Friday, 12 August 2016

You remember that cold. You know-the one I hardly mentioned in my last post. Well it's gone. At last. The cough persisted throughout and I had many disrupted nights. One such night I gave up trying to sleep at about 2 a.m. and got up for a cuppa. It was a warm night anyway and about 4.30 Mr Heron landed on the bank opposite my side doors. Pausing only to enquire as to my health before ducking his head into the cut and coming out with a big fish which took him 20 minutes to swallow. The pictures aren't very good partly because the quality of light was not good and partly because the photographer was gravely ill. Have I mentioned my cold?

Talking of the side hatch I've got a new game. Swan Pipping. A couple of years back I was advised that the one thing that reduced Uric acid and thence gout was cherries. No problem-I love them. Seasonal of course and not cheap but very nice on one's cereal; remembering , of course, that one must always have an odd number so that breakfast always finishes with "She Loves Me".

I quite fancied trying my hand at growing a cherry tree so I did some homework and planted a few pips in the compost. Fingers crossed.

However there is one pip per cherry and considerable pleasure can be had with Swan Pipping using the excess.
 First lob some stale bread out of the side hatch (the one opening on to the canal of course).
Recent advice from people that like to ruin our fun is that swans, ducks, coots etc should not be fed bread. It is not part of their diet. Apart from the obvious fact that nobody has told them  I maintain that when I throw bread overboard it is for the fish and it aint my fault if feathered loiterers get stuck in.

(Stand by for advice from some expert that fish shouldn't eat bread)

Having attracted the swan with the bread commence your cereal. Pips well aimed spat through the hatchway can give the swan a pleasant pink dapple effect. It's not so good on ducks and others because they plumage is not open to such abuse but the increasingly bad tempered swan would be perfect. In truth I haven't actually hit the target yet but the sport is a work in progress . Perhaps the next Olympips?

Pip Pip.

Continuing on a horticultural theme we are now only  a fortnight from the judging for the Heritage Veg Competition and the only produce I am likely to submit is carrots. My earlier attempt was disappointing see right below but I was encouraged when my sister sent a picture of her carrot crop (left below) Draw what conclusions you wish from the use of a 50p piece to show the size of my sad effort and the use of a bottle of Famous Grouse to show Moira's.

My latest effort is a big improvement both in shape and size so I hope when I pull up the Big One next week that I am not disappointed

Moira's carrot reminds me that in company with Adrian I had a very pleasant trip to Denver Sluice in Norfolk to meet Moira, Tom, Liz, Margaret and John at the excellent Jennyns Arms on the banks of the Great Ouse. This is an area I know from years back when boating on the Ouse where I had a boat at Huntingdon. Lovely river, lots of good memories.
I had one of the best pub salads ever and we were able to enjoy sitting riverside. Ady and I had booked rooms overnight (very good value) so we could relax and explore the area rather than drive back to Herts .

It was good to see everyone and enjoy a convivial lunch......and dinner.

The weekend saw Pam and I at the Dacorum Steam Fayre 

Run in aid of the Hospice of St Francis it was a big show with lots of steam and other vehicles and plenty more besides. Having driven a traction engine in the past and having grown up with steam trains I was in my element wandering about in the sunshine whilst Pam did a stint as a volunteer on the gate.

What a magnificent old boiler!

Novel tables


Tuesday and it's Pam's birthday.
Sadly it's also raining but we set off for Cliveden and had a lovely day. 

Happy Birthday Pam


Pam tries her birthday goggles

Saturday 6th Aug and it's party time

All the family came and lots of neighbours. We had canapes followed by Fish 'n' Chips, Music, a Quiz and the odd libation.

Jessica, Natalie and Caroline-and Ollie's right leg.


Sunday and an alfresco lunch of roast chicken with all the trimmings followed by a game of Scrabble that looks more like a seance. (the trouble with spiritualism is it's so hard to find a happy medium)
Pam Caz Philip Florence and Joseph. I won but modesty forbids I mention it.

Madam Pam makes contact with the other side whilst Caz and Philip look for someone under the table

Caz looks like she's seen some Spirits!

A lovely weekend to celebrate the birthday of a lovely lady.


To other matters.
Cowroast is quiet at the moment (stand by for invasion of dosser boaters with generators, "music", scabby dogs and a God given right to moor in the Winding hole) 
Les and Jaq on Valerie have moored up as Les has various medical appointments/visits. Not seen them for a while but I always follow their blog.  
Nice to have them around.     

Canal and River Trust arrived yesterday and remove a sign from the towpath
Presumably this means that the moorings between Cowroast and Marsworth top lock are no longer to be 14 days duration? I'm not sure as they keep faffing about with the rules and regs and I've rather lost the plot. I was unaware of any changes along the Tring Summit or at Bulbourne so don't quite understand.

The other thing I don't understand is more worrying. I probably haven't mentioned that I had a very bad cold a while back and in order to ease my distress I bought a packet of Fruit Pastilles. With the exception of one red and one black the whole tube was green or orange. Who buys Fruit Pastilles hoping they will be mainly green or orange ones? Nobody. That's who. So instead of alleviating my symptoms I was cast into the Slough of Despond. Some arse said I should have sent them back to Rowntrees but I couldn't cos I'd eaten them-fairly quickly in the hope of finding a seam of red or black. One of each! Disastrous.
On a brighter note please see below the most perfect boiled egg. Near seventy Summers have I t(b)oiled on this earth in the quest for the perfect egg. Beautiful soft yoke and sensuous firm white encased in a lovely brown shell. I doubt I shall ever achieve such success again. My life's work is finished.
A quiet weekend beckons before holidays next week but before then Pam is running a taster session on Saturday (12 o'clock at Tring Martial Arts) for her Qijong classes starting in September so best of luck with that. 
Why not take a peek......

My last posting was viewed by more people than ever before, over a thousand in a week, the reason I assumed being world wide interest in my health or lack of it. However the statistics showed that the majority were from Russia and whilst I've always been honoured to have the odd view from Tomsk and Vladivostok I couldn't think why so many would be interested in the condition of my chest. Then it dawned on me. In commenting on the appointment of B Johnson as Foreign Secretary I said "Putin must be terrified"
The Russians searching the internet for the name of their beloved leader will, occasionally, have hit upon my worthy organ. So in order to maintain interest.....Clinton, Trump, Xi Jinping.....that should do it.
It's a glorious day here (Friday) so after my morning constitutional I might get the paint pot out.....or I might get some practice in at Pip-spitting. ....decisions, decisions.