Free Bird

We had an idyllic spot to moor at with field either side. We were right next to a field full of ewes and lambs, which was very nice to see every time we looked out of the window. They seemed to have quite a bit of freedom. There was a ditch but also a bridge between fields and we weren’t sure if they were using them or not. We never saw it but they did seem to be able to range between them. Occasionally a ewe would bleat thet her charge was not near enough.

Fields of sheep and lambs and a footbridge

The field has some flooding that attracted a variety of birds. An egret came and went often and seemed to find good pickings there in the temporary pond. We never saw more than one. Whether this meant it was a free spirit or lonely, we couldn’t be sure.

Ducks and moorhens seemed to have moved in on the pond/puddles but they came and went too, being unrestricted. There were many lapwings with a delightful cry and they hung around near the pond as well as else where. The odd goose was around too. Avoiding the little puddle (compared to their size) were some swans that were in full sail and occasionally battering their wings and loudly flapping and giving each other chase. One came over a few times, stopped alongside and peered in the window grunting. He was hoping for a free lunch, but we were all out of crumbs and swan snacks.

Frequent Visitor, male swan

We went for walks between the showers and even had a seat in the sun in the garden of The Old Crown pub in Ashton. The wind was often cold so sun made a big difference. Once it hid, we walked back. I liked these ultra woolly brown sheep like teddy bears that we passed on our way, and they may have been a little too warm. These four constituted the entire flock.

Woolly bear sheep

I was very pleased with the outlook and shared with friends what our view was like and they were agreeing with how interesting to land in a different place all the time. Cities are handier for some other facilities though. We were both pretty well occupied with our own crafting pursuits and a bit of crosswording as the WiFi was somewhat hit and miss so it took a long time to watch tv. Nowhere is perfect and the variety of regular movement is one of the main attractions. Each time one thing is missing, it makes you appreciate that feature when you find it again.

We kept our eye on the shower gaps and had a walk back to the village of Yardley Gobion, for shopping. I realised I had forgotten all about one of the more unusual thatch decorations. I had only remembered the duck and ducklings and a peacock.

Thatch person walking a dog on top of the roof

Last time we passed, somebody with long hair, exited the gate to that house with a very similar dog. We took a different direction to the shop this time and Shane found a new route that wasn’t on his map. He has remedied that. On return to the canal I got a better picture than the many we already had of an intriguing sign.

Elderly ducks crossing canalside sign, a humourous encouragement to slowing down for moored boats.

Yesterday afternoon we made a bid for better WiFi (and other reasons) despite the lovely location, by setting off. We moored up at the bottom of the locks, not wanting to attack them late in the day. We found ourselves no better off for WiFi but near some other handy facilities.

In the morning we moved forward and stopped for water beside the locks and they were already set for us. We hoped to have company and another boat came along just as we were about full of water, They were keen to share. There were two of them (and two dogs) so she was glad to have her workload reduced by more than half and he was glad not to be thrown around in the turbulent waters of rapidly filling double locks. We had a good rhythm between us for driving in and the locks passed straightforwardly. There were volunteers around at the top and bottom of the flight but they weren’t at any of the locks we were using. Someone else’s need was clearly greater than ours.

I had discussed with the other driver in the locks about our solar panels which he was admiring, and mentioned that they needed insulation between the roof and panel and that you could walk on them. I did say you ended up quite obsessive about never mooring near a tree that might shade them and the arrangement of the ropes and poles. We were all ready to eat and stopped for lunch at Stoke Bruerne and Shane noticed some bird has been making free with our solar panels.

Footprints of a duck or moorhen, we suspect, on the solar panel

Shane washed them off. Then it rained heavily, and then we drove through Blisworth tunnel and an awful lot of water pouring down the ventilation shafts, so we are definitely free of the footprints now. We also are much better connected and moored without any overhanging trees.

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