Saturday, 7 January 2017

Calcutt (confined to barracks and first butterfly sightings of the year)



Foggy Saturday morning but the ice has all gone


We had to take a sad decision this week and cancel our annual family post New Year curry weekend.  Every year, on the first weekend after New Year, we all get together with the main event being a day of cooking and eating curries on the Saturday.  We also use the occasion to exchange Secret Santa presents and wear orange tee- shirts (it’s a long story!).  This year we were taking over a large Youth Hostel in Swanage for the weekend but we have postponed it as my annoying chesty cold hasn’t got any better and some of the children have also gone down with it.  I know it sounds wimpish but it has been quite debilitating and as it hasn’t gone away Karen banned me from leaving the boat for the last two days.  Hopefully I’ll be back to normal by the end of the weekend.

As I haven’t left the boat for two days I haven’t had a chance to take any pictures, hence no blog entries but it has given me a chance to catch up with some book reading and internet browsing.

With all the ice recently it was strange to read that butterflies have already been seen this year in the south – Peacocks and Red Admirals were seen on January 1st and 2nd in Wiltshire, Somerset and Cornwall.  These butterflies would have been enticed out of hibernation by the winter sun and hopefully are now safely back in hibernation until the spring.

Mike and Aileen are still finding their feet in France since transporting their narrowboat there in November so it was good to see Aileen’s latest blog entry.  I was appalled as she mentioned that Mike had been given a onesie for Christmas and to make it worse it was a red tartan one!  I just cannot get the image out of my mind so I showed Buddy a picture of a dog onesie in tartan and from his reaction I think he would prefer it to his plain old green coat - there's no accounting for taste.

I know it's not Buddy but it probably would suit him
As you probably know, Buddy much prefers drinking canal water to clean tap water but gets stymied when the cut is frozen over.  He looks imploringly at us as he leans down to the water and is confronted with ice – a swift prod with a stick soon solves the issue.

Hopefully things will be back to normal after the weekend and I can start cruising to Warwick whilst Karen is at work.  We will then go up the Hatton flight of locks which, if we can coordinate things, we can do with Mike and Lesley as we haven’t seen them for a while and they are getting boating withdrawal symptoms whilst waiting for their new boat to be built.

Once we have been through Warwick we will head for the Stratford canal which will take us down to Stratford on Avon for a few weeks.  We haven’t been on the Stratford canal since October 2015 so it will be interesting to see what has changed.  We know already that the Antony Gormley statue by Ned’s lock at Lowsonford has been removed and we have also been reading about a new marina being built at Wootton Wawen.

Jo and Ileen (yes, it really is spelt that way) who go to bridge lessons with us live in Stratford.  They also take turns in hosting social bridge evenings for the four of us and are desperate to have a bridge evening on the boat so are really looking forward to joining us when we moor up in the centre of Stratford for a couple of weeks.

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