Seasons In The Sun

On my last day in Edinburgh my sister found two shiny conkers on our walk and pocketed them. I told her that it is alleged that conkers keep spiders at bay. She was quite reasonably sceptical at that and I haven’t tested it, but some people on the Women On Barges page swear by it. “How can I keep spiders away” is a question posed regularly on WOB and “Can you ask that spider to leave” is said regularly by Shane.

It was sunny in the morning but wet and windy by the afternoon but not too cold. It certainly didn’t feel summery but then neither did July. The post box round the corner had a new woolly hat in autumnal hues.

Autumn colours with fallen leaves and a hedgehog, robin and bluetit post box topper

Knitted squirrels with acorns to hide on the autumn forest floor, atop a pillar box

Back down at the boat, after a straightforward journey, it didn’t seem wet, but I did slip in an unexpectedly muddy patch. I didn’t fall this time, just got my jeans and trainers muddy which I didn’t notice until I was in the pub having dinner. We had moved on a little straight away in order to make progress and try to get a pump out. Still the river was pretty and we reached the end of the line. Some leaves were falling but mostly it was very green, but for Hawthorn berries.

I found the countryside lovely. We saw the occasional kingfisher glinting in the sun and there were statues scattered along its length.

As Shane described, the pump made all the right noises and flashing lights but no suction and the large hose was on a drum or spring loaded mechanism that wanted to recoil fast. It felt like a tug of war, to no avail, to keep it out. We were charged for the entertainment.

Luckily Lesley and John only made a short visit to the boat. We lucked out with a lovely sunny day. I really enjoyed getting to know them and she is a fine cook too. We had a very enjoyable evening with them and Shane’s uncle and his wife. The end of the navigation has mooring rings and space, so it was easy to get in there. You could tell it was seldom used water as there were lots of plants but it is not a silver propeller location.

The end of the Stort Navigation, where we were moored

We had a brief look around town the next day I wimped out of the local speciality food at one shop. Pie and mash sounded great but too much, but felt adventurous enough having crab for lunch, as well as a sandwich filling there was a claw by the salad.

Cooke’s cafe in Bishop’s Stortford Cooke by name and nature, I was not eely in the mood.

We made our way back along the Stort navigation, which is quite winding and very leafy. We were videoed a couple of times , once in each direction and have had dry and sunny weather while the reports from Scotland are of floods. We passed a man sunbathing on the roof of his boat, and said he was seeing if he could get sunburnt in October. Another man who was sitting in the sun on his back deck came to help us with the lock, just for fun. He had a T shirt saying Roger The Cabin Boy. It was windy and I was drifting towards his side as I was steering in, so was glad he was opening it wider. I asked if he was called Roger or was it just for the joke. He confirmed he was not called Roger and that it was only for the joke. If he had been, he would definitely be a jolly Roger. He told Shane that he saw crayfish around here.

It was a bit breezy which made for good washing weather and I put on a load. I washed my fleece that had got slimed when I lifted the dewy gangplank back on the roof. Only when hanging it up did I realise I had washed the conker and it was not shiny. I found there was an old conker on the shelf above the bed. Clearly there needs to be more conkers to keep spiders away as our bedroom definitely had spiders!w

We called in at the marina and got ourselves sorted out with water and pumpout. I got really quite warm in pale shorts, sandals and pale t-shirt, walking to the reception through the car park. I paused to get some sunflowers on the way.

With the washing drying and mission accomplished we moored and started packing, getting ready to leave the next day for a holiday on the coast. It seemed odd to be packing light T-shirts and shorts for an October holiday but no very low temperatures are forecast. We enjoyed a last night looking outside and in the morning, in the sunlit shallow edges (and in shaded spots too) we saw two or three crayfish scuttling around at our mooring spot. That got us in the seaside mood.

Sunset Over The Stort