Thursday, 7 September 2017

Marston Doles (stocking up the freezer and a box of frogs)

Tuesday and Wednesday were both days of alternating showers and sunshine but I was lucky enough not to get too wet when out walking.  The blackberry season started early this year and many are now going off especially with the recent rain.  I still managed to pick plenty and they are now stored safely away in the freezer.

I had noticed a slight oil leak from the gearbox so I tightened the drain plug and spent a while clearing up the spilt oil.  I use disposable baby nappies to wipe up excess oil as they are so absorbent.  Getting rid of oil after an engine service is not easy on a boat and I end up with containers of old oil in the engine bay for weeks until we are close enough to a council tip that takes oil.  I sometimes get rid of it at boatyards but most charge an extortionate fee.

A boat has recently started trading on the northern canals where they offer a service to take your old oil away.  I’ll make sure I use them when we’re back on our northern travels next year.

These cows were very interested in Buddy on one of our walks…

…and I was pleased to find my first new unadopted country road for some weeks 😊

This week has seen the boat traffic lessen compared to the summer months; I expect most children are back at school now so there aren’t boats aren’t full of families on holidays.  Mind you, the mornings have still been busy and quite often four or five boats are queueing to go down the locks.  It makes manoeuvring interesting especially as there is a water point between us and the lock.  When it gets busy I just pop my head out the side hatch and tell people to moor up alongside whilst they wait.

Can’t really tell but there’s four boats in the queue

On Wednesday morning, a boat pulled alongside us to start queueing and it was a couple we had nodded to in passing over the last couple of weeks.  We got talking and ended up having quite a long chat as they let other boats go past.  They were Jay and Wayne and they live on their boat with three dogs.  Like us they can’t believe how happy they are living on a boat – they sold their house earlier this year and bought the boat, called Box of Frogs, in April in Nottingham.  Since then they have been down to The Thames and are now touring the Midlands.  They make interesting net curtains with beads and stones tied into them which they hope to start selling next year.

To finish today’s entry I want to mention something that has been puzzling me since we have been cruising around Warwickshire.  Many of the fields have brick buildings in them.  I think they are too small to be barns and too large to be shepherd’s huts.  I just cannot find out what they were built for.  If anyone knows then please let me know.  Here are a few from the last couple of days:

This one is padlocked and doesn’t look like it’s been opened for years (taken last winter at Lowsonford)

This one has been converted into a house and has the date 1890 on the side

This is the house in the picture above taken from Google Streetview before it was converted

This one is stone built and is now for sale with permission to convert to a house

This last one is quite dilapidated and I will try and get closer today on one of my walks.

When we get back to Lapworth I’ll ask a couple of retired farmers I used to meet every day – they’re bound to know.

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