Perking Up

In the lunch break during the talks at Electrika I had gone back to Bartimaeus to get an extra layer to keep me warm.  I’d jogged much of the half mile each way not so much because I was in a hurry, but to warm up a bit.  The weather was much brighter on Saturday, and by Sunday I had switched to shorts.  On Monday I was convinced the weather had really changed because Clare was also in shorts.  We’d seen a few swallows flying over the fields, but the final confirmation that summer had arrived was a glass of Pimms.

Pimms for the driver. A glass of Pimms with slices of orange and strawberry sits on a shelf. The shelf is at the back of a narrowboat with a control panel and a joystick visible. The drivers hand rests on the edge of the boat, ready to take a sip.
Drinking and Driving is Permitted on the Canal

The forecast had indicated the possibility of a sharp shower or two, so I had put the pram cover up.  If I am to continue checking the battery voltage levels, I’d like to lie down on a dry deck, and if we are driving along, I’d like the option of pulling it over me.  This morning the sky was grey and threatening.  It wasn’t cold enough for me to regret the shorts, but I did need a fleece as well.  We passed a flock of sheep who had thick fleeces on too.

Grazing sheep.  A field of sheep with particularly fluffy and warm looking fleeces.  They are mostly in a line with their heads down grazing.  There are gently rolling fields beyond under a dark sky.
Sheep Dressed for Cold Days

I had planned to get to Braunston before lunch so that if we proceeded through the locks we could expect some company.  The village is built on a ridge which the canal wiggles around.  The view as the canal approaches from the north never meshes with my mental map.  We nearly always approach the village through the fields on the other side of the hill.  The dark clouds today made it seem foreboding – another clash with my view of the place.

Braunston. A wide section of canal narrows as the canal turns away from the hill ahead. A church spire sits prominently on the ridge. The sky behind is dark and threatening.
Threatening Clouds above Braunston

As we were approaching a mooring, a woman on another boat mentioned that she had just glanced at her watch and so was now going to wish us a “good afternoon” – somewhat to the surprise of all of us.  We headed straight up the path in search of lunch.  We’d recently had a strong recommendation for the community cafe.  Other lunch options are available in Braunston, but that is where we tried this time.  The food was simple but excellent, and the friendly staff made us very welcome and the visit very enjoyable.

I had had some further thoughts about our drooping stern fender.  I now wondered if it was possible to connect an additional length of chain towards the end to lift it up.  I hoped Tradline Rope and Fenders would have something suitable.  I had expected to be left to browse a selection of hardware, but the man in the shop took a great interest in what I was trying to do.  Clare went back and took some photos so he could see what was going on.

I left with a short length of chain, a piece of cord to help pull it through, a straining screw and some “quick links” at a ridiculously small price.  I heaved the fender on to the deck and set about threading the chain.  The first attempt went reasonably well, but I somehow managed to put the chain in at the wrong end (of the fender).  I was even quicker at the right end as I’d learned that I needed to put a loop of cord in first.  The plan seems to have worked, the fender is decidedly straighter than it has been for years.  I wish I’d thought of this option before.

Fender. The stern of a narrowboat with a cylindrical fender in prominence. The fender is held up by a selection of chains. One piece of chain is particularly shiny and is fitted much further back than the rest. Some discolouration of the fender hints that it has previously sat much lower.
Fender with New Support

As the afternoon progressed, the sun came out and the air got much warmer.  I phoned Gary again about the progress of our doors.  It now seems likely we’ll get them next week, so we are still in no hurry to move on.  The locks can wait for another day, instead we had more Pimms in the sunshine on a nearby canal-side bench.

WordPress Cookie Notice by Real Cookie Banner