Closing Both Gates. 5th June

Lockdown Pickup Mooring

No mention of Covid 19

The alarm went off, straight out of bed, breakfasted, chicken sandwiches made and Tilly was left in charge for the day. Our trip back across the Pennines to Scarborough had more traffic than a few weeks ago, but still no hold ups along the way. Commuter traffic certainly is far less than it used to be.

Into Yorkshire

We headed straight to see Val and everyone at Tower Estates to pick up keys to the house. Over the last few weeks the house has been cleared, apart from our furniture and belongings, and has had a thorough clean through. Our oven now sparkles almost like new.

After six years of renting the house out it is in need of some TLC. So today we were going to make it possible for us to be able to sleep there once the lockdown eases enough to be able to stay overnight in second homes.

One clean, huge kitchen

Once we’d had a look around and checked things over the top floor was unlocked. First job was to get our bed down the windy staircase from upstairs upstairs. A 5ft wide mattress had somehow made it’s way up there, but how were we going to get it down? After our first attempt we decided it had to go back up to be folded in half to have a vague hope in it coming down the steep staircase that doubles back on itself within 5ft square. Thankfully it worked.

Still on guard

Which bedroom to move into? Our old bedroom didn’t feel right, there is still quite a strong aroma of cannabis and it needs redecorating, so the front room the other side will do for now. The bed frame followed down the stairs much easier than the mattress.

Just needs bedding digging out now

Next I hunted round for the boxes containing cutlery and crockery. All this was quite easy to find and after six years all needed a good wash, so the dishwasher was filled and had a test run. Thankfully it still works.

Sadly the cutlery drawer insert got thrown away
How many knives?!

The kettle and toaster were next on the list, although I’d forgotten to bring any tea bags with us! Instead we drank from our water bottle and ate our chicken sandwiches in the front garden enjoying the seaside sun. Our neighbour has kindly cut the grass for us since we were last here, but the rest of the garden desperately needs some attention.

Quite a foxglove

There used to be a very thick layer of bluebells around the patch of lawn, but these are depleted now. The biggest shame though is the lack of blue geraniums. The tenant before last liked gardening and had thought they were weeds, so had put a membrane down followed by a thick layer of stones. Some work will be needed to lift all this and hope the geraniums fight back into the sun. The other front garden needs a lot of weeding, but the giant foxglove by the front door will be staying. We are not proud gardeners, but like a more , shall we say, natural look. Our next trip will be to sort the garden out.


The garden shed has been removed, apparently it only took a few minutes to take apart as it was about to fall over anyway. Once a big laylandii tree has gone from next doors garden the back of the houses at our end of the street will have so much more light. The newly cleared patch seems to catch the sun quite well and Alan, next doors cat, was enjoying recharging his solar. I also got to meet Betty his feline house mate, she is quite shy and kept an eye on me from a distance. I made sure I introduced myself for next time.

Alan having claimed where the shed used to be

I measured up for curtains to replace those that we’ve ended up with. Made a list of jobs that need doing, we’ll be in touch with Frank for a few of them. Hunted round for gardening gloves and some white spirit. A large kitchen knife was found ontop of a kitchen cupboard, hopefully Mick hasn’t added his finger prints to some vital bit of evidence! Some light bulbs were changed and one from the downstairs toilet removed so we could get a replacement.

All clear now, just the curtains to go

Five hours after we arrived we knew we’d now be able to stay the night, cook a meal, eat it and relax on a sofa. Our needs are far more basic than they used to be. With a key dropped off with one neighbour and the other one offering to help with anything we headed off, closing both gates behind us.

Both gates closed

We called into B&Q as we left town. A pair of gardening gloves which will only be worn whilst working locks (more eco-friendly than disposable gloves) a large bottle of white spirit and a new light bulb for the toilet were purchased. Then we were on our way back. Friday rush hour on the M62 around Leeds used to be a nightmare, but today the traffic flowed freely. We made it back to Oleanna in under 3 hours to feed Tilly at a reasonable time.

Back on the west side

At around 9ish Mick went out to check things over, unfortunately he’d not quite closed the stern doors properly. Our four legged second mate took advantage of the moment and gave herself some shore leave which hadn’t been sanctioned by either Mick or myself!

Assorted mugs
Packed away in June 2014

So for the next three quarters of an hour I followed her around hoping to be able to rugby tackle her. There is no point in trying to run after her, just following at a steady pace as she keeps her distance and trots along away from you, in this case along the road!

Good growth in the gutters

She was just about to spring back out from some sideways trees when a van came round a bend. I put my hand up to stop it as Tilly emerged then freaked and headed back into the friendly cover, the van could continue. We walked that way, then a bit further. Into the wooded area by the layby, she climbed a tree then carried on along the road some more! Into the moorers car park where a chap sat in his van watching me and Tilly. I thought I’d got her onto the towpath at one point, but I thought the gate was locked so would have to walk all the way round loosing sight of Tilly. She had that bolshy look, came back into the car park and carried on being at least six foot away from me!

One broken panel

But then on a third attempt to encourage her to walk with me she finally started to follow instead of leading. Back onto the towpath and up near the boat. Still no closer than six foot! Mick passed me a stool to sit on, which brought her closer, then eventually she wrapped herself around my ankles at which point she was picked up and handed in through the side hatch. A good end to a busy day.

Is this a dagger which I see before me?

0 locks, 0 miles, M6, M62, A64, 2 Pennine crossings, 1 very clean house, 1 bed, 6 mugs, how many kitchen knives when 2 do us on the boat? 2.7m by 3m, 1 murder weapon, 0 gravitationally challenged shed, 1 hanging garden, 1 damp wall, 1 long ladder needed, 1 broken door, 1 mistaken choice on locks, 2 introductions, 0 teabags, 2 litres, 1 pair, 1 big bulb, 1 escapee thankfully not flattened!

4 thoughts on “Closing Both Gates. 5th June

  1. Dave (Scouts)

    Surely as you still own the house would you really be in the wrong staying there overnight? Its not as bad as a certain Cummings did

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Hi Dave. Lots of people own boats that are in marinas at the moment but are not allowed to stay overnight on them, we see the house as the same. What DC did in our eyes was wrong, so until people are allowed to stay overnight in second homes we won’t stay overnight in the house. Our landlords insurance does not cover us staying overnight either but that will run out soon.

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Our tenants weeding strategy was not to do any! If Paul would like a trip to the seaside the paving could do with a good clean.
      Tea bags and maybe a flask of milk will be going next time.

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