Wednesday, 5 May 2010

First Ducklings!

I know I'm not the first to have blogged about the arrival of this year's ducklings, but I promised myself I'd finally get around to adding an entry here as soon as I saw them. And saw them I 'ave!

In the process of moving from Bolbeck Park in the northern half of Milton Keynes to Milton Keynes Marina at Peartree Bridge (in the south of the town) to get a pumpout and fill up with diesel, they were near the water point with their parents, extremely small balls of yellow and black fluff! All sixteen of them!

Moored up again at Campbell Park, I noticed another group of four. In fact, one has just gone past the window, frantically tailing mum by about a tenth of an inch!

I expect they'll be getting into the habit of chewing noisily on the weed just below the water line on Wils in the very near future... Oh joy!

So here I am, still in Milton Keynes for the time being, working on a number of things, including completing my training as a care worker.

I have had some company onboard recently:


I'm pretty certain he belongs to the good folks on the widebeam Our Lucy (seen above) whose movements have been very similar to my own recently, we have been mooring at Giffard Park and Campbell Park with almost identical timing over the last few weeks! He was particularly curious about the wool I've been spinning recently, trying to paw it as soon as it's spun! I'm spinning a great deal at the moment for two reasons, I need to make some curtains for the front windows of Wils, which I thought I really should do from scratch because I can, and I need to make a soft liner for my camping hammock.

I used my hammock recently, over May Day weekend I took it up to Salcey Forest, near the village of Hartwell, Northants. It's a Hennessy hammock, and I think a photo will explain it better than I could in words!


It's smaller than a tent when packed away, lighter to carry, more comfortable than sleeping on the ground and far quicker to set up and pack away! Of course the night I chose to head to Salcey would be the night of the thunderstorm and torrential rain... All good fun though! The owls were very loud and the pheasants nearby didn't like the thunder. It is essentially two parts, the main sleeping section and a waterproof fly sheet over that. The top half of the sleeping section is all mosquito net, entrance is from underneath! Luckily the weight of the occupant holds it shut once you're inside... The only thing it's lacking is a bit more protection from the cold underneath you, hence the soft woollen liner I'm creating. Getting home on the Sunday was interesting! I walked the mile or so into Hartwell from the forest, to realise there are no buses whatsoever going anywhere from Hartwell on Sundays. Huff. But there's one leaving from nearby Hanslope in about 55 minutes! Unfortunately the country walk from one village to the other takes about an hour, and I missed the bus there by 5 minutes... Huff. The rain was picking up by this time too, and the next (and final) bus from Hanslope was four hours off. Huff. So onto Castlethorpe! Now, in the right shoes, with some decent weather this would make an amazing walk. Sadly I had neither of these things! By the time I reached Castlethorpe I had already stuck out my thumb to every vehicle that went past, and was met by the most common responses to hitchhikers in this country nowadays, which are as follows:

  • "What? People still hitchhike?!" (by the time it's sunk in, they're already half a mile away...)
  • "Don't slow down, Dear! Whatever you do, DON'T SLOW DOWN!"
  • "Don't look him in the eye! If we pretend we haven't seen him, it's not our fault if we don't stop."
These, in short, are the three most common responses I get when trying to hitch in this country. It's different if you're a couple, if you're holding pizza, a baby, a musical instrument case or a petrol can or if you're a single girl, preferably without a backpack. Huff.

Eventually a car that had previously gone past me turned around and came back for me! Andy the Gas Man, you are a true legend! Andy was on his way to plant green beans, he kindly dropped me in Wolverton where I was able to get a bus to Great Linford and slowly crawl back to the boat from there! Quite a trip!

I also attended the Woburn Classic Car Show on bank holiday monday, Tom and I went down in his Renault 4! Here is Tom looking very excited to be exhibiting his car with the Renault Classic Car Club:


It was an excellent day, and it has inspired me to get my Fiat 500 going again after a sorry 8 years or so in the garage! Photos of that progress to follow shortly! I hope we can both drive to the next meeting/event together and display both cars!

On the whole the weather has been amazing...


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