Hideaway

Last night I saw a duck with ducklings swim by and when I went to see them, I lost track of them but did find a moorhen’s nest very near the boat that we hadn’t noticed. The moorhen moved off the nest and I got a peek at the eggs. I was glad to see she had returned to the nest after. I was looking forward to getting a picture as we went past, hoping for a better angle. It was not to be.

Hidden moorhen nest up

I was pleased to start the day with a kingfisher sighting before we had started, just across from our mooring spot. It flew off. Then a few minutes later I saw another fly across to the boat and disappear. I was sure it had actually landed in the boat so we couldn’t see it. Then I heard it tweet and saw it fly alongside the boat from front to back and we again could hear it tweeting. It was both exciting and frustrating thinking it was probably sitting on the tiller but knowing that if we opened the door to look, it would fly off before we could see it.

The plan was for a short trip to find the electric charging points that Shane had been searching for along the river. We had already had difficulty with mooring points being named on the information pages but then not seeing any when we got there. I went to cast off but had a lot of difficulty pulling out the spikes. Shane helped with one, getting off to twist it while I was fetching the hammer I had found hidden in the grass last night. It was at the front where I could get on, it felt a bit far away at the back, though Shane was prepared to do that leap. I managed to get the second one out. We had been very securely moored at least. I took the spike and rope aboard. When we were underway I asked Shane where the hammer was. He had put it with our hammers and hadn’t noticed it was the one with another boat name on it. I don’t want to hide it in our lockers, so I am putting it in the front hoping to reunite it with its rightful owner. It is still tucked away a little though, so we don’t trip over it.

It was a cool clear day but rain was forecast for the next day. We enjoyed watching the sandmartins fly low over the water and sweep into ther holes in the bank. We saw a lot of cormorants too this morning both flying and in the water, and a lot of cows in the fields.

Fresians in the field

I prepared to get off as a lock hove into view as there was a sign saying it was self service, but the gates opened and the lockkeeper changed the sign to “lock keepers on duty”. I look the rope at the front as usual and though it was fairly turbulent it went fine and on exit one of the lock keepers said “that went very smoothly!” Left me wondering how it usually goes, or if he was new to it all.

Shane asked me to drive for a bit. I wasn’t expecting a sunken boat this time so held on to the driving while he drank his coffee. I saw a white thing floating, it looked like a fender or buoy, but wasn’t marking anything. It came into view as I was coming round a big right hand bend and Shane on the other side of the rear deck said it was a swan. I could see clearly that it wasn’t but he could hardly see it at all. As we snaked round the next sharp left hander, Shane was asking if I wanted to drive into the lock or not. I preferred doing the usual locking job, especially as he was reeling off instructions on going in at an awkward angle. I was trying to concentrate on the corner and the large moored boat and said it sounded like he should drive if I needed all those instructions in advance, and as we swapped over I saw it wasn’t much in advance we were actually at the lock sign. I hadn’t realised this as from my side of the narrow deck on the bend that sign wasn’t visible, but from his standpoint it was. You can’t see ahead where the next bit of the water is at all. Several times both Shane and I have tried to take pictures to show the serpentine nature of the Thames but a photograph did not work. Shane showed me a map of the short section I had been driving.

The section of the Thames that I drove

I thought I needed to get off as we could see a jetty and the doors closed on the lock. Then we realised that jetty had no exit from it to the lock. A bridge was obscuring the actual lock bollards. Shane drove forward and we went into the lock. The lock keeper observed the quiet and asked if we were electric and Shane said we were and that he hoped to charge up here. We had just passed the charging points. They were behind us, just past the bridge, off to the side and not signposted. Shane reversed out and we got moored and plugged in.

Another man came and used the other socket and asked that we take care not to trip on his cable. He had tucked in well in against the wall. On a scout to check the refuse facility I heard another man chatting to the lock keeper ending his conversation with I will go and check. He was actually from the same boat as the man I had spoken to and was offering us a lift in to town. It was a short walk so we declined. He had moved the cable again on to a dip along the top of the wall and through the nettles and not on the pathway at all, he was certainly trying very hard to tuck it away and avoid any chance of anyone tripping.

A friend had sent a message about a knitted post box topper in Marchmont made for the coronation. She sent me a photo of it, this morning, very elaborate. We had a walk into Lechlade and found more knitting and crochet pole toppers and bench blankets.

We found an unexpected shop, unadvertised on Shane’s map. It had almost everything we wanted except Pimms. Yesterday we only had one and a half servings between us. We saw two different bottles in the next shop I wondered if the other was another flavour though I could see royal bunting and wondered if it was just encouraging people to have Pimm’s and garden parties this weekend. Shane asked the shop keeper and he said it was actually a jazzed up label for the platinum jubilee. Certainly the weather that weekend was cold. Lechlade had obviously not been sinking Pimm’s as fast as we were per household. I am assuming it isn’t treasonous or disloyal to celebrate the last monarch at the coronation of the next. It won’t last as long in our bottle rack as it did on their shelf. The added line on the label “come reign or shine” is one we have taken to heart.

There was some unforecasted rain and we got back just in time. I was running more washing since we were plugged in and glad I hadn’t tried drying it out in the stern deck. Even with the pram cover up, the back got wet. It is all inside and Shane had popped a small heater under the drying rack since the large radiator is hidden away is packed away in the bow locker.

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