Monday, 20 April 2015

It's hard on the workers...

... when we have rubbish weather on Sunday and then Monday turns back to sunshine. We've had a very pleasant day here – it was very chilly first thing with mist and murk lurking about until mid morning, but once the sun had burnt it off we were back to warmth and gentle breezes.

Some laundry has been done and tumbled and we did a bit of shopping in the morning, of the perishable food variety. Whilst over there, I took a call from Helen of the Burton Mail. She's working on a piece about boaters and will be meeting up with us and Peter off Sanity on Friday lunchtime for a chat. Since we're dog sitting on Friday, we'll have to hope Sally behaves herself ;).

This afternoon I did my long walk round, dumping some recycling in passing, and met up with Sheila at the front where ice creams were consumed. Whilst buying them, I paid for a cylinder of gas; we're planning to go for a pump out and diesel in the morning and will collect the gas whilst we're over there.

Since getting back to the boat some constructive loafing on the bow has taken place. What a good life it is.

Tonight a veggie meal, I think. Avocado with Italian dressing followed by cheese and mushroom omelette with fresh baked bread. This last will be made from part bakes, I fear. I don't fancy doing any serious kneading whilst my hands are smeared with cytotoxic creme :0.

Oh, and here's a picture of a dog called Sven that Elanor found:

He's looking for a home at the Dogs Trust.


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Feels like winter again

As forecast, it's been much colder and gloomier today with the chilly nor'-easter wind back with us, not strong but very cooling. The main event for us was showing a family round Oak and Walnut Lodges, prospective purchasers of one of the as yet unsold plots. That all seemed to go off OK – as with showing round boats, you've no idea whether the possibly buyer is tempted or not.

Often, it's the quiet ones who then go ahead. This is not surprising if you think of your own behaviour when house hunting; if you really like a house, you don't go overboard about it to the estate agent if you've got any sense.

It was cold enough that I lit the fire after lunch and we then decided to take one of our split walks round the marina. Sheila goes to the front by the short route and I go right round the other way at a brisk pace. It's getting to the point where Sheila needs to give me a start, so much has she speeded up even whilst wearing her surgical shoe.

Peter and Katie's boat Uriah Heep has been on the pontoon in front of the Boardwalk all weekend as it's up for sale. We popped down there for a chat and ended up having a very pleasant hour helping them to drink some white wine they happened to have. Sadly, they are not going to be able to join us for the quiz on Wednesday night as Katie has a job interview elsewhere in the country the next day. We'll just have to hope that Lucy can find alternative partners for us – I expect she will, it's a popular event.

Good luck Katie, anyway!


Saturday, 18 April 2015

A bit of gardening

We had a quiet morning, doing a bit of shopping and then pottering in the boat. The weather being fine, sitting out on the bow before and after lunch was very pleasant. In another sign of the changing season, I emptied out the upper bow locker, retrieved the troughs from the lower locker and rearranged the stuff when I put it all back. In particular, I filled the coat scuttle (we'll still need the fire from time to time) and then put the big coal box into its summer position in the locker.

Elanor came round at 2 and took us to Findern. The garden centre was busy, though not as busy as the marina. (New and Used have been having an Open Day and there were cars parked everywhere.) We bought geranium, chilli and mint plants. The mint is a replacement for the one that's lasted a couple of years in a big blue pot but which didn't make it through the winter. Yes folks, we've managed to kill a mint plant...

Sheila has planted a chilli in the centre of each of the four troughs and put a geranium either side of it. These latter will be lower and flatter than the chillis which should stand up above them. The four chillis are of different kinds, a Jalapeno, a Cheyenne, a Volcano and a Fuego.

Whilst we were doing this, Elanor nipped home to fetch Sally and she and I took her for a run in field 3, the sheep having been removed from field 2. It was too hot to run her very hard, so after a bit we walked round the rest of the marina and rendezvoused with Sheila at Still Waters for ice creams.

Since then we've been sitting on the bow again until it was time for Elanor and Sally to go home. Tomorrow, we've nothing special planned, except that we've undertaken to show some people round Oak Lodge. Sadly the weather isn't likely to be as good as today, but it's going to warm up again as the week goes on.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Friday routine

We've rather got into the habit of having an Ocado delivery every other Friday and today was one of those days. We arose betimes and pottered about doing the morning routine, including Sheila setting up a wash load. One on Friday reduces the burden of the main event on Monday or Tuesday.

I'd had the email and text to announce that Christopher would be arriving in the Raspberry van between ten and eleven, albeit without the tub of mandarin orange segments I'd ordered, and sure enough a phone call at about quarter past turned out to be the selfsame Chris. He was only five minutes away so I had my work cut out to get to the security gate before him, just managing it.

Having let him through, I ambled back but still managed to arrive at the boat as he and Sheila were conversing by the van. It seems that his copy of the delivery instructions had reverted to the old advice from when we were moored on Grebe pontoon, which seems a bit strange.

No matter, we soon had the saloon full of bags of goodies and Chris on his way back round the marina. All was well with the delivery and we had it all stowed well before lunch. A quiet sit down was welcome before we scoffed the pork pie I'd added to the order with lunch in mind.

In the early afternoon, I took a brisk walk round the marina and met up with Sheila at the front. There we bought some new potatoes and mayonnaise from Still Waters; tonight's meal is avocado and prawn salad with Marie Rose sauce and baby new potatoes.

Sadly, the weather remains very chillly, so sitting out has not been an option. No matter, tomorrow's forecast looks better, which is just as well as Elanor has volunteered to take us to the garden centre in Findern to get plants for the roof top troughs. Sally will not be of the party for once – garden centres are so not her thing.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Mostly quiet

A cooler but quieter day today, with little wind but a chilly air temperature which improved a bit as the day went on. We've mostly been doing routine stuff, updating an Ocado order for tomorrow, taking walks round the marina and the like.

The main achievement was us finally getting round to changing our dentist. As I think I've said before, Alrewas is fine but just too far away for convenience, both for us and for Elanor. Matters were precipitated by Elanor waking in the night with a bit broken off one of her teeth, so she's arranged to go and see the practitioner recommended to us by Trev and Rachael off Takt Up, Natural Smiles in Littleover.

When I rang to make initial appointments I was impressed with the efficiency and pleasant courtesy of the receptionist, always a good start. Elanor's being seen next Wednesday (she's not in any pain) and our appointments aren't until the first week of May. I'll give our impressions of the service after we've been seen.

And that's about it for today; Sal exercise tonight before cooking some garlic chicken kievs Elanor's got for us from the Moy Park factory shop. Tomorrow, as I say, an Ocado delivery and then suddenly it will be the weekend again. Hopefully, less than three weeks more to hang around here and we can start boating again. I expect you lot will be as relieved to have it to read about as we will be to be doing it...

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Ambling about

We've had a very relaxed day, ambling out doing this and that with no major projects to chase up for once. A trip to the front first thing to buy bread for lunch was the occasion for a first this year. A pair of swallows were flitting about by the dry dock building. One swallow doesn't make a summer, naturally, but two is a good start.

Later on we were chatting to Stewart as he laid some paving to make the base for a seat in the sensory garden and he told us that a pair usually nest in the dry dock roof. Must say, it didn't feel terribly summery just then; that chilly northerly wind was back with a vengeance.

After lunch I took a brisk walk round the marina whilst Sheila went the other way. We foregathered at the front and, the wind having dropped a bit, decided to celebrate the swallows with an ice cream apiece. Mind you, I'm presently reading that entertaining but strange book Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce, so ice cream eating isn't as unremarkable as it once was...

If you don't know them, the Aberystwyth books are a strange amalgam of Chandleresque noir with gentle humour at the expense of modern Welsh culture, quite unique in their way and distinctly chuckle provoking, especially if you're ever lived in West Wales. (Just don't get on the wrong side of the druids if you don't want to find a donkey's head in your bed.)

After we'd ambled back, we sat out in the well deck, the windward side of the cratch down to make a cosy location – I've had to come in to do this blog before I fell asleep. Looks like it's back to more normal April weather for a few days, but we can always hope for more of this later in the year.

Can't we?


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Busy sort of day

After a half decent night, we've been keeping busy today. More washing has been done and tumbled and we took a walk round to the front together this morning. One of our tenants had left a couple of items behind, so the office will post them back to him. We popped into Still Waters to buy large onions and one or two other items.

In fact we had a pleasant excuse to sit around on the bench outside watching activity in the marina for a while as the gas lorry had turned up and Michael went round to deal with it.

Back at the boat we got on with stuff again, though there was time to do some serious newspaper reading...

After lunch, I took a walk round the marina, stopping to chat to a passing Jo at one stage. She tells me of a rumour that HSE is to ban people staying on their boats overnight when they are on dry dock. If so, it will cause problems for a lot of liveaboards. The trouble is there have been a few incidents where things have either gone badly wrong or very nearly so, so I can see where HSE are coming from.

From our point of view, of course, it will mean more business for the lodge; one of our regular sources of tenants are folk having their boat blacked either here or at Shobnall.

It's back to sunny weather again and we've been sitting out on the bow most of the afternoon. Sheila has turned up the cuffs on my latest pair of Regatta trousers ready for the new cruising season as well as doing more crochet.

It's a Salambulation tonight, after which I'm doing this week's veggie meal, boiled onions with cheese sauce and new potatoes and peas.