Sunday 22 January 2017

the Canal Ice Scale

It struck me, when we were bickering about whether it was OK to move your boat in the ice, over on the K&A Facebook group (as you do), that it would be handy to have a means of describing the thickness of the ice on the canal, in a manner similar to the Beaufort Scale for wind, or even the Bristol Scale for poo (but let's not go there, eh?). 

So here we are; the Canal Ice Scale. There is a range from 1 to 6, with a description of readily observable and describable characteristics for each stage.

Saturday 14 January 2017

walking in Westwood

Pity the poor boater, when the nor'westers hurl snow along the icy towpath and no comfort is to be found:

Calde geþrungen  wæron mine fet,
forste gebunden    calde clommum

Step inside, though, and you'll find that we're actually toasty warm, especially Miss P, who came to visit for a couple of days and was cheerfully settled in front of the stove.
Well, I say cheerfully....

can I help you with that bacon butty? Please?

But you can't spend all your time being cosy. So as the dawn began to make itself known, we crossed Smelly Bridge and headed up the hill. In the moonlight, the concrete lagoons of the sewage station looked like fresh-built raths, or possibly a ziggurat raised to a rather peculiar deity.

Up on the hill the glacial wind had sculpted and combed the tussocks into pale, transient roches moutonees. The moon was setting over Winsley, and as the morning sky lightened, the hills glowed with their powdering of snow. It was that perfect moment when everything is luminous and shining, just before the night abdicates the sky.

..but we were plunging back into the darkness of the woods, where fallen trees overhung the path and a grey squirrel screeched its alarm call. The ground is uneven and interspersed with hollows and sudden lumps of rock; like the Scowles in the Forest of Dean, though less emphatic. I guess that quarrying once took place here; there are underground quarries all around here. Somewhere beneath us was a former Royal Enfield factory...

As we emerged onto the lane and slid down the hill to the aqueduct, a robin thawed out its song and tried a few phrases.  

Presently, the sun rose and the joggers came by. Presently, generators were starting up on the moored boats. And it was time to chop some wood.

Monday 2 January 2017

fox and bells

or the Baghdad cock to cruise,
the hillside fox is simply
joining in to hail the new.

(as videos go, it's a bit deficient on the visuals, but hey, I am moored in deep woodland...)

Dusk at Bradford on Avon