It seems like we’ve had a really long weekend, because after work on Friday we drove down to Gloucestershire to see our grandson Morley play violin with his school orchestra and musicians from other local schools.
Our kind friends Allison & Paul gave us a bed for the night & fed us, on Saturday morning we had a quick look around our old home town of Dursley & found quite a few new shops & businesses started up since we were last there, not bad in this economic climate.
We had lunch at Tubby’s Restaurant at Nailsworth with Allison, Paul and Joy’s uncle Harry (who at 87, still can tell a good tall tale) before setting off back to the boat.
On arriving back at the boat we found the damp patch on the carpet which we thought we had dried off was back again and it transpired that we had a leaky water pump! So it was off to Braunston Chandlers at Braunston Bottom Lock on Sunday, for a replacement, people tried to dissuade me from trying to repair the old one but the Make-do-and-Mend instinct in me was too strong and in the end I bought a repair kit too, so after suitable testing it can be a spare. We also bought some new Bedazzled 10 LED lights for the kitchen, so now we can see what we’re cooking. Guess who we should see at Braunston… Maffi, who gave us tea and the latest news.
Ever a glutton for punishment, today we went shopping for a rotary clothes line, some wire rope to brace the fence with and food shopping too. This afternoon was spent doing paperwork and form filling but we also met one of our new neighbours, Tom, who we found was a welder and he is going to (help me) make brackets to hold the new clothes airer to the boat.
Catty has made herself really at home and is enjoying her front lawn (and beyond!) and has taken a bath trying to get closer acquainted with the water voles (remember Ratty?) living in the canal bank next to the boat!
Oh yes, the solar panels are working brilliantly in this spring sunshine.
Our little jaunt last weekend was, in truth, a kind of fact finding mission, we went to have a peep at a mooring we had heard about. After a chat with the owner and a little deliberation we decided to give it a go and on Friday afternoon we cruised down there. Maffi played a starring role in this by turning up on cue at Fenny just in time to provide car shuffling services whilst we provided catering services in exchange.
Saturday was spent in Banbury trying to find a mobile phone provider who could provide a service at the new place and at a tariff to match the deal we get from O2. We are currently testing out Orange, but are also toying with the idea of a signal booster as the O2 tariff is much better… Watch this space!
B & Q was visited some timber purchased and a gangplank constructed.
After church on Sunday we visited Tilly on Event Horizon to fix a terminal on the temperature gauge, shopped & lunched at Morrison’s and took afternoon tea with Bones.
Today we have done some domestic chores, devised a system of strings to raise the solar panels to face the sun without venturing along the wet-side’s gunnel and spent some time scanning old photos onto the computer, hey ho, back to work tomorrow.
This is a really idyllic place, set in farmland, Catty has been in and out today to check out the surrounding area and finally checked back in about 3pm, promptly falling asleep on our bed and stayed there for the rest of the day, no doubt dreaming about messing about in boats. Ratty certainly knew what he was talking about!
"Is it so nice as all that?" asked the mole, shyly…
"Nice? It’s the only thing," said the Water Rat Solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
"Simply messing…about in boats — or with boats… In or out of ’em it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not."
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Our sojourn at Fenny Compton will soon be finished as our winter mooring comes to an end, so in preparation for that, and because it was such a grand day we decided to take a leisurely cruise, through the Fenny Compton ‘Tunnel’ and down to the Claydon Five, turned at the winding hole and moored for the night ready to return in the morning.
Joy prepared a lovely roast dinner for us which we were pleased to share with our friend Maffi who is moored just down the cut at Cropredy, on invitation he leapt on his trusty bike and cycled up with Molly the Wonder Dog. Unfortunately they both had to walk back as a tyre was punctured, I expect another blog post from Maffi on the subject on un-cleared hedge cuttings!!!
It’s always good to catch up with friends and we have been fortunate in having visitors for the last few weekends and even got around to visiting Blenheim Palace after being in the area for so long. My niece, Victoria is planning to do a triathlon there later in the year so the year long ticket upgrade will pay off, rather her than me!
We are looking forward to seeing even more friends and family as we start to make plans for our Ruby Wedding anniversary in July, including some of my cousins who claim they haven’t seen me in most of those 40 years! Signs of spring were spotted on the way and it was a beautiful evening and a amazingly clear night with so many stars clearly visible.