Saturday, 23 May 2020

Soil erosion

I recall learning about soil erosion in O level geography and these last few days we’ve experienced it first hand. The fields of the Lancashire moss will no doubt be empty soon after all this wind. Yesterday we walked to Burscough to do some shopping and it was probably like a trek across the Sahara Desert. It was like walking  through clouds of smoke.


After we bushed off most of the dust we attended a family picnic that Heather had organised. It was super, seeing everyone and at very respectable distances. The furthest apart were 480 miles. The closest we were was 4 miles away from Heather, 9 miles from Ada, 223miles from Edmund and 270 miles from Samantha.

Inside the boat has a considerable black coating. We’ve cleaned the kitchen surface & dinette table but are leaving the rest of the boat until the wind dies down after the weekend.

Last Saturday evening we had a huge fight at the marina that took hours to resolve. The family of swans who were nesting above Rufford Lock had decided to pop into the marina. Mute swans are hugely territorial and the male from here was obviously not having any of it. It was distressing to see the two of them with their necks twisted together & the dominant one had the other ones head under the water. Our neighbour went out in her kayak & managed to separate them both. The swan that surrendered swam off & was hiding under one of the jetties. I thought if the other lad decided to go after him he’d no doubt end up being killed. So armed with a couple of bath towels we set off to relocate him back out onto the canal. He let me pick him up and we put the towel over his head. He was SO heavy one of the other chaps took him off of me. In the morning we were all shocked to see just 5 cygnets in the nest, s0 John went for a stroll out onto the canal and found the huge family of 9 cygnets & both parents. So it appears they have been evicted from their home!!

Thursday we decided to take the grandchildren home on the boat. Canal and River Trust have said we can cruise short distances. To our delight we met our gorgeous swan family as we cruised.

There was a wonderful welcoming committee awaiting us at Tarleton, loads & loads of geese and their goslings. We were busily trying to get the school work done before Heather came to pick them up, but the geese were such a distraction!!

On one of our walks to school the kids decided they wanted to catch tadpoles with theirs hands. Needless to say, we were very late getting back to start lessons!!! Such fun.



And another day we were late for school because we stood ages looking at the lambs.

As some of the lock-down measures have been lifted we went to the park, on our way to school last Wednesday. We were up bright & early & the kids knew the moment anyone else arrived we’d have to leave. No one came so guess what? Late starting school yet again!!!


Most evenings before bed the kids like to have a game of tag, which helps nan & grandad keep fit too.

Monday, 11 May 2020

A huge family

If it hadn’t been for lockdown and having to stay at our winter mooring we wouldn’t have been able to watch the swans in the marina. They have built their nest, done their courtship dances and the female has sat for many weeks on the nest. Plus, we’ve been entertained by the male swan chasing the Canada geese. Now the NINE, yes 9, cygnets have hatched and today have gone for their first proper swim. They are so cute and we’ve sat most of today gazing at them.


The red thing in the swans photo just happens to be one of the boys toys, that ‘accidentally’ got thrown overboard & floated off and got stuck in the reeds. One of our neighbours managed to rescue the toy and return it to us.


Sadly this family of 6 coot chicks is now down to 4 and they seem to growing fast.


We had our longest stint of boarding boat school last week. We have walked to school everyday and were actually quite late some days!!

The tooth fairy has been rushed off her feet as Magnus lost one of his front teeth.

One morning we caught tadpoles in the canal and brought them back to the boat in a jam jar to get a really close look at them with a magnifying glass.


We them let them go by the rudder, where they swam around all day. However, they were nowhere to be seen the next morning.

We pulled up & bashed a good bit of young Himalayan balsam. The patch is quite impressive and we’re hoping some nettles, ferns & grass will grow this season.


As well as the school work from their individual time tables we’ve done lots boat chores, crafts & cooking too. The kids did just about all their own cutting out and sticking.

Nikita’s Canada goose collage. 


Magnus’ butterfly collage.

Lance’s mute swan collage.

Lance helping to fill the water tank.

My galley slaves.



Last Thursday we put up our bunting and pompoms ready to commemorate VE day and in the evening before the children went to bed we did the 20.00 clap/hoot for the key workers.

I have completed a shawl I started last year. I spun the black sparkly fibre (a gift from my friend Yvonne) and plied it with some purple. I didn’t have room on the bed to block it all in one go, so did it in two halves. 


Blocking really does reveal the lace pattern.

We are hoping the phasing in of normal life goes smoothly, so we don’t have to revert to a strict lock down again.

Friday, 24 April 2020

St George’s Day

Hope everyone had a great St George's Day yesterday. We had our bunting and flags up.

It was a gloriously hot and sunny day, ideal for picking dandelions for wine. We picked 1½lbs in no time at all with 5 pairs of hands and playing Frisbee at the same time.

Our boat boarding school has gone really well. Each day we’re up, dressed and walk to school. Our route is up the road & back down the tow path so they can have a good old run around before lessons start.


The school has sent a timetable to follow with the theme ‘minibeasts’. Magnus had to do a minibeast hunt and record his findings. 

All three of the kids took part.

John showed Nikita how to make coasters with his little nail loom. She’s become addicted to it and made several.


She dyed her white coasters with onion skins.


We made pizza for tea. Nikita made the dough from scratch.



Magnus prepared the toppings, using the sharp knife & the grater and didn’t loose any fingers.


Lance put the toppings on. It was the best pizza we’d all had.


We did a felt making session and they all worked really hard and their pictures were lovely.

One of Nikita’s teeth fell out.


The kids had a visit from the ducks


The children are home now for a few days and will be back at the weekend for a much longer stint, as Heather gets just one day off after her nights and then is back onto day shifts. Her district hospital and the main one at Preston have very few seriously ill people with Covid 19. Plus, Edmund’s part of the London Ambulance Service are experiencing less calls. All of which is wonderful news.

A very respectable distance from HRH

This morning we’ve been visited by the coots & their 5 chicks. There’s no sign of the cygnets yet and Mrs swan’s still on the nest.