Snowshots – Now and Then

5 Feb

There is one definite advantage to being an occasional extreme early riser (that’ll be Boatbloke not Boatbird) and that is unusual photo opportunities…IMG_20150130_022121

Snowing polar bears at 03.00 hours, as seen from the little boat. Ragetty Ann catches the yard light while other hulls are seen in silhouette.

It settles on the roof…IMG_20150130_034756

Wonderful white fluffiness.

And just before it turned to mucky, muddy, mushy slush and sludge…IMG_20150131_122330

Dogdirt Alley in all its splendour, still looking pristine before the temperature rises and the march of everyone’s welly boots takes its toll, depriving us of that delicious crunch beneath our feet.

We’ve seen nothing (yet) this winter though. Nothing like one I remember when living at Hartford Marina in Cambridgeshire – I think the winter of 2009/2010 – when we had weeks of serious sub-zero temperatures.

Which meant the water taps on the pontoon froze for days on end…12

And the lake had ice an inch thick all over.

As I walked about inside the boat, I’d hear the ice around the boat cracking and, once I’d identified what it was, a strange yet fun experience. Even more odd was the sound of someone across the water breaking the ice around their boat with a pole – a kind of echoing noise, almost like an underwater explosion . And this one took me quite a while to figure out.

We get so used to familiar noises, knowing each and every one from ducks nibbling the hull (weird and worrying till you work it out) to a flight of swans (unmistakeable), a skein of geese flying homeward (noisy), the dismayed whimpering of a neighbour’s cat that has taken an unexpected dive into the drink (pitiful) or a neighbour topping up his coal scuttle (frequent).

Each with its own distinctive signature.

The wildlife were fun to watch…3 10Swans and their cygnets walking on water

So comical as they nonchalantly went about their daily routines.

I learned how to eke out my water, often using the marina showers so as not to deplete what remained in my tank as topping up would not be possible until the outside taps thawed. It was a good lesson in water conservation that has stayed with me. Here at the farm the hose and or tap will freeze – as will the water points on canals and rivers – when a cold snap snaps.

The surroundings became beautiful…15 1613Serene…Iced in at the marina

Austere beauty at the marina

But despite outward appearances…Winter in the marina-but cosy inside

We all stayed warm and cosy inside our boats.

These are a few of my pictorial reminiscences of a previous life. What were your memories of that winter..?

2 Responses to “Snowshots – Now and Then”

  1. Steve & Angela February 5, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    We had the sound of mallards nibbling the boat’s hull at 5am on our first day on the boat. It took us a while to work out what it was. After that we looked forward to getting it every morning.
    My memory of the big freeze was being on the Isle of Arran. We had just moved into the youth hostel that we managed after it was refurbished. All the workmen lorries had compressed the snow on the hilly driveway. I couldn’t even get through it with a shovel. The guests were moaning and asking why we weren’t using salt. I had to point out that there was none left on the island.

    • Boatbird February 5, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

      People all too ready to whinge eh?
      As you’ll know by now, boaters seem to take it all in their stride, have a laugh and pull together. That’s why we like this life of course..!!

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