I heard a banging and leapt out of bed, dressing hastily, thinking the man delivering the sofa had arrived and was banging on the door. In fact it had just been Shane closing the bathroom door. I could hear him opening blinds there too, not speaking to anyone, so that was a relief. We had time to breakfast in peace after all. We had our eye on the pub car park, for his vehicle arriving, and there were a surprising number of vehicles for that time of day. We then realised it was near a school so probably was where people parked then walked up the canal to get to the school.

It was very frosty outside and the canal was iced over too and I was concerned he might slip carrying something on the boat. He rang to ask if it was okay to come in the next five minutes, saying he had a problem with his van as it had been driven into in a supermarket carpark (other supermarket carparks are available) the previous afternoon. Still he was able to fit the couch in his car so we were still in business for today.I warned him about the ice since he could do without any more accidents.

He arrived shortly and loading was straightforward since it is all in bits t fit through the hatch. There were rather a lot of bits to it as there are extra cushions for its conversion into a bed. The living space was getting rather full and it wasn’t all in yet!

Space full of sofa sections with the main part yet to come

He was cheerful and made short work of putting it together, but enjoyed chatting at length. Voilà, it fits and can be turned round to face various ways and it is comfortable. It’s a slightly less direct walk through so hoping I don’t catch muddy boots on it too often on the way through to grab a front rope.


Sofa built and in one of its possible positions

While still sunny we wanted to move on and get to a shop, but I didn’t want to leave without checking on our neighbour who had no water and no working engine. She hadn’t started moving yet, but we had seen someone arrive at her boat. Just as I thought I should go and speak to her, we saw her coming out and untying. I went to ask how things were. She crossed her fingers. She was about to get water but accepted the offer of some more bottles for emergencies just in case she broke down again. Carrying water is pretty heavy if you are on your own and far from facilities. It was very nice to chat to her and hear that she was meant to get on her boat in August, but didn’t get on until December. Boating alone is hard enough without starting in the shortest days of the year. She is still smiling despite 3 breakdowns and other setbacks. We wished her all the best on her way to Nottingham, and as she drove past us in her sunglasses, she gave a cheery wave and continued her adventure. 

We headed for the more mundane task of getting to the shops for bread and milk. I was disappointed to see the ladybird crushed on the deck when I came out. It must have been unable to fly somewhere safe and might have been stood on with all the sofa loading. 

Coming back from the shop along the towpath I got a better look at some boats we had passed earlier. One was the “little chimney company” which had an accompanying engineless boat or “butty” hitched behind. It makes bespoke steel work. I saw a man sawing wood, whether for stoking his stove or others I don’t know but if you have customers wanting a chimney, they might also buy some wood. 

It was just getting towards sunset as I was returning, but enough light to get a chance to get a picture of this hand painting on the doors of a boat. 


Sunset on a boat

Back on Bartimaeus Shane had taken the view out the window of the rather splendid tree, and has been enjoying sitting on the sofa. It is a warmer position in the evening, nearer the radiators and we are better able to hare looking at a screen together comfortably so I might get more involved in the route planning and have more of a clue about what is going on generally. We have made a plan for the next couple of weeks, avoiding being blocked by local stoppages.

And I was also pleased to see the reappearance of a coordinating accessory/stowaway this evening above the tandem cupboard. So the crushed one was not “our” ladybird after all.



Ladybird on our ceiling again
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