Monday, 7 August 2017

Very Windy on the Witham

Sunset at Fiskerton Fen

Morning all,

It's unusual for me to write on a Monday morning but I just couldn't get in the mood yesterday. We'd had a busy day on Saturday and when I sat down to write to you on Sunday, I kept dropping off. Boating does that to you, it's so relaxing that sometimes I find a whole day has gone by and I've done nothing except maybe walk the dog. Yesterday was just such a day - we walked the mile or so into Woodhall Spa and wandered through the woods to the quaintly named 'Tea House in the Woods'. It's nice to find a place where Tricky is welcome and she soon had an admiring audience of people wanting to say hello to her. She's embarrassingly aloof though and ignores everyone once she's checked that they don't have any treats. We settle down inside with our coffee and I read the potted history of the Tea House printed inside the menu and I'm informed that it dates back to 1903.(The Teahouse, not the menu). I first came here with my parents in the late fifties and I've got an old photo of Mum, Dad and we three little girls sitting outside the Tea House with our sarsaparilla or whatever passed for a treat in those innocent times. For some reason, I've got a kitten with me, which seems a little odd, but Mum can't remember why after all this time, so I guess it will forever remain a mystery.

We're moored at Fiskerton Fen today, I couldn't leave the Witham without making one last trip to the little bird hide on the pond nearby, hoping for another sighting of the Barn Owl. I've taken lots of photos of the wildlife on the Witham including a Grebe family that were almost always by our boat at Antons Gowt. I saw the little one hitching a ride on Mum's back several times and finally, early one morning, I opened the side hatch to find them within camera shot. I did manage to get that photo and I've downloaded it to my Twitter account where it hangs around with zillions of other photos. Will anyone look at it in 50 years time and wonder about the story behind the photo?
Grebe chick hitching a ride

We called in at Southrey on the way through, to pay another visit to the lovely little wooden church of St John the Divine. It's worth a trip if you're in the area - a very pretty church with some interesting stained glass panels. Its a fairly new church compared with the mighty Lincoln Cathedral nearby but it has been sympathetically restored and the interior is homely and welcoming. The visitors book shows that people from near and far are interested in this remote corner of Lincolnshire. I can't resist reading the comments – I'm so nosy!

I can already feel the first hint of Autumn in the air. The lushness of summer has started to fade, the trees are dusty with the first hint of leaves turning brown and the blackberries, plump and luscious, beckon from the impenetrable heights of the bramble hedges, where only the birds can reach them. I'm looking forward to the damsons and apples which will be ripe by the time we get to the Shroppie, and Carl's looking forward to lots of crumbles! The weather's still on the breezy side, which would normally put the Captain in a bad mood if we were on the canals. Out here on the wide river, it's not so bad and we've had some memorable cruises through some squally conditions with our friends and family. Mostly, we go down to Boston and back, just for the pleasure of seeing the wonderful Boston Stump as we round the corner on the last stretch – it's a marvellous sight.

We've enjoyed having so many visitors and it will be very quiet without you - we're still within hailing distance if anyone missed us and can make it to Lincoln. Tomorrow we'll stop off in the city so I can get to Marks and Spencers (weather permitting - it looks like it might be a bit grim according to the forecast) and we'll moor overnight in Saxilby on route to Torksey and then long trip back to Newark. I'm hoping that there are still some warm days left for our Autumn cruise. I can see that some of you are off enjoying your summer holidays, Facebook is full of beautiful beaches and sweaty people in bars – I'm not envious of those searing temperatures, this cool weather suits me fine as long as it keeps dry.

The sun is shining into the cabin and I'm happily tapping away with the dog at my feet and Carl reading in the chair next to me. I put a load of washing through the machine as we chugged along earlier and it's pegged up in the bows, flapping nicely in the breeze. There are freshly dug new potatoes and brown eggs collected from a farm we passed along the way and a nice piece of smoked haddock for tea. Have you dropped off to sleep while I've been wittering on about the housekeeping? Sorry, I do forgot sometimes why I write this letter every week, I'm supposed to be entertaining you. I'm sorry to say that I've sent so much time this week chattering to our visitors that I'm all talked out and I've only got some aimless witterings left for you so I'll sign off with my usual reminder to have a lovely week and I'll try and get my brain into gear for next week

Love and hugs as always from
The Floating Chandlers

Ps we met a black and white cat in the woods - he was carrying something in his mouth that looked suspiciously like a snake (either that or he had a Fu Manchu moustache!) - he raced off through the trees, heading for home I suspect, and I wondered how his owner would react when Tiddles arrived home with his catch.

Happy Days with Jean, Eric, Holly and Poppy - come again soon girls