Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Bascote (grinding away all morning)

On Tuesday I spent a lot of the day visiting the butterfly sites around Bascote and Long Itchington.  Apart from a couple of one night stopovers in October and November last year we haven’t moored here for a length of time since last July when, of course, there were lots of butterflies around.

A lot of scrub clearance has been carried out in recent months which will hopefully encourage greater and more butterfly populations this year.

Bascote railway cutting newly cleared of scrub – Small Blues were seen here last year for the first time in many years

I’m not sure where we’ll be when we start to see the early spring butterflies but I suspect it’ll be on our way down the South Stratford canal in a month or two.

Karen and I are not very good at identifying small brown birds (LBJs – little brown jobs – as some people call them) so are keen to meet up with our boaty friends John and Sue in the summer.  They are very keen birders and spent many years recording and ringing birds around Europe.  They are ideal people to learn from, and not just because they enjoy a good pint after a day’s cruising!

We are friends with John and Sue on FaceBook so I posted the following on Sue’s wall the other day:  Looking forward to meeting up in 2017 and also taking advantage of your knowledge to have a day birding so we can learn how to recognise more of the 'little brown' birds".
I got a response saying, "That'd be great - don't expect we can teach you anything but we are heading south on our boat from Skipton soon so can't wait to meet up".

It was a while before I realised that I had made the post on the wrong person’s wall – instead of Sue’s it was the mother of another one of our boating friends - we have never even met her but, coincidentally, she lives on a boat and knows of us through her son!

During the day a couple more boats moored along our stretch making it really busy – I’ve never seen nine boats along here before.

Lying in bed on Wednesday morning I heard three boats go past early and when I took Buddy out for his pre-breakfast walk I realised that the boats that went past had all been moored near us.  By the end of Wednesday two more had gone so there were only four of us left.

Looking quite forlorn in the grey weather

I spent a lot of the morning replenishing our spice bottles.  We buy a lot of spices in large bags as it is so much cheaper that way.  It’s also quite fun as when we need to top up a ground spice, such as cumin, fennel or coriander, then we toast the seeds first so they are easier to grind in the mortar.  It does mean the boat fills with rather pleasant aromas – with windows open it means passing walkers get a whiff and often ask what’s cooking.

Buddy and I walked into Long Itchington before lunch to get some bananas and tomatoes that we had forgotten on Monday.  When I came out of the local store I was chatting away to Buddy, whilst untying him, when a lady came up to me.  She said, “I always enjoy listening to you talking with your dog as it reminds me of my old dog – we used to talk together all the time”.  Apparently she has seen us around the area quite a bit over the last year.

After lunch we went to explore some new territory.

It was still grey in the afternoon

I was pleased to come across an unclassified country road that was new to me

The back of this farmyard seems to have been used as an agricultural machinery graveyard for many years

The graveyard had dozens of old tractors and other sorts of antiquated farm equipment such as a couple of dilapidated threshing machines.  I expect some industrial/agricultural historians would have a field day there.  It reminded me of somewhere I used to pass in my youth.  This was a coachworks that had closed down but in the sheds were about six traction engines.  No doubt (and hopefully) they have since been rescued and restored.

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