Saturday, 23 April 2022

The path....

Just for my record, our builder completed the crazy paving path at the front of the cottage. We booked this job in October last year ! 

The old path was compromised when we had the porch built a couple of years ago meaning access around it was difficult. We didn't want a 'new' path out of imported indian stone so about two years ago brought a pallet of broken stone from a reclamation yard. Same stone was used for the replacement front room fire from open fire to multi fuel stove, hearth etc. So we got our money's worth and based on the price of some extra stone we had to buy to make up the job, good value for money buying two years ago. I really do feel for anyone building anything right now with material costs skyrocketing.

We can get a wheelbarrow around now and also a small space to sit for the evening sun. We've left pockets to plant into to allow plants to grow onto the path and we will cloak the edges with rockery stone to also allow plants to grow over and edge the path. 

Just need to build a rustic gate and then it's onto the back yard but I (or my back) needs a cement mixer for that work. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Maybe a corner turned

We had an interesting time at the boat this weekend ( Easter weekend ) We arrived Saturday and as previously blogged moved the boat to our new pontoon location. 

There are advantages to marina moorings that I should remind myself of:

  • Hook up  - no more worrying about overnight batteries might even get some ice cream for the freezer from the farm shop
  • Farm shop that sells ice cream  -see above
  • Super fast internet ( my 4g) 
  • Water at the end of the boat
  • Safety of the boat
  • All the services needed for the boat 
    • Blacking
    • Engineering
    • Slip
    • Sales !
    • Showers
    • Small chandlery
    • Elsan 
    • Loos
    • Laundry
  • All the above superbly clean
  • Friendly boaters
  • Nice walks within the marina
  • Very friendly and accommodating staff
  • Someone else mows the grass
  • Safe car and bike parking
  • Shop within walking distance ( not the farm shop)
  • Good route choices
While the engine is sorted I need to make use of the boat even static in this nice place. If nothing else it's a change of scenery and a connection with the canals.

The icing on the cake for me today was the green light for some fishing (not in the marina itself)  but on line in the small woods by the side of the marian entrance. 

On Sunday we had a day off boat chores and took a walk towards Ingestre. Basically walking away for the crowds at the junction. Took a picnic. Only shame was the route I planned was signposted private  - I'm sure I've walked it before from the other way so I need to double check someone isn't being crafty with signage to protect their 'privacy'.

I did my good deed for the day as we walked past a large field of sheep and lambs. There was more bleating than there should be - almost sounding the alarm and I noticed a ewe with her head stuck in some fencing. I climbed the barbed wire and approached to see the poor creature had rubbed all the fleece off her neck and the skin was red raw from her attempts to escape. I can only assume she'd been there a good while. I was able to free her by making the square of metal fence oblong and she was away and immediately the field of bleating all calmed down and her lamb was straight on for a feed. 

So some boating balance has been restored. I ordered the wrong part for the engine so that's a delay, but we have some boat cleaning and polishing to do over the next few weeks to keep us entertained. 

Sunday, 17 April 2022

The kindness of boaters

A planned stop on Percy this Easter. To start putting the engine back, maybe a clean of the outside and in no order to move pontoons.

We were on a berth at the back and due to the shallowness of the berth could only go in bow first meaning we were overlooking the car park and a transit walkway from the saloon. It was also a pig to get into and proved a pig to get out of also. It was good for the animals but no so for the humans.

So after a covid delayed visit ( both had it me still testing positive nearly two weeks in...) we arrived latish Saturday due to some contractor work - see another post in the future about that ) at the cottage. As we were unpacking and preparing to pole Percy around the marina I was hailed by another moorer who complimented us on Percy and asked about the builder..... got to a broader chat with the outcome of a tow around as he was going for a late evening cruise to Tixell and back, very friendly. 

So for a brief time I was on Percy as a butty and what a nice experience it was, very quiet as you might expect.  As noted above pulling Percy out and back wasn't great but as we've not moved since arriving in the latter part of last year not a big issue but I'd not be wanting to reverse out regularly.

Not such a warm welcome on out new berth, I really don't like swans, even more when they are pecking at my ankles on a narrow pontoon while I'm trying to pull my boat in....

All sorted very efficiently thanks to the kindness of another boater. Got the electric swapped over this morning so the batteries and this laptop are getting a charge and the fridge is on coldest setting with ice blocks in the freezer for moving into the main compartment later. 

A much better view from the bow now, we can watch the comings and goings and also it will be much easier to get into and out of our new berth. Interesting to watch a boat coming into the marina seemed to be struggling and was pushed around by an oncoming boat - I presume with agreement.

Still getting to grips with marina life, I don't really like it but it is what it is as my mum says, must focus on the positives. Off for a walk as it's too nice to be messing with the boat, there is always tomorrow (hopefully) 

Monday, 11 April 2022

A gloomy outlook


Let’s not kid ourselves we are heading for a decent recession for sure and its started already imho. Interesting how fuel impacts on so many costs from harvesting to production distribution and storage. 

Just had our oil delivered and its over 30% more expensive now than just two months ago. over 300% more expensive than when they had tankers full of it and could not sell it in March 2020.

Amazon have just called and asked if I’ve lost my credit card. I’m waiting for a similar call from Sportbike shop ! When we stop spending it all slows down which is good I guess for the planet but not for jobs or the tax revenues of the country.

Today's work is to complete the planning for the self installed solar and batteries for the workshop/home office/laundry room. I’m going to harvest the sun.

Lots of other stuff I could write but to end on a positive there are so many things that are relatively cheap and good for us so let's keep that in focus and enjoy what we have and start to understand there is joy around us we just have to put our eyes and minds on wide focus.

Friday, 8 April 2022

Those 'projects'

 I mentioned in my last blog post about being busy.... I have my volunteer blood bike role now ...

Plus my other bikes to ride for pleasure 

Mines on the right !

DIY as there are lots of project to do on the cottage and it's a fabulous place to potter 

I've a couple more pallets of second use slabs to lay  - after today I've moved them three times already as space is at a premium in our yard. The dog went wandering on the road so a gate was installed at the end of that run of slabs. Bricklaying and a shed painted and built. Some gardening and a fair bit of planning my self instal solar panel and second house battery system for the workshop/home office.

There is so many more in the planning and that's before the boat has got some more TLC ( gas locker mainly) 

Walking is a big passion of mine and I continue to explore walks from my back gate  - we are blessed with so many options here,a  main reason why we chose to live where we do. 

I explored another walk just the other day, its nature's antidepressant.


Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Covid time

It wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ more so ‘when’. This week was the ‘when’. 

First Rachel then two days later I got the second line. To be fair to ourselves we had been extending our risk with Rachel finishing one job and starting another, choir for Rachel, me meeting a ex colleague in a crowded pub and seeing our grandson in between. 

Started with a sore throat and just feeling crappy. Rachels trying to keep it off her chest. We’ll see how we progress. Five days hopefully then two days clear tests but we have heard of people hanging onto it for longer. 

Hopefully the other side of it we will have some natural immunity as well as the vaccination driven immunity.