Having got back from our friend's funeral yesterday, it was getting dark along the tramway moorings here in Banbury. Dusty had just passed us on his coal boat and out of the murk, from the direction of the town centre came an odd looking boat with what looked, from a distance, like somebody punting. I stood on Herbie's counter and waited for it to approach. Well you could have knocked me down with a feather.
Can you make that out? The light was so poor that it shows up best in back and white. Yes, it was a genuine proper kosher pukka authentic Venetian Gondola. No he hadn't taken a wrong turn out of Venice. The gondolier, it turns out, was an Italian gondola enthusiast propelling the boat all the way from Stratford-upon-Avon to London, raising money for a gondola restoration project. At the speed he was going, he isn't going to reach London any time soon. I estimate he was doing about one mile an hour. I bet his shoulders are sore.
Today we took the train into Brum to visit the jewellery quarter to get Kath an engagement ring. Well we were too skint to afford a proper one forty one years ago, (I did buy her a proper wedding ring) so I thought I had better get round to it at last. It's a great place to buy a ring but a bit bewildering because there are over a hundred jewellers within a few streets. The one we picked on seemed very good anyhow, and it was nice to be able to pick an individual sparkler with all its certifications etc and have it mounted in the setting and on the band of choice, and if the bloke who sold it to us was telling the truth, about two thirds of the high street price.
We went off to his recommended pub, the Lord Clifden (a cracker!) for. a leisurely lunch and when we got back the ring was built and ready. Does that mean we're engaged now? You can all buy us a toast rack.