Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Tomlow (getting cross about contractors)

The plants in Karen’s ‘greenhouse’ are coming on nicely and most will be strong enough to be outside in a few weeks.

Karen using the cratch as a makeshift greenhouse for her seeds and cuttings

We have had yet another few days of weather extremes.  When Karen finished work on Friday we took a walk to Stockton for a drink in a canal side pub imaginatively called The Boat.  Fortunately we took coats as it started hailing before we got there.

Just after a hailstorm on our Friday evening walk

What a contrast when we got home! This is looking down our patch from the back of the boat.

Back on board later on Friday evening - what a difference in the weather

We have been moored on this stretch for just over a week now and cannot believe how few people we see - maybe a maximum of four people a day walking past the boat. Karen finds the same on the roads; coming from the South we are used to villages being busy with cars especially during the rush hour.  Here, in rural Warwickshire, the villages and country roads are empty at all times of the day – it all adds to the tranquillity of our life at present.  Maybe it changes in the summer when the tourist season starts; it’ll be interesting to see.

Each day this weekend we visited the local butterfly reserve at Stockton at least once but we have yet to be lucky enough to see anything interesting.  The wind has still been a bit too cold even when the sun is out.  We did see our first Green Veined White and Large White of the year and also get a shot of a male Brimstone.

Freshly emerged Green Veined White
Male Brimstone on Dandelion

Last week contractors came through and mowed the towpath.  They mowed from the edge of the canal right up to the hedge and this has made me really cross.  The food plants for the Orange Tip butterflies were growing all along the towpath and have now been decimated so not much chance for the poor caterpillars to find anything to eat.  This patch on the bank could easily have been left.  Our concerns have been raised with the appropriate authorities and we await a response.  We also brought it up on a boaters’ forum and were quite surprised by the support we got from fellow boaters.

So unnecessary mowing this bank

On Monday we went in search of Ransom (wild garlic leaves) as we haven’t seen or smelt any so far this year let alone used it for cooking.  We haven’t really been in the right environments – dark, shady woodland is the ideal habitat but the canals we have been on have been in open countryside recently.  We took a walk to Birdingbury as the River Leam runs through some woods there.  First of all we walked along the old Lias Line starting at Birdingbury station, now a private house.

Birdingbury station - it was open from 1851 to 1959.  Both platforms are still intact

When the railway crossed the river we dropped down to see if we could find any Ransom.

Me thinking, this is the sort of spot we are looking for but it's a bit impenetrable

Buddy agreeing with me

We were out of luck and turned back after a while.  In the winter the river must have flooded the surrounding fields judging by the flotsam caught on the fences at the side.

River Leam looking quiet unlike a few weeks ago when it was flooding the surrounding fields

Walking back home we passed this log pile and thought the owner of this patch of land must have a wood store to keep him going for life.

We will probably stay here for another few days and then move on as we will need to fill up with water and will reach our 14 day limit next Sunday.

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