Moored just down the River Avon on their wide beam boat ‘Jacaranda’, at Bidford are two good friends of mine, Keith and Christine. They have been living aboard their ship for about the same length of time as I have and like me too are enjoying it immensely.
We met a couple of years ago on the Kennett & Avon Canal and enjoyed a great time together. Restricted by the width of the waterways they remained in the south last year while I was ‘(mis)adventuring’ up north and they have since travelled up the Avon from Tewkesbury having bravely and successfully taken on the Severn Estuary voyage from Avonmouth to Sharpness first!
They invited me to lunch with them yesterday at the ‘Bistro’ in Stratford-upon-Avon and within sight of the myriads of Swans, Mallards and Gulls squabbling noisily and vying with each other to grab the morsels of bread being scattered by the tourists onto the cold shivering river and also within sight of the shining white stoned Sixteenth Century Clopton Bridge, which was never designed to accommodate either the amount or the weight of traffic that continuously crosses it today, I enjoyed a wonderfully tender and mouth watering ‘Boeuf brasé’ with accompanying firm and succulent vegetables, while the three of us shared between us a bottle of the house French red. It was all very delicious and having started with a Lentil and Bacon Soup, by the time we said goodbye a couple of hours later, I felt very well nourished.....I didn’t need to eat another thing for the rest of the day.
It was cold travelling home though, with the raw and biting wind stinging me from the east, as I walked to and from the respective railway stations, and waited patiently for the train at Stratford to arrive, beneath a heavily leadened and overcast sky. Luckily when the train did arrive, it was very warm as it rattled quickly along, and eventually when I slid the hatch back aboard ship again and went below, everything felt most cosy as the ‘Squirrel’ had stayed in beautifully for me.
No snow settled on un-insulated Engine Room Roof
The frozen canal through the porthole
Wild fowl watering hole.
Note where the thin ice has been drilled through with beaks.