resisted the kayaks and paddle boards, but stopped to look at sculptures and buildings.
Into the wind
There was evidence of yarn bombing.
Yarn bombed clawed foot
Our meanderings meant we were still in the harbour area at lunchtime, so we sat in the shade near the boathouses and ate our packed lunches.
Honestly, you travel halfway round the globe and you can still meet a Brexiteer. It least it wasn’t Arron Banks, yet another sorry apology for a human being who bankrolled the Leave campaign. Obviously I am not able to watch Channel 4 news here in NZ, but I did see, via Twitter, this man, who does not seem to have the barest acquaintance with truth, being vilely rude to Fatima Manji. Just google Banks Channel 4 news and you can see it too. He accuses Channel 4 news of having an agenda. Yes it does, an agenda to get to the bottom of stories. Banks’ agenda, shamefully assisted by the BBC, is to obfuscate. What has happened to the BBC? I used to be so proud of it. But it has let Banks get away with an interview on the Andrew Marr show so full of inconsistencies it is worse than a leaky sieve.
Fatima Manji remained polite and pleasant throughout Bank’s boorishness for which she must surely deserve an OBE. Most of us would have clocked him. However, anyone watching that encounter who still thought Banks credible or even likeable must have serious issues. And that is frightening, because there seem to be sizeable numbers of people who condone his bullying, even smile upon it. He’s a bad boy of Brexit, a bit of a lad, all right at heart. But he’s not, he’s a nasty nationalist who wouldn’t understand patriotism if it leapt up and bit him. Is this truly the face of my company try’s future? Continue reading
I’m a day behind already. So I’m doing this while Lyn makes the Scary Stuff for some toddlers who are coming for a very early Halloween experience, and Malc is going to do some weeding before he chops vegetables. We’ve been out and about today, walking down to the beach in Auckland and up to the viewpoint. It was the marathon, so roads were closed to traffic and it was all very quiet. But more of that later. This post is about yesterday, Saturday, or Day Two.
I was early to bed on Friday and slept soundly. I woke around two in the morning and was briefly disorientated. Then more sleep. Bliss to be in a bed, in pyjamas, to sleep in silence not the continuous noise of jet engines.
We breakfasted on steel cut porridge, new to me and very tasty. I had mine made with water as is my preference. The skies were blue. We were unhurried, though there were plans. We were going shopping to a market called La Cigale.
We parked on a steep street. You are spoiled for choice when it comes to steep streets here. At the bottom of the street was a house with a plaque on the railings.
Slender verandah arches
The market was busy. We met people walking away with full bags. I met a little poodle called Ginger who was on duty.
There was a nice choice of veg, and the kale, which I did not photograph, but which Lyn did buy, was beautiful.
The sky has now clouded over and there are just patches of blue in the white, but for most of the day it has felt more like early September than early October. MasterB and I were up betimes, showered, breakfasted, he then went to his new favourite post breakfast spot under the rug in the forecabin, I set to wiping off spider poo, dusting surfaces and vacuuming the floor.
I wondered idly what time Older Nephew would arrive and then thought to turn on my ‘phone to see if he’d messaged me. He had, and arrived shortly after eleven, armed with pizza and cans of lager.
We had to put water into the tank before we could set off. Annoyingly, right at the end of the season, it was empty. I shan’t be back before the spring, ON will be here with two friends to take the boat to the pump out, then drain the water out and winterise her. I realise as I type this we forgot to talk about anti-freeze.
So today we just enjoyed some time on the river which was millpond smooth. A few people turned up at the marina this morning to take their boats out, and we met others on the way to and from Ely. Tomorrow’s forecast is for rain and low temperatures so I am guessing those who were able to take advantage of today’s warmth did so.
We saw a bird I did not photograph with a pink mask at Ely. Three of them in fact. Having consulted all three onboard bird books we have failed to identify what it was. There were the coots and moorhens, mallards and swans, herons, geese and grebes, one sighting of a kingfisher. Some of the calves in the fields are tiny, at least one must have been only a few days old.
MasterB spent the day with us in the forecabin, at first still under the rug, then sitting out and enjoying a fuss, finally in a new citadel of cushions. I am hopeful that he is becoming more confident on our boat trips and maybe by the time he reaches double figures in 2020 may actually socialise with us when we go out.
I have put a few bits and pieces I don’t think I’ll need again in the car, I shall put the front cover on in a couple of hours. Supper is sorted, I know what I’m having from breakfast, the more packing up I can do now, the quicker we’ll be in the morning. The biggest job is stripping the bed then putting dust covers on everything and obviously that has to wait. In some ways it would make sense to go home this evening, and it has crossed my mind. But I think we’ll enjoy our last night afloat of 2018 and drive back to London in the rain.