Saturday, 27 May 2017

Bank Holiday weekend begins

It was a scorching day yesterday - same as it had been on Thursday when we cruised from just outside Braunston to Hillmorton. Two beautiful days in a row - such good fortune. Sunscreen out and applied, shorts and sandals (for me anyway), T-shirts and sunhats. As many apertures open inside as possible - which in actuality means removing the small opening window panes in the kitchen and dinette, and opening the pigeon box sides and the duck hatch, plus front and back doors open to maximise airflow. 
Solar panels are raking it in

My cap with sewn-in-hankie- neck protection

Mmmm. We are lucky to be doing this!
David finally sitting still watching the world go by. He does tend to be like a cat on a hot tin roof and not able to sit still!
Yesterday morning we got to Rugby (Brownsover Park) at about 10.30 - no moorings to be had on either side! But wait, as I hovered and we discussed what to do, the guy we were hovering next to told us he was about to go. Yay!!! So we pulled on to the waterpoint and waited about 5 minutes while he sorted himself and then we were in - a brilliant mooring on the park side, with sun on the solar panels and shade for the front half of the boat under the willow tree. Perfect!

I mentioned to David how lucky we were to have got the best mooring possible for the day, and he responded with 'Well, I hate to say it, but maybe TIAG.'  'No, there's not' says I ' and no god would be interested in finding a mooring for us, especially not us!' And I promptly threw the remains of my glass of water over him. My thinking was that such stupidity needs to be washed away immediately it rears its head.

The wet shirt competition for the stupidest remark on the cut ...
 After changing our clothes from boatie scruffy stuff (well, we wear scruffy stuff on board, but I notice a lot of other people are much better dressed) to nearly tidy clothes, we checked out the walkways to the addresses of shops at which we wanted to part with yet more cash. It's a while since we were last in Rugby and much building has taken place and continues between the canal and the city centre.
We crossed the Avon and I was disgusted to see that 6 trolleys and a bike had been thrown over the bridge. I cannot understand the mentality. However it does occur to me that if Tescos adopted the New York city methodology of No Broken Windows, No Graffiti, then the encouragement to see how far an oik could throw one from the top of a bridge may limit some of the wanton damage that results from the supermarket trolley equivalent of a pissing competition.

So off we went towing a granny trolley each, firstly along an excellent path and then along a beautifully shaded street next to a lovely park, into the town centre - to Holland and Barrett for yoghurt sachets (made in NZ and exported all over the world, I gather, and one variety is made in one of my fave places, Hokitika!) The yoghurt sachets are for use in an EasiYo yoghurt maker - if you haven't heard of it, and if you eat lots of yoghurt, then look them up online. The Greek Style is great. There are lots of flavours and I am sure they are excellent too. We use the Greek style every day for brekkie and as the base for tzatsiki (sp?), and for raita, and in curries - and I also use some in the Ministry of Food cheese scones which are meant to have whole milk - as we don't have that I use 25% yoghurt added to skinny milk ...
This fresco (?) is on a wall on the way to the High Street. I thought it was pretty cool.
I did have to resist going into this shop as I am sure there would have been things I would have wanted to buy, but didn't need ...
Then back to Tescos for a big shop, and the trudge towing now very full trolleys up the slope back over the bridge and back to the boat. I was surprised that everything fitted in the cupboards, fridge, freezer - it's always a close run thing on our boat, as often I think my need to have plenty of food on board fails to take account of the space to store it!

We had found the route to the railway station on our way in to town, and at the requisite time David walked back there to meet Barry and Pauline off the train from London - no delays, no hassles, so back to the boat for dinner: Salmon steaks marinated in sweet Thai chilli sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice and coriander off the roof, salad from the roof garden**, and new potatoes.

** I was quite proud of my roof garden as we have had 3 salads from it so far and I only planted it out about 2 weeks ago. Then this morning I looked across the cut at the boat moored across from us which had a huge garden with much bigger lettuces and herbs than I have managed so far! Not to worry - unless we cut them too severely and too fast, we should have plenty for a fair time to come.

This morning both David and Barry headed into the shops again, and after a long time of wonder, arrived back so we could leave. Pauline and I had pulled the boat along to get water, Barry arrived back sooner than David, having left him at Tescos (even tho I had done a big shop, a couple of things got left out). We had forgotten the Saturday queues...

And contrary to my mum's maxim that it rains on Bank Holiday weekends, so far it has only had a small spit for a very short time this morning. Considering the forecast on my phone said we were due for thunder and lightning today, I am pretty impressed that I started the morning in shorts and no sleeved top, put on sunscreen, my sunglasses and my cap with the sewn-in-hankie neck covering. I did resort later to a cardigan, but it was windy rather than freezing.
Under the M6 - pleased we are using the canal for moving about the country! They can keep 70mph roads ...
I thought these flowers looked wonderful and I was thrilled that they had staked a claim, with the best evolutionary skill, to the walls of a bridge!

Judicious use of the boat hook to bring the branches down to the right height.

Pauline said they would be too high to reach, but she will NOT be beaten. She is like that with blackberries come September/October too ...

On the way, we stopped to pick elderflowers (great stop and reversing by Barry) so we could make cordial. The amount of sugar in the recipe is a diabetes-inducing 2.5kg for 4 litres (!!!), so we decided to cut it to 40% and see what the result tastes like.

Washing the elderflowers - the wine glasses in the background were filled from bottles that needed to be emptied to provide suitable cordial receptacles - shame I didn't read the recipe right through and learn that it has to steep for 24 hours ... Barry is refusing to relinquish his glass of red though!

Pauline doing her bot to make sure no wine goes to waste!

At the moment, we are moored for the night at Hawkesbury  Junction (dinner booked at the Greyhound at 8.15pm - the only slot available) and we have prepared the elderberry cordial that is now steeping for 24 hours. I look forward to trying it out tomorrow evening.

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