|Deano the Maremmo|
We are afloat once more! Hurray! The sun came out to play and it put some colour into our winter grey cheeks as we chugged along through Burton-upon-Trent and Branston. I'm glad now that we waited for the worst of the storms to clear off before we set off on our Spring Cruise - we're hoping to get to Wales sometime in May but, as usual, we're not in a hurry. We dallied in Branston, while I did my usual inventory of the Captain's large selection of coats. They take up a good portion of the hanging space in the wardrobe and I hadn't even started to unpack my winter woolies. I didn't enter into any sort of useless discussion with Carl about why he needed so many coats - I just weeded a few out and packed them in the under-bed storage area to see if he misses them. There are several useful storage areas on the boat, or they would be if they weren't full of things that we hardly ever use but can't seem to part with. There's the Big Hoover (I use the little hand held Dyson which is very efficient and takes up hardly any room at all), a Barnacle Bill Prop Clearer(never yet used in anger) and a bag of old tee shirts for the rag rug that I'm going to make one day, when I have time. I suppose there will be an inquest when Carl reads this.
We've moored in Alrewas today, in our usual spot by the the footbridge and next to the churchyard. Carl is shuffling the bags of coal stored in the bows, in search of Big Boris the Cratch Spider in order to evict him from his winter hiding place. I've spotted Boris a couple of times, sunbathing in his web, munching on an early house fly, but he's too big and black for me to tackle. Carl is out there now with his whip and chair ready to conquer the Creature from the Cratch so that I can exit the boat without an armed escort.
|Sunny Afternoon at Wychnor|
Speaking of cratches - our black cover is green with algae again so we drove into Lichfield yesterday for a new scrubbing brush and a tub of elbow grease. We were side tracked into a cosy cafe by the Cathedral for brunch then carried on by the Pool to the spectacular West Front of Lichfield Cathedral. Carl has a new phone with a super-duper camera and took loads of photos which I'm hoping you can see in the blog, if we've managed to download them.
|Lichfield Cathedral from the Pool|
|West Front of Lichfield Cathedral|
Carl has been suffering with a terrible hacking cough for weeks now, and , just when I thought I'd escaped it, I've joined in to keep him company. We sound like a pair of navvies with a sixty a day habit. Our only remedy is hot tea and Vicks - drink one and rub the other on your chest and don't get them in the wrong order! Tricky is not amused as it is interfering with her beauty sleep and she has started taking extra daytime naps to make up for her disturbed nights - it's hard to know how a dog can sleep so much, some days she hardly moves out of her bed.
It's a real tonic to get back to boating - the Lady Aberlour struck up on the first turn of the key and we chugged off the moorings with a great revving of the engine to clear the silt which had settled around us during the winter. We crossed the aqueduct over the River Dove and Carl leapt off onto the path to take pictures of the normally placid river which was swollen and tumultuous after the recent heavy rainfall. I dusted off my walking boots and coaxed Tricky out of bed and we resumed our morning routine of trotting along the towpath, listening to the birds and looking for the first wild flowers peeking out of the morning dew. A jenny wren sang her heart out, daffodils nodded from the gardens and little white violets sprinkled the emerald green grass with their magic. The pussy willow has burst its britches and the hawthorn is painting the hedges green while the impatient blackthorn has already frothed its blossom over the winter dullness. It's good to be breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the warmth of the sun once more, we greet each landmark along this oft travelled route with pleasure and moor in our favourite spots so that it takes us a week to travel from Egginton to Alrewas - that's truly a very slow snails pace.
|A Worm Moon|
Did you see the Worm Moon? It was a particularly clear sky over Wychnor so we got a good view. I couldn't see anything very wormy about it, in fact I had to google it to see why it was called that. The name is attributed to the Native Americans and is so called because it appears in March when the ground thaws and the earthworms return bringing the robins with them. I think Robin Moon would be more appropriate but you can't argue with heritage and tradition.
The sun is going down and the wind has got up making the boat rock gently. Tricky is snoring in the key of G and the kettle is steaming on the stove - all's right with the world. That's all for this week - how I've missed writing to you all, it's good to be back
Love and hugs from
The Floating Chandlers
PS I met the most gorgeous woofer as we came up through the lock here in Alrewas - an Italian Maremmo Sheepdog called Deano He behaved like a film star and posed most appealingly for a photo. He came over and sat by me so that I could admire him some more. Tricky wasn't impressed!
PPS If you're looking for a good book then I can recommend 'The Boy in the Red Boat' by Michael Seirton. I'm looking for new authors if anyone has any recommendations.
|Reaching Alrewas in the sunshine|
|River Dove in flood|
|Barton Turns Lock Fairy|
|View from Barton Turns Lock|