Thursday, 6 July 2017

Stoke Works (our time is nearly up)

I’ll probably move on up the Stoke flight of six locks on Friday whilst Karen is at work; I can then moor at the bottom of the Tardebigge flight of locks.  There are 29 locks in the Tardebigge flight so we will probably do them together on Saturday.  The Queens Head is at the bottom of the flight so will be an ideal place to leave the car whilst we are locking up.  The last time we went to the Queens Head we had got absolutely soaked when out for a walk with Buddy – we had been convinced it wouldn’t rain but once it started it just got harder and harder.  It was warm though so we sat outside under their canal side veranda to dry off with a pint or two.

The recent weather has started bringing the flowers on and we are getting lots of nice comments from passers-by.

Tomatoes are on the roof during the day and should be starting to turn soon

The jalapeño peppers we are growing from seed are also shooting up so I re-potted those on Wednesday.  I was also going to start touching up the scratches that have started appearing in the boat paintwork but the metal was just too hot!

Jalapeño peppers freshly potted up and staked with natural stakes

The weather felt a lot hotter than forecast – the barometer being that Buddy just doesn’t want to do anything.

Buddy alternating between sun and shade

As it was going to be hot we had our main walk very early walk on Wednesday and I stopped at a little café for a coffee – even at 10 o’clock Buddy was looking for the shade.

Talking about passers-by makes me think of some of the people we have met since being moored in this area.  It’s been seven weeks since we first arrived at Stoke Works but we have been in different spots to keep within the mooring rules.

Most people we have met are dog walkers and what a mixture there are.  There’s one guy who walks his retriever three times a day and the dog is so slow that by the time they get back home it’s almost time to set off again.  There’s a German girl that walks and cycles miles every day but makes her dog wear ski goggles.  He seems to have several different pairs and sometimes they are more like spectacles than goggles.

Skiing dog

Just up from here, at Stoke Wharf, are a few residential boaters and we have met some of them out for walks and in the pub.  Wendy and her husband and their neighbours (I’m useless with names) are setting off in their boats this weekend for a three week cruise in the same direction we are heading (towards Banbury) so no doubt we will bump into them occasionally.

I have a good view of a line of houses when having my breakfast and morning coffee and see some odd goings on – obviously I cannot show any pictures.  When Steve stayed recently he joined in the fun too.  One guy comes out of his house at 7.30 on the dot and waits to be picked up in a white van.  Invariably the van doesn’t arrive until gone 8 so he has to pretend to do stuff.  Every five minutes he checks his side gate is locked and then checks his phone is still wrapped up in its cloth bag in his pocket – he doesn’t even take it out of the pouch to check for messages etc..  He also waves to neighbours as they leave for work – some respond and some don’t.  

When the bin men have been on bin day, one of the ladies puts all the empty bins back at the top of the drives of at least five of the houses.  Whilst doing this she has a good look round the front gardens and then checks the bins are empty before coming back with some of her garden rubbish!

Another girl seems to be a childminder and several children are dropped off at breakfast time.  She then appears to sub contract them out and takes them off elsewhere so then has the morning free.

To make the most of the warm Wednesday evening I got the barbecue going ready for when Karen came home and we ended up sitting outside nearly all evening. 

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