Author Archives: pipandmick

About pipandmick

We discovered our mutual love of canals early on in our relationship when on a canal holiday on the Leeds and Liverpool. Since then we enjoyed four years being part owners of a share boat and have now progressed up to owning NB Lillyanne. Mick is a Telephone Engineer and Pip is a Theatre Designer. We have both taken time off work to explore the waterways, meet up with old friends, make new ones and watch the seasons change around us.

Feline Freedom. 24th March

Lockdown Mooring 1. Cross Banks Farm Winding Hole

First off apologies to those of you who tend to read this blog in bed in the morning with a cuppa before getting up. If you follow us by email the latest post has normally dropped into your inbox at 8am, but not this morning. Due to posting twice yesterday my routine is all out of kilter and there wasn’t a post sat ready to publish this morning. We will see how the next few days pan out, but please don’t sit in bed waiting as your tea might get cold and unless you move around you may get bed sores.

Anyhow

Nine hours. Nine whole hours! Except She lied about that as they wanted an hour outside and one of us has to be on the boat at all times. I did however manage to make the most of the time.

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One

A new rule was added a few days ago to the list that She sprouts out each time I go off to explore. ‘Don’t let anyone stroke you!’ This goes without saying, strangers stroking me, YUCK! I have no idea why She felt She had to say it. But apparently since Tom Johnson started talking to us everyday I have to be even more careful of peoples hands.

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Two

 

 

They can’t harm me, but something might rub off them onto my coat. One chap did try today and I was cornered, but She sprouted steam from her ears and came to the hatch to sort him out. I think She may put a poster up.

 

The world is all mine!

Today there was yet another rule. I am now being encouraged to use shore based facilities. Apparently a company went bust a few months ago and the litter She mixes in with the wood stuff is no longer available and there may now be shortages of wood stuff too.

On Oleanna we all use the wood stuff, all three of us. Although I have to say Tom and She are far quieter than I am with it. I really don’t understand why they don’t want to prepare it like I do. Oh well it takes all sorts.

After worrying news that Jac my sister-in-law can’t get a flight back from Melbourne, Mick spent the morning seeing if he could find one for her.

He had a look at the route Ian and Irene from NB Free Spirit are booked on, admittedly from Sydney. Their route takes them via South Africa, this still looked like a possibility so Mick gave my brother a call and relayed the information. We wait to hear

Much of my day was spent with the model for The Garden. Painting garden fencing and base coating sideways trees and making autumnal covers, oh and a gingham picnic cloth. It took a while for me to get going, but once I did it was the best medicine for an anxious mind.

Model making to ease the mind

In the afternoon, when the second mate bothered to come home! we headed out to stretch our legs.

We’ve had quite a lot of people walking, running and cycling on the towpath today, very few of them keeping to 2ms away from Oleanna. Well the towpath is quite narrow here, but they could at least try.

We did our best to keep our distance. Towards the lock there were a couple of chaps chatting, one tinkering with things on his boat the other sat a good 3m away. As we approached the chap on the chair stood up and walked towards the hedge, plenty of room for us to pass through.

Our stroll took us across the lock and down to Venetian Marina. We wanted to see if the café might sell us some milk. But both the chandlers and café were closed, no bacon butty smell today.

They will be implementing new practices at the chandlers so that everyone can keep their distance and should you want to order a breakfast from the café they would rather you paid by Paypal.

New measures

During the day all the coal boats have been sending out messages on social media saying that they will still be trading. But please would everyone remain inside their boat at all times.

This lot are a hardy bunch, come rain, snow, ice and now Covid-19 they will top up your diesel tank and deliver coal

Seventeen boats have come past us today. This is the most in one day since possibly sometime last summer on the Thames. You may wonder why so many considering we are now in lock down.

We know of several boaters who are now heading home to their home mooring and some then onto their bricks and mortar. Other boaters are aiming for somewhere they feel will be best to be stuck, near services and shops. Hire boats are returning to base, peoples holidays cut short.

Hopefully after a day or two more the country will settle down into it’s new now. Boats will only move when necessary. In a couple of days we’ll have to fill with water and head to Nantwich to stock up on food for a week, then we’ll head off to find a wider towpath so that we can sit out should we want to, maybe even get the covers cleaned too.

Distant view

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 towpath saunter, 2 meters please, 4, 7.5 hours, 17 boats, 0 milk, 1 boater back to black tea, 0.5 of a model painted, 1 new project before the end of the week, 0 flights, 1 very tired cat, 1 pooh in the pooh box!

And STOP. 23rd March

This morning we could feel something in the water around us. A few boats were moving, most coming past us to wind and then head back towards Venetian Marina. We walked down the towpath to check out if there was space at the barbeque mooring as we’re wanting to clean our boat covers. One boat was pulling away leaving one, there would be space for us.

Celendine

Back at the boat I was receiving emails about my Dark Horse show, they were wanting my opinion on how the show might be realised with current restrictions. Obviously the play can only be performed once restrictions are lifted. I sent an honest reply back. Some elements won’t be affected much if on-line orders don’t get affected. Costumes, another matter. With social distancing I wouldn’t be able to do fittings with the actors, worst case scenario the actors would have to wear their own clothes, should the show go ahead. But my strong belief is that when restrictions are lifted, theatres and theatre companies will need to have a show up their sleeve, one that can be built and rehearsed quickly. So I can finish the design, we’ll have our meeting in a couple of weeks over the internet and then time and restrictions will guide us as to how much will be possible. My next payment will be on completion of the design, due in two weeks, this will go straight out to renew our boat licence.

The feeling we’d woken with was growing inside. If a lock down of the country was imminent then we wanted to be somewhere we’d be able to get water, shopping, diesel etc. We had lunch, headed to the winding hole in front of us, turned the boat and headed back to Cholmondeston Lock.

Back past our mooring

Here a boat was waiting below to go up, they were emptying the lock, we nudged in behind them. The chap opened up the gates and came to move his boat, I walked up and closed the gates for them and then operated the towpath side paddle whilst the chap did the off side.

We chatted from opposite sides of the lock. He was moving his freshly painted and spray foamed boat towards Birmingham. Tomorrow he’d pick up timber in Nantwich so that he could start to fit the boat out and then a friend was coming to help him up the rest of the way. When asked where we were going I explained that we felt movements would be restricted soon, so we wanted to be above the lock.

Venetian Marina

Once we’d ascended the lock ourselves, gloves were removed, hands washed, windlasses disinfected, we pootled along to the next winding hole. Here we winded again then reversed to some Armco. Hatch to the towpath. Here will do, it has a farmyard smell to it, we may get used to it.

Whilst we’d been moving we’d had emails from other boaters who’d been feeling the same vibe. An email from C&RT had come through asking boaters to limit themselves to an area. We would now be staying on this pound.

Approaching the lock

During the afternoon we turned the BBC on, the usual press conference at 5pm wasn’t going to happen, a COBRA meeting was taking place. All Brits who were abroad were being urged to return home as soon as possible. There would be a broadcast at 8:30pm.

Mr Johnson with fists clenched announced the new measures from No 10. We knew this was coming and to a certain extent it was a relief to finally hear it.

At 11:00 this email from C&RT dropped into Mick’s inbox.

Following the most recent announcement from the Prime Minister regarding the UK’s response to the coronavirus crisis, we are asking leisure boaters to stop all non-essential travel. As a result, and to help those who live-aboard (along with those who would need to travel to their boat in order to move it) we are suspending the requirement to move every 14 days. The suspension will be kept under review in line with revised government guidance, applying initially until 14 April.
 
We ask everyone to be considerate and make sure at least a minimal amount of essential movement is maintained to keep vital boater facilities and services accessible to those that need them. We will continue to maintain boater facilities and pump out cards are available from our online shop. (We will be urgently reviewing the implications for face-to-face sale of pump out cards and facilities keys from our public offices). 
  
Please click here for the latest updates to our Frequently Asked Questions and up to date advice on where to get support.
 
Colleagues whose roles are critical to the safe management of the waterways, for example those managing water levels, those carrying out statutory inspections of canal structures, ensuring essential facilities for boaters are available etc will continue their day to day work. 
 
We will be doing whatever we can to support our customers and protect the waterways so we can return to enjoying them fully when the crisis is over. We will keep the situation under active review and update you in line with changing circumstances and guidance.
 
Thank you for your patience and forbearance and please stay safe during these unprecedented times.
 
Richard Parry
Chief Executive
Canal & River Trust

So from now until further notice we will only move for water and shopping. We’ll try to combine the two. Tilly will have to adapt too, rationing of the outside may have to be brought in.

Tilly trying not to use this outside up

Stay safe, stay well, stay at home my friends.

1 lock, 0.83 miles, 2 winds, 1 determined theatre company, 2 unnerved boaters, 1 set of covers that can wait, 1 pound, 3 water points to choose from, 1 town for shops, 2 Dreamies not 4, 1 pongy mooring, 1 country on lock down.

It's Busy Out There. 22nd March

Calverley Bridge to not quite Cholmondeston Winding Hole

The sun shone into the boat this morning, a proper spring day. Tilly found a spot on the sofa to recharge her solar and benefit from the warmth from the stove at the same time whilst we had breakfast and made ready to set off, our current plan still to head northwards.

One warm cat

I stayed at the bow after pushing off and waved to Mick at the helm. Three fishermen had set up, naturally spaced out along the towpath, a good social distance apart. We all said hello and chatted away, they hoped we’d stir up the bottom which might encourage the fish. We said we’d be back in a short while so could do a touch more stirring up for them.

Oleanna’s still smiling despite everything

Two chaps walked the towpath dodging the muddy spots. We were jokingly accused of stock piling coal, six bags isn’t much, it’ll last us a couple of weeks maybe a little more if the weather warms up.

We winded above Bunbury and returned past the fishermen and pulled in at Calverley services. Here we topped up with water, emptied the yellow water, kept our distance from a family loading up their boat, disposed of rubbish, watered the plants. Mick had a glove on one hand, this was the only hand that touched anything on land. Gloves, we’ve decided, are there to help us remember not to touch our faces, the boat if possible and as soon as finished with, to wash our hands.

Bunbury

By now the canal was busy, the busiest we’ve seen it in months. A steady stream of boats came towards us as we headed to Barbridge Junction. As we approached the Branch I stood at the bow as advance lookout, nobody was coming so we turned in without incident.

Slowly past all the moored boats, back on very familiar water. The new, to us, water point above Cholmondeston Lock had a prime visitor mooring by it. If moored the right way round our hose would reach the tap without having to move. But we carried on to the lock, preferring to get further away from the railway and the pack of dogs barking at someone’s house.

A chap appeared at the lock, it was in our favour and he waved us on opening up the top gate for us. I left him to close the gate and I lifted the bottom paddles to empty the lock. They were out from the marina to enjoy the sunshine, I think a lot of others were too.

Venitian Marina

Venetian Marina café had a window open to serve take away bacon butties, the smell was enticing. We pootled along to find a space with a view planning to stop short of the picnic benches so our solar panels could be put to work.

I could see quite a distance, a zoom in with the camera showed there were at least two boats at the barbeque mooring and boats were moored at regular intervals along the towpath. It’s a popular mooring but we hadn’t expected it to be so busy.

Some folk on their boats chatted away, others kept their heads down so as to have no social contact, others coughed!

We pulled in leaving a boat length in front and behind us, this would do us for today.

Busy

Whilst Tilly explored the fields and trotted off down the towpath to find better trees we settled down inside. I suspect today would have been the first afternoon to get the chairs out on the towpath, but with quite a few walkers about we decided against it.

Busy
BUSY!!!

Instead Mrs Brown, the film, had our attention. A roast chicken was popped in the oven and we scanned the news and social media. We thought it was busy round here, but on the whole everyone was able to keep their distances.

Hi

However at the coast crowds filled the beaches, Scarborough was full and the A64 almost as busy as it would normally be on a bank holiday weekend by all accounts. Maybe people thought it’s a lovely day, lets have one last day together before we can’t for a while. I understand the sentiment, but REALLY!!!

Sunset

1 lock, 5.04 miles, 1 wind, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 3 gloves, 1 left, 3 fishermen, 12 boats, 1 family picnic, 4 hours, 1 extra hour taken! 1 cat too busy to come home, 1 roast chicken, 20 handwashes, 1 bottle of Milton, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval, 56748 enjoying the sun together!

Nice To See You. 21st March

Nantwich to Calverley Bridge 104

Late last night there was a lady on a facebook group having difficulty getting medication delivered to her boat somewhere in Nantwich. The pharmacy couldn’t deliver and local taxis wouldn’t due to insurance. We could easily help, so I left her a comment and message. This morning my phone was turned on early, but there was no reply. Still no reply as we had our cuppa in bed. Mick headed off on a bike into town for our Saturday newspaper and hopefully the few bits we’d not managed to get yesterday. There was still no reply by the time he’d finished. Hopefully she succeeded by other means.

A crow picking up Mick’s hair.

Mick had wizzed round the shops this morning and returned with a box of white and a box of red amongst other things, but still no rice to be had. We finished breakfast made cuppas and settled down at 10am infront of the laptop.

Duncan, Mick’s nephew had set up a video call for the family this morning. Gradually at 10am people joined the meeting, only one absentee today. Wiltshire, Lewisham, Sheffield, Eastbourne, Nantwich, Littleborough, Helensburgh and Dhaka, Bangladesh were all connected. Sadly Richard in Dhaka didn’t have enough bandwidth to have a picture, but he did manage to hear every seventh word people were saying and at one point we could hear the local call to prayer.

Curtesy of Duncan

It was lovely to see everyone and hear what people were up to in the confines of their homes, a good catch up and I suspect the first of many.

Padded trousers were needed for cruising, the air not quite warm enough without the sun today. We pushed off just before 11 passing two boats at the water point, our washing machine whizzing round, we’ll fill up tomorrow at Calveley.

Two years ago we got to know this stretch quite well. We knew where the Kingfishers used to hang out, but sadly they didn’t show us their wings today. We kept our eyes open for landmarks. The green double decker bus. The long line of high rise cars on the hill shortly before Hurleston Junction. But hang on! Where was the killer bunny? Psycho Peter Rabbit couldn’t be seen.

The bus

Just on the other side of the A51 is Snugburys a very good chilled medication establishment. In one of the farms fields they have straw sculptures the last one we’d seen was Peter Rabbit who towered above everything. But he is long since gone, I believe a bee is now in his place, sadly not visible from the canal.

Hurleston Bottom Lock

At Bridge 97 we arrived at Hurleston Junction the start of the Llangollen Canal. Barriers on the bridge stop you from walking up the flight at the moment as this is where the bottom lock has been rebuilt. We were a touch surprised to see that the lock was full of water, the bottom gates leaking and giving it away. The flight isn’t due to reopen for another week which is a shame as we’ll most probably be elsewhere by then.

Gordon and Dawn

All of a sudden a chap shouted out to us, recognising our boat name. We slowed to say hello. He soon told us that he also has a Finesse boat, NB Sonoma. Due to the battery delays on Oleanna our boats were being finished at similar times in Sheffield three years ago. We ended up having quite a long chat, all at a very safe distance. It was very nice to meet you Gordon and Dawn. I hope you get to do some cruising this summer and maybe our paths will cross again in more settled times.

Fairies
Extension finished

Onwards to Barbridge, the fairies still at the bottom of a garden and the new extension that was being built two years ago now completed. There were very few boats along the moorings here, the pub had lights on but was obviously empty. A new patch of gravel on the towpath by a sluice suggested where an emergency repair had happened a few weeks ago.

The recent repair

At the junction we were too busy looking at the new houses to beep our horn, so was a hire boat about to turn out from the Middlewich Branch. We spotted them first and Oleanna was brought to a halt, a near miss averted. There was then a bit of polite, you go first, no you go first. They went first and we held our position against the growing wind.

A near miss

On we pootled, more building sites cordoned off on the off side. The hire boat pulled in to scramble up the bank to the garage. We pulled in onto the 48hr moorings just past bridge 104. There was space for two boats, so we pulled up to the boat in front should anyone else arrive. We were now in the right place to meet up with NB Halsall.

The new houses at Barbridge Junction

Quite a few dog walkers and fishermen came past all with a cheery wave and nod of hello. We may all be keeping our distance but we can still say hello. I had a catch up with my brother and Josh in London. Jac is due to fly back from Australia in a weeks time and they are trying to decide how she should be quarantined. Should the whole house , all three of them be quarantined? Or should Jac be kept in the garden/tree room for 14 days keeping the back yard as a buffer between them all? Here’s hoping she can get home.

Mid afternoon Oleanna did a little bob, was Bunbury staircase being filled? About half an hour later the familiar blue and white bow of NB Halsall came into view slowing ready to pull alongside.

Here they are

Diesel tank topped up (83p), five bags of coal and as this morning we’d finished a gas bottle we replaced that too giving us three full bottles. So we just need to top up with water and we are good again. We arranged to pay by bank transfer as we still have their details from two years ago, this saves passing money around.

I always say hello to Buddy when we pass this boat

Lee was able to give us a bit of local knowledge regarding the Anderton Boat lift and the current situation on the Macclesfield Canal at Marple. Up there they are still waiting for results from a ground survey, but the thought is that unless something serious is found the navigation should be reopen in three to four weeks. We’ll put our thinking caps on and wait to see if it’s good news next week or not.

Tilly had to be reminded that Halsall wasn’t her boat as the bow came close enough to the towpath for a calculated leap. But it looked so interesting on there. Far more interesting than Olea-boring-anna!

Thank you Lee and Roberta

We waved Lee and Roberta goodbye, although we’ll be passing them tomorrow as they will be waiting for a delivery that has been slightly delayed. Then they are likely to pass us on their route eastwards.

0 locks, 5.23 miles, 3 straights, 2 boxes wine, 4 asked for, 1 newspaper, 0.5 of a tree gone (so Frank says!), 1 shared ring, 34 litres, 1 gas bottle, 100kg excel, 1 near stowaway, 12 turkey meatballs, No 6.

Fusilli. 20th March

Nantwich

A shopping list was drawn up over breakfast with what we’d like to get from the shops. A Brompton bike and bags at the ready we walked into Nantwich to see what we’d find.

The arms houses are so pretty on a sunny day

Up on the embankment people kept their distance from each other. With less traffic on the road than normal it wasn’t necessary to press buttons at crossings. It being the last day of school, teenagers stood outside Malbank High School puffing away on cigarettes, we kept a wide berth as they enjoyed their nicotine.

Cafes open today, but not tomorrow

Town wasn’t as quiet as we thought it would be, mostly older people doing their shopping. Each bench around the war memorial had only one person sat on them.

Butchers

We headed for Pepper Street. Here an older lady jokingly warned friends she had the lurgy and to keep away! Then proceeded to stand close and have a good natter, this Social Distancing is going to take some people a while to get the hang of!

Now which one?

H. Clewlow Butchers had their display of pies in the window as usual. Mick made his choice then went inside, returning with a pie, a chicken and some frozen gluten free sausages.

Bread shopping

Next it was Chatwins for a loaf of bread. All these items a touch more expensive than if we’d got them at Morrisons, but at least we were supporting local shops.

Now a self scan shop

Holland and Barrett next to see what gluten free flours they had. Sorghum flour is out of stock everywhere I look on the internet, I knew they wouldn’t have any but I did manage to get some brown rice flour which should keep my sourdough starter happy, that’s if it can cope with a change of food. Here I was invited by the shop assistant to scan my own items, he just had to press buttons on the till.

Then to Morrisons. Fruit and veg seemed fairly well stocked the potatoes a touch depleted, but round in the next isle was a different story. Booze, only sweet or expensive wine left. We’re fine for now.

Down every isle the shelves were being restocked, the sound of boxes and plastic wrapping being cut away. Anti-bac handwash was going out on the shelves so we picked one of them up, we use this normally. Shampoo, meat and mustard were the new isles to be empty.

I’m glad I was brought up cooking and able to look at what was left on shelves and know we’d be eating tasty things for the next few days. Most things on our list were covered now just a few exemptions, so whilst Mick sorted the bike out I headed to Aldi.

The view from bridge 92

A shop assistant was astounded at the amount of frozen ham and pineapple pizzas they were getting through. Then a chap asked why the booze isle was empty. The manager explained that until there are more drivers they are restricted to one delivery to the store a day and she was ordering nappies and pasta rather than booze. Next week things would be restocked, but for now Nantwich would be a sober place to be.

Heading back towards the boat we stopped at B&M where Tilly’s cat food filled the shelves. £2.99 each of 3 for £10! I got one, she now has supplies for a month. I have to say I never thought I’d be buying free range eggs at Home Bargains.

Strange place to hide your pasta stash

After lunch we walked over to the bins at the services. Mick spotted in the skip a new unopened bag of Fusilli pasta with a date on it. What was this doing here? The only pasta in Nantwich. If I wasn’t gluten free we’d have had it, but left it for someone else to find.

NB Halsall had been due in Nantwich over the next few days and Mick had sent in an order. However they have had to change their schedule due to deliveries to them being altered. We tried working out where we might meet them, considered getting a bag of coal from the chandlers here. In the end we checked if they would still have enough stock for us if we met them at Calverley tomorrow, rendez vous arranged.

As Mick had a towpath haircut Tilly tried her paw at catching squirrels at the bottom of the embankment. It really isn’t fare! They jump from tree to tree without doing any calculations, its as if Isaac Newton never existed!

 

Us

Then we sat down to watch todays press conference. Life is different and will stay this way for sometime. Our summer plans of catching up with people in Yorkshire will not happen, we’ll still venture north as C&RT say they have no plans on closing the navigation. Emails full of photos will be sent to those we’ll no longer be able to see. The camera and microphone are now working on the laptop and tomorrow there is a planned get together of Mick’s family on Zoom. I suspect we’ll end up seeing more of each other over the next few months than normal.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1st chiffchaffs, 4 shopping bags, 1 laden bike, 0 porridge, 0 wine, 1 coal boat rendez vous, 1 bag of pasta, 1 shaved head, 1 speedy squirrel.

Pigs Not Ponytails. 19th March

Coole Pilote to Nantwich Aqueduct

Over the last couple of days we’ve been discussing whether we should wear gloves whilst working locks now. Apart from when we venture to the shops this is when we might be in contact with the virus. So far I haven’t bothered, making a mental note of what I touch when back on the boat and giving those places and my windlass a wipe down.

Shhhh!

Mick however today decided that he’d wear gloves to protect others as well as himself. Doing so makes you a touch more aware of what you touch. He wore his rubber coated gloves and I pulled out a disposable pair for working our way down Hack Green Locks.

Bstruction

I’ve also changed how I tie my hair up. A ponytail doesn’t quite keep it all away from my face when working locks and this gets quite annoying when you are trying to avoid touching your face! So today I decided to revert to pigtails. All good so far, except my hat doesn’t quite sit on top of them.

A few boats had come past this morning and the lady from the boat behind us had been out for a walk with her dog and cat. We pushed off at nearly midday, well Tilly had been out finishing off her friends!

Tilly’s work of art from yesterday!

The communications mast from the Secret Bunker hid behind the trees for much of the mile to the locks. We wondered how much toilet roll was stashed away down there in the cold war and if it still might be there.

There’s the mast

Our new modus operandi for working the locks seemed to work well. That was until I spotted bedoingee lambs in the field alongside the locks and had to take a photo!

Baa!

My camera would now need a wipe down. One little lamb obliged when a bedoing was requested and both Mick and I bounced up and down to keep it company.

Over kill maybe, or better safe than sorry

The locks were easy work, followed by wiping things down and disposing of gloves. I think the top of the cabin sides of Oleanna will end up being very clean at this rate.

A zoom in to the hill tops just in view confirmed that we could see Mow Cop on the horizon a familiar sight from the Trent and Mersey and Macclesfield Canals.

Mow Cop

Then a dart of blue, quickly followed by another! Two Kingfishers sprinted ahead of us. We kept our eyes glued to where we thought they might have landed. The camera worked overtime pointing in their general direction and I was lucky to get one reasonable shot with the two of them. I wonder if they were by their nest as it’s now breeding season.

Two in one photo!

We pootled along soon reaching the outskirts of Nantwich. A long line of boats greeted us, did this mean the embankment was full? No it meant the usual boats that stay in one place for a fortnight were doing just that, close to a bridge and away from visitor moorings.

Jellicoe

Along the first stretch of 2 day moorings we spotted Jellicoe the butty for NB Mountbatten. Here is a possible mooring for a supermarket delivery, but as none are available we decided to continue on towards the aqueduct. Last time we passed here NB Valerie was moored along the embankment. Today another green boat sat on the same mooring.

Nantwich Aqueduct

As we rounded the bend of the embankment we could see that there was plenty of space up ahead near the service block and the ramp down to the roads below. We crossed the aqueduct and found ourselves a place, furthest away from the road as possible.

Not so sure, it’s a bit dry round here!

Our shopping trip was put on hold until tomorrow when we’ll face others in the queues at the tills. So Tilly got to reacquaint herself with the hill we’re sat on. Too much footfall for her liking, but better than BUMingham.

Just need to stay on my toes here

During the afternoon I received an email that I really hadn’t expected. Dark Horse have decided to continue with The Garden. They don’t know when or if it will get to be seen by an audience, but want to continue as if it will be. So this afternoon I have scanned my drawings and emailed them off to my friend Graham for a quote. I will colour up the model and in April we’ll have a virtual production meeting via Zoom. Depending on when the show goes ahead will depend on how much I can achieve of my design as I’m not sure charity shops will be open for me to start collecting costumes.

Pink sky

Late afternoon the laptop was handed over to the IT department. It’s all very well arranging for meetings to take place over the internet, but you really need to have a working microphone and camera for such things. After an hour or so, both were working. Mick is now going to see if he can connect my camera up to the laptop at the same time so that I can walk people through the model more easily than with the laptop.

2 locks, 3.93 miles, 2 outsides, 0 friends, 4 muddy paws, again! 1 job to continue, 2 Kingfishers, 2 pairs gloves, 2 antibac wipes, 2 pigtails, 1 last of everything fresh stew, 1 sister-in-law in Australia, 6 weeks lock down in China starting to lift, 0 new measures here.

Paw Hygiene. 18th March

Cool Pilots, not that I’ve seen any!

Paw Hygiene

Tom cut into the bread She made yesterday.

Nice looking loaf

She seemed to be quite pleased with it, it looked a touch boring to me, no good crunchy bits at body temperature. She and Tom decided to have a cooked breakfast and with that I was told I had 8 and a half hours. Woo Hoo!! Brilliant!

Not enough meat for my liking

Blimey it’s squelchy this outside! Last night it had rained and it kept trying to today, but that didn’t matter I was too busy to notice. I decided I’d have a treat dingding too, so went off to see who was around in the sideways trees.

Look at that squelchyness

It took a while but I managed to have a first and second course for morning dingding, a snack late morning too. She wouldn’t let me stock pile though, I’m not allowed to bring friends home and not allowed to leave them on the roof for later, Pah! What happens if we tie up BUMingham again!?

This stretch was particularly good

Tom spent sometime trying to find the lady up our chimney. He took everything out of the stove. Cleaned the glass so much that it disappeared!

Look it’s gone!

Put the in/outy bit back together with the hope that he’d be able to tickle the lady out. He then prodded the big brush down from outside. That didn’t work either, so he tried the vacuum cleaner!

Will she come out of there?
No sign of her yet

Still nothing, he eventually lit the fire again. Either she’d vanished over night or Tom would smoke her out. At least she’s stopped whistling.

How did that happen?

She is very unhappy with my paw hygiene. I was told I had to come home every now and then to show myself, so I did, several times. I get some Dreamies too, which I just managed to squeeze into my tummy. Lets face it there’s always room for Dreamies.

I didn’t do that!

She blamed me for the table getting all dirty. She blamed me for making the cushions all muddy. She blamed me for a filthy floor.

Paw hygiene included between your toes apparently

Then when I sit down to have a good wash I’m instructed to make sure I wash between my toes and to sing a song whilst doing it. I’d rather recite poetry. The first verse is all you need though!

There are lots of things people are doing to try to keep busy. You can watch the stars now during the day. Listen to radio programmes from around the globe. Watch plays. Listen to folk music (you may have to join the group). Have a walk around art galleries whilst sitting down!

All my own work

I decided to create a painting. She wasn’t happy with that either! Little does she know I did one on the bathroom window too!

An hour before my curfew we all settled down in front of the stove to see what was to be said today on the TV. More about social distancing and kids not having to go to school anymore. Have to say I’m not doing too well on the social distancing bit, it is so hard as my friends are just far too tasty!

It’s dry under here

Having exhausted my friends and myself, I decided to take it easy for the rest of the day. She finished making a lasagne for their dingding. She was quite proud of it, all made from scratch. She says she doesn’t need pasta from the shops anymore. What she does need is flour that isn’t flour and that apparently is in short supply too.

Totally homemade

As much as my dingding smelt nice I was just a touch too full to enjoy it.

0 locks, 0 miles, 0 aviator shades, 2 boats gone, 3 friends, shhh it was 5 really, 1 long sideways tree, 1 squelchy outside, 0 lady up the chimney, 1 loaf bread, 1 lasagne, 15,000 and something in Ocado queue, 1 well deserved Mrs Tilly Stamp of Approval.