Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Breezy but Bracing

Both little ships are now tied up at Kate Boats and I managed to get ‘Futurest’ across from the towpath just before the current blow began, which was useful.

My boat, having now spent six winters in a row here, I moved initially across into her customary winter berth right outside the office. However another vessel tied up just astern of us was using all the available 24 volt power points for its various needs. So yesterday, after a couple of days down there without power, I have moved the boat and breasted up against ‘Roots and Wings’ where there is more than adequate sockets for both of us.

The present blusteriness of the weather has come as quite shock after such a mild, quiet and unassuming start to the month of November and here at Kate Boats, though we are protected to a great extent by tall buildings all around and to the west of us predominantly, we have still felt the strength, in gusty form, of the gale-force westerly breeze that everybody is talking about.

Last night ‘Futurest’ was ranging excessively fore and aft alongside her bed partner so I decided to put out back springs fore and aft as well as bow and stern lines to keep her tight alongside and all has been neat and secure since. Though the temperatures are dropping slowly, both little ships are snug and warm aboard, and with endless hot water and being able to use an electric kettle once more, life is a relative luxury.

Yesterday morning Janis caught the train for one of her customary visits to Newark and basically she will be away for about a month. However she is returning tomorrow with a hire car so that we can attend a Douai Abbey and School reunion on Friday at Woolhampton (situated on the Kennet & Avon Canal coincidentally). We have definitely arranged to meet there my old school chum Roger and his wife Judith but I am hopeful that there may be others attending that I might know also, even though it will be just a couple of years short of sixty since we will have last met.

As I write now aboard we have just been peppered by one of the many gusty squalls that have continually passed across us today and the sound of the rain on the roof blots out all other noises that one normally hears.

Friday, 6 November 2015

The Return to Our Winter Moorings

On Monday last the two little ships left the moorings at Leamington and moved the short distance up to Warwick.

However Kate Boats’ yard is still busy and there was no room as yet for both boats. So ‘Futurest’ drawing the short straw, has been left tied up for a while on the towpath opposite while we have managed to secure an equally temporary mooring alongside Kate Boats for ‘Roots and Wings’.

Here, even though her stern, because of a shortage of depth beneath her, is a good ten feet out into the canal (a mooring very reminiscent of our recent experiences on the Kennet and Avon Canal) we have been able to connect her to 240 volts shore power, providing her with all the decadence that such a move gives; hot water all the time whether the engine has been run or not is one pleasure that Janis and I have been looking forward to and dreaming about for ages now.

On Wednesday we began another pleasant occupation that’s available to continuous summer cruisers after they have tied up for the winter months; that is catching up with all the visiting that most people do naturally all through the year.

On Wednesday Janis and I spent the day with my brother David in Stratford-upon-Avon. The bus stop is situated opportunely just outside the yard gate which makes it so much more convenient for me to use with my bus pass. We didn’t manage to see much of him this time last year since we were away in Australia and New Zealand for most of the time so this visit was well overdue.

Then yesterday we had to attend a sad occasion; the Thanksgiving Service to my son-in-law Steve at Flackwell Heath Methodist Church.

We hired a car for the day and shot down the M40 and arrived well within time for the service. So we were able to meet my two sons Rupert and Alex briefly before the service began.

Steve had so many friends as a result of the numerous interests in his life and the church was soon bulging at the seams with many of them attending the funeral and though most were in conventional dress a large number were dressed in science fiction costumes from Doctor Who and Judge Dredd through Planet of the Apes and onto Star Wars which was a particular favourite of Steve’s. We were even privileged to have a special detachment of Storm Troopers attending, resplendent in their full shiny white plastic armour.

The service itself was as usual quite sad as everybody was reminded of sad thoughts of loss of a husband, father, son, brother or simply good friend. The reading of Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd…. “ was read so beautifully and with such great control under the circumstances by my daughter E-J, the bereaving widow whilst the tribute of Steve’s youngest daughter Harlie was very courageous and heart-warming.

Later, after the service, was the wake in the church hall and as always at funerals, this was the happy part of the day. It was the time for reminiscence and the meeting of old friends that haven’t possibly had contact for many years.

It was lovely.

And now this morning (the day after) Janis and myself are in Wetherspoon’s at Leamington Spa, making use their Wi-Fi reading the many more tributes to Steve on Facebook.