Sunday 24 April

Yesterday morning we walked Max into Waverton to collect the Saturday papers.   It was nice and sunny but cool. The rooftop of this canal-side house provided an excellent vantage point for this little chap.

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While in the village we treated ourselves to some chilled medication before heading back.

In the afternoon we had visitors who brought us a cake to go with a cup of tea.  Summer, Joseph, Marc & Laura called round on their way back from a drive out; Joseph’s first time on board and he slept through the whole experience.

This morning, while it was fine, we treated our gunwale rust patches with a coat of Kurust before applying a covering of black enamel three hours later.

We popped out to Waverton Village Hall between coats to see what their Table Top Sale had on offer.  We came away with some lovely books for Summer.

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After we’d eaten our evening meal, there was some commotion outside our bedroom window and Mummy and Daddy Duck had brought their brood of 12 ducklings to visit us.   They were using our tyre fender to clamber out of the canal onto dry land.

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Wednesday 20 April

Since we set off on our boat travels in 2013 I haven’t bothered much with my hair and Storm has been my stylist with the help of our Wahl clipper set.

For some time now Laura has been trying to persuade me to have it cut professionally again and as I’d grown it for James’ wedding, it was now ready for a cut and so today I took the plunge and visited Laura’s local salon.

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After that I went to Morrisons before returning to Laura’s to look after Joseph while she went for a rest.

In Morrisons there were two sea bass on the ‘reduced’ shelf for £2.50 and tonight we’re looking forward to enjoying the with some roasted Mediterranean vegetables.

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Tonight we spotted our first ducklings of the year as they came by  our open window.

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Monday, 18 April

As it was such a lovely sunny morning yesterday, Laura rang to invite us to join her, Marc & the children at Tattenhall Ice-cream Farm which is only a ten minute drive for us from the mooring.

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We timed our arrival to perfection as they were only two cars behind us in the queue for the car park.  We had a couple of hours of chasing and being chased by Summer who also enjoyed pretending to drive us round the farm on her yellow tractor.     We finished off with some chilled medication.

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Summer didn’t want to go home with Mummy and Daddy and asked if she could come to the boat.  After a silent exchange of looks with Mummy, I asked Summer if she’d like to come for lunch.  She was delighted and happily waved everyone else goodbye as she climbed into our car seat  which we have in our car for just such occasions.

She ate her lunch with gusto despite having polished off a huge chocolate ice-cream only an hour before, after which she demanded we play hide and seek.  She said that Dandad and Nanny had to hide and she’d count.  She counted to ten and then announced ‘coming ready not’.   Amazingly it wasn’t long before she found us and then it was her turn to hide.  This game lasted for about half an hour.  With an open plan boat the number of hiding places is extremely limited. We put up the bed that meant she could hide in it or under it, which improved the chances of not being found by 50%!

We then took Max for a walk before coming back to the boat where the best game was pretending that she was spraying us with water from the hose.

Today Marc went back to work after he’d dropped Summer off at nursery and I headed to Laura’s to help with Joseph.   He is such a good baby and apart from when he was being fed he either slept or spent time quietly looking around him in wonderment.    The midwife called at lunch time and she was happy with both of her charges.

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I left Laura’s just before Summer came home so that she would be able to tell her Mum what she’d been doing all day without being distracted.

Storm has spent the day pottering in the engine bay and attending to some rust spots on the roof.

Saturday 16 April

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Our usually quiet mooring was a hive of activity this morning as it was ‘crane day’.  Twice a year a crane is hired so that moorers can remove their boats from the canal for renovation or repair or return them to the water.  Fourteen boats were moved between 8am and 2pm today.

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Max and I accompanied the paper boy as he set out on his four mile walk into the village of Waverton to pick up the Saturday papers and some milk.   It was quite chilly but sunny as we set out and snow was visible on the distant Welsh hills (about seven miles away as the crow flies.)

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Beside the canal we came across this boundary marker  which, once it had been cleaned up by man with knife,  appears to celebrate some 100 year event.   On three sides it carries the name of local places, Foulk Stapleford, Hatton and Waverton and on the fourth side it gave the years 1894 – 1994 and on the top there is a north point.  Despite turning to Google for help we haven’t been able to discover the significance of the 100 years.

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On our way back we saw our first swallow of the year and this grey wagtail was busy looking for nesting material.

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This afternoon I made some bread  before sitting down with the papers and attempting the cryptic crossword while Storm did the general knowledge one.   The bread won’t last long!

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Thursday 14 April

Summer had asked to see us today as she’s been at nursery for the last three days.   She wanted us to take her to Soft Play as here she can run free and explore all the different areas.  After she’d said goodbye to Mum, Dad and Joseph she happily climbed into our car and we followed her instructions on how to get there.

Each time we go she manages to reach more as she grows taller and gains confidence.  Today was also the first time she was happy to stay in  Noddy’s car after she’d put the money in the slot and it sprang to life.

After more than an hour’s exertions of climbing, dancing, bouncing and building walls out of the plastic bricks, we were all flagging and headed back home so she could have some lunch and us a rest.

We returned to the boat after lunch and I finished my latest sewing project. This has been a joint effort as Laura had sewn the patches together some time ago and she asked if I could finish it off and so this week I’ve added the border, the piping, the padding and the backing before quilting the finished item.

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Yesterday we drove out to Upton on the Wirral peninsula to pick up a blue barrel.   This sounds fairly innocent but ever since we had our composting toilet installed two years ago, Storm has been keen to explore ways of creating compost as it soon became evident that it was going to take longer than the three months we were told  for the waste material, as we like to call it, to decompose.  We think it is safe to say that the claims made by the salesman were a little optimistic!

Until January this year with no permanent mooring, we would have had to have carried with us all our spoil, and by now we would have probably sunk under the weight of it all, metaphorically speaking while we waited for  the pathogens to die and for it to compost sufficiently to spread on the land.

Storm has spent a lot of time reading up about ‘humanure’ and has become quite obsessed with the science of this topic, even having visited NASA’s website to see how they dispose of their waste.

A familiar conversation amongst boaters usually revolves around whether one requires ‘pump out or has a cassette’ and when we say ‘neither’ this starts  a whole new discussion.

Storm’s research has also led him to look at vermiculture.  To you and I this means ‘WORMS’ .  It has also on one occasion led to the possibility of cooking said waste to dry it out.   I drew the line at this as having seen the series ‘Breaking Bad’, I had visions of visits from the UK equivalent of the DEA.

His plan at the moment is to adapt the barrel so that it can accommodate the worms who will do the work for him.

I am now hoping that Storm’s research has been thorough and that there are no unforeseen problems as I don’t relish trying to explain to the eight boaters moored behind us who need to pass close to our boat each day to reach their cars, what the ‘ nasty niff in the air’ might be!!

I’m being told I’m worrying unnecessarily – I really hope so!  At least the barrel has a lid that clamps on!

Storm’s latest plan requires some additional parts and so we still have a while to wait before we’ll know whether it’s a success and our next blog will probably be about quilting, or the antics of Joseph & Summer.

Monday, 11 April

Well after an anxious weekend we can now relax as Laura has been given the all clear today.

Laura rang us on Friday afternoon asking us to ‘come now’.   She didn’t want to alarm us but her left leg was very swollen and she needed to go to A&E as they suspected a blood clot.  This is one of the possible side effects of having a caesarian.

Storm took her to hospital while Marc and I stayed at home to look after the children.  After being given a blood thinning injection she came back home having been told to go back to A&E if she experienced any side effects.   There was quite a list of possible complications and Laura asked us to stay over just in case she needed to rush off.

Laura was asked to attend for a scan today where they would ensure that there was no blockage remaining.  With the danger averted, she has to continue with blood thinning injections for a few weeks and the midwife will continue to check her every other day.

We’re now staying on our mooring with phones fully charged just in case we need to make any more emergency dashes.   This means we have no excuse but to spend time doing the jobs that we put off when cruising.