Friday, 10 December 2010

Today ‘Futurest’ and I are content. The cold spell is disappearing rapidly, though there is a low whisper around, of its return next week. Brrrrrh!!!!!
The towpath has returned to its dark drab after the sparkling winter white and the ice on the canal has given up its frozen beauty in exchange for the more hospitable, if spoiled and polluted, appearance that we are more used to.
We are resuming normality.
But the ice on the trees and hedgerows created a far more splendid picture against the pale blue sky behind, than any Christmas card could have ever portrayed and in a way, we mourn its passing.

No Snow but severe frost in this winter wonderland

I’ve had a different week to normal, which has been most enjoyable as I've had three sets of visitors. A week yesterday, my friend Bobby came to stay with me. She lives in Stratford-upon-Avon, not far away and I was glad when she was able to come to stay for a few days. She remained here till Tuesday when she caught the train to Birmingham International for a flight to France to see her two daughters, who are living there. We had a great time together and I found the gentle female influence aboard a refreshing contrast to the harsh bachelor existence that I am normally accustomed to. I was sad when she left.
Then later that same afternoon, my friend Matt from Tooley’s arrived with a kit to test the cylinder compression in ‘JP2’. However, due to the fact that my engine is rather unique because it is so old, the kit didn’t contain the right connecter to give us a proper reading. So after a brief chat and apologies, he told me he would return next week.
Earlier in the week I noticed at about 6.30 in the evening that my power from ashore had stopped. From the state of the batteries on the gauge, we had been using their power for a good couple of hours, without realising it. But by half past six the office and yard were all locked up, so unless I could raise a member of staff somehow to turn the power on again, ‘Futurest’, Bobby and I would have to make do till morning.
While investigating the situation ashore, I noticed for the first time that there was a light on in one of the hire boats, so thinking it might be an on duty night-watchman, I knocked on the window and was answered by a gentleman who was on holiday with his wife for the week. Obviously he couldn’t help but he did have an afterhours phone number for Kate Boats. But when I rang this there was no answer so there was nothing for it but to put on the generator until we went to bed. In the morning shore power was resumed again and everything was okay. Later I met the couple from the boat going ashore and invited them aboard for tea yesterday
Mike and Ethel, who live in Germany, spend many boating holidays on the English Canals and are seriously thinking of buying their own boat to live aboard over here. I did my usual tour of ‘Futurest’, the script of which I know now by heart, and though they were obviously very experienced boaters already, I was glad to impart whatever little snippets of information that I knew, which they didn’t. They were a very pleasant couple and having resolved themselves most philosophically I thought, to the fact that they hadn’t been able to leave the berth during the week because of the ice, had nonetheless enjoyed their stay aboard the hire boat, knowing very wisely that they would be able to overcome the harshest of English winters on their own more luxurious boat, when the time came. We spent a couple of happy hours together, drinking tea and eating their home made cakes, which they had bought at the cafĂ© at the top of the Hatton Flight, to where they had walked earlier. They left their holiday boat this morning to return to Germany. I look forward to meeting them again.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The skipper is very busy at the moment working on a short story that he has in his head, so I thought I had better step in to continue this blog for him. He of course has no idea that I am helping out in this way and would be most upset if he was to find out. So please don’t let on will you. This is our little secret!
And move a bit closer to the screen, so nobody in the room behind you can read what I am saying! I don’t want this to get back; otherwise my life will be a misery. Okay? He definitely wouldn’t like it!
His trouble is that he takes on more than he can cope with. I’ve known him for about eighteen months now and in that time he has always been full of bright ideas. He’s had enough ideas to stock a shop with but unfortunately he doesn’t carry them through. The head is willing but the heart then gets weak, as the well known expression goes.... You know the one! He begins very enthusiastically, getting everybody worked up and excited but after a short time comes up with a better idea and so the first one gets sacrificed. We all then have to turn to another tack, which I plainly think is silly! Don’t you?
It’s not that he is lazy. Far from it, as he is always busy doing something and his life is very ordered. This I think probably has something to do with his navy training for he has log books all over, which he fills in studiously but irritatingly. And when we tie up, he is always going ashore. He has quite a thing about exercise and does enjoy walking. Back in July he bought himself a folding bike for cycling along the towpath; thought this would be a good idea. But this turned out like all the others; after using it for a few brief outings, it is now folded away permanently under his bunk collecting dust.
He has just returned back aboard after travelling to Banbury to stay with his old friends John and Maggie. They put him up for the night and I know he enjoyed himself. He’s told me often that he always gets treated wonderfully while he is there. He was away for about thirty six hours in all and as soon as he got back aboard he started rushing around like a mad thing lighting the fires that had gone out.
And it’s been bitterly cold while he’s been away so I think he was worried in case things had become frozen up in the meantime. But though it feels icy cold in the chill north easterly breeze, there has been no frost and the actual air temperature has only been around zero. So he’s been lucky!
And now he has his note book out.... Again!. As I said he is involved in thoughts about a short story. Luckily for me he doesn’t want the computer at the moment.
So I’ve decided to step in to help him out. I do hate all these loose ends that he leaves laying around always......  And he’s not a bad lad really.  He’s a good skipper and as we have to get on together in the same crew, I would hate to upset him.
So please don’t let on to him will you about my little bit of gossip. I know he doesn’t like gossip and my life would be sheer hell if he was to find out!
Who am I?
Of course I’m forgetting; you probably don’t know me.

My name is ‘Futurest’.