Piggies

Yesterday morning I had the unusual pleasure of watching a wren out of the window. Usually they are only seen fleetingly, but I had an extended view as it came out for a nibble. Such a small, shy and fidgety bird is hard to photograph. It certainly was enjoying a meal there. There was a heron nearby and as it disappeared behind another boat I crept up the side and tried to get a picture. When I got to the other end I wondered if I had just missed him catching his meal as he was swallowing repeatedly. I can’t be sure . At that point he flew off.

Heron taking flight with kite above

All the sunshine had brought out a lot of birds and I was collecting bird songs on the app. I had quite a collection. A man on a walk mistook my hedge peering for a search for blackberries and called advice for where to get them. I was not trying to feed myself at all, but nice of him to consider it.

This morning we had a closer encounter with a bird looking for food. I looked out the hatch window and a swan spotted me and beelined for the hatch. We opened it up and I went to get scraps and peelings. He wasn’t much interested in courgette or potato peel but enjoyed, to my surprise, rind from brie!

Unusually today we had a set destination by lunch time. We had booked in at The Pig Place for an overnight electric charge. There were a few obstacles between our mooring and there to cover. I was getting practice at casting off at the back and driving off again. There was a lift bridge immediately ahead but it didn’t need any working as it was set permanently open. Though a chain hangs ready to pull it down, should the farmer want to cross. There are a few along here. As I came upon the Aynho moorings, we could see a boat emerging from its jetty. Shane surmised that they might be wanting to come for water or diesel and so while that service area was the best to pull in to allow and oncoming boat to pass, I stayed out and slowed to see what they did next. I decided their bow was turning as though they did indeed want to stay on our right, rather than left so we should pass starboard to starboard rather than port to port. They waved us forward to pass on in this non standard direction and when we passed her, the driver called out something like “Thank you for your extraordinary manoeuvre” with a big smile. It wasn’t too fiddly but it saved her a lot of fiddling.

We passed the friendly moorhen spot and saw them but they didn’t come chasing moving boats for food. Then reached the slow filling lozenge lock to find someone already in it. I went to see how they were doing. The man was getting back in the boat having hopped off to help with the gate. The shape of that lock makes that more awkward as you are not near the side like in a normal lock. He had remembered to rope it to stop it drifting and warned that the leakage made it very hard to open and might need two people. Luckily for me a family arrived on a walk and one of them helped push the gate. This was the start of a section that has some river flowing through so its level can vary there are warning signs. No danger today though.

Water level measure just past lozenge lock

The next lock was altogether different, rather than very shallow and extra wide it was very deep. There is quite a long a bridge before to go under and if the water is high you might not fit under.

We did make it for lunch time and had a tasty lunch at The Pig Place. Bartmaeus was getting a good feed of electricity too. We had driven all morning on electric since we knew it would all be replenished. We had lunch in view of Bartimaeus so didn’t feel the need to lock up. There were a few bars so we had a drink of cider later on. It didn’t seem all that strong but Shane managed to spill his mango cider on the sofa. I should imagine they have had worse. I was the only one who got wet though! 
More luxurious chairs in the unused bar with a precious car kept inside

At first the pigs were hiding in their sty but later they came out. The lunch menu is heavily pork based. Vegetarian and vegan choices are available but no other meats. There were some ducks too, but they were not on the menu.

Opposite us was a boat that had some decoration that was not at all well fed. Several skeletons and bats were to be seen in the windows. Rather early for Halloween but could this be a year round spooky theme as it also had red handprints painted on. Aboard was a fluffy white cat guarding in case anyone dare step aboard.

Content cat watching from the bow

As it grew dark there were lots of real bats of different sizes pigging out on the feast of flies near the water.

Night falls by The Pig Place
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