Empty Nest. 12th May


This morning we could hear high pitched long cheeps alongside Oleanna. A fairly standard bird call from young when they can’t see their mum.

Empty Nest

With camera held tight and wrist band around my wrist I took photos of under the pontoon. Had our nearest neighbour become a mother. The nest was empty.

There’s some great weed to eat on this boat over here

The cheep moved away. Then Mum could be seen leading her one and only chick across the marina. Mick had spotted an egg the other day, but we’d thought there would be more laid as nest building had been on going.

Moorhen chicks make me think of pompoms, small black pompoms. As much as moorhen chicks are babies, therefore the most adorable creature in their mothers eye, I find them a touch ugly when newly hatched. The bald red head doesn’t help, in fact they remind me of a comedian/variety artist from my early years, Max Wall.

Today has been a serious panto painting day. My Inn backdrop came back out again. I tried various methods of adding swags to a painted cloth, found a solution I liked, proceeded to add them, then decided to put it to one side. I seem to have a block on this scene and it maybe needs a rethink!

Cream tea joust scenery

So I distracted myself with the jousting scene and ended up being quite pleased with the outcome, although tomorrow I’ll revisit the interior of my marquee as the cucumber sandwich walls are not quite right, a minor adjustment required.

Mick did more tidying of the engine bay and Tilly after being annoying for a while resigned herself to a day asleep on my cardigan.

During the day several cruisers have been out of the marina to stretch their legs as it were, but all have returned an hour or so later. Then this evening a different engine could be heard. Was it a tug? Sure enough there it was heading for the docks. The VHF radio was switched on to see what we could hear.

Mick saw three ships

Mick earlier in the day had counted six ships in the docks and this evening some were about to depart and one was heading upstream to penn in before high tide. We watched on vessel tracker as the incoming ship came closer. Two ships penned down onto the river and we could hear the tug heading out to meet with the incoming ship.

It was maybe a good chance for Mick to listen in to radio protocol as he has his VHF exam tomorrow. Well we kind of knew that the docks, ships and tug wouldn’t be using the official radio protocols.

‘Okie dokie’, ‘Ay ay’ were heard and not one hint of an ‘Over’ or ‘Out’!

The incoming ship had a pilot on board, the Yorkshire accent a give away. Despite Ocean Lock facing downstream, ships coming in on a rising tide will wind just upstream of the lock to face the tide, this makes for a more controlled entrance into the lock. Then they turn in, quite an acute turn. Spring lines are used and tonight’s was of a suitable length without 8m of slack!

This spring line holds the bow in position so that the stern can then be powered round against the incoming water without forward movement. We call this an Andy as we were taught it on our helmsman course (by Andy) for use when the wind pins you against the bank, or is trying to push you away from the bank when mooring up. Here it’s the same principle just used on a far bigger scale.

It’s a real shame you can’t get to see ships doing this manoeuvre from the land, but thanks to Mark for letting me use his drone photos again. These were taken back in March as the Fri Brevik came into Ocean Lock.

0 locks, 0 miles, 8 hours model painting, 1 exhibit in Chippy, 1 clean engine bay, 1 pompom Max, 2 out, 1 in, 0 outs, 2 aye ayes, 2 rain showers only today.