Waking up for a call of nature at 2:00 am, and looking out the window; what a wonderful sight! The stars were so bright, they looked like Christmas baubles hanging on the bare trees. Even though it was a clear night, we were still surprised when we woke to find the canal was covered with a frozen layer.
There was a heavy frost over the fields.
On John’s return from taking Rusty for his morning walk, he said just round the corner was a fabulous place to stay. It’s right next to ‘Grafton Regis Meadow Nature Reserve’, and the River Tove.
So today, we’ve basically travelled 200 yards, and what a spot to moor!
Just as we moored a red kite hovered overhead, and we watched this magnificent bird soar and fly around until it dropped down in a field across the canal.
At breakfast we watched two green woodpeckers climb spirally up and down a tree opposite. We’ve watched a pair of swans roam over three fields, swim on the River Tove, then onto the canal, and eventually taking flight.
We’ve watched geese pairing up, and with males squaring up against each other, and seeing off rivals.
We’ve been spied on, and studied by a flock of sheep; and we’ve laughed with a boat full of kids as they passed – the boat was a day-tripper called Barney > Barney Rubble, full of trouble!
At one point a man walked past with a Border Collie dog and two Jack Russells. Rusty gave his normal warning bark, which made the man spin around and walk toward our boat. I was surprised as normally a German Shepherd barking makes people march on. The man came back to the boat and asked if that was a German Shepherd he’d heard. Yes it was, and Rusty was introduced to him. The man put out the back of his hand to say ‘hello’ to Rusty, he was obviously used to dogs. He told his story that he was head of a breeding programme of German Shepherds in South Africa, tasked with training them for sniffing out explosives. We had quite a chat about the breed. It’s always a surprise what people we meet on the canals.
Shortly afterwards a nice young chap stopped to chat, he was on his way to the local shop to buy some ale to go with a pot of curry he’d prepared (he was obviously from a boat behind us). He kindly asked if we wanted anything from the shop. How nice of him! We told him we’d just had a visit from Mr Tesco. It turns out this young man WAS a Mr Tesco, and we spend quite a while hearing tales about his deliveries to canal boats.
Between talking to people, we cleaned out the cratch; picked up the decking, and throwing it on the towpath. We gave the area a clean before laying the decking again. We took advantage that there’s just one bag of coal in the cratch, until we get more coal delivered. We’ve also cleaned the windows on the towpath side (of course), cleaning out the channels, and the ‘hopper frames’.
We made a telephone call to Jules Fuels; they will be with us sometime on Sunday. They’ve been slowed a bit because of the ice.
We’re staying put in this fabulous place for the weekend.