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.
The forecast for today was good, so when I woke up to a morning where the thick mist muted the birdsong, I assumed it would burn off in an hour or so and the sun would shine down on das Boot. Breakfast, shower, washing up all accomplished and still no sun, MasterB had retreated to under the rug in the forecabin, placed on the seating to protect the upholstery from cats’ claws. So I kept my layers on, turned on the car heater and set off on my travels.
Nial and Jan met me at the cemetery. We were all armed with gardening tools, and I had a selection of bulbs. The chrysanthemum I had planted on my father’s grave had vanished, but at Aunt’s more extensive plot (Dad was cremated, so it’s just a small marker stone showing where his ashes were buried) we were pleasantly surprised to find quite a few plants were flourishing. So many in fact that quite a few of the bulbs will be coming back to London with me, even after planting a clutch of them on Dad’s grave. Continue reading →
I am at das Boot with the First Mate (MasterB has been promoted). We are both in the rear cabin, I’m on the director’s chair looking out at the quiet marina, MasterB is purring on the pink fleecy blanket at the end of the bed.
In the field beside us the calves are grazing with their mothers. I got off to photograph some of them. They are so very pretty. One or two were curious but shy. I like to think their mothers recognise me as the woman who uproots sticky weed from my side of the barbed wire fence to give them. Certainly they seem unconcerned by my presence, and do nothing to warn their calves not to speak to me.
The day is warm, the skies are blue and I am feeling sorry for myself.
The reason? I have a cold. An unaccountably achy neck and shoulder on Friday was the herald of a lurgy to mark the change from summer to autumn. By yesterday morning I was sneezing and using up paper hankies at an impressive rate. By evening my nose was as pink as MasterB’s. Some might even say pinker.
Autumn is often a time of beautifully lit days, so when I looked up and saw my fruit bowl haloed in celestial light that made me think of paintings by Caravaggio I grabbed my camera, took a couple of pix.
I came home last night and today I’ve working, so it was nice, just now, to look at the photos I took while I was away and relive the moments vicariously.
I am rubbish at photographing birds. I have about six out of focus pictures of a Great Crested Grebe swimming about the marina, and at least six more when I have clicked the shutter as it has dived under water. So although this photo of a Moorhen won’t win any prizes, I am pleased with it.
That’s the ever spreading Pennywort covering the water’s surface by the way. I’m not keen on photos of sunsets either, but there something magical about cooking dinner and looking at this view.
I was reading when Older Nephew arrived and didn't hear his car. The crunch of gravel near at hand made me look up and there he was. Now the day was warm, though it had been chilly first thing when I had braved the Spartan conditions of the shower block to emerge briskly clean.
We had a brief discussion and decided to head out. Older Nephew had limited time, so it couldn't be a long trip. I made lunch as we travelled, and we kept our eyes on the skies watching the kestrels hovering. We also had to keep our eyes on the water. There was very little traffic but a lot of weed. MasterB had inspected it from the rear cabin window earlier at the marina.
There were a surprising number of cows with young calves, then this fine fellow lost in contemplation.
I have been pretty good about blogging recently, but now I am afloat, so I shall probably be on gold star behaviour for the next few days. It is windy. It is wet. MasterB and I are the only ones at the marina. And as there aren't other cars, I doubt if anyone else has taken their boat out. But since I last came, my neighbours have gone. There is no boat on the starboard side of the pontoon, and tonight the wind is coming from that direction so we are missing its shelter. That may be why I am having a frustrating time watching C4 news too. The winds play havoc with the signal, and it is breaking up so much a coherent narrative is impossible.
Yet the journey was full of sunshine. Golden leaves, trees on either side of the road glinting gold, red and yellow as well as green. It was fortunate the view was good as the journey itself was slow beyond belief due to intermittent road works which meant I was travelling at the end of the school day, so parents collecting their children (what happened to walking home or taking the bus, or cycling?) clogged the roads. Compensation as I neared das Boot. A glance to the right and there were three deer happily in a brown field. I saw a kestrel too, just sitting. I left a stack of egg cartons from not only my own stock, but also Octavia and my neighbours Hugo and Jolita, at Janet Eggs, I didn't see Janet, but her husband was ther with the dogs bounding about him.
People have been shooting tonight. Gunfire has peppered my unpacking and putting away. I don't think Keats references the hunting side of autumn. A great crested grebe was swimming about the marina when we arrived, then a swan. MasterB, released from his cat basket made straight for das Boot, although I was hopeful at one point he would dig a hole and have a pee and or a poo. Doubtless the joy of clearing both awaits me before morning. Continue reading →
My New Year’s Resolution for 2017 was to explore areas of London close to where I live, areas I think I know but where really I have the barest knowledge. I haven’t done terribly well at that but as the year trots to an end I am finally making some progress. However, I have enjoyed some out of town day trips. This started with a trip to Coventry on February, followed by Birmingham, Coventry again, Colchester, Chatham, Ipswich next month and today Walton-on-the-Naze. After a night of rain it’s a fine morning and promises to be warm and sunny. In anticipation of a fair amount of walking I am wearing my boots and I have a packed lunch with me. The train is very long and very empty. I don’t know if it is going to fill up later but I have to change at Thorpe-le-Soken where I have two minutes to make the connection. This train will continue to Clacton. Have I ever been to Clacton? I’m not sure. It may have been the destination for a ramble once, but I have no memory of it. Another one to add to the list. Continue reading →
I am, as is often the case, still up because MasterB is enjoying some Outside Time. His Outside Time makes me feel increasingly that to move somewhere with a catflap and private garden, however small, would significantly improve the quality of his life. And mine. Hartley and Smudge, the two black and white fur balls are also outside in our garden. Hartley is very friendly to me and would be friendly to MasterB, but the objet of his affection is playing Hard to Get. Actually, I think Hartley is looking for a new home where he would gets lots of love and attention. I don’t think it’s my home, but I wish him luck.
As I have heard nothing to the contrary, I believe Ann is still alive. Ridiculous, but I can’t help feeling if she has made it through the weekend she might still surprise everyone and rise again from her sick bed.
Octavia has been looking for talcum powder and not finding it. Since she said this I have seen talcum powder on sale everywhere. There is a mystery here I am not sure I am qualified to solve. Continue reading →