Making the most of spring

While I was walking around mums Lakeland village we found this pond absolutely full of frog spawn. Really took us by surprise because there was still quite a bit of snow in drifts and I thought it was still way too cold for the frogs to spring into action. Hope some of it survives.

We’ve enjoyed a few days reaching double figures in Milton Keynes. But we’re braced for the Beast II due to arrive overnight. As they say ‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be outAnd I’ve not packed my thermals away yet.

 

Fast running water

While Eric’s been working hard on Firecrest, I’ve enjoying Lakeland’s fast running water.

I’m sure we’ve got this the wrong way around but mum loves to pamper me.No trip home is without the obligatory visit to Sizergh Barn where the cafe has been built over the milking parlour and the raw milk tastes even better than it did when we were children.

And despite the dreary grey weather we did find some colour, albeit in the garden centre.

On the move

Time to say goodbye to my snowman  and move on. The canal still has one or two floating icebergs which wanted to come with us. It seemed to stick to the bow for quite a way.

The melting snow and ice has raised the level of the canal but we’re unlikely to suffer with flooding because of the regular overflows. This one wouldn’t have looked out of place as a theme park ride although I’m glad Eric wouldn’t let me try it out, I’m not sure anything going down that raging torrent would survive.

It was lovely to be cruising again, even nicer not being wrapped up in our thermals and a joy to see the sun shining on the boat in the early evening.

Continue reading On the move

Cutting paths through the ice

We woke to blue sky and sunshine but the ducks were still ice skating. It was strange because the ice had a layer of water floating on it. But they weren’t walking on water for long when the first of the boats came along creating an open channel. 

 

We were passed by 4 boats making a run for it, including one hire boat-bet they weren’t expecting a week like this.

The only snow left on the tow path was pretending to be a snowman so I donned the boots and went for a walk. I found 6 gloves 2 hats and pair of earmuffs.

Now that the ice is breaking up, the boat’s rocking about all over the place cause our ropes have blackened off. So We’ve re-tied and will stay here another night.

The mighty thaw has begun

And left slush and mud and misery. My poor snowman has lost their smile and so have I. 

The grass is muddy and slippy but the actual footpath is like a mini canal. Having been compressed and indented by thousands of footsteps there’s nowhere for the melted snow to drain away to. So of course people are walking on the grass making the mud worse.

I don’t care how much warmer it is,  I don’t intend walking anywhere until all this horrible stuff has all gone.  Can you tell how much I dislike mud.

And as for cruising, the ducks are still waddling through the slush over the ice, so although there’s growing ice free water, we’ll let someone else go first. We’ve still got enough in our tanks to last another week without worry.

We’re being watched

I will never apologise for letting my inner child come out to play, and after Thursday’s dire biting cold wind and blizzards. Then Fridays trudging march to the shops, to stock up on essentials, I woke up this morning determined to go out to play.

There’s at least 6 inches of snow now, which I know isn’t competing with some other parts of Britain, but as the forecast is getting warmer by the hour and rain predicted tonight, I knew it was now or never to build a friend.

It’s been quite amusing watching the walkers reaction.  I deliberately didn’t build my friend on the footpath, but on the wide grassy verge between the boat and path.  However because the path is obscured by the snow most people are taking the direct route and having to walk around Mrs Snowman. Many have stopped to say hello and take her photo.

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Robins were made for winter and this little beauty really made us smile.
 So did this fella, though not for the same reason. Some might say living on a narrow boat was incomprehensible, obviously not us. But I’ll never fathom why anyone would want to kayak through frozen water just for fun. It took him about an hour to break through about half a mile of ice between the two bridges then he went back and forth several times.

Now the other way to make us smile on days like this is hearty homemade soup.

 

Breaking the ice

The temperature dropped and the canal froze over. Not a single boat cruised past us today, but we had two willing ice breakers. I watched in amazement as this pair of swans pushed their way through creating a channel.

Thankfully I think Milton Keynes is on the outer reaches of this particular cold front. The snow fall has been relatively light with sufficient sunny spells to make it picture post card perfect.

 

Snowdrops at Linford Manor

With the Beast from the East threatening to wipe out any hope that spring is just around the corner, I took a wander around the parkland of Linford Manor and found this carpet of snowdrops.

The daffodils are poised to take over the top spot,

Provided the snow doesn’t fall too heavily and squash them. This afternoon, the sky changed colour and the snow started to fall and the canal started to freeze. Not sure what we’ll wake up to tomorrow.

I’m sure it will be pretty but not sure it will look like this.

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A busy week going nowhere

It’s been a mixed sort of week with lots going on, we’ve both felt preoccupied and unfocused. I think we sense that spring isn’t far around the corner and we want to be cruising properly again. Mooring by bridge 81 does offer a wide choice of distractions. The walks around Willen lake with views of the Peace pagoda is restorative to body and soul. And we had the pleasure of meeting up with Mike, who lives nearby, has his own narrowboat and used to work with Eric 25 years ago. They hadn’t kept in touch but I’m sure there’ll pints shared in the future.

We had decided to take advantage of the big shops in central milton Keynes. There were a few bits and bobs that needed replacing and John Lewis’ price match promise is too good an opportunity to pass on. So it was to and fro several times as we did our research, made our purchases and returned to do click and collect. We’re not terribly materialistic people, but we like good quality nice things, we don’t like excess and shopping leaves us both feeling somewhat drained rather than excited at the prospect of new toys to play with.  Unless it’s the yarn I found on the wool stall in the market. My new blanket is growing quickly.

However I did make time to cheer on the 2500 mad people participating in the MK winter half marathon. Several miles follow the canal broadwalk and as they passed Firecrest within their first mile it felt like we were being pursued by a herd of migrating buffalo.

Our week finished with some lovely communications with the people involved with the Gyosei Art Project that adorns the tow path just north of here. They had read the blog post that I made in November so it was encouraging to both of us. Unfortunately when we pulled the pins and set off northwards it was grey and drizzly so I couldn’t take any new photos. But here’s the owl mosaic that I love.