Sunday, 19 June 2016

One Step Beyond

The Chandlers have at last cast off and are chugging back along the Grand Union, heading for pastures new, on their 'Summer Cruise'. The weather forecast is not looking great and I suspect I will be wielding my windlass tomorrow in the pouring rain. For once, I'm so happy to be on the move that I won't mind in the least.
The long awaited band reunion took place at the Northampton Picturedrome on Saturday – it was a reunion of bands who used to play together in the 80's, and some of the musicians hadn't played together for 30 years. I'm sorry to say that most of them must have suffered permanent hearing damage back in the day so, consequently, the volume was turned up to 11 again and for the second week running, my ears were ringing from the onslaught. Last week, I used tissue to plug my ears, this week I used blobs of Bluetack – very effective. It was a long wait for Carl's fan club even though we were sitting in the posh seats reserved for the WAG's (Wives and Girlfriends for those of you who don't read the sports section). The three of us, myself being number 1 fan, my sister Jean and her husband, Eric the outlaw, were there from the start as moral support. As the time ticked down and the Picturedrome filled up, I began to feel nervous – I've don't know why but I'm always more worried than Carl. Finally, it was their turn, and the set started with 'One Step Beyond' and then, before we knew it, they'd played the last number and it was over. A bit like Xmas really, months of preparation and then its gone in a flash. Whoops, did I mention the Christmas word? Well, its only 189 days to go so better get the sprouts on.
We've had a holiday from boating this week and taken up rambling instead. Tricky has been in her element, visiting a new sniffing spot every day and has found new smelly things to roll in which has required a tow-path bucket wash before we could let her aboard. On Monday we went to Salcey Forest and had a ramble through the woods, until we came across a sign for the 'Treetop Walk' – I suppose the clue was in the title really. When we found the entrance, it was a nice gentle slope, winding and climbing through the trees, to a spectacular viewing point over the surrounding countryside – well worth a visit if you're in the area. We called into the dog-friendly cafe for elevenses and found a corner table where Tricky could hide from any over-friendly four-legged customers. I went inside to order and had to edge around a huge Newfoundland dog that sprawled across the gangway. He opened one eye as I passed but went on with his snooze. I saw him later with his nose glued to the back of a lady Labrador who looked at me with beseeching eyes as if to say 'Help me'. The owner was doing his best to distract the Newfoundland away from the poor dogs nether regions by calling him off (Tiny!!! - you couldn't really call such a large dog anything else could you!) When Tiny refused to be diverted then the owner tried tugging on Tiny's collar – he couldn't move him an inch. I left them to it and sneaked Tricky off to the safety of the car – I didn't want her to be traumatised!
We rambled into Daventry for a walk round the Country Park the next day and were rewarded with a lovely sunny morning. The footpath circles the reservoir although you can't really see much until, at last, the footpath crosses the dam and you finally get to see the wildlife including an armada of coots, ive never seen so many in one place! On the other side, through the hedge, the sun glinted on a field of poppies, reminding us of just how beautiful the English countryside can be in the warmth of the summer sun. Of course, it didn't last and almost every afternoon we've had varying degrees of rain from drizzle to downpour with accompanying thunder clouds and rainbows to make up for the leaden skies. I do hope we get a proper summer – my sandals are out of the cupboard but I've hardly had a chance to wear them.
The mowers came along the tow-path while we were out on Wednesday - every morning since then I have had to start the day by clearing the hay which has attached itself to the dog and covered every mat and rug from stem to stern.
This week we will be nipping back home to vote and pick up the post – I'm not going to debate the referendum here as we are all good friends and I want it to stay that way, but I'm determined to cast my vote so that I'm entitled to have a good moan about the result – whichever way it goes!
So, after all the excitement of 'Carl's Gig', we woke late this morning to find that Jean and Eric were already up and dressed and had put their bed away while we snoozed. We love visitors who bring cake and learn how to put up and take down their bed. We were sorry to see them go as we waved them off this morning but I was soon happily trotting off down the tow-path with Tricky at my side and Carl chugging along behind. Back in the boating routine and happy to be doing the thing that we love most. Boating.
Love as Always
The Floating Chandlers

PS I almost forgot to say that the band were brilliant and Carl, who is always so very humble, admitted that 'it went alright'. I have a video clip but so far I haven't been able to share it – is there any techy person out there who can sort me out?