We do like serendipity and there is always lots of it. Last night we went for a walk in the nearby village of Harborough Magna. Despite its name it is very small. We did not see any shops but we saw a rabbit in with a field of sheep and there was a church. saying it was open, even though it was evening, and it said it had a book of condolences. I have never seen a corgi on a church gate before. Perhaps someone was very quick to paint it or they had it as part of the jubilee celebrations already.
There was an even stranger dog encounter ahead though. As we were walking along a country road we heard a squeal of bike brakes. We looked round to see a man on a bike being pulled along by three huskies tied to the handlebars by long leads or straps. As he passed one was pulling over towards us. “She always wants to say hello,” he said and managed to keep her in check. They went at a good pace and disappeared with the brakes screeching still. Later we heard the squealing again and he was on his return journey and the huskies were still keen.
We could hear a lot of chirruping and fluting songs too, when not hearing the brakes, and we thought we heard an owl so Shane got his Merlin app fired up. The owl noise immediately stopped and the sound of many birds was a robin every time.
I had the same experience in the morning. We had seen lots of blue tits in the bushes opposite. There were plenty of different kinds of berries so it was no wonder. It had been misty at first but the sun soon came out. And that brought forth a lot of bird activity. Once the doors were opened I could hear a lot of birdsong so I went out with the app going and walked up and the towpath. All the way it was only robin that lit up.
We had a slow start and I was communicating with our friend Heather, who is planning to visit us in October or November. She was with us in the boat last summer and many times on hire holidays and sometimes her parents had visited the boat we had hired or met us for dinner at a local pub. We were near Rugby, where they live, and I mentioned it to Heather. She thought they would be happy to meet us again and checked what times they were free in the next 24 hours and gave us their address and phone number….and their names so we didn’t just call them “Heather’s mum” and “Heather’s dad”. We didn’t know when we would get there and if we might find it hard to moor before the locks and may have to go through them and run out of time to see them today but tomorrow morning could also work.
We stopped for shopping then moved forward to the water point. We just pulled Bartimaeus forward as it was a short distance and once it is moving it flows along steadily. There is some very pretty countryside on the way to Rugby and a short tunnel about a mile from it. There was another boat coming towards us in it but it is just wide enough for two boats to pass and there are walkways along both sides but only one walkway is in use. It is not long and you can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I didn’t recognise the bridge we had noticed before with Rugby murals on it, but Shane did and knew there was mooring nearby and there were rings and space immediately past them. We moored up and the boat ahead left straight away so since the tiller and keys were already away we pulled further forward again. A passing man with his dog said “they used to use horses for that!” And “I’ve got an engine.” True but it would have taken longer that way . The ropes needed to be untied and tied on the bank anyway. I made a phonecall to check the time was okay for a visit and got the tandem out and were getting it ready to go when the same man and his dog came back and said “Can ye ride tandem?” We haven’t heard that one in a while, but it used to be a regular. Boats and tandems both elicit interest and comments from people passing.
Just as we were about to set off Shane recognised an approaching boat, Cousin Hebe. We had met them often on the Lancaster and crossed the Ribble Link sharing locks with them almost a year ago, when we had an unexpected call offering us a crossing before an approaching storm. They screeched to a halt , or rather chugged gradually to a halt and we caught up with news. It was a pleasure to meet them again. They have had a year beset with problems but were in good form. We had unexpectedly gone through the locks with Lorna and Paul and Lorna had many photos and videos of that day.
We cycled to visit Heather’s parents, Dave and Margaret and again had someone stop to chat to us about the tandem on the way. It was a lovely sunny day and we had a fine afternoon of reminiscence of canal adventures, fishing stories and past holidays with tea and biscuits in their garden. It was great to see them and it was no surprise that we did not leave empty handed. Any meeting with them in the past would include some garden produce. He was saying they had no beans this year with the lack of rain but the trees were producing. Thanks to Heather for introducing us to your fun parents, in the past. We were very pleased to fit that in unexpectedly into today. They had their COVID boosters this morning so may not be up to visitors tomorrow, so glad we seized the day….many canal boats are called Carpe Diem and Shane always say “Seize the Carp” Sounds like something Dave would have done in his fishing days! We were able to carry the fruit home safely wrapped and nestled in our jumpers in the back rack.