Grey Day

Yesterday was very warm. I was driving through the locks with a hire boat. The driver was young and being given directions by an older man, and the driver was doing very well. He was sometimes being given conflicting instructions from different crew members yet remained calm. Last month we went through a flight of locks with a boat called Old Tom, this time it was with young Tom, the driver, not the boat. At the first lock, young Tom said he hoped he’d done okay. He certainly had. I decided to always go over to the far side so he could drive in the same side each time and also Shane was always there to help hold the boat in so fine for me too. He was handed some tea and a box of biscuits, by one of his crew, at one lock and offered me one. It was very tasty. We had to wait at most locks and I was holding a rope so didn’t get much time to fetch a biscuit myself. At one point Shane had indicated there was a hold up so I used the time to get some suncream on, and a hat. Young Tom had a sun hat on too.

Today there was a marked drop in the temperature. Yesterday’s forecast thunder had not arrived and it stayed sunny. We had another al fresco dinner. This morning we both added a layer as we set off. I wondered if I should be back in trousers rather than shorts. I saw a swan family out swimming and went down the bow to photograph them. 

Seven Swans a-swimming: a family of two adults and five tiny grey fluffy cygnets

I thought they would move away from us as a group as they seemed so tight-knit a group, but in stead they came towards us and the family was swiftly divided. There was a frantic cheeping from the grey fluffy chicks. I went to the back hoping all was well with the cygnets. There was a parent each side so I am not sure why they were so worried!

Two cynets paddling hard and a parent’s head right by the gunwale.

All was indeed well and the family was reunited behind us and continued serenely.

Though the day was cloudy I was enjoying the greenery. This was a wooded and high hedged stretch and there were some very bright fresh green leaves.

Bright woods

The hawthorn has been out for a while and there were pink and white blossoming ones. Shane remarked that though may was oot, he didn’t much feel he should cast his cloot! There were some other bright flowers brightening the approach to a grey concrete bridge.

Pink and white hawthorn and brighter flowers beyond, by a grey bridge

We moored up at Weedon Bec. We didn’t have bread and had enjoyed Granny’s Cafe here before so went straight for lunch. We went under the canal which always feels a little odd and with no pavement provided under the arch on the road, feels rather unsafe and I am always pleased to emerge from the shadow of the tunnel. The cafe was much quieter than when we had arrived on a very wet weekend and we were warmly greeted by the same cheery lady. She has striking grey hair, not that she looks old, she has definitely chosen that hair colour herself. She noticed my cardigan and phone case and remarked that I was talented. She certainly knows how to charm and cheer her customers! We had noticed her ability to be bright and considerate, even when it was busy and a very grey day. When I was undecided, she made a recommendation of ham, egg and chips, with English mustard. While waiting, other customers were served the same and I heard one of them exclaim that the ham was exceptionally good. I hadn’t thought I was very hungry and when it arrived as a huge portion, I thought I might not finish it, but it was all perfect and slipped down with a massive mug of tea. It wasn’t half as big as the Weedon Ripper which was a stonking breakfast with 3 each of all the usual fried favourites (sausages, bacon, eggs, black pudding and hash browns) plus mushrooms, tomatoes and beans. We had our curiosity of the size of the plate satisfied, as a man at a nearby table ordered it. He didn’t like black pudding but got extra of other items.

Shane was heading back to the boat but I wanted to revisit the River Knits shop. I had wanted a particular wool but resisted it, last time I was there. I had liked it but decided I already had too many skeins. It was the recommended colour for one of the patterns I have now discovered after and I now knew what thickness of yarn to get, in the colour “Sturmwolke” (many of the wool dyes have a German name as one of the couple is German) which means ‘STORM CLOUDS’. I decided to make a targeted purchase. Shane decided not to hang about but direct me on the shortest route back and head off. When I got to the shop, I found it had been changed completely in layout and they were now sharing the space with a printing business. I spotted a skein of Sturmwolke but it was in the finer 4ply. The lady asked if she could help and I asked for sturmwolke in DK. They were out of it, but she said they were doing DK dye lots today and that was one of the colours planned. I had a nice chat with her, showing her the version of the hat (her own pattern) that I had already done on my phone, though I had not realised it would need thicker wool and had to improvise with what I had already, which affected the texture and contrast considerably. She really liked it anyway. So we had a nice chat and I said I would be back, if we came back through here.

Bright colours at River Knits, but I was looking for grey.

I didn’t take Shane’s recommendation for the fast return as I wanted to get photos I had missed on the way. Weedon Bec has some cute Tudor houses but a more normal modern house had some very regulated wisteria and I thought it was an impressive bit of plant training.

Wisteria carefully trained at four levels on a house wall.

Back at the boat, I was on the final stages of a different hat. The last bits can be fiddly. I know I make mistakes if I knit in the fading light so wanted to finish during the day. It is now blocking. Someone asked to see it on me and I put it briefly on my head and stepped outside for a swift selfie. I thought sitting on a warm head might speed up the drying but when I went out it was raining, so that won’t help at all.

It has been a day of many repeats and revisits, but with a few changes and twists. A pack of Brownies passed before dinner, and just after dinner (back inside tonight) I had the brand new canal experience of watching a woman passing by carrying a ferret in her arms! It might have been a grey day but certainly not a dull one!

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