Tag Archives: autumn

Wind in the Willows..

22 Sep

You, as precious and perceptive readers of this blog, will have noticed how windy it’s been of late. You know only too well. That is, of course, if you are in the UK.

It has played havoc with my hairdo…


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Not that you’d notice.

Had a go at ripping my car door off its hinges and swung my TV aerial round a full 180 degrees. Considering this was held by three wire stays and numerous magnets, was no mean feat.

What you may not know is that four trees have fallen into my little river over the last few days, at least two of which have blocked the navigation. Fortunately, none has done damage to boats/people, not that I know of anyway.

Unlike this poor couple..


What a nightmare. One that I have, yet again, escaped by the skin of my teeth.

In case you didn’t know, I moor beneath a very old, fragile looking willow. One that looks like it would fall over if I exhaled sharply in its vicinity. One that disintegrates when pushed against as Hobo leaves her mooring, and one that creaks in the wind at the best of times.

It’s more wobbly than whomping…


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But, against all the odds, it remains upright.

When I say upright…


As upright as its ever been in all my years of living underneath it. We (that’s the royal variety) do what we can to keep it from being top-heavy, as you can see here.

One the whole, I don’t like the wind. Not if I’m outdoors. But if I’m all cosy inside, I love to watch its effects on the water, the plant life, wildlife and the clouds. I like that it rocks the boat, making windchimes out of my hanging utensils and the crystals in the window sway and sparkle. It reminds me of how safe I feel  (despite the threat of my feeble tree) and gently rocks me to sleep.

This year’s wonderful summer has come to an end and we’ve slipped into autumn, even though my diary tells me it doesn’t become official until the 23rd.

The autumn equinox…


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Nights are drawing in already, leaves are beginning to fall and it’s all downhill from here. There’s definitely a whiff of wood smoke in the air – there is around my boat anyway. I’m not one to tough it out till it’s ‘acceptable’ to light one’s fire. The first hint of a chill in the air and the old Morso gets fried up.

And yes…


It’s blazing away now.

I’m mostly only burning those 99p a pop faux logs at the mo, usually more than enough to take the pain out of a chilly morning/evening. Last night though, I did add a proper chunky real log – one foraged by the John last year – and regretted it a couple of hours down the line, having to open doors/hatches to avoid overheating/paint blistering!

We’re not yet at that burning 24/7 stage and, hopefully, I’ll miss most of that.

Did I tell you I was going to overwinter in South Africa..?

Sure I did.



Wood you believe it…?

4 Nov

I’ve said before that it’s pictures that often inspire my words and if ever there was an inspiration…IMG_20150829_142848 (1)

This was it. It did make me smile.

Not a competition to see how many bits of wood will fit in a Mini – just a boater being a boater and doing what has to be done to get what he needs to his boat.

I love boaters – nothing if not inventive, determined, bloody minded and with a total disregard for health and safety.

I also love Minis and have had close associations with at least three in my life – but will save those stories for a future post.

And wood, which seems to be the theme for today’s ramblings, is also very dear to my heart.

John’s too…002

Destined to become a totem pole. Some day.

Wood featured heavily on the agenda during late summer this year with a spot of willow pollarding. Goats on the farm love to eat the leaves so our lovely landlady issues orders to her captive tenants does deals with us to get this work carried out.

So it started with a neighbour having a bash…002001

And then it was our turn. Another neighbour needed planning permission to erect a gazebo on land adjacent to his boat so agreed to do his penance by way of a little tree surgery. He’s not daft. He doesn’t have a chain saw or the know-how to use one but knows a man that does and has.

That’ll be (always up for an adventure) John then.

Looks right at home up there…006

Loving every minute.

You should know that John was suffering at this time with a nasty attack of the shingles…002 003

But it takes a lot to keep this man down for long. He just drank lots of beer upped the medication and toughed it out. It helped to take his mind off the pain and discomfort says he but no doubt prolonged the outbreak says she. She, the wise one that recommends rest. She, who is always ignored.

Out come the loppers…001

And the chain saw…008

The pair of them work well together…007

While I did my best to stay out of the way with hands over my ears and eyes closed, trying desperately not to think about chainsaw accidents/impromptu dips in the river or even worse – damage caused to the good ship Hobo.

They did a good job of not bouncing branches off Hobo’s roof and Pete cleared up nicely and dragged the branches off to a designated place, to be collected by a farm hand later and fed to the greedy goats.

But not before we had the tasty bits for ourselves…002009001

006 Firewood for the future.

Wet willow isn’t the best but, with a few nights scorching by the side of the Squirrel stove a year or two of drying out, it will become most useful.

The wheelie bins are full of kindling, constantly topped up by next door but one who insists we help ourselves. It’s a caring sharing community you know. Mind you, he’s currently on the run from the law/banged up away just now so stocks are dwindling and we are a little concerned.

Pete next door also came up with a load of dry logs…003

Mostly ash I think – free for the taking and duly carted back here in John’s new van: a Vauxhall Combo that runs on LPG – very economical, cheaper to tax and fill up at the pump. A good thing, with which we are delighted.


The end result…007

Not pretty and a few whiskers still left but less likely to topple over now not so top heavy.

The new van also got me a good discount on a load of coal (80 x 25kg sacks) 40 for me…004

Under cover. And the rest distributed to assorted neighbours.

See the deckchair…another little restoration project that’s been hanging around – maybe I’ll be sitting in it next summer?

I’m feeling better prepared for the cold this year than ever before, which no doubt means it’ll be a mild winter. But that’s good – either way.

A couple of random, wood-themed shots from earlier in the year when we visited the Gibberd Garden in Harlow…


And one from a walk in the woods…IMG_20150612_134945

Epping Forest.

And as if John needed another little boat project…005

He volunteered for one anyway. Re-planking a nautically themed window box.

There’s more to tell of the other little boat too, again in another post I think.

Should be enough ammo, with that, Minis, the new gazebo and whatever crops up in-between to keep me – and you – busy for a bit.

And finally, no news bulletin would be complete without a word on the weather would it? Especially as it is loosely wood-related.

On a couple of occasions recently, I’ve been driving along and suddenly found myself in the thick of a blizzard of golden, fluttering flakes of gold as falling leaves waltzed on the wind. What an awesome autumn it’s been.

Even the gardeners among us are having fun…IMG_20151028_122530