Saturday, 19 January 2013

Ice is nice but a cool dog is better

Monday 14th January to Saturday 19th January 2013

What a busy week we seem to have had – busy without any planning; busy without any fuss; and busy without seemingly anyone seeing it coming.

We have been off to see movies – 2 in fact – Les Miserables and The Quartet – both of which we enjoyed and of course both very different. The former was all sung without any speaking parts but brilliantly done – Hugh Jackman in the lead and Russell Crowe in a role which would not have been something most would imagine – but well done as a film. Most interesting were the parts played by Helena Bonham-Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.

We were accompanied by Carol and Barry (nb Winton’s Folly) and had a delightful time.

The Quartet included Billy Connolly which had him playing a more sedate role of himself really – a Billy Connolly without four letter words – same comedic outlook; and Maggie Smith whilst good was outshone by Tom Courtney to some extent.

Andy and Jean (nb Josephine) asked us at virtually the last minute if we wanted to go and as we had already said to ourselves that we would like to see it, the answer was pretty easy.

The weather this week has been making a transformation from the snow of last weekend through a spell without any snow, but still quite cold with some chill-inducing wind and then back to the harshest of snow and wind that we have so far had during our time over here.

A couple of trips into Stone were also included in the week that was – one by the two of us and the other just Diane and Banjo; not really surprisingly the towpath was easy to negotiate – being quite well frozen and hence no mud – we did observe a couple of boats willing to attempt to break through the ice – one going up the Aston Lock and the other upsetting other moorers as it left Stone heading south. There are usually good reasons for wanting to travel in these conditions, none of which get any sympathy from those moored up and hearing ice crunching against their boats.

The other main activity of the week was filling water tanks – as this weather doesn’t give much opening to do so, and the times when taps aren’t frozen is even less we found the many were of like minds and opportunities presented themselves on both Wednesday and Saturday mornings – hoses were joined together from the one tap that was not frozen completely and on each day we managed to fill/top-up 6-7 boats on the pontoon – it took that problem away for all of us.

Not that I should lower the satisfaction of the movies and topping up the water tanks (and the general camaraderie of such an effort), but I was very pleased with filling the diesel tank on Saturday – the wind has dropped right down to virtually nothing, no snow or rain, but I filled the tank using the jerry cans and a cordless pump courtesy of Roland – the outcome being 80 litres used in 32 days at an average of 10 hours a day which meant the Mykuni is performing to specification – 250mls per hour; it allayed some fears that I had that the tank might have been further down than I thought.

We have been snug and warm inside with the diesel heater and using a small electric heater for a little over ₤3 per day including all of the electric appliances that we use – can’t beat that.

We do need to be careful about placement of the heater – on Thursday night I went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea but in doing so I noticed a strange smell – a semi-burning odour; it took a few seconds to realise that Banjo (with his jumper on) was laying right in front of the heater without  any space between it and him – the feeling is that much longer and we could have got the rolls, cheese and tomato sauce out and had our own hot dog.

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