Chantilly Lace

Following my last blog entry, I got a message from my friend Rhona saying I’d given her an earworm from my title. I had it it running around my head for quite a while too then it was replaced a couple of days ago by a different Big Bopper song when we tied up opposite this boat. We didn’t stay long as we moved into Newbury but came back past it again yesterday.

My sister has informed me that the music motif is not the actual tune. Chantilly Lace was a great favourite of my dad’s – just what you’d expect from a Presbyterian minister from Outer Hebrides. If you don’t know it, I recommend it as a bit of boppy fun. Shame he had flu and begged a space on Buddy Holly’s chartered plane.

We had a couple of nights by Newbury’s Victoria Park and there were loads of geese and swans there. Shane was a bit concerned about one swan with a permanently crooked neck but it seemed to be doing okay. They all got lots of food several times a day and one lady said there was an elderly goose that struggled to stand up and the others weren’t nice to it, but she gave it individual bowls of water and separate feeding twice daily, so I wasn’t to worry about it. I saw it rise after several false starts and start walking very stiffly – it didn’t “feel real loose” by the looks of it.

Surprisingly in the crowds of waterfowl there we didn’t see any babies. We had seen goslings on the way and we saw lots of pigeons on the Old Wharf crane opposite. We stayed two nights but moved along one ring to let another boat, Marguerite moor at the end of the rings.

We found ice cream in the park and St Nicholas church with a canal hassock and a new word (or old word) ‘confriend’ which sounds like it means befriend. When I try to search for it on my favourite waterfowl themed search engine (duckduckgo) it suggested a meeting place for nerds. I am pretty sure nerd wasn’t a word back then.

Yesterday we moved on but caught up with Marguerite and did some lock sharing with them in the morning until they moored up to go for a walk. They had mentioned that they liked to share locks and so we were particularly pleased to do so. We carried on further to lunch and as we were having a go at a rather shallow spot a man moored in a wide boat nearby, with a ponytail, (the man, not the boat) stepped along just to offer a hand with the rope. It still proved hard to get in and he suggested we try behind him as folk had gone there before. Again he reached out for the ropes and as I was putting the spikes in he came over to ask us if we’d like some mooring spike covers he had made out of old fenders. He had a similar design himself and made more then realised he didn’t need them. He was pleased to offer them to a new home. They were certainly a bit more fitting and ‘boaty’ looking than the old milk cartons we used, which might just look like we are leaving litter. Their purpose is to make the protruding head of the spike visible and prevent tripping at dusk. We are very happy with them. This morning I could see it would be hard to not notice them, even in long grass. We like to reuse and recycle, but this might be upcycling.


New mooring spike cover in use – thanks to Flo’s owner

I also saw that we had been gifted some elaborate lace on the boat stern, a spider had had a very busy night. Unfortunately using our rope as it’s main attachment point, it wasn’t going to last long. Later in the day we passed a boat with real lasting lace as a feature.

Spider’s craft
White lace curtains in a black boat

Today was another hot day. Last night we had dinner outside. A bright green fly alighted on the wall behind Shane, may have been a lace wing but it didn’t stay long enough to get a photograph. They are harmless enough and I don’t think Shane is too bothered by them. He was bitten by a horse fly but his fast reactions helped escape a serious swelling. The hot weather does mean there are lots of butterflies and damselflies around. They have brightened a sweaty day of locks and swing bridges but we have enjoyed some pleasant encounters and an ice-cream. We achieved a much needed water refill and at the last lock and swingbridge so close they need to be operated together. I couldn’t drive out of the lock until Shane opened the swing bridge.

As I went through, Shane asked me to pull in and tie up just after it and went to use the canal and river trust recycling bins. (The Newbury park bins right beside the boat had notices to tell boaters not to use them!) While he was recycling I saw a new addition to Bartimaeus. The Big Bopper and Buddy Holly might have died in 1959, but this Cricket was very much alive and cruising.

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