Monday, 21 May 2018

Strines (Found that missing mooring spot)


We’re still taking it easy on the Peak Forest canal but know we’re going to have to go for it soon.  Next weekend we will get through Manchester and on towards Liverpool before we dash up to climb Ben Nevis, see Jo in Edinburgh and then dash down south for Sophie and Yanos’s wedding.  All that dashing will be done in a car and not on the boat I hasten to add (apart from Ben Nevis which will be neither car nor boat).

I was repairing the punctures and Karen was gardening when a hen party came past on a day boat.  Even though it was well before lunchtime they were having a good time already.  Sensibly they had a nominated driver which is always good to see.

The girls asked me if I would put their picture in the local paper!
We saw them twice more during the day, but it wasn’t until I looked at the picture properly that I realised that what I thought was the name of the bride to be, actually said, ‘Memory’.  Maybe it wasn’t a hen party after all 😉.  Mind you, looking at it again now I’m not sure it says, ‘Memory’ either.

As part of our walk before lunch we went to see if either of the mooring spots we had seen yesterday were still free. We got to the first one after ½ mile and it was free so when we got back we cruised the whole ½ mile to take up a new position the other side of Disley at a place called Strines.

 Our mooring at Strines
We were moored right next to clumps of Lady’s Smock (aka Cuckoo Flower) so we went in search of orange tip butterfly eggs.  These spring butterflies lay their eggs on Lady’s Smock and Garlic Mustard (aka Jack by the Hedge, Poor Man’s Mustard, Hedge Garlic and Penny Hedge).

Years ago, when I was learning the Latin names for the British butterflies it soon became clear that the genus and/or specific names were often the same as the Latin names for their larval foodplants.  This made learning easier and I will always remember my first and easiest was anthocharis cardamines (orange tip butterfly) which lays eggs on cardamines pratensis (Lady’s Smock).
Back to the search for eggs: we soon found some and they were at the orange stage:

 An orange tip egg on a Cuckoo Flower right outside the boat
When first laid, the eggs are white but after a few hours turn orange (when they are easy to spot) and then brown after a couple of weeks.  The larvae are cannibalistic and so the females will only lay one egg per plant.  We did find some plants with two eggs, but they were probably from different females.  One school of thought is that the orange colour warns other females that there is already an egg on the plant and therefore, if they lay another one, it will get eaten by the first.  Another theory is that a pheromone is deposited with the egg as a warning to go elsewhere to lay eggs.

Whilst on Cuckoo Flower it reminds me that we’ve yet to hear a cuckoo this year.  The Cuckoo Flower is named after the bird because cuckoos tend to arrive in the UK when the flowers appear.  I know cuckoos are in decline, but I do hope we have just been unfortunate this year as we usually hear them in the first week or two of May.

During the afternoon I prepared a section of the roof ready for touching up the scratches and Karen did some potting up.


 Our new view when looking west, away from the Derbyshire Dales – we were taken with the three cottages at the bottom of the field
This last week has seen us move three miles down the Peak Forest canal – our boat friends, Mike and Lesley, would have a good laugh because they don’t really call that cruising 😉

Monday will probably see us getting the washing out early and going for a good walk on the hills above Macclesfield.  I always say probably when talking about what we may do the next day as we often change our minds 😊

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