Let’s Hear It For The Boy

Living on a boat means being in close company with limited space, so hiding birthday presents is a challenge. Shane is also hard to choose for and in the end pretty much gets some combination of cheese, chutney or chocolate every time. I have no idea whether any of it was a surprise, but chutney from Kinver and chocolate from Droitwich had been smuggled in.

We had no great plans and there was a bit of rain so it looked like it might not be a fun-filled day for the birthday boy, but you never know what is ahead.

He enjoys a logic puzzle so it was a birthday treat (maybe) to tackle the sagging stern fender and turn it round to create a perter behind. It had bothered me that it looked in imminent danger of catching on the rudder, but it is not always in an easy place to reach it, being heavy and just above the water, but this jetty allowed better access. We started by turning the boat around ( in a stiff breeze) to get the stern to a more accessible point as the basin we were in had short pontoons that only reached half way along the length of the boat. With the use of a boathook and only a small amount of additional assistance from me, grabbing the chains, he has given it a satisfactory lift.


Before the operation…fender in question is above the female mallard duck
Fender off its chains lifted up – birthday boy making adjustments…above water carpeted with leaves
Securing to stern in new perter position.

This mooring was handy for collecting water and better for accessing the fender, but the short jetty on a windy day, meant we had to tie to the roof half way along and the rubbing rope creaked, so we had decided to move back into the park once we had filled the tank. It was a very short journey but involves operating two swing bridges. Shane went to do them and I was driving. The wind made it harder to get away from the bank and scraped along the side. A walker in the park called to me that I had lost something. I couldn’t think what, but Shane remembered that, unusually, there was a fender half way along – now gone, as it had caught on the corrugated bank. After mooring we went back with boathook in hand and it had its second use of the day lifting another fender from the water. The hook that holds then into the boat had snapped but we had another, so Shane reattached that too. 



Broken hook retrieved from river, side fender, and whole replacement hook ready to go

Our new spot was actually a spot we were in before, but facing the other way, as in the first saggy fender picture. The photobombing cygnets were still around and came a-begging if they saw you appear. Shane is always entertained by them. They were joined by black headed gulls and ducks all rushing for a crumbs and peelings.

Seven swans aswimming and asquabbling.

After lunch in a cafe we had a walk in the Lido park where we saw people playing tennis. I thought it was unusual to see people playing tennis outdoors at this time of year and even stranger to see everyone playing in fleeces and woolly hats. Then Shane spotted the notice advertising “walking tennis” at this time; a game to enjoy when you don’t feel up to dashing for the ball but then you don’t get so hot, so shorts and t- shirts were not de rigeur.  Droitwich’s salty heritage was celebrated here too.


Salt worker statue carved from tree trunk in Lido Park

Back at Bartimaeus Shane was surprised by his phone ringing, he was chatting for a bit then part way through, it emerged that this was a video call and he had been holding it to his ear. It was only then I realised it was Bryn and Nye calling. We managed to set it up so we could both see and be seen then after some fiddling, when Bryn’s phone was displaying sideways or upsides down, we eventually managed a video chat with all 4 of us, facing the right way. 

On our walk we had passed a Nepalese restaurant and Shane had taken a menu, so we rounded off the day with a takeaway from there and delicious it was too. Curry and a cobra = a happy birthday to Shane.