A fortnight on, and the ice is long gone from the canal. In the mornings, the valley is full of the sound of mistle thrushes singing. Over the last few days, the chaffinches have been warming up their songs, with a few faltering starts, and then finally the full repertoire, which is admittedly not a very large one in the case of chaffinches; still, it's their song, and good for them.
Boat Teenager came over for my birthday, and we popped over to Melksham to check out the charity shops. A junk shop had heaps of old galvanised iron farm gear out at the front. We went in for a look around. The shopkeeper told us that she gets her stuff from France, where they don't value old stuff like we do. I remembered a time in the Correze, when I was working for an architect feller on one of his houses there. We were there with his scouse building team, who were always good for a laugh, and always out of their depth in rural places; huddling together in one room to sleep, worried about cries in the night- "What the FUCCHHH was that!" "A fox, Jimmy, don't worry"
|mind you, if it'd been this fox I'd've been startled too.|
This was in the shop in Melksham
Anyway, we went to the farm next door where they were demolishing a 16th century cottage to make room for an extension to the cattle shed. We enthusiastically pulled antique stuff from the wreckage. The farmer thought we were potty, and he may well have been right.
Back then to Melksham. I bought an enamelled tin candle holder because I'm a sucker for that sort of thing.
Back on the canal, a call went out on the Facebook grapevine; a boat moored down on the river Avon in Bath had lost a couple of lines in the recent floods, and was in peril. So I cycled down to help out, stopping to photograph the Cormorant Tree near Bathampton. Where do they nest, I wonder?
Adrian was there on the same mission; we lassooed the tiller and hauled it over so that the boat came alongside the wall, and he went down the ladder and added some ropes.
Then Wes, whose boat it is, turned up and went down to bale out the water.... while we watched, a kingfisher flew across and landed right below us.
...and flew away again in a bright blue flash, far too quickly for me to take a photo. But another one stopped for me as I cycled home.