Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Scrapbook – Gayton, Glasgow, Shrewsbury and Devon!

It may seem obvious, but life on board 'Zindagi' changes dramatically when we are moored up for the winter. We still live in the same (fairly small) space and, because we are not constantly travelling, you might think that we have nothing much to do. Experience shows otherwise, and the fact that the blog has not been updated very much says as much about full days as it does about lack of travel. Let's give you a little idea . . .

First of all, when we are moored up we have our car and so become paradoxically MORE mobile. Our first trip was up to Glasgow for Thor's third birthday, going via Shrewsbury as Adam travelled up with us, sharing the driving in our little old Peugeot 205. Here's Thor getting a swing from Adam and Shireen as we go for a walk in the park.

Back in Gayton Marina, late November presented Val with the subtle shades of fallen leaves floating next to the boat. We also enjoy being able to spend time with a few friends we have made in Blisworth village, as well as going to some of the meetings at the Baptist Chapel.

Dave's morning walks often take him along the Northampton Arm and sometimes he can help work the locks for boats coming up or down the locks – like this working boat breaking through the thin ice.

And then the first real snow came at the end of November. Here we are in the Marina with Zindagi's wind turbine clearly visible. Unlike in Blisworth Marina, where we have been for the previous 2 years, there seem to be very few people who visit their boats here, so we see more boatyard staff than boaters.  As the weather gets better and spring seems to get closer, gradually more boaters turn up (especially at weekends) to check up on their boats and tackle the odd maintenance jobs.

A week after the snow, the frosts! The frozen canal and locks, looking down towards Northampton. That isn't snow on the trees, it's hoar frost, right to the tip of ever twig. It was COLD! (We keep warm on board, though, with central heating and our woodburning stove – cosy!)

Just look at the length of the ice crystals on these leaves, catching the morning sunlight . . .

 . . . rabbits playing on the frozen canal . . .

 . . . and snow stacked on the twigs and berries.

Here's an unusual sight – an island of ice, gently spinning in the canal as the lock overflow 'bywash' feeds in (top left).

This handsome male Goosander came nice and close on the Severn at Shrewsbury. There were two pairs on the river there and another two pairs have visited the locks near Gayton Marina. They are fish-eaters, so must have found some food there.

So what were we doing in Shrewsbury? Having a family gathering! Adam and Rachel kindly invited us, along with Jeremy & Laura, Shireen & Thor, so we were quite a houseful! Here's Adam remembering his boyhood skills with Thor's new marble game!

Shrewsbury's deserted riverside on a misty December morning.

We were glad that the ice and snow held off for our trip there and back, but it reappeared a few days later when we were back on board. Teasels in the canalside woods.

Hope you can see these two Long-Tailed Tits all right. They are lovely little birds, but move through the hedgerow so fast that getting a picture is not very easy.

We made our regular January visit to Devon to catch up with doctors, surgeons and dentists, and took the opportunity to meet up with quite a lot of friends. Our diary filled up fast while we were there, staying the first week with Colin & Janet in Lapford and the second with David & Mary in Okehampton. Only a very little dental work to be done, medical checks OK and the surgeon was very happy with Val's replacement knees, so all very positive there. The picture? Looking down towards Lapford village, our bungalow hidden to the left, Dartmoor in the distance and a 'sea' of mist filling in the low-lying land between.

We took a fairly leisurely walk on Buckland Beacon with Peter and Rachel and enjoyed some lovely Dartmoor views, and also visited Peter and Joy (Taylor) who are obviously delighted with their house in South Brent – well worth all the waiting and planning!

And so back to the boat at the end of January, starting to think a bit more about where we might travel in 2011 . . .


Jenny yohannes said...

That picture of the leaves is amazing! You should print it out and use it for a card or wrapping paper.Glad you're still survivng on board. You're real gypsies now. You'll find it difficult to be land lubbers again. Spoke to Polly recently - some illness in the family.Tell me if you pass through Maidenhead again.

Anonymous said...

Dear Val & Dave,

Good to hear from you! You must be so thrilled to see the countryside coming to life again and to be on the move again too. This week would not have been any good for me, especially Thursday because I am organising a Passover meal at my church, then we have a street march on Good Friday. Sara will be with me for the w/e, home from Paris. She's getting married in August so all guns go for that!

Are you not likely to be back on the Thames again then? So where will you be in May?

Much love from Jenny x

Barbara said...

Just caught up with all your posts and see that you are certainly not bored yet!