Baby, Come Back!

Having arrived in Warwick, we promptly went nowhere. Back in late October Ortomarine had come to install the new solar panels and replace a motor belt. Ian made quick work of the belt job, giving us a spare, but it was too wet to do the panels. Another date was set but a sickness bug postponed that one. With Christmas, being generally busy, plus cold and wet weather over recent months, another suitable time had not emerged. Shane had been in touch with Ortomarine regularly and has been keeping them abreast of our movements, as requested, so that if the weather, the time and the place all suited they would arrange a visit. He was delighted to hear on our journey south that they planned to come back to us this week.

So yesterday we stayed in the canal centre. It is now BST so I thought it appropriate to break out the locally made jam for breakfast that I had got in the nearby cafe.

Summer pudding

The weather was not summery yet and indeed not up to much at all, but we had a short walk and enjoyed the fruits and flowers of Spring. I noticed the pussy willows that had been mainly soft and hairy when we left the week before, were now completely burst out with pollen and indeed a looking a little past it, though that was possibly the recent rain. There were lots of other bright looking plants to see.

Our route took us through a park, where I was surprised to see a pair of mallard ducks. There is plenty of canal very near but they had chosen a tiny space to swim, but they were managing. They won’t fit a family in there.

We went by the locks, plenty water there and saw a pair of boats going through. Both were lone boaters. We decided to help them with the gates and went over to let them know. The woman, Shane noticed, was wearing a jacket with the words East Coast Organics on it. This was the company from which we used to get a regular delivery of a box of fruit and vegetables until we started boating. Shane couldn’t help commenting. She used to work there and he noticed she had a John Muir Trust sign on one of her plant pots too. She revealed she was from Dunbar and had only been on the boat for two or three months, a brave undertaking to start lone boating, inexperienced in the middle of winter. She climbed down the ladder into the boat and we went to close the gates. They were very heavy gates and I made very slow progress, closing my side, while on Shane’s side, he was struggling to move it at all. I remembered trying this lock before and it being very hard work with people watching from the nearby pub. I shouted to Shane that I thought I had had to go to the very extreme end of the gate, beyond the handle, to get enough leverage to close it. That seemed to work but they were a reluctant pair.

Today was forecast to be pretty wet all morning. Shane made some preparation for the arrival of Ortmarine by doing some mopping up in the engine under cover.

Shane in the engine ‘room’

I had some good news. I am a great aunt yet again. The great nephew was long awaited. I knew he was due to be born in March and had hurried to finish a baby garment, to the mum-to-be’s colour specification. Football is in the family, but no team colours were requested and the cardigan would look more at home on the cricket field. I was finished by the end of February and had a matching hat done by March first. When it was time to leave Edinburgh there had been no word of the baby so I took the cardigan, a card and wrapping to the boat. I got it wrapped there, but by the time we were going back to Edinburgh, I wondered if I should leave it. The cardigan came out pretty small so I wanted them to get it promptly and decided to bring it all back to Edinburgh where is sat on a chest of drawers before being carried back to Warwick again. It is a well travelled outfit.

Once the rain stopped I went to the Post Office. Shane and I had different ideas about how to get there. He was suggesting a cut through the supermarket car park and I was intending going straight up the road to town. Both work but his avoided the noisy road. I described a landmark for a junction which he didn’t seem to recognise, a painting on a pub wall at the junction saying Welcome to Warwick, where we turn off to go to the supermarket. Surely he saw it.

Painting of Royal Warwickshire regiment on the side of a pub
Close up of the painting

I found it very striking and notable too that almost everyone in the picture has their back to the viewer. When having a conversation the busy road is best avoided, but it was a quick easy route to the Post Office and I came back the other way to get milk, which took me past some impressive magnolias.

Shane had warned me he might move the boat in my absence but he was still preparing to go when I arrived. His plan was to go somewhere nearby where we couldn’t get rained on. The roof was dry now but due for rain overnight. A few of the Saltisford centre residents waved farewell to us. At the exit where there is a junction, Shane turned the boat around and went backwards to his chosen spot, to the bemusement of a boater at the side. Reversing any distance is usually avoided on a boat. Shane assured him he had a reason. The moorhens we passed were far too busy nesting to pay us any attention. Their nest is well hidden in the bush. I look forward to seeing baby moorhens soon.

Can you see the moorhen and its nest?

His plan was to be under the protection of the wide road bridge which also near a car park. Normally the last place Shane would choose is near a road, and he usually goes for an open aspect so for him this is a rare choice, but they plan to arrive early in the morning to start on the roof, so he wanted to have moved back to here before they come.

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