Category Archives: Sculpture

Panto Postcard 2, 2023


My home for Saturday night was very comfortable. Rachel and Graham’s house I think dates back to the C17th. Flagstoned floors, steep spiraling staircase where crampons would be better than socks on the aged polished wooden treads and a natural posture of stooping an advantage to get through low doors. It was the bake house, the actual bakery out the back in another building. The front room was the shop, the worn flagstones suggesting it was popular. Shortly before Rachel and Graham bought the property it had been a restaurant, apparently very popular with Ronnie Barker. They have done extensive work on the building and what a wonderful place it is.

In an older part of Chippy

A very welcoming couple who insisted I had a cuppa and my breakfast with them, I could leave my bag whilst I headed off for the day and then pass the key onto Jo the Props lady who stays with them during panto.

The Dulux dog has taken over from Bagpuss

The S3 bus took me into Oxford for the day. I didn’t really want to walk too far due to my little toe still complaining, but I did want to enjoy a day doing something completely different to panto and make sure I had a good meal too.

One possibly for the Christmas list

First port of call Waterstones. I’ve been trying to find a copy of Dinner by Nagi Maehashi that had been the Jamie Oliver Cook Book Club book for October. Everything people have been making looks tasty, but I wanted to have a look and see how many of the recipes are gluten free adaptable before buying it. I didn’t find it, but got chance to look at other books that I can line up for my Christmas list.

A walk to the Ashmolean Museum. I know Mick and I visited here several years ago, but it required another look round. I headed for an exhibition on Kabuki prints.

Then headed upstairs to look at the paintings. Plenty of Mother and child scenes, followed by Baroque deaths.

Chiaroscuro shown off, some details away from the main subjects caught my eye, Isis and a statue of Satan. By the time I reached the Pre-Raphaelites and Pissarro paintings I realised I’d been here before, but a return visit was enjoyed. My favorite painting today was From Kolding Fjord, by Vilhelm Pter Kark Kyhn, 1876. So much open space and light.

My favourite

A walk round the covered market is always good, a couple of chilled medication retailers I considered trying out but decided something savoury first would be better. I headed over to Westgate, bought a new top but failed on buying yoghurt.

Now to find somewhere to eat. I’d spotted a Cosy Club on Cornmarket Street, the chain had been recommended for gluten free dishes. Time to try them out.

A glass of wine, very attentive staff who noted my intolerance and handed me a suitable menu. Thank goodness they had something I could eat other than chicken. Seabass with roasted new potatoes in a white wine sauce with leeks and peas. Very tasty. Followed by salted caramel and chocolate moose, even tastier! Sod all the calories, I deserved a lovely meal.

Oxford’s Cosy Club has only been open two weeks, maybe that’s why the staff were almost overly attentive. But it had a nice ambience and I’ll venture there again.

Sadly, or fortunately as I left so did the next bus heading for Chippy, I had an hour to kill. Only one thing for it, check on the levels of the Thames and the Oxford Canal. Plenty of room at the very end of the Oxford, one boat hanging off the end of the pontoon below Isis Lock, the water having some momentum. Two red lights flashed on the board at the lock, no-one would go down onto the Thames if they were sensible.

Back on the towpath

I walked along where Oleanna is quite often moored at this time of year, plenty of room opposite College Cruisers, then crossed over the footbridge to walk up through Jericho to wait for the next bus back, a nice boat fix in the dark.

Back in Chippy I picked up my bags and thanked Rachel and Graham for a lovely stay, then headed home, back across town to Suzannes. A blog to write, Mick to chat to on the phone and a glass of wine. A lovely day off.

Overnight I developed quite a sore throat. Most probably the cold that was heading around the panto company. Just incase, I did a covid test before having a shower. On drying my hair I took a look, two lines! The test I’d used had an expiry date of last week, I did another, this one in date and one that takes 30 minutes. However the second line only took five minutes to appear. Oh B********cks!

Seeing double twice

First thing inform Suzanne, I’d stay in my room as much as possible, ventilate my room and bathroom. Next inform Rachel and Graham who’d only the night before been saying how it was nice to have someone stay who was less likely to bring a lurgy into their house than an actor who stayed in the pub until all hours! Then the theatre.

The covid policy at Chippy this year is more about what not to do than what to do. You don’t have to do a test if you feel unwell. But if you do and you are positive then it’s 5 days at home, 5 days of not painting! Last year I’d had covid the week before starting painting, is this becoming a tradition?!

Mick asked if I wanted collecting and taking back to Scarborough. Yes it would be nice to be home, but he would then most likely get it and we’d have to keep our new lodger Annie from getting it too. So long as Suzanne and I thought we could work things so she didn’t catch it I’d rather stay put.

Breakfast in bed

So Monday became a day of breakfast in bed, chatting to Gemma, doing a sneaky shop to keep me going, mask on at all times in shops, narrowly avoiding an actor and Jo from the theatre. I’m more than likely to have caught it whilst at work, but I’m the only one who has tested.

In the evening I had a long chat with Tim who’s been making puppets for the show. He’d be doing some painting in my absence. Getting paint on things important, then hopefully when I return I can do the twiddly bits. He wasn’t too sure on the time scale he had. My opinion was not to rush things, take his time, check with me then hopefully I’d not be wanting to redo anything on my return.

Tuesday. My sore throat disappearing and a bag by the bed filling up with tissues, glad I’d been out to buy a box, but would one be enough!?

Scene painting via Whatsapp is a little bit odd, but at least I knew Tim would ask questions and I could see things first hand. I’d received a message from Imogen who’d been on placement with me the last two years, she’s now at college studying Theatre Design in Wales. She was back in Chippy this week, would I like another pair of hands? She didn’t know the situation, but soon did. At a zoomed production meeting it was agreed that she could come in on an evening and do some other jobs, marking out rostra ready for painting.

Knitting and watching

Wednesday, nose drying up now, but a second box of tissues was provided by Suzanne and left outside my door. Instructions for the days jobs were passed to Tim and Imogen via Whatsapp and Instagram. I got my knitting needles out as it was 1st November and I’m taking part in a knitting challenge to knit for 30 minutes a day during the month. Normally this wouldn’t be too hard, but with panto I thought it would be a challenge, thankfully I’d brought with me enough yarn for three pairs of socks. My hope is that by the end of 2023 I’ll have raised £1000 for Dementia Uk. The socks I’ll be knitting now are Christmas presents, so I’ll be donating myself, but if you’d like to make a donation please don’t hold back here’s the link!

Zenb Agile in with soup yum! Catching up on Bake off

Detectorists is keeping me amused as I knit away. This evening I added some quick cook pasta into half a pot of soup and made a rather nice dish. Shortly afterwards I felt my body lift, it had wanted some pasta, definite improvements happening.

Thursday. More knitting, A Christmas Special and onto the third series of Detectorists between messages regarding painting. Should things be sanded down between coats, thankfully not, I think if theatre paints required that I’d have given up scene painting years ago. A stool and new brushes arrived at the theatre and Suzanne and I managed to avoid being in the same air space for another day.

I spent sometime hunting round the internet for suitably sized clock hands. Clocks are important in Cinderella! Thankfully I found some of suitable lengths then passed them on to someone else to order and make work.

On the covid front I felt improved, although I seem to be getting tinnitus now and I’m not sure how long I will last before needing a sit down.

A flipping banana dog toy!

I felt the need for a canal fix today, so tuned into Heidi on The Pirate Boat. Well I thought I’d escaped the world of panto filled, with bananas, then Heidi headed to the back cabin to recount a ditty or two. Bonny, her rescue dog was playing, what with? Only a flipping banana! Did I spot Irene from NB Free Spirit in the background in the pub?

There she is in sunny Goole

Friday. Our car hires through Enterprise this year have meant that we have enough credit for a days hire, so Mick has hired a car for the day to head to see Oleanna and do an oil change. Sunny in Goole, still no new neighbour. The mattress to remeasure so that I can order us a new one, I’ve misplaced the last measurements he’d taken.

Somehow a scratch has appeared on the O of Oleanna. It’s near to a fender, but doesn’t look like that could have made such a scratch! If I was there I’d have given it a clean down and taken time to touch in the paint, hopefully saving us getting a rust patch over winter. But I’m not there and instructing Mick to do something about it …. well! He’s good with oil and cables. Here’s hoping I can get to it in the not too distant future.

That’s not good!

More knitting for me today and possibly a short walk to get some supplies in, I just need to avoid the roofers and Suzanne, oh and the rain!

Out on the canals this week the weather has been affecting some. Boats have been tied up hoping to avoid problems with Storm Ciaran. The River Trent has risen again, trapping many who’d been hoping to move to winter moorings or avoid winter stoppages, Newark Flood gates are closed again. On the Leicester Line some of the bank has been washed away during the high levels a couple of weeks ago, the pound is now drained and a notice has just come through with them hoping to be able to shore up the towpath to allow passage again, update due next week.

The webcam in York, the River Ouse is quite full!

But in Wigan boats are on the move again. After our friends on NB That’s It got just over halfway up the flight about seven weeks ago, only to be turned round due to a blown cill, the flight reopened this Tuesday. Paul the boat mover was one of the boats down the flight on Tuesday and plenty more have followed in the following days. The winter stoppages on the flight have been postponed for another week to help with boat movements, just hope the cill that looks like it’s in trouble at lock 70 hangs on for a while longer!

Here’s hoping everyone stays safe, afloat and gets to where they need to be soon. And here’s hoping I can get back up to speed on panto quickly!

Lock Spotting. 9th January


1.63m up by 8cm from yesterday

The alarm went off early and Mick was up and on his way to the bus stop at 7am. The bus this morning was packed, standing room only, presumably overnight workers from East Midlands Airport. Picking up a van from Enterprise he then called in at Wickes. Here he bought several bags of coal as our stocks are starting to run low.

The parking at the mooring isn’t the easiest. Fulltime moorers have access through a gate, but Mick pulled in as close to the hedge as he could so as not to be in the way. As he off loaded the coal onto the roof he was handed items to head to Huddersfield, all the giant sized props, materials I wouldn’t be needing on the boat etc.

Skips heading to somewhere else by road

As we passed by the Clock Warehouse we could see that the skip boats were being craned out onto lorries in the pub car park. The narrowboat that had been by the pub had moved over to the water point, by the end of the day they had moved back across once the skips had been taken away.


The journey northwards was pretty horrid with almost constant rain and spray on the roads. A quick pull in to get something for lunch and we were soon pulling up close to the Piazza in Huddersfield where Dark Horse rehearse.

4E of the Huddersfield Narrow is just round the corner

I stayed to do costume fittings whilst Mick drove to Sewerby Bridge. Close to Tuel Lane Lock is a company called JC Joel. They provide and make drapes and fabrics for the entertainment industry. Mick was here to pick up a roll of dance floor which is suitable for painting with the right additives in the paint. The existing flooring for #unit21 was cheap vinyl (I had a limited budget) and had already torn before it was laid last year, it certainly wouldn’t survive a tour to five venues.

Lunchtime conversation

Back in Huddersfield I tried overalls on two of the actors. Down Syndrome people tend to have short limbs so there was a lot of pinning up and a few nips and tucks on shoulders to do, the overalls are meant for builders not 4ft actors after all.

After lunch Amy (Director) and I went through the props I’d brought with me and those that had been delivered. The giant mug had it’s handle added and was immediately tried out by Amy for weight. Then Alice was called over to check she could easily lift it on her own to take a swig of tea. All worked well. The remaining covering will get added on another visit in a couple of weeks time.

The Piazza was a shopping centre and has been ear marked for sometime to be redeveloped. The shops have gradually been moving out and the empty units have been used temporarily by art groups like Dark Horse. One large unit runs an art workspace for children, their windows always have something fun to look at. Another window showed off a giant cardboard sculpture of Bob Marley, brilliant.

Temporary Contemporary shop was the Chemists, Dark Horse behind the orange doors on the right

I took a little time to work out which shop had been used for the chemists in Happy Valley. Now a gallery with anaglypta on its walls. As the scene moved away from the shop you can see animal heads in the window of the children’s workspace, I think the scene was filmed around February last year as I have photos of the animal heads.

Last years display

Mick returned with the van and flooring. Two of the actors came out to look after the van whilst Mick and I struggled to move the large roll. A lovely chap offered to assist, then Amy came out to help too. We managed to get it into the unit, I’ll be needing some assistance to move it about when I cut it to length in a few weeks time.

The lower deck of the M1 going over the Sheffield and Tinsley Locks

A pause in Sheffield to visit Hobbycraft for a few bits then we headed for the Co-op in Castle Donnington to see what they had to offer before returning to the boat. Costume returns were organised, parcelled up and labelled for the morning.

Quite a busy day in Yorkshire.

0 locks, 6 locks spotted, 0 miles, 1 van, 191 miles, 2 overalls to shrink, 1 spare pair to make bigger, 3 braces tabs, 1 big swig of tea, 3 £1 books, £600 worth of floor, 2 near hernias, 1 new sandwich flavour, 1 location, 3 pairs trainers, 1 pair cycling shorts, 1 cat pleased to see us home, 12 sad git sausages, 2 sad git punnets of blueberries, 1 sad git gluten free loaf, 1 emptier boat.

Sky, Family, Design, Dishoom, 40th. 8th August


The alarm was set and we were breakfasted, none boating clothes on and walking to the station by 8:20am. Mick had forgotten to bring with him a mask so did a quick dash into Tescos. Then we were on our way to London for the day.

The birthday girl

A tube ride and a short walk brought us to the Walkie Talkie building where we joined the queue to head up to the Sky Garden. After security checks we zipped up to the 35th floor to join Marion, John and most importantly Fran, Mick’s niece who turns 40 tomorrow.

The first section of the viewing gallery really needs a good window wash as dribbles disturb the view across the river. What a view it was! My photos don’t do it justice.

360 degrees of London, all of it.

We paused for a sit down and a young lad was asking his mum what a flower in the garden was, a large yellow lavish affair with bright red stamen. She didn’t know and was suggesting they took a photo and found out later. My app came in handy and we discovered it was a Ginger Lily, the little lad was very pleased.

Fran, Kath and John

Next was a recce of Borough Street Market where we met up with Kath another sibling of Mick’s. A sit down whilst we considered what to have for lunch meant we had to have a drink!

The Wheatsheaf came up trumps with one of Mick’s old favourites, Young’s Original. They also had a couple of gluten free beers to choose from.


Fran and I had our eyes on the paella with giant langoustine, although the chap in front managed to get the last one! Mick and Kath had huge salt beef sandwiches, whilst Marion and John had empanadas.

A saunter along the south bank followed as we’d need to work off lunch. Mick pointed out YET again which buildings he used to work in along the river, along with all the pubs that he used to frequent when he was a yuppy!

Crossing the river

Across the wibbley Millennium Bridge towards St Pauls to catch the tube out to High Street Kensington and The Design Museum.

Lots of things

A cuppa and a sit down before some headed off to look round the Football: Designing the beautiful game exhibition, Kath headed into Holland Park to people watch whilst Mick and I looked round the rest of the displays.

Bethany Williams is a fashion and textile designer. She reuses waste in her work and involves communities. Several items were made from tents that had been abandoned at festivals, others are overprinted with bright bold designs.

Scrubb fabric

She was one of the three designers who in 2020 founded the EDN (Emergency Designer Network). Using their knowledge of textile manufacturing they created a network that galvanised over 200 UK volunteers who made approximately 12,000 scrubs, 100,000 masks and 4,000 gowns for frontline staff. They created their own pattern for ease of manufacture, had factories cut out the fabric and assembled kits for them to be made up.


The top floor houses an exhibition called Designer Maker User. Here items are displayed to illustrate how important each element of their creation is, whether it be design for a wonderful looking item or a user suggesting an item should be a certain size, each stage is as important as each other. Chairs, Telephones, logos, all sorts of things.

Time for another sit down in another pub The Prince of Wales where we all congregated and refreshed ourselves before crossing the road to eat at Dishoom. Here we were joined by Richard (Fran’s brother), Christine and Paul, leaving only one of Fran’s Aunts missing Anne who is currently with grandchildren in Wales.

Marion, Paul, Richard, Fran, Christine, John

Dishoom is a chain of restaurants based on the old Irani Cafes of Bombay. They serve breakfast, chai, lunch and evening meals. Here the restaurant is based in the old Barkers Department store, 1930’s decor surrounded us. For every meal they serve they donate one to a child who would otherwise go hungry. So far they’ve donated 13 million meals.

The menu took a little bit to understand as the dishes don’t tend to be quite the size of your normal Indian restaurant, so you are encouraged to order a couple each. There was a good gluten free menu, from which Mick and I chose a good selection. At the other end of the table a Lamb Biryani with a pastry crust resembled a cow pie.

Kulfi is always pointy

Paneer Tikka, Chicken Ruby, Bowl of Greens, Steamed rice, a roti for Mick and Kala Chana Salad, all very very tasty. I may have to put the Dishoom cookery book on my Christmas list. Oh and some Indian Chilled Medication of the mango variety.

A very lovely day to celebrate Fran’s 40th birthday, thank you for inviting us.

A little bit of hope on the board

We made our way back to Kings Cross believing there to be a train every half hour back to Ely. But two disruptions had occurred earlier in the day with overhead power lines so the departure board looked a touch discouraging with cancellations and delayed trains. We toyed with going to Liverpool Street Station for a train which would get us to at least Cambridge, but then the board changed showing a slow train to Cambridge. A later train was still showing as heading through Ely an hour later. We boarded the stopping service and hoped the later train would still run so we could change trains at Cambridge. We were fortunate that our plan worked, arriving back in Ely just gone midnight. Tilly was very pleased to see us even though we’d left her with her magic food bowl.


0 locks, 0 miles, 3 trains, 3 tubes, 7 miles walked, 3 out of 4 aunts, 1 uncle, 1 nephew, 1 40 year old niece, 1 very lovely day with family, 1 Indian chilled medication.

Topping Up At Jesus. 24th June

Fort St George to Waterbeach GOBA Mooring

Jesus Lock and weir

Another night of fireworks and music into the early hours, thankfully the fair shuts down promptly and we didn’t get too much footfall past Oleanna afterwards. This morning it was very much time to move on, we’d stayed an extra night and had only just managed to tick off the top things on our list. We may need to return as there is the Fitzwilliam Museum and a David Hockney exhibition to go to amongst other things, oh and some more chilled medication needs sampling!

Booze from a punt

A top up shop was needed from the nearby Co-op, once this was stowed we pushed off and headed up towards Jesus Lock to do the necessaries, water and yellow water. We’d been pipped to the post by a hire boat, so we waited and watched the daily trip by the chaps with a bar on a punt, two fridges packed with beers, Pimms and Gin and tonic.

Once we’d finished our chores we pushed Cambridge away, winded and headed down stream. Novice crews sat in rowing boats being shown how to move their oars. The fair had it’s shutters down, resting before a busy Friday night. Tilly took up position on top of our washing that had been drying under the pram cover.

Heading downstream was that bit quicker. We swapped sides by Fen Ditton, the moorings at the pub filled with the two local hire boats. Cormorants sat drying their wings, they just look so evil to me!

Going down Baits Bite Lock

Baits Bite Lock was in our favour so we just slid in and I stepped off, closing the guillotine gate behind Oleanna and then lifting the bottom paddle to empty the chamber. If you are coming to Cambridge in the next few months it looks like there will be a sculpture trail along the river bank which might be worth keeping an eye out for.

There was space where we’d moored at Clayhithe but we hoped for a space at the GOBA mooring where we’d met NB Cleddau last weekend. As we approached we could see one, then two narrowboats and a cruiser. We knew you could fit three narrowboats along the mooring so Mick called out to the chap in the middle to see if he’d mind nudging up. He pulled back, the chap from the cruiser in front came and took a rope from the bow then hammered in a spike for us at the front as the bank was very uneven to get off with any ease. Brilliant we’d got a space, just a shame it was going to be too windy to have a barbeque!

Might there be enough space for us?

Shortly after we’d moored up, Tilly was allowed out. The covers on the boat next door look interesting so she needed to be discouraged in her calculations. Then the smell of the woofer next door brought her inside, just as I was putting down the covers. I heard a sploshing noise, had Tilly fallen overboard? Had she tried jumping onto our cratch cover and fallen in? I looked round, no sign of her in the water, maybe she was under the hull? But there were no ripples in the water. I turned round to see her standing in the doorway Some people have no faith! It was the water tank overflow, even I knew that! But what was more worrying was the two Toms heading straight for us aided by their big blue sheet!

Beware Toms with sheets

Once Tilly had got past the flood bank we didn’t see her for the remainder of the day until DingDing time. I got on with writing up blog posts, it’s hard to find the time when there is so much to see and do, in fact I’m writing this post before the one before!

It smells of woofer!

1 lock, 5.92 miles, 4 meals planned, 1 full water tank, 1 empty yellow water tank, 1 wind, 1 windy day, 2 gaps made into 1, 1 swimmer, 1 Kamikaze dinghy, 1 Friday night roast chicken, 1 blog post still to write.

Harleys, Riots, Collars And A Double Agent. 26th May

The Swan On The River

Last night we’d checked at the pub if it would be okay to stay another day hooked up on the mooring making use of the full 48hours, this was fine. Washing was done, the boiler switched to electric for hot water, the electric kettle used rather than gas.

Claiming just outside the hatch as her own

Tilly was given shore leave with one extra rule, not to go near the railway! I was pretty sure there would be enough to keep her occupied close to the boat not to worry about that climbable tree across the railway lines. She got busy under the brambles between the boat and pub.

When she came back for a drink we closed the doors as it was our turn to head of and explore, with a shopping bag to stock up for a couple of days.

Looking down Main Street

Littleport. We expected a village, farming at it’s soul. Instead we found it to be confused as to it’s size, motorbikes, tailoring and a mass riot amongst the barbers and take aways.

Arum Lilys seem to be popular round here

Back in 1086 Litelport was worth 17,000 eels a year to the Abbots of Ely according to the Doomsday Book. King Canute is said to have founded the village after being given shelter by a fisherman who later was made mayor.

In May 1816 the whole country was struggling to recover from the Napoleonic War, many soldiers returned from the fight to food shortages and unemployment. Local men gathered at The Globe public inn (now one of the two Co-ops). Fuelled by drink their frustrations grew into a riot, shops and houses were broken into and the mass marched on Ely. The Militia were called in from Bury and when order was returned 5 men were hanged, many deported, just about every family on the village was affected.

Times remained hard, many started to move away including William Harley who moved to the USA, his son William Sylvester Harley the co-founder of Harley Davidson Motorcycles. There now stands a sculpture in front of St George’s Church, sadly another church kept locked.

St Georges

On the corner of Globe Lane and Main Street stands a rather grand building with high chimneys and a thatched roof. The only thing giving away it’s former identity is a rearing black horse on the ornate decoration. A former Lloyds Bank built in 1930.

Hope Brothers set up a factory in the village in 1881, three stories for shirt and collar making in White Hart Lane, formed by Thomas Peacock. Ten years later 300-400 women and children were employed, housing had been built for his staff along with a library and social club. During the 40’s and 50’s the company made the England football kit and by 1979 the factory became the home to Burberry.

The Library

There is also the tale of Eddie Chapman a British double agent who was flown to England by the Germans to monitor the effect of V-1 and V-2 bombs and rockets on London. His plane was rerouted over East Anglia where a British fighter fired upon them, Eddie bailing out and making it to ground near Apes Hall, Littleport before the plane was shot down.

We did some shopping at the larger of the two Co-ops and walked back to the river via the station. The Littleport Town Sign is carved from wood by Jeremy Turner. It depicts the history of the town/village. I so hope the area isn’t known for domestic abuse with large cleavers!

Then round the Boat Haven moorings and across someone’s garden to the river bank. Here we avoided the cow pats and didn’t come across the fabled Black Shuck, but then again it wasn’t a dark moonless night.

We were surrounded

The moorings had got busy whilst we were out, we were now the filling in a cruiser sandwich. We chatted to the chap from behind who’d wanted to fill with water across the way at the end of the EA mooring. However a hire boat was moored there and despite there being loads of space behind them they had refused to pull back to make room. We’d be needing water in the morning, if they haven’t left by then we’ll breast up to fill our tank.

A diddy engine

The afternoon it was time to do a touch more on my little project. Things were threaded onto wire and then given a layer or two of tissue paper and pva to make them more solid and hold things together. Still quite a bit to do.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 narrowboat sandwich, 1 slight altercation, 1 stainless steel Harley, 1 sneaked through garden, 1 union jack jacket, 24 hours on hook up, 7 cows, 1 cat, 1369 vampires.

Gormley Spotting. 15th May

The Boathouse

Today it was Mick’s turn to head northwards. Morning appointments mean it’s cheaper to travel the night before, although with train strikes on Sundays this makes trains across to Scarborough a touch awkward. But the advantage of a night in Scarborough is that today the grass would get cut along with a touch more gardening. If we were living in the house I’m sure we would be taking part in No Mow May, we do our bit for the pollinators elsewhere in the garden and it helps to make the house look loved, until it has grown another a foot!

I walked into town as Mick sped off on a bike. Half way there I realised that I would have to wait for the shops to open so I needed something else to keep me occupied.

Yesterday when checking out the sculptures I read about there being some Antony Gormley figures high above the Cathedral Square, so I went Gormley spotting.

Can you see him?

Places To Be was commissioned back in the 1980’s by Peterborough Development Corporation, it was originally on display at Monkstone House Offices but it got vandalised. The three figures were then moved to the water meadows where it lived for eight years, but sadly one of them lost their arms. Back in 2018 new arms were attached and the figures moved once more to be above Cathedral Square. They are about the future, looking forward, walking towards and embracing the future.

I had a clue as to where they were positioned, if you look up two of the figures are in plain sight, but the third one eluded me. I walked along most of the façade of the Queensgate Shopping centre where it was meant to be to no avail! But I had omitted to look behind me on exiting the shopping centre, the walking man is a little shy.

A visit to Clares for a stretchy head band, a check round M&S Foodhall for anything marked down in price that looked tasty, then I walked towards the station to Waitrose. This would be the only place in town for me to buy the yoghurt I like, got a few other bits too.


Back at the boat I was relieved that there were only two fishermen, so far. The stern doors were opened for Tilly and the cratch got a cat sized hole for ease of access should the stern not be reachable today. Tilly and I agreed that we didn’t want the same thing to happen today, the both of us left hoping she’d be able to get back to Oleanna in safety. It would also have been very unfair not to let her out, we just hoped our mooring didn’t become too popular once again.

The weather helped. In fact there was only really one group of teenagers who came to sit by the water today. They brought their music and loud voices and gradually moved into the woods as it started to rain.


The chap who likes test driving his rib arrived with his cruiser. I thought that now the basin would be full of petrol fumes and many waves as he practiced doing wheelies and going sideways. He pulled up behind us, stayed for twenty minutes and then pushed off, thank goodness!

Being inside on my own meant I could give the floor a good clean. It gets swept through quite frequently, but with muddy paws and shoes constantly traipsing through it gets bad. We like boating, not cleaning boats. The mop was so solid it needed a good half hours soak before I could wring it out. Everything was lifted off the floor, mats taken outside for a good bashing. I swept, hoovered and then gave it a really good wash. Then a second wash. A scrub on high traffic areas with a pan scrubber, another quick mop down before I left it all to dry.

Then out came the Method wooden floor cleaner. I’ve had this for years but have never had enough time on my own when the floor has been clean enough to warrant using it! The instructions said to squirt it onto the floor, then using a dry mop with long strokes to clean the floor. Well there was the mop on the roof, now wet with rain and not particularly clean. Then the mop I’d been using which was very wet. So I created my own mop like thing with the broom, a clean large cloth and some parcel tape. This worked very well and will, if I ever get round to it again, be repeated.

Of course soon as I was finished and stood back to admire the lovely clean floor, Tilly arrived through the cratch, straight through the boat with her wet muddy paws to her food bowl! Oh well I’d been proud of my efforts for a minute or two.

Who needs cat flaps!

At about 4:30pm Tilly decided that inside was a better place to be today. The doors remained open until gone 6, but she wasn’t interested. Outside remained quiet apart from our neighbour running his generator for half an hour. Out of interest is the 8pm to 8am rule applicable on EA waters too?

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trains, 2 lawns cut, 1 Christmas hedge trimmer put to good use, 2 Gormleys, 1 still to spot, 3 head bands, 2 pots yoghurt, 5 miles walked, 3 washes, 1 scrub, 2 cleans, 1 lovely clean wooden….. 64 muddy paw prints! 1 quieter day all round.

PLEASE go HOME! 14th May

The Boathouse

Conversations on the Geraghty zoom this morning were obviously going to be taken over to a certain extent by the news of a new member of the family this week. Mick is now a Great Uncle for the forth time, congratulations to Ruth, James, P and Daphne.

With the sun out and the temperature rising where we are moored was guaranteed to be a popular place. A group of youngsters arrived planning on a swim, all fine until they start peering into our home. Mick went out the back to adjust things making sure they knew someone was onboard, they moved round the basin to jump in elsewhere.

It was time for Mick to do the oil change, the one he was going to do when Oleanna went into Blue Water Marina in Thorne last November. The timing of it is just about correct with the engine hours, he’d just wanted to leave her over the winter with fresh lubrication. Overalls went on and the bow doors were opened for Tilly to be able to come and go as she pleased, today would be a sausage day.

Tilly whilst it was quiet

A rib turned up, another backed down the slipway into the water. Sunny weekend water fun was to be had by many. Groups turned up to socialise, smoke and for some to swim. During one gap Tilly made it back to the boat with ease, staked her claim on the wooden posts and rolled around, MINE! All mine!

Looks idyllic doesn’t it

With Mick in the engine bay I considered giving Oleanna a wash, but there were too many people about, instead I headed off to buy a newspaper. I could just walk to the Co-op on Thorpe Road but that would be boring, instead I’d head to the one on Oundle Road on the other side of the river. This would mean a good walk along the side of the rowing course and across Orton Lock.

A long straight route towards the river, lots of rowers speeding their way along the course, giant floating pomegranates marking the ends.

Under the Nene Parkway there was a great painting of a hand. Once I was under the bridge and had turned round there were several more quality pieces of graffiti art, some more accomplished than others. Then there were artworks created by school kids that had been printed onto banners and I’d passed several sculptures, quite an arty area.

Orton Lock was full with the top gates left open. Over the last few days notices have been put up by the EA requesting the locks should be left empty with the guillotine gates up, but someone obviously couldn’t be bothered emptying the lock. I walked over the weir across the Nene Valley Railway line and on through Orton Meadows, joined the fast world again before ducking into the wonderfully airconditioned Co-op.

NB Mushy P below the lock

A more relaxed shaded route through woods was found for my return to the river. The lock was full and NB Mushy P was just arriving to go up, out for a pootle making the most of a lovely day.

A quick search on Google suggested there would be a lot of sculptures along a path that ran parallel to the one I’d already walked. Some concrete pieces were nothing special, maybe one was even missing from it’s stand!

Then there were others that stood out. Little Prince by Jane Ackroyd. The Cormorant by Elizabeth Cooke was my favourite with a fish spine in it’s beak.

Festival Boat by Sokari Douglas Camp can be seen from the river glistening in the sunshine. Odd Oaks by Nicholas Pope now decaying and lying on their sides.

When I got back to the boat more people had arrived. A group with a rib were making quite a collection of glasses from the pub. At least two groups were jumping in and we had their music playing. Oleanna’s bow had revisited classics such as Abba and at the stern there was more beat than melody.

Still quite calm

Tilly had found a gap to return to Oleanna but around about 5pm she decided that she’d like another perusal around the trees, well within cat curfew she was allowed out, us grateful as tonight I’d unwisely decided to cook a roast chicken, so we were thankful that all doors could be open whilst the oven did it’s thing.

NB Mushy P returned nudging dangling legs out of the way.


6pm came and went, still no Tilly. The groups of loud people, music and splashes almost certainly putting her off making a dash back home. I walked round the nearby wooded area calling for her, hoping that she’d come to me so that I could pick her up and assist her back to the boat. There was no sight or sound.

As one group left another arrived, older men with more music all intent on jumping in.

An hour later Mick tried to find Tilly, still no sign.

I did a round of the wood, chatted to the chap from NB Mushy P who had returned, but still all the people about put her off.

Before our roast was ready someone arrived on a motorbike, they also had to jump in. Then revving of the engine followed.

We really don’t mind sharing the space and water with other people. The noise was a little bit too much at times, but they were all enjoying themselves. However all the time I kept willing them all to PLEASE go HOME! Then Tilly would return of her own accord, well that’s what we hoped.

The roast chicken was eaten, Mick did the washing up. Outside a game of football was had using a plastic bottle as a ball. Just P*ss off! And let my cat come home! Eventually people started to head off. The rib set off, leaving half a pubs worth of empty glasses behind. The motorbike revved itself away. Gradually the final music faded along with the chat and banter. Peace once more. It was 8:30.

Outside one fisherman cast his line into the basin. Mick started walking round. I opened up the land side of the cratch cover a little, big enough for a skinny cat, then did a more concerted walk round the wood. Mad cat woman was out and in full voice. I called and called, then listened for a reply. Nothing!

The only thing left to do was trust in Tilly to come home. The litter tray was put out the back in case she’d got lost and we settled down in front of the TV. An episode of Killing Eve did it’s best to keep us occupied, but all the time I had my ear listening for Tilly’s bell and her thug like sprint across the wooden decking by the mooring.

A little thud was heard at 9:15 as four white paws jumped onto the stern of Oleanna. Thank goodness!! The doors were closed straight away. Tilly headed straight for her food bowl she was starving. Half an hours extra shore leave had turned into over four hours. Thank goodness she is such a good boat cat, she’ll sleep well tonight.

0 locks, 0 miles, 5 walked, 1 oil change, 12mm play on belts, 752 people swimming, 5 cruisers, 32 glasses left, 1 hot day, 1 sculpture trail, 1 stranded cat, 2 concerned boaters, 1 pooh bucket swapped over, 1 failed deterrent, 2 final episodes Killing Eve, 4 white paws and 1 white tipped tail back safe and sound.