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Friday, December 20, 2013

A stroll down the towpath

Hands up how many have made a Golden Ginger cake?  The title of this post came about when Jaq started her Christmas baking and rather than risk severe intoxication I decided a walk was needed. So leaving the strong smells of Grand Marnier soaking into cakes I took off along the towpath.

Having been out a few times recently and feeling no ill effects I just kept walking and ended up in Northchurch about two miles down the canal.
The beauty of this part of the Grand Union is that the bus and train routes are never too far away so not wishing to over stretch myself I went out to the main road and caught the bus back to the boat.

Spring is on it`s way. No frozen canals so far  but the good old UK weather could change at anytime so perhaps the buds should slow down a bit. Tomorrow is Winter Solstice the longest night of the year. From then on the daylight hours increase leading us brightly through spring into summer. So with the weather a bit mild, think back to frozen mid November canals, and longer days ahead things are not so bad.

Just down from Cow Roast  this scene caught my eye. I couldn`t just walk by so in the interests of  you.......ok I was being nosey. Just to the left is a former lockeepers cottage that has for sometime had problems with water seeping into the cellar through the lock chamber wall. Boaters have  for quite a long time been instructed to leave the lock empty of water after use to ease the problem. The water did drain away from the cellar via a gully but of course damp was a big problem. They are using a type of expanding foam that is pumped under pressure to varying depths where it comes in contact with water in the earth and blocks the route to the cellar. Looking at the markers they had put in the ground this would be a barrier stretching past the lock gates in either direction.

Just next to the lock is a field owned I believe by the lock cottage residents that contains two very well looked after Donkeys. They are very clean and have good weather proof accommodation
Notices on the fence ask people not to feed them but they always wander over if you put a hand through the fence. I suppose we all live in hope of a treat but all they got from me was a stroke and a smell of my hand.

Just a bit further on some fallen trees on the opposite bank had me salivating. I was in no condition to wield a chainsaw so all I could do was look. Funny thing was the picture I took has somehow disappeared from the album on the laptop. Perhaps someone is watching over me with a sympathetic eye and doesn`t want me to suffer the indignity of not being able to show you a pile of cut logs.

A bit further on I had the pleasure of a Kingfisher flying past and landing canal side and flying on after I passed. This it repeated three times till it flew over a lock and out of site.
Just by coincidence I came across a nature photography exhibition and amongst the exhibits were these amazing pictures of a kingfisher. The second Kingfisher referred to in the text can be seen perched on the right halfway down. The nest hole is top left.


Sue /Boatwif / nb Cleddau said...

We were the lucky recipients of one of Jaq's Golden Ginger cakes yesterday! Readers, it is to be recommended! Some friends tried it out last night - yummy approval from them too!
Thanks Jaq, it was extremely generous of you - and it will help make Christmas merry!
Sue /Boatwif / nb Cleddau

Jacquie said...

Glad your out and about sweetie, and enjoying all the wonders around you, maybe I should do the same too, now that Hatton has re-opened, there may be a few boats on the move. I bet your gagging to get to the helm and have a cruise, me too. How about a up to date photo, to see how Jaq is fattening you up, preferably one without the restraints !!! Hugs and kisses to you both. Jacquie xx

Ken and Sheena said...

Happy Solstice Jaq and Les. It's great to see you out and about again Les. Hope 2014 brings you both happiness.

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Sue,
I am happy it met with everyone's approval. It was a pleasure to bake for you and Ken. The extra ingredient not in the recipe: lots of love!

Anonymous said...

Great to hear you are up to 2 miles on your own. Good job you left the logs though, as the bus driver might have charged extra!

It is such a magical moment to see a kingfisher out on a walk! Charlie Hamilton James is a well-known and respected wildlife cameraman who has been involved with programme making for the BBC Natural History unit for many years. He has specialized in recent years filming kingfishers and otters. I've never met him but seen him appear in documentaries and he comes across as a really nice chap.

I hope you both have a peaceful Christmas afloat and look forward to hearing about more walks in the New Year.

Regards, Alistair

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs