It has been unsettling to not know how long we would be on the boat and also how long we will be back in Edinburgh. It takes the edge off the pleasure of cruising when there is no future plan. Yesterday though the sense of fun and adventure was reaffirmed.
We had the very cheerful encounter with the people at the water point Firstly apologetic at holding us up, but assured that we were in no hurry and when the rope flicked a small colourful windmill off their pot plants on the roof, they said they needed to get that too, which involved clambering round the gunwale and scooping it up from the water, chatting to us all the while. They had clearly enjoyed an exchange with a lock cottage resident. We heard her say “Boat people are usually friendly”. We also met a woman with a Woodcraft T shirt in who leads groups here so we had a nice chat with her too. She seemed to be trying to recruit us as volunteers.
We thoroughly enjoyed our towing/ breasting up experience with Dan and Cat. When Dan asked if he could give us anything Shane just said to help someone else someday. It had given the last day there a sense of purpose after all.
After our evening stroll we found that there were large numbers of geese gathered around the boat. They didn’t approach us but grazed nearby. Some pecked from the water and others jumped out to walk along the grass. And some tried to jump out but failed and fell back in. The edge is not uniform and some of the young ones may still be too small to make that leap.
A man in the houses opposite was less keen to see them on the grass. He shooed them away gently into the water with a long brush but shortly they had returned.
This morning we had a bit of packing and clearing out and a load of washing to do. A heron landed on the grass beside the houses and a family group of swans came over as soon as I emerged and stretched their necks up hopefully. When no snacks were forthcoming, they continued on their way.
In case I come back alone I familiarised myself with shutting down proceedures, switching off many of the items on the control panel and I clambered into the engine to isolate the starter battery – so now I know which of the two red plastic keys that is!
We had time to go to the shop for food for lunch on the journey. We had a few exchanges with people walking or cycling in the paths, warning one of broken glass. We are accustomed to people greeting each other.
Once on transport and at the station, that friendly interaction seemed no longer used. Our bus and train journeys were smooth and comfortable. I found it a shame to see that the two large modern bar restaurants on the canal front in Edinburgh still look closed and the area does not look alive. Edinburgh does look lively though and already we have our diaries filling with engagements for meals, coffees and walks as well as medical appointments.
On our doorstep was a parcel for our neighbours – that could have sat a long time! Shane has received 2 NHS envelopes: an appointment letter and a cancellation of that appointment!
We await further developments and look forward to socialising with people we know, rather than random strangers. We are in a familiar place but still there is a feeling that we are heading into unfamiliar territory in the days to come.