Sunday, 30 May 2010

A few photo foibles

And today’s topic is: “A different take on things when out and about with Heth and Dave,” (there always is).
 
It’s all in the detail…?
 
014
 
Colour in the trees coordinates well with the boat, thing is the boat wasn’t supposed to be on here – or the car on the right…
 
006
 
This fuzzy looking “leaf” was in fact the first of several attempts to capture the little cute little poppet sparrow from a few days ago, aye bless…
 
004
 
Nice reflection, shame about the floater…
 
023
 
A misuse of macro settings, it was supposed to focus in on Mrs coot feeding baby coot, but the reed came first…
 
003
And another epic voyage is in the planning stages as we speak, wholly dependant on whether there’s any sun this week that is. So if we’re allowed out I’ll keep you abridged…

Saturday, 29 May 2010

New life and a bit of retail therapy

Ok so “I’m back online again” (sounds like a song), this is the first day I (we) have felt anything like normal. When I say normal I mean our kind of “normal” since, well, Monday really.
 
The funeral on Wednesday was traumatic and yesterday we were both like a couple of zombies. Neither of us could face seeing or talking to any of our friends, we were too physically and mentally exhausted. I’d just like to thank everyone who personally showed us such support – it was much appreciated.
 
So today was a breakthrough, anyone who reads the blog regularly will know that I call the weekly food shop “Tesco Trauma.” But today was different – it was actually something to look forward to! (Tesco Tonic?) I think it’s all about life going on or something…
 
Talking of new life. This is a crap photo but the best we could do at the time, the water hen with her nest behind the boat has had her chicks. Someone’s seen 5 of them, but of course they all hide when the camera’s out.
I need a sun hat for my bald head…!
001
 
And here’s the retail therapy bit, there’s a white skirt on the right somewhere but it seems to have blended in with the duvet cover somehow…
 
009
 
Then there’s this, a bargain at half price, it was so cheap for “eau de parfum.” No toilet toilette stuff here. So I thought to myself well I’ll use it as an air freshener if it’s no good, but it’s really nice…!
 
010

Looks like it says “paraplosiac” in this photo. But it’s actually called “Paradisiac” which sounds like a cross between paradise and an aphrodisiac, hmm… Well worth 6 quid then…

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Really cute and cuddly stuff except for a herd of cattle

All the time we were out this little poppet kept coming and going, sitting on the same branch, singing loudly…
 
017
 
Then on the way back, we were surprised to find Samson and Delilah not far from their nest at the marina entrance, taking the kids on a day trip out. I’d only spotted 3 babes a few days ago (with difficulty) but there’s 6, blimey I said SIX...
 
049
 
Mum and dad flicking nutritious roots up to the top for them…
 
045
 
Aw…
 
057
 
Cute and cuddly gone amiss: I know it’s not quite as appealing to the eyeballs. But this line of pale coloured cows made me laugh because they looked like they were in a queue waiting for a bus. Have only ever seen the anaemic variety abroad till now…
 
039
 
Terrestrial damage – a tree branch belted the TV Ariel into submission…
 
061
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Well tomorrow will be a very sad day because we’re going to a funeral, someone very close to us both passed away recently. He will be missed by many people and may he rest in peace…

Monday, 24 May 2010

A walk on the wildside

Last night it was so warm we tootled off for a wander down beyond Bridge 10, (that’s the one on an awkward angle and a brick wall). We don’t very often go beyond there in the boat simply because there’s nowhere to moor up.
 
It’s there the canal turns into what looks like a river – and even has some very sharp turns on it. So the only downside is that because of all the flora and fauna there’s nowhere to stop for a very long way. It has some unique features that are most unusual for a canal but very beautiful.
 
Firstly,  here’s the back end of one feature that got in the way, but never mind – he was carrying my cardigan…
 
001
 
Born to be wild, there’s a canal behind there somewhere…
 
004
 
005
 
A break in the foliage and there it is…
 
006
 
Here too in the shadow of the trees…
 
009
 
An archway of blossom…
 
016
 
This field is massive (we guessed it was corn or maize) and there’s a multi coloured line of trees at the far end…
 
018
 
End o’ the line? No, it’s one of those sharp turns…
 
022
 
WOW…
 
026
 
033
 
MOONING, took this later on…
 
003
 
Today we set off back to the marina, there’s a few things we’ve got to do this week, hopefully we can sort out this lazy alternator – we’ve come to the conclusion that it just can’t get enough power into the batteries.
 
It was hovering around 12 volts for the first 2 or 3 days which is fine, then it dropped down to just below 11 even when running the engine for the same length of time. So we ran it for even LONGER the next day & it managed to struggle up to 11 but that was it.
 
On average the voltage just seems to gradually drop by 0.2 or so each day no matter how long the engine is run. So we’re going to see the experts next week – one of them being the guy who actually fitted our engine! Will let you know what transpires…

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Woke up this morning and we were surrounded

Journalist mode:
 
At the crack of dawn we heard a right old racket going on outside the boat, when we looked out of the window we found ourselves slap bang in the middle of a fishing match…
 
“ALL IN.”
011
 
With this first guy here not 10 foot from the bow of our boat…
 
037 
 
Looking the other way, check this out for flaunting the rules, two of them sat fishing in an area with overhead power lines...
 
British Waterways have made it quite clear with the sign on the right that within that stretch there should be “No fishing beyond this point” there’s another sign at the other end in clear view as well.
 
God forbid if we boaters ignored warning signs (any signs) like that, instant financial penalties would be incurred along with a slapped wrist.
 
Check out those power lines…
 
009
 
Dave commented “well perhaps they switch the power off for them…” Yes he was joking.
But there’s a principle here, AND where those two guys are sitting is a designated area for boats to moor up – the reeds have been cut back and pilings put in. There’s only one space left at the moment so would a boat actually be able to moor up there and move them on without any aggro? I doubt it, and we’re too polite.
 
Totally ignored…
 
006 

I read an article about a month ago, British Waterways are encouraging more angling clubs to fish the canals (and speedster cyclists to knock people sideways). So I have a question, after seeing this kind of ignorance of the rules FOR PEOPLE’S OWN PROTECTION, does British Waterways expect us boaters to readily accept it?
 
Dave’s called off any fishing off the bow today saying “it’s not the done thing when there’s a guy sat there match fishing.” Oh and even with all our electrical problems he won’t run the engine till they’ve gone. Good grief, am I supposed to bake them a cake as well? 
 
We realise that these angling clubs pay to fish along a stretch of canal, or even think they own “their patch” in some cases. But lets not forget the canals were made for boats and we pay a hell of a lot more for the privilege of using them without pretence of “ownership.” Fair enough though these guys here seem quite courteous to passing boaters – even if they won’t speak.
 
But for the boaters themselves it’s like passing through an obstacle course…
 
032 
Well I think I’ve stated my case here of how to take over the towpath, break the rules and get away with it. So I’ll shut up now, and go sound the horn for a while…

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Watery tales from the canal bank

Dave’s been experimenting with the camera again this morning. He went out to take a close up photo of a Red Admiral butterfly. It was too smart for him and flew off, so he came back with this instead. Even a dandelion head full of seeds can look amazing with Macro settings.
 
More detail than the human eye can see…?
 
004
 
Moving on swimmingly from Macro to Mungo: There are many signs round here telling people to keep their dogs on a lead. Yet out of all the dogs that have bounded past us while we’ve been here not a one has been under control. Personally I don’t mind as long as they’re not aggressive in any way, the owner picks up any sh*t, and they don’t wee near the boat. (That’s the dog not the owner).
 
But what really irks me is the vast number of dog walkers on the towpath who find it fun to stand at the side of the boat (front or back without preference), then throw all sorts of paraphernalia into the canal for their dog(s) to retrieve. It baffles me as to why, when there’s miles of open canal out there they have to come within roughly three feet of the boat to throw their branches, popped footballs and floating rubber bones.
 
Our peace was shattered the other day when two women stood at the back of the boat doing a bit of “training” with a dog that couldn’t swim very well at all. This went on for at least an hour and the dog was appropriately named "Dodge…"
 
“C’mon Dodge fetch it to mummy” (IT being something that resembled a tree trunk), I don’t think they had any inkling that their voices were so high pitched it was like listening to an out of tune opera. Or that the forked branches on the tree trunk could’ve done any damage.
Part of me wanted to go out and ask them kindly to move on a bit, but by the same token it was a dam good laugh at their expense. Both of us were sat here in the lux con tittering like a couple of kids – out of sight of course. Besides they’d never have heard anything above their own racket. Honestly between them they must’ve bellowed:
 
“Good boy Dodge”
about 400 times…
 
“Excuse me madam can I borrow your megaphone for a moment? Oh, I see you haven’t got one, WELL BUGGER OFF ANYWAY.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last night we came to the conclusion Farmer Giles (besides all the other household appliances mentioned yesterday) must also have a power shower with body jets “out in the field” too…
 
001
 
Well that’s about it for today, Dave’s just organising a BBQ outside and we’ve removed the traffic cones that were reserving a space for our friends, unfortunately they can’t make it.
 
What started off on their boat as a problem calorifier, which meant they had no hot water, has now turned into a more serious problem with the hot water tank which means they have NO water. Oh dear, they were really fed up about not coming here too – hope they get it sorted this weekend…

Friday, 21 May 2010

Farming, Fishing statements, and Fieldwork

I’ve mentioned in a previous post how a tractor chugging by looks like the farmer’s ironing his field – to me that is…
 
Anyway this morning we discovered that they must hoover them regularly as well. Notice how the wife is subtly letting him know he’s missed a bit…
 
002
 
Later on I was studying this array of farming implements, and wondered just how many other household items a farmer might use “out in the field” as it were. So far I’ve identified an ironing board, an iron, a portaloo and a fluorescent orange tyre for use in the dark.
 
I said to Dave “aww that farmer must care a lot about us lot on the canal, he’s got a life belt ready in his field.” Out of politeness and respect (well I think it was) Dave tried to stifle any tittering and failed.
 
This wasn’t all of it either, I’m sure there was a bookcase somewhere…
  
008 
 
Anyway that’s an end to discussing farmer Giles’s bits and parts, except to say he’s out there ironing his field now, crikey he must be knackered…
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Change of subject:
 
In the clothing department: What to wear and when not to wear it. This was the dilemma posed yesterday when I started the day in a denim skirt, which then changed to leggings, which then changed to jeans as the weather downturn got worse. Today I was determined to stick to stick with the denim skirt, and it worked, it’s 7.30pm, and there’s no need for leggings yet, hoorah…!
 
A fishy tale: Oh no, not another one, I was sat out back this aft while Dave was sat on the bow (fishing of course). Anyway he shouted politely “Heth come and look at this!” So I went running through the boat thinking he’d caught a giant octopus,, it turned out to be a perch with orange fins. “Yes, it’s very pretty dear now just put it back in and don’t drop it on the newly coated (gleaming) well deck plea...” PLOP, SLAP, down it went. The timing was comedy perfect, then I was informed “it’s ok perch aren’t slimy you know.” Hmm...
 
Note: No perch were harmed in the making of this blog post, it told us it was ok afterwards, it’s a stunt perch and did that for a living. Lets put it this way, it faired a lot better than the fly on my keyboard did earlier...
 
At the moment Dave’s fishing off the back, (in the lux con). Hey, I’m not moving! However, it’s times like this when even on a widebeam one has to perfect the art of ballet and poise, whilst dancing about amongst:
  • Lengths of fishing pole.
  • Chairs.
  • Laptop wires.
  • And a fishing net (that’s capable of dripping on you when deployed).
It’s like running a hurdle race if you need the loo…
 
Time to settle back and enjoy the view with a glass of white wine in hand me thinks…

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Nice cruising weather, but less drama please

We set off this afternoon about 2pm, the weather looked a bit “ify” which means it was on the verge of going one way or the other. Which also means that because we were setting off on our travels we’d end up with the other...
 
So we gave everyone fair warning of what to expect as soon as we got out of sight and sure enough, even after all that wonderful weather forecast it went grotty, dull, and even cold till we moored up, typical...
 
Anyway here’s Samson and Delilah on their nest at the marina entrance (or exit in our case) with one little cygnet hiding under mum…
 
002
 
No, wait a minute, that’s 3…
 
004
 
Forget any Hallmark congratulations cards here though:
 
Hidden inside this clump of reeds (that must’ve broken away from the bank) were seven little eggs, perfectly formed but totally abandoned…

009
 
You’re not going to believe this, (we couldn’t). It’s that curious canal boat again! Totally out of control as seems to be the norm, but this time looking more “legal” (allegedly), with a number and a licence. "Looking good," this time the front doors were boarded up with a full piece of 4 ply instead of several in a jig-saw effect.
 
We were already moored up when this happened (below) and as the boat finally started moving towards us, Dave was ready to jump on the roof, then grab a pole to fend it off if necessary. Talking of fend(ers) they still only had one.
 
Continuing to master the art of driving a canal boat without success. I wonder if they’ve been out there practicing all this time…
 
012
 
This is Dave (another one) and his boat cruising past – yet another blog reader…!
 
013 
 
The beautifully manicured field opposite us with symmetrical design features, fully colour coordinated to contrast nicely with surroundings…
 
017
 
Some wide angle views from where we’re moored, it’s not much further down than where we were last week yet somehow the view seems totally different. This time we’re not up against 6 foot high reeds OR grounded here either, hmm a much better spot in hazy sunshine too…
 
021
 
022
 
023
 
024
 
How’s about that for a bream Steve…? [Said Dave]
 
028
 
Well the sun’s back out of the haze again now, it’s warmed up a bit, and they tell us it’s set to continue to boil for the weekend. So we’re staying put where we’re moored...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

A return journey so we can get back for a return journey

Last night we reluctantly set off from where we were moored up, headed in the wrong direction to the nearest winding hole. The fisherman on the bank there couldn’t believe we’d get this boat under that bridge, but we’ve been here before so we knew better.
 
It is a stinker though, for any size of canal boat because of the angle, oh and the brick wall doesn’t help…
There it is in the distance…
 
004
 
Headed for the bottle neck…
 
005
 
Out the other side and using the basin beyond it to turn round in,, rather than go to the next proper winding hole…
 
008
 
Quick 180, coming through again, there it is again in the distance…
 
004
 
Headed for the bottle neck…
 
005
 
The guy on the bridge said “by gum that’s what you call advanced driving.” Dave said (to me quietly) “All you have to do is look like you know what you’re doing, stay calm and don’t panic if it doesn’t go as planned. Oh and don’t mention the bow thruster even if he heard it.” Hmm, right...
 
010
 
All lined up nicely – it’s even more difficult coming from this side, because it looks like you´re headed straight for a massive brick wall on the RHS…
 
015
 
Out the other side and this big softy Labrador (impersonating a guard dog) looked like he was about to jump aboard. Now there’s a situation, not only the logistical nightmare of returning it from whence it came, but also the possibility that it was a real guard dog after all…
 
016
 
Aha, see the arc amongst those reeds? I wonder which boat made that…
 
021
 
This is Rivington Pike atop of Winter Hill – it’s where we get our TV signal from…
 
030
 
One helluva massive mole problem…?
 
032
 
The marina’s over there in the middle somewhere, just before the hill…
 
046

Oh, and we got an offer for the boat on the way back. A guy on the towpath said “can I swap my car for your boat?” Me asks: “Is it a Ferrari? Make that two” He He
 
We arrived back about 7pm, sat outside and worked out all the grotty mundane job’s we had to do today. Don’t worry I won’t go into the details – wouldn’t want to bore your socks off. Basically we’ve run round like silly beggars all day so we can set sail again tomorrow and get back out there for what’s forecast to be a very HOT weekend, bring it on.
 
Hope you have a good one too – think the air may smell of charcoal…