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 café 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.

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