Saturday, 18 April 2009

Hunting, gathering and salvage

Now this has been quite an interesting week. As the month progresses, so the hedges put on more greenery and the lambs beging to disappear - one of the fields in Fennis Field farm now has only sheep where lambs were frolicking last week. Another good recipe for Lancashire Hot Pot in this month's issue. Well well, it isn't really hot pot weather any more.

We have of course, had an extraordinary windy week, with Wednesday being to the breeziest. Now this was a pity for the boat that sells remarkably cheap diesel was due this day and we had taken the cash from the hole in the wall to pay for a top-up. Alas it was not to be.

As it happened, Simon took NB Druss out into the centre of the marina already for a trip out to a suitable mooring point where the canal joins Cathiron Lane. We, NB Hetty Peggler, Suzie Q and Druss were all going to meet NB Ghosty Hill. Unfortunately the engine on Druss went slower and slower as she reversed into the marina and once out died completely. Although at this stage we were unaware of this problem and thought that the reason she was gliding down to the south end of the marina was quite deliberate. We also thought that Simon had plenty of help at that stage.

The next thing was that NB Druss had gone sailing without a mast and wound up against the end of two pontoons at the South end of the marina and without motive power. helping hands started gathering and attempts were made to restart the engine, but to no avail. No cause or resolution has been found yet, but in the interim rescue was needed.

So, Gleemaiden became a salvage vessel, and what a job that was with the wind gusting across the open landscape from the Northwest. As soon as we were away from the pontoon she weather-cocked with the bows trying to overtake the stern while I backed up to the other end of the marina where Druss was pinned against the pontoons by the wind.

Eventually I managed to bring Gleemaiden alongside (didn't have to use much starboard helm to get alongside - the wind did all that). We then roped up butty style like a pair of working boats and waited for a lull in the wind. The port bow thruster was no use since all it did was splash water on Druss's bow - and that was the one that would have helped. There was however the trusty Audrone who managed to push the pair of the pontoons sufficiently enough for us to get under weigh and heading into the wind instead of obliquely against it.

All rather fun really, and I was just starting to reminisce about working boats and butties when we reached Simon's pontoon, or didn't really, because I turned for the wrong side of it and any attempts to get back out into the channel were frustrated by the wind. So we let go, and after some frustrating maneuverings, managed to get Gleemaiden down to the North end of the marina for a good calculated turn into our pontoon. This would have gone fine too, if it hadn't been for some some empty headed twit coming toward me, going out, when I wanted to turn starboard and wide to make a good landing at the pontoon. Would you believe that this twerp was insisting that I pass by port to port???

There is absolutely no sense in making a 60ft boat do another complete traverse of the open water and back again just to satisfy the rules of the road. Of course we don't make that sort of manoeuvre on the cut!!!

Tied up and relaxing, we had a drink and discussed what to do next. Of course bell ringing practice was out for that night and so we had (yes another) barbecue. Much later than planned of course, but lot of stories and adventures were related after the meal.

During the week, some books that we ordered arrived, including one about foraging for food in the countryside (and even your garden). Now you might think that this of no consequence, but Jeeves and Aunt Agatha took to the woods and field on bike and foot. They found an abundance of wild vegetables and herbs and have an appetite for more foraging. If they let me I shall join them.

Now today, Steve from NB K2 is polishing the brass on his traditional and very engine like donkey as he calls it. There is not only brass on this beauty, but some smashing copper work as well. I hope this picture gives you an idea of what a good looking engine Russell Newbury were and why thier owners on working boats used to spend time polishing the brasses.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Big pond little fish. . . . .

Woke up this morning after a wonderful evening spent with Ruth and Neil from NB Nerus. They had invited us across for a drink last night after we had finished our dinner (another barbecue) - a lovely evening, but hardly conducing to writing anything after having safely negotiated crossing the pontoon. . . .

Well, off they went this morning and we surfaced very refreshed to the beginings of what is turning out to be a lovely day. So breaking of the fast over, I noticed the most amazing ripples in the water between us and the pontoon opposite.

A shimering form glissaded toward the window and then slid under the boat, I thought I saw a fin followed by a coat of scales belonging to something large and underwater. An enormous ripple followed by a whirlpool erupted just off the starboard side near our side hatch. I thought of aligaters or crocodiles having borrowed a silly movie from simon about such a subject called Lake Placid (an American horror film lent to us by Simon from NB Druss). But no, it were only friendly and lazy carp who were eating the bread put out for our brooding swans.

Huge things they are though - at least two or three feet long. When I am at the doctor's surgery there is a magazine of that name and it always seems to be on the top of the pile. The thing is that every picture of a carp caught looks the same. So did these, but they are very impressively large, and unlike the fishermen in the magazines, I didn't fancy cuddling one. Do they smell??

Absolutely perfect weather for snapping pictures of daffodill at the marina and a jolly good chance for Aunt Agatha and Jeeves to shuffle off for a ride on their respective velocipedes, while Simon 'The Pieman' mended the tyres and innertubes on his bike which needed attention. It should be noted that Simon's bike is an old Raleigh folding number which having lifted, I wouldn't rate awfully portable unless you were carrying it from the dormitory vestibule to Daddy's car for an Exiat Sunday outing.

So, with such a lovely start to Easter I thought I would put some photograpsh of the marina and the daffodills. Suppose I should put one of the bike mending too. But here are some more attractive ones of Audrone doing a few odd jobs and enjoying the spring sunshine. And of cours, some more daffodils. Hang on a minute, is that our boat that someone is sitting on? Looks awfully like K2 if you ask me.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter and All That

Well well well, it is Easter and St John's at Brinklow rang in the special service with some well executed rounds and call changes with only four glitches that called for bad striking - three of them mine! I imagine that we also called the URC service to worship as well, given that theirs was also at 10:30.

Audrone has been for a long bike ride and also to visit Aunt Agatha (AKA Pip from Hetty Peggler), while I labour over the blog. I finally found out how to include other links on to this one, so it just goes to show that self-learning can be achieved. One is so used to being trained or taught everything these days, that you tend to forget that even pilots, drivers and of course computer users had to teach themselves at one time.

A new toy has been purchased in the way of a camera. Bought to replace the old digital Nikon that we had - a useful enough item for taking snapshots etc, but not high enough in megapixels or telescopic magnification for taking pictures of wildlife or getting anything published in magazines etc.

So now we are learning to use a brand new Samsung WB500 camera which does all these things and so many more that I have spent a whole day reading the manual and following up with practice shots and experiments with the machine itself. This has to be done via the computer screen, because there is no such thing as a printed manual anymore. Although there is a brief and flimsy folder that tells you where to do your research and most stridently how to dispose of the 'item' when it has reached its 'use by date'. The latter would assume (probably correctly) that in three years time, a £269 camera is no longer of any use whatsoever and that you will be be buying something new. You certainly won't be selling it second hand - nobody wants our Nikon, even as a gift.

Needless to say, I took some pretty silly pictures by way of practising the use of said camera, after which an enjoyable barbecue was had, despite the cold weather and drizzle. It was a rather muffled up barbecue chef slaving over the coals tonight.
It's all a bit naff really.