Suspicious Minds

Yesterday was promising showers and no sunshine, not the best when we can’t travel or plug in to electric, but the days are longer so a little solar still helps. Shane seemed to have decided to use his day to save energy by removing a radiator. I was catching up with poems and enjoyed writing one about going to see Sunshine on Leith. It wasn’t because I was yearning for sunshine or Leith particularly, just responding to a prompt about a film. I was awaiting my muse for another three prompts.

Occasionally Shane would call for assistance. I thought his plan to pull out the skirting board by bending it at a 45° angle past the seating was very suspect and felt it would snap. My fears were unfounded and I was reminded of the sceptical and anxious feeling at Parc Asterix on the largest wooden roller coaster in Europe, or perhaps in the world. It proudly advertised you could “feel the flexibility of wood” which was exactly what I didn’t want to feel in a rollercoaster. Stability, safety, solidity and strength were the qualities I preferred. Anyway he had just proved the wood to be very flexible in deed. It was also very long and hard to stow. At first I slid it along the kitchen floor in the direction it was sliding anyway, then realised that the fridge would not open so I slid it to the other side, under the steps and in front of the kickplates. They do have drawers in them but not frequently accessed. I wasn’t needing tinned fish or oven dishes in a hurry. I turned the painted side away so any bumps didn’t scuff the paint. Shane did manage to kick it once going to the kettle, but mostly it was out of the way.

Skirting board moved to be stored in the kitchen

We managed to get an outing to shops in the dry before lunch. Two of my blogs this week have unusually featured a black cat, in different places, Edinburgh and Enslow. I had recently had an exchange about a cat on social media and now I found there was a black cat on on the canal signage. It has been sneaked on in different paint and is keeping its eyes on people on the towpath.

Black cat on the local canal signage

Help was required in the afternoon with emptying the water from the pipes and radiator. Shane had warned me it could come out fast and I was poised. He had an idea of making a modified bottle. I am not sure if it was the sudden spurting or the flap modification but somehow I was foolish enough to have my mouth open as it sprayed forth. Not good, antifreeze and radiator gunk don’t taste good. It was a while before I could rinse out. There was a lot of water there. Shane had done a little earlier and we managed to fill this bucket and a further gallon in used milk containers.

Shane was doing plenty plenty measuring but still found he had ordered the wrong size of connectors and had to get himself very wet going for the right one’s as the shower had arrived. I was feeling smug inside. I had a brief trip to the post box when the rain stopped. On the Women On Barges group, I heard of a scheme in a school in France to receive postcards from around the world for children to learn about different places and write replies. They could be in French or English. I was pleased to participate and write in both languages on a post card from Lancaster (the most northerly English canal) but saying we had travelled to near Oxford but came from Edinburgh. I don’t know if I will get a reply, we shall see. The post box was a small flat box in the wall and was near a house with dragon ornaments and an ancient looking pillar. There was no information about the pillar but from a little research I have found it is the remains of a 15th century cross, though there is no actual cross only a base and shaft.

15th century limestone cross shaft and dragons at the gate

My bird app recorded a serin on the way back. I had never heard of them but they are a summer visitor to southern England so that’s no surprise. We are in a great spot for flowers and there are so many bird calls.

Work stalled on the project today as we found they have supplied the wrong brackets and the local industrial estate had no suitable items. We saw a rather threatening notice on a boat, on the way not too welcoming! Fortunately it isn’t originally from here.

Notice in the window of a boat

Shane has got the skirting board back and filled the old holes for the pipes. We have enjoyed the sunshine and seen some fish in the water. There are pretty flowers here and while the mother of eight hasn’t appeared I did here a lot of quacking as a boat passed us and went to see if there were ducklings to find only one, closely guarded. The people on the boat were Dutch and we’re loving life on the British canals where you have to operate all the machinery yourself. I had a brief chat while they were figuring out the procedure for the lift bridge.

One little duck went swimming one day

We had another Pimm’s even though we did not need an empty bottle to make a funnel for decanting water from the bucket into the milk flagons – and this time it was actually fizzy. It was warm and sunny in the afternoon. Today I recorded a house Martin and a cuckoo, so surely that is a good omen. We spotted bats tonight too. I hope this means it is warm enough to not miss the radiator for now.

Elsewhere heavy rain is threatening to keep the Thames closed longer and the people who have been waiting a month are kicking their heels somewhat. We still have things to do and hoping our wait to move will be shorter than the wait for radiator brackets, fingers crossed. I am also hoping the all male crew who bumped us hard on the way into mooring, don’t cause too much trouble. All our other neighbours have been very friendly.

I have managed to get four poems done, so I am ll caught up. Some were quite lengthy, or took a while to write, but am pleased to have got the rather unlikely topic of a dispute with HMRC involving an issue with the wages department. This seemed a very unpoetical prompt at first and it was doubtful I would summon up anything, but as luck (good or bad) would have it I did have a real life scenario with a very suspect call from a girl I didn’t trust in finance, the year before I retired. It all sounded scammy and scary to me. My line manager said that I was the staff member she would least suspect of financial misdeed and money laundering. I wonder who she would suspect most. And the slightly farcical (also typical) DIY situation fitted nicely with the prompt “And then I found out”.

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