Bartimaeus was due for its safety inspection, a four yearly event. Shane had arranged to be at Pangbourne Meadows by noon. It is a popular spot and could get crowded, but midweek late morning, rather than a weekend afternoon would be easier, we hoped. It was a good start to see a ruddy bird fly towards me. I was was unsure what it was at first until it drew level, and saw the blue back that identified it clearly as a kingfisher. We saw another two later in the day.
Blake’s Lock has a reputation of being awkward. There were no staff this time so I operated it. The large wheels to turn are stiff but the gates open easily enough. Monday’s locks had been more awkward and less colourful. Some maintenance wouldn’t go amiss, but the piantwork had had extra attention. The jaunty addition of red spotted mushrooms was more memorable than the state of the gates.
The next two locks were staffed and had a flourish of roses and other flowers.
As we went along I enjoyed the large numbers of geese. I realise I need to work harder at distinguishing them. I could tell ones I saw were not greylags after all but I couldn’t see if they had pink or orange feet. Anyway there are lots of them, especially on the pontoon.
Quite a few boats were around and two passing cruisers had valuable names, Crown Jewel and Silver Sceptre. I enjoyed the valuable life asset of this moored one more. None of them had paintwork to match the names though. Narrow boats are more likely to have more colour about them.
We passed the African Queen again, moored up this time, and another more local queen also moored, Purley Queen, not as large as African Queen and more ruby than pearly.
We made good time. Mooring was still surprisingly tight before lunch time,but we were happily moored up and I went to the shops while Shane waited for our inspector, who lives in Purley himself, but also had a boat, just a few metres away. He approved of the electrics, suggested a different carbon monoxide monitor, advised in ventilation and labelling for fire extinguishers. He approved of my visit to the pie shop. He and Shane bonded over batteries and melanomas and he showed us his app for measuring safe levels of sun exposure in current weather conditions according to skin type and showed of the scar in his leg. I got a bit pink in a vest style top yesterday so I would not have passed his safety inspection. Mind you he had kitchen paper wrapped arond a cut on his hand from his washing up, a hazardous task. Thankfully it was on his boat not ours.
We saw some serious swimmers, two woman with swimming caps labelled lock to lock and bright floats attached to mark them. I assume these were a safety feature. I haven’t seen swimmers use those before and assume it may be an official challenge. It was a serious business.
We were visited by a variety of birds of many shapes and sizes, some timid and some very bold in deed. I loved the delicate features of the mandarin duck, a precious sighting indeed. The swan cob was scary and would have couped my tomato plant if I hadn’t moved it from the hatch. We had to watch our fingers too. The cygnets were adorable though and squeaked sweetly while Dad hissied.