Saturday, July 15, 2017

Here we are - with a new guest crew member and a posh extra for Herbie

I suppose you might be wondering where we are. (At our age we keep wondering that too.) Well we're down amid the dreaming spires mingling with the tourists. At least half the population of Oxford appears to be American if you go by the accents you hear as people walk by. Apart from the normal reasons for visiting the city, we had an extra two. The first was to attend a pre arranged collogue (look it up) with Bones and the Moomins to attempt a re-enactment of the splendid jointly prepared meal we had aboard Nb Melaleuca a couple of years back. It's always dangerous to try to recreate such a memorable evening, but with certain essential changes we managed it splendidly. The changes were that we ate al fresco, having a barbecue in the little park at Aristotle lane. I won't bore you with the menu but it was suitably sumptuous and a jolly time was had by all and a box of cider is now empty.

Part of the reason for the jollity was the inclusion of our special guest (the other reason we came down to Oxford). Meet our new temporary crew member Ronnie.



Ronnie is our daughter Claire's dog, half Yorkie and half Chihuahua and we have him on board for a week while Claire and family take a holiday in Portugal. He's quite a character and loved by all but I don't suppose he'll be much use at lock wheeling.

At our BBQ we had a flying visit from Alex who some of you will know as a maker of classy (and very sturdy) boat chimneys, so we asked about replacing ours which is falling to bits. To cut a long story short Alex bowled up this morning carrying one which proved to be a perfect fit so the deal was done and Herbie's roof looks instantly a lot smarter. His chimneys cost about double the tin ones you buy in the chandleries but are about five times as good. The steel is thick and the finish is powder coated and baked on. The old chimney was indeed on its last legs because as Alex twisted it to free it from the collar, the chimney disintegrated in his hands!

The old one, ready for the tip:



and the new one made by Alex:



The canal is looking spiffing at the moment, well, when the sun shines anyway. The yellow flag irises and the may flowers and the elder blossoms have all gone, to be replaced with lush sprays of Rosebay Willowherb, Meadowsweet, white Convolvulus and Purple Loosestrife. It all looks like a lovely cottage garden, miles and miles of it. I know, I know, I really must take some photos.

The other thing growing with abandon is the flippin' weeping Willows which hang in big green curtains over the canal so you can't see where you're going or if your're about to collide with a boat coming the other way. As you come into Oxford you hit loads of them. Something ought to be done . . .

1 comment:

Marilyn McDonald said...

Neil and Kath,
I thought of you this morning as we passed by (on the off-side) patches of Himalayan Balsam (correct name, Kath?). I was too far away to get the loppers out and chop off the flowers, but am putting them (loppers, I mean) up on the stern deck for future assassination forays. I seem to remember Kath telling me that chopping off the flower heads before the seeds set was a good, environmentally friendly and useful job. It shall be done!
Love the little chihuahua cross - many years ago we had a corgi/chihuahua cross (called Pigl, as his tail was curly and it made us think of the poem: A pigl wigl if you tigl - check out the Junior voices book from back in the 70s when we were both teaching ...) Pigl was absolutely sure he was a big dog; well, he looked like a curly-tailed miniature german shepherd so why would he have any other view? He would have been a great boat dog ...
Do hope we catch up with you two before the end of this season. It is lovely communicating remotely, but a meeting in person allows so much more scope for shared food, cider, chardonnay and even some lovely NZ sauvignon blanc!
Cheers, Marilyn