Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Bascote (barn owls and meteorological balloons)

Having been busy for the last few weekends it was really good to spend last weekend just relaxing by the boat and doing very little.  The weather was very kind to us and it felt like we were back in summer as we cooked on the barbecue. 

CRT are doing some maintenance on the pilings next to us and one of their boats came adrift over the weekend and was blocking the canal right on a corner.

A mooring pin had come out but was still attached to the rope, fortunately, so we could make the boat secure

We managed to pole the boat back into the side and moor her up safely

Our neighbours are still with us and Buddy is slowly getting used to their chickens.

First time past the coop – apprehensive Buddy

A little while later he was more inquisitive.

I still won’t trust him off the lead when they are roaming free on the tow path but I’m sure it’ll be OK in a few days.  On Sunday we walked to a local market garden to get some eggs.  It’s run by a couple of Kiwis who had rigged up an ingenious lead running system for their dog.

The lead attached to a high wire enables the dog to get a good run around whilst still being restrained

On our daily walk into Long Itchington I noticed that the ghost sign that I put in the blog a couple of weeks ago has now been fully restored.

Fully restored ghost sign (spouting is an old term for rainwater goods like gutters)

As it was two weeks ago

Some of you may have noticed a distinct lack of references to stanking planks lately.  This is because we are not moving much for a few months so don’t really see anywhere new; however, we did come across a shelter we hadn’t seen before.  This is one of the very few we have seen on the northern section of the Grand Union and what a sorry state it is too.

Unattractive corrugated iron roof and precast concrete stand– at least the planks are off the ground so they don’t rot

When Karen left for work on Tuesday morning a couple of guys were getting a meteorological balloon ready for ascent.

View from the boat on Tuesday morning

I walked down to see them and they both waved – I told the guy holding the balloon that he waved with the wrong hand.

In the evening we saw a barn owl in the same spot.  They are beautiful birds especially when seen in the twilight with their pale colouring and their gentle swooping.  Hopefully we will get a closer picture over the next few days.

Barn owl quartering its domain

Now the weather is better I got the kayak out as it’s great fun using it to just mess about or paddle to the nearest pub.  The only issue is that Buddy is scared of it.  I spent a lot of time on Tuesday getting him used to sitting in it on dry land.

Buddy none too happy in the kayak

I also spent a bit of time on my own paddling around, leaving Buddy on the bank.  He constantly howled like I’ve never heard him before – Karen reckons he was howling for her of course!  Later on I managed to get him into the kayak whilst we were in the water but didn’t let go of the bank.  Every time he moved and rocked it he leapt out.  It’s obviously going to be a long process.

The summer plants in the roof pots are beginning to take off this year – they’ve suffered really badly in the wind but are slowly getting there.

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