Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Notes from a small village

Haven't been any where in particular for a few days - boating that is, apart from Braunston on Blow It'. But I think that I am getting fitter through some of the activities that we undertake. Campanology for example.

Bellring per se is probably exercise enough - especially if you ring at a couple of churches every week and throw in a service or two, but winding the clock at St John's in Brinklow is a definite work-out.
The instrument for winding the mechanism is sort of a cross between a lock paddle windlass and the starting handle for one of those vintage cars that didn't have starter motors (or they did, but the battery was flat). The end of this handle is fitted over the winding spindle, (which is a bit like that on your mantle mantle time piece, only huge), and wound anticlockwise until the respective weights (there are two of them) climb slowly from the floor level of the ringing chamber to the height of the pulleys where they provide the motive power for the clock mechanism over the next seven days before reaching floor level again.
The small one is a doddle and can be wound using one arm - but the heavy one is a beast! I'll say one thing - the clock is pretty accurate for an old timer (enough clock jokes, ed). And hopefully when the mechanism is moved to make way for the new bell installation, the whole thing is going to be fitted with an electric motor to wind up the weights (or will it be given a spring).

Jeeves and Aunt Agatha attended the Pagan festival at Combe Abbey Woods mentioned before and took a couple of photos of the manor house and lake. I am told that the Solstice bit went very well indeed with wholesome food; a breaking of bread and passing of wine (sounds rather fishy to me - geddit? ed).
One of the photographs from the pond of those elusive blue damsel flies actually came out. The image also shows a couple of other dragonflies in the vicinity - Jeeves is pleased, but I should imagine that clicking on the picture on this blog will be necessary for those like me who are occularly challenged.

The mating pair of swans finally turned up with their cygnet, so she hadn't left him after all. I am surprised that there is only one cygnet as this would appear to be fine breeding ground, and I can't think of any predators that would be prowling around the marina.

I have been wanting to jump into bed with a Staffordshire lass for years. . . . . . . . . . . .

But imagine my surprise when a four legged one jumped into bed with me - and proceeded to sit on me!

Monday, 22 June 2009

We visit the Working Boat Festival

A week before it is officially open! This was probably fortunate for two reasons. Firstly it didn't cost £10 as apparently it will next weekend to park the car there, and secondly, we were able to catch up with Howard, Heather, Adrian and Jill as they cruised through Braunston on their way to the Leicester Arm.

As you can see though, we did come across some classic working boats - but not many.
Blow It had slipped her moorings at 08:00 hours on the Saturday morning; we were still hiding under the duvet at the time, if i remember. Also feeling a little fragile following a good evening with the four of them on board Blow It , the previous night. Our decision to drive down to Braunston was also for the purpose of blowing out the cobwebs and getting off the boat for a while. Mind you we had done that by enjoying a delightful lunch at the Old Smithy on the Friday - and a big thank you to Howard and Heather for sneaking up to the bar and paying while I wasn't looking!!!

Anyhow, we jumped out from the bushes at the western side of Butcher's Bridge, which we had just crossed after parking up on the High Street near the Old Plough - talk about good timing, or probably luck! So we stuck our thumbs out and were picked up in the bridge hole for a free trip through the locks.

I have to say that apart from an occasion last year on Beaurepaire, this is the first time I have travelled up forward in a boat. This is because I am always at the tiller on Gleemaiden; and i must say I really enjoyed it. So peaceful, when all you can hear is the distant throb of the Perkins way back in the stern.

We had intended to go all the way to the tunnel with them, but although the company was great and boating is oh so relaxing when others are doing the paddles and gates etc, the Admiral Nelson won out at Lock 3. So we said our farewells (again) and rejpaired to the bar for a couple of Scrumpy Jacks - and would you believe it? it started to rain, what timing again.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Summer Solstice!

The longest day of the year, and I am going to spend part of it in the White Lion, watching the Grand Prix with Martin, while Jeeves is off to Combe Abbey woods for a pagan festival.

Since the last post a lot of water has gone through lock so to speak, more of which I shall write when I get back this afternoon - its that procrastination thing again. Whenever I go to draft a posting, I always seem to find everyone Else's blogs more interesting that doing mine - and then I find I have to be off somewhere!

Back again, we didn't do awfully well in the Grand Prix, in fact the Krauts won, so we nipped outside into the sunshine to avoid listening to the German national anthem 'Deutschland uber Alles!' if I remember.

The main news this week has been the visit from Howard and Heather and their boat Blow It. I should add that they were our (favourite) neighbours when we were moored at Shipley Wharf until October last year. Howard was fantastic when we left, as he devoted a whole day in assisting us to get through the first leg of our journey south, and with help also from Tom, had us getting to our first destination at Skipton.

It wasn't a complete doddle for them getting here either, but although a Wednesday arrival was out of the question by that afternoon, Blow It duly appeared at bridge 39 on the Thursday, with Audrone to take the pictures and me marinate the chicken for the barbecue (yes, another one).

Anyway, it was super to meet up with old friends and catch up with news of Shipley and of others that we haven't seen for over six months. Anyway, a great time was had by all and another late night logged up!

Shamefully I missed out on including the lovely Meg among the crew of Blow It. How could I be so remiss, but better late than never, so here she is pictured on board her boat - I hope her feelings have not been hurt.