Grass snake just up from our mooring on Thursday
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in Yorkshire visiting my mum and dad; both are on the mend but we suspect Mum will be in hospital for a while yet so Dad needs ferrying in to see her. I stayed at a B&B in Gargrave and Janet, who runs it, rather spoils Buddy by giving him treats when I’m not looking so I have to keep him with me at all times. My room overlooks the River Aire which runs through the village and when I’m in bed it sounds like we are moored next to a leaky lock – such a peaceful sound to sleep to.
Karen’s been enjoying walking to work from our current mooring outside Lidl. The moorings here are a hive of activity during the day as most of us are cutting up logs or preparing kindling for winter. A yard just down the road is giving away pallets – some boaters love cutting these up or making things out of them. It reminds me of a cartoon I saw where a boater was showing off a pallet saying, “Look what I’ve made out of an old chest of drawers”.
We were expecting heavy rain on Thursday morning but when Karen left for work it was dry so she decided to walk. After ten minutes the skies opened and, although it’s lovely hearing the rain on the boat when inside, I didn’t dare ring Karen. As it happened, she had forgotten her umbrella so was soaked by the time she got to work.
On one of our walks, Buddy and I went to Warwick hoping to meet up with Mhaire and her family who live on a permanent mooring there. Contractors were out mowing and strimming the towpath and making a terrible mess. Cutting the grass and undergrowth exposes all the litter and it was flying around all over the place. A couple of locals were doing a good job of picking some of it up but it needs a proper work party as there must be a good few months of fast food wrappers, beer cans and general rubbish that has now been exposed.
As it was, we didn’t meet up with Mhaire but we had a good look around some of the old wharves that remain. The Nelson club is quite an ornate building; I know it’s not a wharf but it’s practically next to the canal.
Nelson’s club in Warwick
I’ve written about the Nelson family before and their involvement in local cement works using the Blue Lias limestone. Those of you who are boaters will know of Nelsons wharf at Stockton, a few miles before Leamington. The arm that used to go into the cement and lime works there is called Nelsons arm and is currently being restored.
I hadn’t realised that George Nelson (he of the cement and lime works), also ran a company with a chap called Dale and they manufactured world renowned gelatine in Warwick. They were extremely successful and were kind benefactors to their workforce - hence the workers' clubhouse above.
Blue commemoration plaque
On the way back from Warwick we walked along the canal and came across the grass snake at the top of this blog entry. It was having a good old swim around the aqueduct where the canal crosses the railway line.
This picture clearly shows the banded collar typical of a grass snake
Buddy is nervous of snakes so always gives them a wide berth which is just as well, as adder’s venom can be fatal, especially to dogs and I doubt he knows the difference between grass snam=kes and adders.
Buddy not quite resisting having a peek
When grass snakes are alarmed, they feign death by going limp and curling up somewhat. You can see this behaviour in the following picture.
Now, if you’re really interested or just bored, here’s a video I took of the snake. At one point I tripped over Buddy and nearly fell in the water – the snake feigned death when I nearly fell on top of it 😊
The snake was trying to get back onto the towpath and had to swim a long way before it found a natural bank it could slither up.
Buddy and I walked down to meet Karen after work in the evening and we all went for a drink at The Moorings, a pub on the canal in Leamington. It’s not one we’ve been to before and probably not one we’ll visit again in a hurry– to be fair though, they had a good selection of ales, so who knows, we may be back 😉