The Week That Was…

20 Apr

Last Friday two of my neighbours set off for their summer cruise, earlier than usual so as to avoid the Olympic nonsense, vaguely headed for the Llangollen – or Llangollywog in Johnspeak.  I watch them chug away,  all smiley faces and waves;

two narrowboats travelling in tandem towards places as yet unseen and adventures unknown.

I am a little envious and question my decision to not cruise, as such, this year. My plan being to stay put, earn some money and give Hobo some attention – that much needed paint job being top of the list. It’s the right thing to do but still I feel unsettled. Or, more acurately, settled.

John, via e mail, reassures me this is the way to go and speaks of the fun we can still have, exploring more of the upper Lee, playing with anchors as we try out wild mooring techniques. Well done John, I am once again convinced I know what I am doing and  look forward to spending some time here just messing about on the river. What could be better?

Saturday turns out to be my really good news day. John is booked on a flight that gets him into Heathrow at stupid o’clock on the morning of April 30th.  My birthday. Hallelujah and Happy Birthday to me!

I ran out of gas on Monday, not like me at all, probably due to the 12kg cylinder (smaller than usual) only lasting just over two weeks. I am used to getting around six weeks worth of hot water and cooking from my normal 13.5kg – still not making sense. Anyhow, off I trot to fetch more so I can at least have a cup of tea. A 12kg costs £29.50 and a 19kg £31.50 – how does that work? Scandalous. I can’t woman-handle the bigger size so cough up the £29.50 but order a 19 for delivery – I hate not having a spare. I’ve been spoiled up until now, having access to gas  at cost price from John’s farm. The real world is painful.

The rest of the week sees me beavering away and my current assignment is almost complete. I’ve established a routine that works for me and I hope to continue to be productive and less likely to succumb to the many distractions that go with life on the water: jumping up to watch and wave as boats go by, staring out the window at birds/sky/rain/planes/trains/sunset/towpath traffic/canoeists/wind in the trees and all sorts of other interesting stuff that conspires to take my mind off the job.

There are unavoidable diversions though. Feeding the fire (and me), dealing with essential chores, invariably involving people interaction – no-one walks by without engaging in conversation here. But that’s nice. And there’s the shopping, not my favourite thing but has to be done. And Thursday was the day.

I’m usually on a mission to get this over with and managed to get there, done and back inside an hour. Pretty good. I had a phone call on the way back – my gas delivery had arrived and where was I? Two minutes away to be precise. Of course it is chucking it down as I lead the way through dog dirt alley to the boat and a dip in the field en route has turned into a pond. This causes my delivery man and his sack barrow some concern so I wade in, ankle deep, to show it’s OK really.

This was a pond yesterday - honest

But the real fun started when we reached the ruts made by the JCB when the tree murder was going on a few weeks back. It’s very uneven and the gas cylinder wasn’t secured to the barrow and, you guessed it, it jumps off.. We both stood there, like two drowned rats,  watching in disbelief as the bloody thing rolled and rolled and rolled……right in to the river. Splosh!  You couldn’t make it up – hilarious. Well I thought it was but disguised my giggles by grabbing the boathook off the roof, resisting the urge to fetch my camera and capture the moment. I think this may have induced a total sense of humour failure on the part of the gas man…

The rutted road

We fished it out without further trauma, thankfully. He told me he was having a bad day and just wanted to go home. Poor man. I paid up and probably overdid the thanks by way of trying to make amends for my part in it. I then had to repeat the process (squelching through the bog but not throwing it in the river) with the shopping. All good fun and just part of life as a boatbird.

the river that waits patiently for that lapse in concentration.....

It’s just as well John will be back soon – I don’t think I dare order any more gas for delivery…..

Left a 12kg @ £29.50. Right a 19kg @ £31.50.

Well that’s my week. How was it for you?

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