Sunday 28 June 2020

Best-laid plans, huh?

 Our plans are fluid at the best of times, but we weren’t expecting quite such a long gap between trips.  At the beginning of lockdown we eased our longing a little by watching some of the YouTubes online, but after a while I found it just made me sad. 

There weren’t even many blogs to read, as nobody except liveaboards was cruising, and even then, once they had reached somewhere safe and practical to moor and stay, there was often not much to blog about. Though it was nice to hear about Geoff and Mag’s new companion Amber, and thanks NB Oleanna for a regular fix!  It’s been good to read the occasional land-based musing too.

Lechlade Meadows, July 2016 - not this year though.
 We have done very little boat-related apart from the YouTubes and the occasional BBC programme on iplayer.  But we did bring the tiller arm home for a little TLC after a scrape or two in locks.

Unsurprisingly, being tucked away indoors has meant the brass has stayed shiny!  We also brought another of the window blinds home for a good scrub. I did consider putting the tiller arm out in the garden, so Dave would have to polish it now and then, but instead he has been brushing up his French with Duolingo, and painting the exterior woodwork on the house.  I spent the first couple of months organising an alternative plant sale for Garden Club, achieved with a simple website using Wordpress – I found it extremely non-intuitive to start with so I am very impressed by the bloggers who have switched from Blogger (Pip are your ears burning?!)
Cygnets on the Exeter Ship Canal, 2015

Our local canal, the Exeter Ship Canal, was too far away to visit during the first part of lockdown.  Now we can drive further to exercise, we’d rather not go there as it will be too busy with walkers and cyclists.  To start with I was told I had to be shielded, but then I discovered my chemo stopped long enough ago that I didn’t have to.  Even so, both being around the 70-mark, we are still being very cautious.  Our local beach (featured on national news) is definitely a no-no!

So our exercise has been very local.  In our village we have wonderful walks on our doorstep, in quiet lanes and on the local common, for which we (and Meg) are tremendously thankful.  We have been on the common at dusk to see and hear the nightjars – now that isn’t an option for most people – and the other day did one of our favourite cliff walks near Budleigh.  Clouds of butterflies including the lovely Marbled White

Marbled White
and an amazing view of a pair of peregrine falcons with their two youngsters flying along the cliff edge.  Unfortunately my photos were only of sky and Dave’s was a bit fuzzy!

Peregrine falcon
We walked back to the car along the river Otter.  At least we could enjoy walking by the water for a couple of miles - even if it wasn’t a canal it did feel good.  Very good.  This bit of the river reminds me of a quiet mooring on the Staffs and Worcester near Kidderminster.

The lovely river Otter
We know we are extremely fortunate to live where we do, but we are longing to get back to cruising again.  The liveaboard blogs are more frequent now boats can travel, and it’s lovely but very frustrating to read them and see their lovely photos!  We won’t be setting off on 4th July – I hate to think what the roads and motorway services will be like – but where to go?  We won't be changing marinas for the summer - if there is another Covid peak coming, the last thing Dave wants is to have to travel by train to fetch the car as it would involve a change at Birmingham New Street!

0 miles, 0 locks, 0 aqueducts, 0 moveable bridges, remembering patience is a virtue.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to have helped keep you connected to the waterways through lockdown. Hopefully once the mad dash at the beginning of July is over things will calm down and you'll be back out on the water.
    I agree, Wordpress is that bit different, once we managed to get Tilly's voice back on the blog then I was happy with it. It takes a bit of getting used to, but now it's second nature. Have to say I do miss having a rolling blog list though, but there is a reader that keeps us up to date.
    Take care Pip