Tag Archives: spring

Life as we know it..

11 Apr

I’ve agonised about the way this post should go, not wanting to add to the never-ending torrent of comment, opinion and speculation that surrounds this threat we all face: Coronavirus. There, I’ve said it.

Not only that, but I set this blog up to be a feel-good place, where I could share some of the highlights of my chosen lifestyle, and hopefully brighten the reader’s day a little by sharing some of the delights (and occasional, amusing catastrophes) that go with living on the water. It’s somewhere I can showcase my snaps of stunning skyscapes…

wp-1586611643208.jpg  and sunsets…


wp-1586611809857..jpgThe countryside…

Even the city sometimes…


And, of course, the ever-present and wonderful  wildlife  that abounds on and around the waterways – all set to a soundtrack of birdsong.

But in truth, I can’t not mention it. It has had such a profound impact on life as most people know it. A scary new world where time stands still and hugs and socialising are a distant memory. A world where few cars clog up our roads and pollution is at an all-time low. A new quiet world. A world that is learning to think of and care for others and appreciate those who go the extra mile. BB salutes you. A world where one can take time to reflect and simply be.

Welcome to my world dear reader. Being an aspiring writer and living alone, my world is by nature a solitary one at times, where much of my socialising is done via the internet. So much of the current imposition doesn’t affect me greatly. I am fortunate to live in a super place among a fabulous community but feel for those who aren’t so lucky.

Right now, you find me at my outdoor work space…


Enjoying the sunshine…



Where the cat and hose coil up…


And daisies decorate the grass.

I get regular visitors…


Thank goodness for this wonderful weather. It goes a long way to cheer us and keep away the gloom that could so easily creep into our heads.

We are all learning to adapt and embrace new challenges on a daily basis. Even my charmed lifestyle has been compromised, being deemed at high risk of serious illness or worse if I catch this thing, and am beginning a strict 12 week stay at home regime. But how hard can that be? My marvellous neighbours are rallying by fetching shopping and generally being there for me.

I, for one, hope this new-found community spirit will prevail and that we will all become stronger, wiser and more compassionate as a consequence. Hopefully society will adapt to the new normal too and that common sense will become a little more common, though I’m not holding my breath.

But for now, my friends, try to enjoy the moment. Be still  and make the most of these times. Many will have learned new skills and knocked off a lot of those jobs that have forever been on the to do list, or simply enjoyed having time to relax and reflect.

I will miss the cruising though…


Stay safe xx

Out of Hibernation..

1 Apr

Clocks on, longer days, sun out and temperature rising. All of which make Hobo and me happy bunnies.

And of course, Mother Nature has a thing or two to say…100_3004

This is what I see as I come home. Dogdirt Alley at its best.

Not just the daffs, but the May blossom in the distance is marvellous.

And on the way out…100_3005

These ‘fried egg’ ones are my favourites…

And – keep it under your hat – I’ve nicked a few for the inner ship…100_3011

John found these on his travels…IMG_20170330_095115551 (2)

A chocolate box shock.

Magnificent Magnolia…IMG_20170330_100333106 (2)

And a bit of everything in Upwell/Outwell…IMG_20170313_161245684

I’m never sure which is which.

Not that it’s been a bad winter, but the onset of spring always fills me with joy and energy. I feel like I’ve been bundled up and shut away for months.

So I’ve started to tackle the giant cleaning task that is Hobo post winter – inside and out both being grimy. Sleeping under a tree means she gets a coating of green on her roof and cabin sides…100_3008

As you can see here.

Though the lovely Emily is doing her best to distract you…100_3007

Isn’t she gorgeous? Also needs a clean.

A stove that burns 24/7 leaves a smoky/sooty film inside. Everywhere. Call me a lightweight, if you will, but I’m not quite ready to stop this yet. I don’t do cold. Time is near though when I will let it go out and find those firelogs brilliant in the interim…100_3018

You simply toss the whole lot in the stove, set fire to the packaging for instant heat that lasts about two hours, so perfect for those chilly evenings/mornings. They are available in all the cheapie shops and only £1 each (funnily enough) from the pound shop.

In any event, it will have to go off soon so I can clean and paint it!

And just about everything else needs painting too. It’s not that I’m at all houseproud or anything, and more than happy to turn a blind eye to a bit of muck; bugger I’d be forever cleaning otherwise. Life is way too short and, besides, I hate cleaning.

It is a little harder to ignore though, now I’m sporting spectacles full time, I can actually see it.

It’s a job to be tackled in bite-size pieces – the hardest part is making a start. Like a lot of things. And, like the proverbial banging your head against a brick wall, it’ll be good when it stops.

Shame there isn’t a floating car wash type arrangement. Or an army of offspring I could bully into helping.

I’m not the only one getting stuff done…100_3015

Smart new gates for the yard.

My neighbours are back…100_3003

Dinkeys. Bit manky looking but really friendly, nice creatures.

Talking of donkeys…100_3016

My smart new butch barrow, which is more than good enough for carzy carrying and, indeed, pretty much anything else. Good investment.

Apart from the change of season giving me the will to get things done, I swear I’m walking differently too. More upright and shoulders back – now unecessary to hunch against the bitter wind and/or rain.

I expect its not so different for the house dwellers among you, although I doubt you have far to walk to your car from your home… out the front door and straight onto the drive, mostlike. Whereas, I for one, have a field and a muddy yard to cross before reaching mine – also thoroughly grubby and muddy inside and out.

And those of us who cruise continuously will, more than likely, be faced with the towpath trek with all its associated hazards… but that’s another story.

We boatie folk are more in the line of fire from the elements but, you know, that’s fine by me. In my view, a whole lot better than the alternative.

Nene-course it will

Each to their own.

Vernal Equinox

20 Mar

I couldn’t wait for spring to begin

When daffs are yellow and mood is mellow…100_0650

The days are longer, the sun is stronger

There is no doubt  that the mud will dry out…006 (14)

Meaning less welly boots and lots of green shoots

Now it’s starting to start and lifting my heart

Restoring some pep; a spring in my step

Boats reappear as they do every year…004

What could be wrong with floating along?

And I really oughta get out on the water

I’m longing to cruise and shake off the blues

That come with the weather and being a’tether

There’s no earthly reason with the new season

That Hobo should be still stuck on the quay…022

So let’s be a boater and fire up the motor

Chug off down the river the tiller a’quiver

So there’s cleaning to do; much maintenance too

But won’t let that delay, me getting away

I’ll dust off the crew, boatbird’s cap too…Picture of me 1

It’ll be great, me and first mate…DSCN1437

Back in the groove and back on the move.

Ran out of rhyme…

So here’s to spring – says she, glass in hand. Happens every year but still I marvel at lighter mornings and longer days. It never ceases to delight.  I think it’s all those gloomy, short days and lack of daylight that, come March, has us longing for change.

And the mud. Anyone who lives or spends time in the countryside will appreciate how it can get one down.

In my case, there’s the trek from boat to car (and vice-versa) across what I lovingly refer to as dog-dirt alley. Wet winters mean constant mud, bogginess, flooding at times and forever climbing in and out of wellies.

No matter how hard I try, the gloop always wheedles its way into the car, onto the boat and somehow gets onto my clothes too. The thought of going out and back without having to don/shed layers of clothes and changing in and out of rubber boots fills me with joy. Can’t wait.

Last Thursday was the first time in ages that I went out in normal footwear. Didn’t last but, hopefully, a sign of things to come. Soon.

Mustn’t grumble though. The old Morso Squirrel stove has, as usual, served me well, kept me warm and cheered me up. It’s also pretty damn good at boiling a kettle, simmering soup/stew, toasting crumpets, warming the wellies and drying the washing overnight…


But every silver lining has a cloud – it also makes a lot of mess so soon I shall have to start on the spring cleaning. Washing ceiling, walls, curtains – anything that doesn’t move really. I did buy cheap, throwaway mats this time so once the weather properly improves they are all in the bin.

So I shall be busy, one way or another, but be back soon.

Spring Fever

20 Apr

There’s no keeping a good boatbird down.

And this one has acquired another job to replace the one that was so mysteriously lost – see the previous post.

Easy go, easy come.

The best thing about it is, I can work for 12.5 hours a week without it compromising my beloved lifestyle on the water or time spent creatively.

I have discovered that I can do mornings after all and will have to modify this little plaque…001

I’m thinking of removing the N and the T.

I get up at 6am, at work by 7-7.30 and back on Hobo around 10.  So I have the whole day ahead.

From Thursday till Monday (inclusive) I do my stint of 2.5 hours each day, also doing the other job on Monday and Thursday – still home by 4 on these double days –  leaving me several hours of daylight to play write,  at this time of year, anyway. And Tuesday/Wednesday have become the new weekend.

Just call me a scrubber Mrs Mop. I’m cleaning at a restaurant in Sawbo, which is within walking/cycling distance and it’s suiting me fine. I’ve done the career thing, more than glad I’ve grown out of it and  happy to do a bit of cleaning to earn a crust. No office politics/responsibilities/teamwork involved. Just a little job.

The writing is of course my main aim and I will do whatever it takes to allow me to do this. Intersperse this with a smattering of boat maintenance, relaxation, having that crack at some creative painting (boat decoration), learning to play the guitar – the list is endless – and I’ll be more than happy.

There is a slight snag with cycling to work though. My poor little shopper…My Rusty Steed

Has seized over the winter so requires a little attention. It did start off under cover but somehow got chucked back in the hedge moved out again, unbeknown to me, so suffered the full force of the extreme wetness that was our winter.

The WD40 is being applied every day to the chain, now gradually freeing up, and brake cables have been bought ready for John to replace when next here. Should be OK, once the tyres are pumped up, and fit for use after that.

By then I will hopefully have shaken off this horrid cold that is currently plaguing me – first one for almost five years – so with full lung capacity once more and minus the hacking cough, I should be able to push the pedals round. I’ve been struggling to walk even (without wheezing and generally behaving like a very unfit 90 year old that has chain- smoked Marlboro all her life) but, with the aid of a bottle of expectorant that John made me buy, I am on the mend and rapidly improving.

Man flu has nothing on this spring fever, I can tell you.

John made the trip down on Monday afternoon and I picked him up from the airfield on the way home from job no. 2. Perfect.

He’s planted some radish and lettuce in the little patch that he hacked back and dug over on his last visit…006

See here soon (hopefully) for the new shoots bursting forth.

And we’re busy planning the next step.

We think we can cut a new path through here…005

So as to avoid the lake that forms in the dip when it rains…002 (20)

And then de-rubbish/landscape/plant the rest of this area. It could look so good.

Meanwhile, I shall obtain some colour for the pots and tubs…011 007 002

To pretty Hobo up a bit, by way of introducing a bit of spring loveliness to my immediate surroundings.

Speaking of which…

We passed this glorious little front garden the other day, just had to stop and snap…001

That put us right in the mood to re-visit beautiful Ugley bluebell woods once more but we were a little premature it seems, the little blue bells not being fully opened, so will have to go back.

You can have a look here  to see some super pics I took a couple of years back.

It’s such a great time of year, with all manner of plants and trees coming into their own.  Along one of the nearby lanes is an avenue of Sweet Chestnut trees and, any day now, they too will be showing off. Will do my best to be there at the right time and secure some snaps – they don’t last long but are glorious.

Back on the Fens, John has been shooting the daffodil fields (makes a change from rabbits) for me to stitch…100_3110_stitch

How’s that?

Happy Easter.