Archive | June, 2012

Up on the Roof

24 Jun

While I beavered away at my ailing roof, there was plenty of opportunity to take five as my feathered friends put in an appearance to show off their new-born..As well as the duck chick eight there was the moorhen chick one..Cute or what..

I hope they all make it. So many times over the years I’ve watched this daily parade as they grow up; their numbers diminishing  each time I see them. One day there’s eight, then seven, six and so on – it’s sad. But that’s Mother Nature for you and I suppose the mink has to eat.

While I was attacking the chimney, down on the decking, I had another visitor..I first spotted it as it slithered out of the long grass towards me. I reckon it came to see what all the noise/vibration was about as I hammered away at the tarred chimney. I backed off, trying to do stealth and grab the camera but failed miserably and it disappeared back into the jungle – quick quick. A bit like when you suck spaghetti into your mouth – gone.

I did get lucky though, as you can see, and managed to catch it swimming.

After pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t in South Africa, I concluded it was probably a grass snake though I know there are adders here. They have been known to bite the horses and dogs and, depending where they have been bitten, sometimes fatally.

Speaking of jungle....this is how it was; the before shot if you like.

Since then there’s been a mowathon and a strimfest down at DDA. Normally, my little patch gets forgotten and is left to go wild but this time I smiled sweetly at the man in hard hat and goggles so now it looks like this..and this..Much better. Now just add table and chairs..

On John’s farm there’s some lovely big cable drums I fancy for the use of – just have to transport one here. Would make a natty little picnic area don’t you think? Together with the veggie/herb boxes that are planned, will make a regular little garden. We’ll get there. Probably just before I move on.

As predicted, work on the roof has come to a halt. Too wet, too windy and not to mention too bloody cold. Still, I’ve made a start and they say next week might be better. The next stage involves power tools, grinder and sander, so noisy and messy. It’s an essential part of the process but one I don’t look forward to and will be much happier when I get to the painting stage. That I don’t mind and find therapeutic even.

My internet threw a sickie, just as the weather took a turn for the worse, and stopped me in my tracks. Couldn’t work outdoors. Couldn’t work indoors. Bugger.

I went down the troubleshooting route and through the help menu but it wasn’t having any of it. Two days later I admit defeat and get in touch with 3 – my service provider. My Indian friend on the phone talks me through various ‘fixes’ but to no avail. He eventually lets on that there had been some ‘issues’ with the local mast and credits me for a full month’s usage. He reckoned all would be fixed by today (and hey presto it is) so not bad –  a full month refunded for 2/3 days down time.

Frankly though, I’d rather have the access. Being able to see that I have e-mails but unable to reply (or even unable to read them sometimes) is so frustrating. And, of course, it kept me away from here. All of a sudden, there’s 101 things I need to do on the internet and can’t.

Hell, I almost had to resort to doing some housework…

Bobbing Along..

20 Jun

Greetings readers.

I am back. Not that I’ve been anywhere really since my short treehouse stay; here all the time just bobbing along. Taking the rough with the smooth, the rain with the shine,  and managing not to be blown away by the gale force winds. Dog dirt alley has gone from bog back to meadow, the river up over the jetty and back down again and life goes on merrily in boatbirdland.

I have been busy wrting another blog, which is health related and charts the ups and downs of digestive discomfort. It’s a very different place to this one and I wouldn’t go there unless you are a fellow sufferer, need something to thoroughly depress you or would enjoy a jolly good laugh at my expense. It’s just me bellyaching.

So that’s what I’ve been up to blog-wise and why I’ve not been here.

The superb weather over the last couple of days has inspired me** to set about some overdue Hobo type maintenance.  Or we could just call it rust – something I’ve known about for a long time and hoped would go away – that eater of metal that, left untreated, will literally eat away my home.

** Or maybe it was John pointing this out and giving me the proverbial kick up the arse. Either way, it’s not a pretty sight and needs dealing with PDQ.

See what I mean…?

My biggest problem excuse has always been where to start – getting going is always the hardest bit – but I now have a plan. Bite size pieces, starting with the roof, and it will get finished eventually. So far I’ve chipped and scraped away the loose, flaky bits (already looking better) and am about to apply the rust treatment stuff before sanding, priming, undercoating and finally re-painting the roof. All 47ft of it. Then I can move on to the next thing – gunwales I think – and the next and the next and so on. Bit of a Forth Bridge excercise I suspect – as in ongoing. Forever and ever. Amen.

The stove has also had a re-paint and its chimney swept (first time I’ve been able to let the fire go out for ages) and very fine it looks too. I also had to replace the riddler plate, as you do from time to time, a job that is simple enough but is fiddly and requires just the right twist in the right place. It’s a flick of the wrist – easy peasey once you crack it – but only ever achieved just at that point when you are about to give up, go outside and scream and/or smash it to smithereens. At £35 a pop – not a good idea. Then all of a sudden it’s bish bosh bash and job’s a good un.

There was also the matter of the chimney being welded into place and completely unbudgeable (took a man with a hammer and a total disregard for decibel levels/poor Hobo’s feelings to free it). Also now de-tarred and sanded so can be removed easily, as it must be, for cruising.

So, I haven’t been idle. Actually, I’m at my happiest when busy and outside in the sunshine working on the boat – it just takes a shove to get me started. That said, the weather window is about to slam shut if I am to believe the Met Office. And I do when it brings bad news – they usually get that right.

I’ve lots more to tell you and plenty of pics to show off. Later. Now I must get cracking while the sun shines – tomorrow sounds like a day to be indoors so talk again then.

From the Treehouse Window

6 Jun

I am back at the treehouse again so I thought I’d show you some ‘window’ shots I’ve taken from here, by way of a change from the river.

This little beauty came and posed for me…

I tried to remain hidden and focus but he looked right at me…

 and was off like a shot…

I kept clicking, hoping to capture his flight but he was gone. It was all over in seconds.

He’s a regular here and we’ve seen him hunting along the dyke at the side of the runway – a beautiful sight. We think he lives in one of the barns (where else would a barn owl live) and I glimpsed him the other morning as he executed a perfect banking turn taking him inside. A super shot I failed to get. I think I must glue the camera to my hand in future….

Last year John spotted this one from the kitchen window…

Aren’t they gorgeous?