Saturday, 12 October 2019

the querulous tawny owl

Off along the Vale of Pewsey to drop off some of the new white horse maps at the Barge Inn at Honey Street, as they're pretty much at the epicentre of Wiltshire white horse country and you can see the Alton Barnes horse from the canal side there. It's also crop circle central, and has a terrific painting on the ceiling. If you haven't been there, get on down!

It's nice to see the place busy and welcoming again, after the recent change of ownership. Peter on Grey Hare had just arrived and found a mooring bang outside the pub, after setting off from where he'd been moored next to me at Bishops Cannings that morning. It was a wild and wet day, and just the moment to have a glass of something to ward off the chill.

Peter in happier weather, carving a walking stick

Back to the boat; I parked up in the village and transferred a bag of coal to my bike trailer. The gale peppered me with rain as I crossed the big open field to the canal. Blooming rain's relentless. As I type this in the before-dawn dark, it's spattering down on the roof above me as it has been all night, and all around the boat right now there are tawny owls quavering to each other; "How long? How bloody long?" It must be hard times for owls; I know that barn owls at least suffer in the rain because their feathers aren't water-resistant like most birds, because they're designed to fluff out and deaden sound. So sometimes in rainy weather, you'll see barn owls hunting in daylight in between showers.

the barn owl at Diggers, near the Dundas Aqueduct


  1. I wish the new owners of the Barge Inn well. I was there a few years ago: mooring, perfect; lunch, very tasty... but they charged me £1 to recharge my camera for ½ an hour. On the way back I cruised past and had a pint in Bishops Cannings.

  2. The very last owners before the new ones seemed to have no interest in running it as a pub; the story was that they were hoping to turn it into a private residence... anyway, new lot are grand, and the ones before the last lot seemed pretty good to me too! -I lost my camera a few years ago, and it turned out I'd left it there; they held onto it and I got it back some months later when I was passing...