many birds, no pictures

It started with a swan nibbling at the lily pads while I made my breakfast, progressed through the usual array of ducks and geese. I heard more wood pigeons than I saw. The window of the fore cabin was open a smidgin, a gardening cane safe in the gulley to stop a curious cat pushing it wider. The curious cat was going to have a bloody good go though, and I turned from pouring boiled water onto the coffee grounds in their neat, unbleached filter paper to see his head and shoulders were already halfway through. After retrieving him (he wasn’t pleased) I trimmed another gardening cane to a longer length. At this rate I shall have to buy more. I have ordered some other gadgets to restrict how wide the windows open, but they are coming from China and may take some weeks.

Had I not still been in my pyjamas it would have been a good opportunity to let MasterB have some shore leave, but that fact and the as yet uneaten breakfast hardened my heart. There’s cctv here, I don’t really want anyone watching video clips of me in my nightwear.

MasterB retreated under a pillow where he remained until we left the marina in the early afternoon with Older Nephew at the helm, me on ropes, drinks and nibbles, when he joined us in the fore cabin, safely sheltered in his usual cushion citadel. Continue reading

From Where I’m Sitting

Blue sky. Tree tops. I have to sit up to see more. Wood pigeons are calling. Leaves rustle on the trees. A bird I can’t identify peep peeps somewhere not far away. When we arrived there was a swan serene and calm. My starting the engine to check/charge the battery and ensure hot water for tonight didn’t seem to worry it. But after a while it moved off and into the river.

Blue sky and treetops

I was tempted not to come, despite having blocked these days out in my diary and written BOAT across them. I’m tired. My boat days should have started yesterday, but I still hadn’t found time to book the train and coach journeys in New Zealand to get me between various locations. The coach site was annoying. It decided early on I was looking to book two seats and no matter how many times I tried to correct it, that was what came up in my basket. I was going to cancel and try again but I got a message saying I might not be able to get seats at all. I emailed the company, and had some lunch. Of course no one replied; what was I thinking? It was the middle of the night there. So after humming and hawing for a while, I took the plunge.
In the evening I got a reply to my email. It was suggesting that the error was mine and offered a number I could call. I replied pointing out I had emailed about the problem before confirming my booking, was on the other side of the world, and had spent around half an hour trying to get the site to ‘modify’ what was in my basket.
It’s a long story and in the end I got a refund, but the company insisted all the time the error was mine. I found this tedious and patronising.
Despite this and the disappointment of England being knocked out of the World Cup (I couldn’t bear to watch), I slept well. This morning I was slow and sluggish, and if I had more free dates in my diary  to come East should probably have stayed at home.
Celia, who has been in Wales for weeks, is back in London, and kindly gave me a second coffee while we caught up a little. My neighbour Jolita will water the plants, my bags were in the car. I lifted MasterB from the drawer under the bed where he was sleeping and away we came.
The traffic wasn’t bad; a few hold ups, but I was congratulating myself on having covered most of the miles before the end of the school day and the hoards of parents who collect their children by car,  when we came to a sudden stop. Roadworks, I thought, temporary traffic lights. But I was wrong. Car after car in front of me turned and came back where we had come. I reached the front of the queue and followed suit. I hadn’t seen much, but it was enough. A red car across the road, doors open, glass on the ground. The detour was long but effective and we met fire engines racing towards us, making me wonder if someone needed to be cut free.
Always a cautious driver, I became doubly so. Continue reading

Pictures from the Marina

Time was, I used to take lots of photos at the marina. I don’t know why, maybe I feel I have covered most of the angles, but I don’t take so many these days. And when I do, now that Blogsy seems to have given the thumbs down for the time being to uploading pictures, I rarely post them. But a swan by das Boot always makes me reach for my camera, and the last couple of times I have really regretted only taking my little Olympus rather than my Lumix.

Swan at dusk


So walking around the other evening I had my little camera, and instead of just looking and admiring I took a photo or two. The lavender is well established now and a mecca for bees.

Lavender marina

Continue reading

A Wonderful Day

I shouldn't like to live on das Boot all the time, and I can say with great certainty that neither would MasterB, but that doesn't stop me from feeling sad that I shall go home tomorrow, or from MasterB having a nice time now. He has commandeered my seat, a fold up director's chair of some vintage, rather as he commandeers the sofa. I am writing in the dark to discourage the ingress of insects.

I just tried to ring Aunt, but her number was engaged. It was similarly engaged half an hour ago, from which I deduce that she is relating our day to Uncle Bill.

As forecast, the day dawned bright and sunny. It got brighter and sunnier as the morning passed. And hotter. I should have mentioned hotter, some 30 degrees C, and hotter still in my car after it had sat in sunshine for a while with the windows closed outside Aunt's flat this afternoon.

Showered, dressed and breakfasted, and with my hair brushed and also washed, I headed off for Aunt's, only to discover when I stopped to buy the paper that I had left my purse on das Boot. At least I was able to offload the bags of used cat litter into the bin outside the newsagent's. I refused all Aunt's offers of cold drinks, biscuits, and goodness only knows what and hurried her out of her flat. My big fear was that we would reach the pub only to find the table she prefers, her table, taken.

So she got her vist to the marina, albeit briefly, while I grabbed money, a hat and sun cream, not realising Aunt had already put the latter two requisites in her bag in advance of my arrival.

We admired the poppies in the fields, the growth of the corn, the neatly rolled hay bales, and the rectangular ones. The sun shone. Continue reading

And Down Came the Rain

As I’ve said before, I’m a fair weather cyclist, but today I decided to risk taking the bike and trust to missing the forecasted heavy showers.

You could say it all went swimmingly.

My journey to work this morning was completed in sunshine. I took the precaution of tying a plastic bag round the saddle, and I had a big plastic bag to wrap around my bag if it rained. The waterproofs were a bit bulky in my bag; but it seemed a good way to placate the summer shower gods.

Second bike journey to Creative Writing was also a dry experience. It must have rained during the class as I came out to a soggy plastic bag on the saddle and lots of puddles. I congratulated myself on my good luck, but decided that this evening, when I am going to see a  play, I’d take the bus.

Halfway home the first drops of rain began to fall. Not much and I was confident I’d be alright. But then a long low rumble of thunder, and from just a pale pearl grey sky, a deluge.

I pedalled as fast as I could. Two children, running into the road, nearly knocked me off my bike. Regaining my balance I sped for home, locked the bike up and dripped my way into the flat. Cat was hoping for attention, but I was literally soaked to the skin. Water from my hair was running into my eyes.

I peeled off my clothes and flung the light-coloured ones into the washing machine. I had to wring out my trousers. My shoes, I left on the doormat outside.

I got into a warm bath.  The sun came out.

British summers: don’t you just love ’em!