|Felt pic made by EJA. Just the dec for a carpeted cabin side. Thx Lizzie|
A couple of days on the ring moorings near Dimmingsdale Bridge with fine weather saw DB’s aesthetic body works progressing. Cptn had sanded and repainted 2 coats to DB’s roof, her peachy shade of pale, in Ashwood Marina. She is looking fresh and shiny. Now it was the turn of her port-side for the same treatment. DOLCIEBLUE, her Art-Deco ‘badge’ is removed and there will be a new name tag put on eventually. It has been printed and is under wraps indoors in a safe place! Port-side is done and dusted and Starboard-side will be done soon. The joys of moving along and moorings move from one side to another.
While Cptn was busy with the paint roller and dry brush special application to steel technique, I got started decorating coloured vinyl squares on the actual side hatches. It is not a complicated task but it does involve patience and fine fingers. The effect is visually rewarding and we are always thanking people for their positive words and smiles that greet us as we move along the ‘Cut’.
I think we fit the make-up of a fine weather boater. There is no point moving in the rain unless it is absolutely 100% necessary. We have a barometer, access to a minimum of 3 hourly weather forecasts and most importantly we have our eyes to look up to the sky and watch the colour, depth and movement of the clouds when necessary. An ethereal reading or is that too poetic? So 2nd coat of paint completed and weather outlook ticks the fair weather box and DB untied and on the move to the Shroppie (Shropshire Union Canal).
Autherley Junction is the sharp port turn, for DB, onto the Shroppie with the Stop Lock to pass through. I suggested Cptn work the Lock and I would bring in DB. I had to hold DB in position on the Staffs and Worcs waiting for a Nb, moving in my direction to go through the lock. Meanwhile, another Nb is heading towards me, not giving any indication of what its navigation plan was. I was not going to give up my position, why should I, so as they got closer I used my raised hand to query their plan. They indicated the direction of the Shroppie so I indicated them to STOP. Nb leaving the Lock sounds its horn and gestures it is turning Starboard. Yes, the horn does signal direction but I need to hone up on my horn signalling. Even more important now I am a wheel controller!
|Navigator is confident Mum can do this!|
With all the time in wait, I had moved into the best position to do a fantabulous sharp turn to port using the wheel, of course, bow thrusters and throttle movement forward/reverse. Not a bump or scratch touched DB. Result!!
We stopped after the Junction and filled up with water. Our tank was not low but it is good practice to keep it topped up. The water point needs maintenance, it took about an hour to top up our tank but I think we made a mud bath on the towpath and topped up the canal level at the same time. A passing boater called out “You would think the water fill up would be quick as the water point is located by the biggest reservoir in the West Midlands.”
Between Bridges 7 & 8 are excellent ring moorings, and at this time of the year there are few boats on the move. Weather showed rain was on the way. Cptn sanded and sugar soaped the DB’s starboard side ready for painting one sunny day in the near future. I made progress with vinyl stickers patterning onto the stern outside the wheelhouse. Looking good. The side hatches will need to wait for warmer weather, no point letting cold air indoors!
Here, we were moored next to NB SLOWBOAT TO NOWHERE. In NZ, in the 70’s I visited a valley on Mt. Potts called Erewhon, which is nestled along the base of the Southern Alps. There was a rope tow giving access to a skifield and a ‘nutcracker’ was needed. The location did feel beautiful and free like wilderness in the middle of ‘Nowhere’. It was so liberating to scream.
NB Slowboat To Nowhere owner’s were from the Black Country. They told us that often they received comments from people thinking The Black Country was an area of Birmingham that described the ethnic make-up of people living there. The Black Country is the name given to the West Bromwich, Oldbury, Blackheath, Cradley Heath, Old Hill, Bilston, Dudley, Tipton and Wednesfield area and came from when the coal and steel industries grew there at the beginning of The Industrial Revolution. It was a dirty time for people and I can only imagine the filth that they must have lived and worked in.
On that note, we left our mooring before the rains came and had a quick cruise to Brewood pronounced Brrrood. Yeah it’s obvious! Again ring moorings come into play and we are back into disappearing Internet signal.
I took Della for a short stroll and did a double take when I saw what looked like a long haired wet cat with a snout on the semi-trad stern of a boat. I glanced at it but needed to make sure Della was eyes ahead and on the move. It looked young and wet and was shivering. Within minutes I found out that it was a Badger. It was obviously not a pet and everyone was concerned. I offered to phone the RSPCA and take it from there. I walked to The Bridge Inn to see if I could get phone reception there. Luckily they had WiFi and I could use that to get the RSPCA contact number. It took ages to get through the answer phone listings to speak to a humanoid but I got there in the end only to be doubly frustrated with a bad phone signal and misunderstanding of my Kiwi dialect. I handed my phone to the Landlord to see if he could make some sense of this call. All said and done I headed back down to DB.
A gongoozler said he had contacted the Badger Society and he didn’t have much confidence with the RSPCA. He then said that the Badger had dived back into the canal and headed to the other side. Apparently there are Badger Setts in the area. That was a happy ending for the Badger but there is a but, the RSPCA had said to me that someone would come sometime soon. I wasn’t going to phone them back to cancel as it was too much of a palaver to get through to a humanoid. (I remember making a 999 call when I was house-sitting in Kilburn, London 1987. I thought I heard a gunshot from next door. I was on edge because I had had a break-in a couple of days earlier and a carving knife had been thrust into an office suitcase and stuff strewn around. The 999 operator said the Armed Defenders Squad were on their way. I hung up. Then I heard the musical sound of ‘whheeewheee’, Fire-bloody-Works not the IRA. I couldn’t phone back 999 to cancel the ADS! When the ADS arrived they were pleased I had contacted them. I don’t think the neighbours were.)
Out of the blue, so to speak, the gongoozler had noticed I had blue eyes and asked me if I realised it was likely I shared a common ancestor with blue eyed people. I googled it....It appears that a genetic mutation in a single individual in Europe 6,000 to 10,000 years ago led to the development of blue eyes, according to researchers at the University of Copenhagen. Well, who’d have thought a Badger would have brought that info to light up my world!!
That almost brings me to the end of this Blog. An RSPCA worker did turn up, a couple of hours later, and made contact with me. I reassured her that the Badger had jumped in the water and gone to the other side. She told me this is Badger country and they are nocturnal. It is unusual for a badger to be away from its home in daylight and on the stern of a boat.
|Working on it|
Ah well, all’s well that ends well.