Summer Breeze

I had wondered if it might all feel too hot down south compared to Edinburgh, but we have escaped the very hot spell and today the sun was out but there was a cooling breeze all day. Nonetheless I did switch from jeans to shorts fairly soon. I have now tested that the sunhat does not blow off in a stiff breeze. 

Our route is a back track so many of the highlights I had seen before. We recognised a few boats we had seen before including this distinctive Welsh kingfisher.

I wondered if we might see a real kingfisher but we had not seen any in this stretch last time so I thought it was a bit unlikely. We were happy enough enjoying the terns, geese, swans and ducklings. Some geese flew over in formation very low over our heads. And this handsome fellow stayed still long enough for us to get a good look at him and he at us.

Even better , about mid morning I saw the flash of blue and a real live kingfisher flew ahead of us. We haven’t seen one for a long time so we were both delighted to see one on the first day back. We also had some great red kite views, flying just above us.

As we passed familiar sights I was looking out for a carved bench I had seen in the Milton Keynes park before.

Bench in Milton Keynes

I was driving when I saw it, but to my surprise it looked completely different, as all the paint had been touched up and it was very brightly coloured. I couldn’t get a picture so only have the one I took a few weeks ago, on the way in.

Another feature remained unchanged. I was a bit nervous last time we went through this bridge, it hasn’t fallen down but looks like a breath of wind or minor bump might be the final blow to make it collapse. You can tell this is the old photo as all the grass is much browner now.

Cracking Bridge

We picked up water just after a canal side fair with lots of boat vendors. The water was beside a brick building for emptying cassette toilets. I saw quite a few people go hopefully towards it looking for a toilet but no such luck. Sometimes there is one but not here. Hidden behind though was a padlocked gated recycling facility for boaters and it even had glass disposal. A disappointing spot for the non boaters but full facilities for us. I didn’t take advantage of the sale of ornaments, coffees, ice creams or even wool.

Wool for sale at the side of the canal

These cows were enjoying the water even though it was quite a stretch. They stopped to watch us go by. They reminded me I was thirsty though and let Shane drive while I made some tea.

The wind did not give us much trouble and I was very happy with my first day back. We passed through one lock but it was fully manned by volunteers, so they just asked me to get back on the boat. By late afternoon we had reached a flight and decided to stop before them rather than press on. It would be better to go up with another boat but no one else seemed to be moving.

Despite the lack of fruit or mint, I felt a summer Pimm’s was in order. After all we had already passed a boat called Five O’Clock Somewhere and it was about 5 o’clock. Much as I enjoy summer wildlife, I was less keen when a wasp kept coming in. I washed the Pimm’s glasses but it still kept reappearing. Shane remembered we had a wasp trap, but where might we have kept it. After a short hunt, I found it under the sink and baited it with a sugar solution. Shane managed to usher it in off a plate and it stayed in there for several hours. It did get out eventually but was rather sticky and not flying so it hasn’t bothered us again. I did have another flying visitor just as I sat down to start blogging. A small brown bird (either a sparrow or young robin is my guess) flew in the hatch beside me from the hedge, flew into the window opposite then whooshed along through the saloon, bathroom and bedroom, safely out the open bow doors. We have shut up all the entrances and exits now!

Sunset before the locks