So we moored at Cropredy in a glorious sunset
and woke up to a brilliant, frosty, sunny morning.
And ice on the canal, an inch thick. Doesn’t it look nice?
We have broken ice with Farndon before. It’s quite a scary experience. The ice crashes and splinters and makes graunching noises and bits of it fly about. Inside the boat it sounds as if something is grinding the bottom off the boat and occasionally hitting it with big rocks. It sounds a bit like this ↓
Sometimes, the ice sheets split at an angle and shove the boat inexorably towards the banks. But it’s a steel hull after all and ice is only water? We tried breaking it up a bit before setting off and the boathook broke. It didn’t sink of course, just skimmed across the ice.
Here are some geese, who all looked up as we approached and then briskly set off across the field, away from us.
We crashed and graunched and shuddered out way to somewhere in the middle of nowhere and had a nice meal on board and there was wonderful light and a glorious sunset and a brilliant moon.
The next morning the ice was two inches thick and our nerve failed after about half an hour of crashing. We moored a hundred yards the other side of the middle of nowhere and waited for rain. We also rang the marina six times to say we wouldn’t be back mid afternoon on Thursday but they wouldn’t answer their phone. And we rang our boat management company but they didn’t answer their phone either. We felt abandoned – and not in a cosy showering sort of way. We reckoned up our stores and decided that we could make corned beef hash and omelettes if we never got back to the real world and I was very pleased that I had brought too many sausages and too much bacon and had bought some extra eggs and bread at Cropredy. Though oddly, the fridge seemed to get warmer as the weather got colder so the extras I had brought from far away Berkshire were just about keeping cool – ish. (We should have put it all outside!)
Eventually, it rained and the ice began to melt. It was the day we were due back (the marina still weren’t answering their phone). Wonderful Linda, from the management company, phoned us though and said when were we expecting to arrive because people were waiting for us. We explained that we would be another several hours and she said well could we take the boat to another further away marina where it was going to have its hull re-blacked? We said yes and then the gas ran out. Thank heavens I’d decided to make coffee first thing. We battled the rain and wind and lots and lots of cold locks and as we finally glided towards the marina, the sun came out and there were people waiting for us in the real world (quite cheerfully as they’d been having lunch in the pub).
Actually it was a really nice holiday. The days when we were iced in were sunny and bright and came with sunsets and frosty mornings. The other days were spiced with anxiety and in fact the gas didn’t run out till the very last minute – well, five hours. And inside was wonderfully warm and cosy. It was all very, very good. Can’t wait for July when we’re next out.
There will be more pics, I just haven’t quite got round to editing them all – what with the sunshine and slowness of travel, I took rather a lot. Now I’ve got to get a move on because the Middles are coming tomorrow and the house will be overrun with two small people. Possibly I ought to find them somewhere to sleep?
Sleep well all : )
The house looks like battlefield and the trail of destruction and disorder leads to the door of the music room wherein lies a tiny, sleeping person, freshly bathed and storied and “a little bit cold” so swathed in several layers of blanket. (I’ll have to go up later and removes some or she’ll be a stewed GB by the morning). We are privileged, for the first time, to have fed and bedded her by ourselves and she was wonderfully helpful and accommodating. She really is a nice little person. Admittedly there was an excessive amount of discussion about her pizza toast (toast with tomato puree and toasted cheese – I recommend it, I had to pretend to share it and it’s very nice) and we had to take turns discussing it with her but most of it got eaten. And I’m afraid I didn’t know all the songs she likes to sing in the bath and I couldn’t get our TV to produce CBeebies at all (but that’s fine as it confirms my insistence that I can’t make TVs work). There was a slightly unfortunate incident which involved Barney’s chair, not mine so I don’t mind about that – I had offered the potty several times but we got quite involved about the food discussions and there was forgetfulness (potty training is very recent and not completed yet). So Mr and Mrs Middle have gone out to see Les Miserables at Newbury’s ridiculously capacious multiplex cinema and we are bathing in the warm, emotional glow emitted by the sleeping and apparently contented GB (well it is our first time and she might have suddenly decided that she wanted My Mummy or My Daddy). It’s all exceedingly good. And exhausting. And now I’d better read my crib sheet and find out what I’ve forgotten (not the nappy – last week I forgot that when I put her down for her nap and the results were as might have been predicted – it’s a very recent thing this nappyless-ness when awake). Oh and then I’d better clear up. It’s quite amazing how much disorder a very small person can create in a couple of hours – I’d quite forgotten.
Actually I’d better go and have a listen. Who knows, she might suddenly have realised that My Mummy and My Daddy (I so love that) are really not here and want to be comforted or something. No. All quiet on the upstairs front.
Oh and the water is off again (this has enhanced the battlefield effect and extended it into areas where the small person usually doesn’t go much). I used to be quite blase about this happening every six months or so but recently it seems to be more frequent, March, June and December last year and twice already this year. What sort of pump was it they put in a few months ago I wonder. Not a good one obviously. Up until now, it hasn’t taken long to get it working again but you can’t help wondering how quick and easy it will be to fix it in this weather! the man in charge of keeping it in order, fortunately (for us) depends on it for his own water so not only does he know at once when it breaks down, he also has a vested interest in getting it going again. But it is becoming a bit of a pain. On the other hand, I hesitate to ring the poor man at this time of night in the snow and ask what’s happening. Well we’ll see.
Yay! The water’s back. We’ve flushed the toilets and got the dishwasher going (of course the water stopped just after we’d eaten last night but before we’d washed up) and now I’m going to have a celebratory cup of coffee. And the snow is still falling and the sun is, well, not exactly shining, more sort of glowing. This morning I suddenly thought, of course, there’s loads of water just outside, in big heaps. We could always use that to flush the toilets. Barney pointed out that you’d need a lot of buckets of snow to get one of water. Anyway, I’m quite glad that my plan, which involved two buckets, a shovel and a hairdryer, became unnecessary.
What’s really annoying is that though the roads are reasonably clear, all the places where I might park to stop and take photos, are thickly covered and almost certainly conceal pits and furrows of deep mud and car bottom breaking potholes – not to mention ice on which to get stuck.
But I can’t resist. I’ve gone out and all the parking places looked highly suspicious (ice, mud, the steep banks on the edge of the River Pang, little snowy roads leading up steep hills to places where there will be no turning round – bother!) so I settled on Yattendon Church and parked in the middle of the village. I found a footpath which I hadn’t explored before so that was good. And then I returned to the car and found that it didn’t at all want to back out of its space. Some poking around the wheels with my walking stick and the offer of help from a passing couple fixed that and I didn’t even need a push.
So here be snow.
(I did consider following Rog’s example but there’s too much traffic around here! And the iphone was buried under three layers of wool and waterproof – very useful if I’d really got stuck.)
Oops! I’d better go to bed – car wants an MOT tomorrow and they might need it early. Soft white blankets come to mind. Sleep well.
The intermittant sunshine and showers of the last week have given way to drizzle – to be followed by rain according to the weather forecast. What the forecast didn’t, (forecast) was that the water would be off today.
The cause of this most often used to be cattle trampling on the pipe that fed their drinking trough but since that was strengthened and properly covered, it has been some kind of failure of the newly installed pumping system that gets the water from the bore hole to the reservoir at the top of the hill.
Another frequent cause was somebody leaving a hose or tap turned on and draining the reservoir. And on one occasion a leak in the swimming pool belonging to the Independant Prep School up the road. Annoying since after the cattle, they are next on the pipeline and so until their swimming pool was full again (takes about a day and a half) the rest of us got none.
Anyway, I’ve temporarily deafened myself. My ear felt odd so I did that thing you do on aeroplanes to equalise the pressure – you know, holding your nose and breathing out against it. Oops! blocked ears! Both my hearing and my thought processes became strangely watery and echoey. So I went upstairs and poured wax removing stuff into the ears and after wandering around for a while listening to the booming of things which normally thud or squeak, I decided that since thought was not coming easily, I might as well sit on the floor with a sheet of Ikea instructions and some flat pieces of stuff and let them direct the next hour or so. I like puzzles. I now have half a chest of drawers erected and the ears have relented and ordinary noises are coming in. And meanwhile, the water came back and the sun came out. And the flycatchers are back! (They were late this year and we worried that a cat might have got them)
Water falling out of the sky over there
Quite a lot of water up there too
Ah! Fluffy water
And now I’m hungry. It’s my own fault.
Tomorrow I will be having a blood test – a fasting blood test no less! For one reason and another we’ve both seen an unusual amount of doctors recently and we’ve been reading about how us old people are at risk from heart attacks and strokes – just because we are old people, never mind all the other things we do which increase said risks. A while ago Barney was put on statins because of various risk factors that the doctor thought he had and then seeing as how he has the most normal blood pressure in the world, he took himself off them again. And I thought well, I am fatter, smoke more and have blood pressure levels normal for my age which is to say a little bit on the high side. Maybe I ought to have some of those statins. Though I can’t help wondering if there really is much point – I mean age is old and life cannot be prolonged for ever. You have to die of something eventually ^~^.
Well perhaps I’d rather not have a stroke or a heart attack just yet. I do have to finish making the chest of drawers and we have two more weeks booked on the boat this year. So I suggested statins to the doctor and he did various checks and booked me in for the blood test and today I must stop eating by 5.30pm and I may not have any alcohol since 9.45 this morning. (Not a problem then though I did feel a bit grumpy around 9 this evening).
Anyway, I’m drinking a lot of water. It’s not exactly filling but it gives my stomach something to do and I’m really looking forward to breakfast and coffee tomorrow. Oh and what a good thing the water came back!