With or Without You

Having set things in motion to transfer treatment to Edinburgh, we were on tenterhooks wondering whether Shane might have to rush there for some appointment, at short notice. He has a bag packed.

The weather is a bit windy still and set to be all week, so handling the boat solo is trickier – we had a hard time pulling it in yesterday together. However I had an offer from a boat savvy friend to join me and felt we could manage, even in the wind. I could take care of the boat and Shane leave.

This morning the GP rang as promised and while he is in the system and communication among the professionals is underway, it seems unlikely that he would need to leave the boat this week. We are very grateful to her for springing into action and she asked if we had found somewhere to moor the boat when in Edinburgh. She shared that her parents had a narrowboat and only just stopped using it in their 80s. What are the chances?

Having been ready for action, Shane was now in need of distraction. He set about the useful task of defrosting the fridge as it will need to be switched off if we are both away and there has been a large build up of ice. that is one job taken care off. 

Sinkful of Ice

Normally we would leave ice melting in the sink, but since the sink drains into the canal directly, Shane realised we didn’t need to have the sink occupied at all. He could just throw it straight into the canal. Might confuse passers by. It was a comparatively warm day.

Ice floes in the canal

Meanwhile I had noticed we had not put out the glass recycling with the rest (as they are rarely recycled together) but the park Recyclables bins, clearly intended for picnickers, allowed for cartons, cans, plastic and glass bottles in the same bin. I took a couple of trips across the grass with armfuls of bottles and jars, amused that the wind over the bottletops made a variety of musical tones as I walked across.

We had various discussions about timings of where to go and when and whether to go separately or together. We think we will wait until after the weekend with both options still open. We decided to get water today and we can inch our way towards the marina over the next few days.

On the way to the water point, is the one lock and Shane felt he hadn’t had any lock handling experience for a bit and he’d prefer to work it and let me drive. There was a woman with two children beside the lock explaining how it worked so she was pleased it was actually going to be worked so they could see it in action. Also beside the lock there are often water birds at the off flow to the side but today the swans were stepping it out at the lockside safely away from the family. The lock is already decorated by swan silhouettes on the railings at that side.

Goose-stepping Swans

While Shane enjoys working a lock, he enjoys even more involving children in the process, so he was pleased to encourage them to push the gates open and closed along with him at each end of the lock. He was about to step back on, with the gates closed behind us, when we realised that another boat was waiting at the lock bollards to go in, holding their boat on a rope, and they would actually have liked those gates left open, especially since he seemed to be on his own with the boat. The family had just left but a group of 3 youths had arrived so he asked if they would open the gate at the other side and they obliged. He could open his gate hop on and not hold the other boat up any longer.

I was then driving at the water point. Shane was up the front for fending as there are some rough concrete edges, we would prefer to avoid scraping along. I saw some people at the water point already but they were just filling some containers and there was no boat parked up beside. It would be manoeuvring in the wind with an audience again, but fortunately it all went very smoothly. while the water tank was filling, we were discussing different mooring techniques at that spot. Shane tried explaining using sticks on the boat roof to represent Bartimaeus and a boat moored nearby that we need to squeeze the stern past during the turn and a jetty so he could talk through the direction. The wind blew the twigs about though, so looked like a crash – it is capable of doing the same to the boat after all. There was a slightly less smooth departure when the combination of trying out a different technique and the wind and the aforementioned concrete edge called for some rapid adjustments and reruns, but no damage done.

Back at the lock, I got out to work it to see the youths were still there and kicking a football back and forth across the lock. One was sitting in the lock arm where I needed to be, but he got up quickly and they all moved to one side and kept their ball off the pitch. One offered to open one of the gates for me and close it after, I still had to cross over the boat to drop paddles but it was nice to have him volunteer, rather than just resenting the pause in the game.

With Shane driving and now knowing what to look for, I managed to capture the garden with interesting signage and painting on the way past today. It is in the short stretch between the lock and the park and I usually see it briefly just as I am driving or about to jump off.

We moored more straightforwardly than yesterday, slightly less windy and no cratch was a help. we decided to go a short walk and went a different route we hadn’t been before. There was an unexpected sign on a house window, selling free range chicken eggs, in a row of houses on a busy street. Through the wooded area we found we could extend our walk up a hill with a birds eye view of the brewery on one side and a field on the other.


Must be nearly sunset

The rain was only just starting as we crossed the park with Bartimaeus in sight, so well timed. We have had a nice video chat with our friend in Edinburgh. It was good to see him though for most of the time we couldn’t see him, nor he us, since we had to switch of the video feed off, to improve connectivity. We established that we can stay in a flat there to have a space to ourselves, which will be good and it is near the GP surgery too.