January, slow January…

A Boatwif feels reluctant to compose a boat blog when there is a total absence of boating activity. 145 road miles and a three hour drive separates the Cleddau crew’s home base from Cleddau’s home mooring.

Periodically a phone pic arrives from Techno Son-in-Law, this  one  on an icy morning mid-January, evidence that Cleddau is still afloat.

Starved of even a sighting of a boat, a walk was programmed earlier this month past the farm pond where last spring a pretty little vessel had been discovered.    Alas, far from being high and dry (last May) now she is half sunk…

December was long past –  the stone lion gate guards which have been wearing surgical masks during lockdowns have shed their Santa hats now. Memories of Christmas present opening, watched via FaceTime from Cheshire  and from California,    have long since receded.

Once the January 5th wedding anniversary had been celebrated, once the Christmas decorations were taken down and packed away, alternative occupation was sought. For the Captain a little woodwork kept him busy – a hard frost early last winter had cracked a glass birdbath but could the supporting legs be useful? A scrap plank of hardwood was carefully measured, cut, glued, sanded and varnished – and a garden coffee table created.    “Looks as if it should be in a conservatory,” the Captain muttered, quietly proud of his achievement. “Pity we don’t have one…”

With Christmas twinkle long gone January yawned ahead as a grey month. From the stack of jigsaw puzzles Boatwif selected one which did at least feature some boats –  there is very little colour contrast in photographs taken in 1890 and the mass of white sky and grey rock made for time-consuming puzzling…

Memories stirred of these very places during a 1950s childhood. Not being quite old enough to have been around in 1890 (!) immersion in the sea from a bathing machine on a Tenby beach seems all the more tantalising…!

Back in the summer the Captain had fitted a flagpole at the front of the house. Occasionally he flies the (pretty) Bedfordshire flag;     on January 20th (USA Inauguration Day) the Stars and Stripes was flown  – and now, whenever there is news of another friend or acquaintance receiving the Covid-19 jab up goes the NHS Thanks / Diolch flag.

Lockdown walks continue – an app on the Captain’s phone records on steps and distance walked. Between 6th March and 14th December 1,000 miles had been walked within the Wootton parish boundary (plus 37 miles walked elsewhere during those few weeks of relaxed restrictions…)

In January there were frosty walks and iced up ponds.    There was one very snowy Sunday.    In milder periods raging torrents were seen and heard in the hedgerow ditches. There was no shortage of pools and ponds to float a paper boat, should you have been so inclined. More rain fell and in the dips of the once worked fields   and under the young trees and along the grassy pedestrian ways finger lakes stretched and grew… 

You make what you can of lockdown life. Late on in January is Burns Night. There may have been no others physically present for a Burns Night Supper (served with an alternative menu: Winter Slaw with Chives and Watercress,  Haggis Mac and Cheese,   Strawberry Cranachan)  but, post Supper, via Skype,     Burns words were exchanged and amber liquid imbibed… It was a guid night in with the other Burns participants in Worcestershire and Staffordshire (Footnote for canalaholics: neither household is near the Staffs and Worcs Canal).

And then just five days later came another good night, a Saturday Night Out, at that…  A text message from the GP’s surgery announced eligibility for Covid 19 vaccinations. Jab appointments for two were booked online, for Saturday evening, the vaccination centre at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Temple. It was a dark and sleety evening so, after the repetitiveness of lockdown living, to cross the River Great Ouse and in multi-cultural Queen’s Park come upon the floodlit Gurdwara  was a surprise indeed – and for such a positive reason.

See video here of drone footage of the building.

The vaccination centre was in the spacious hall alongside the Gurdwara. The entire operation was slickly and safely organised and within half an hour both Cleddau crew members had emerged, grateful for that first prick in the arm.

With January over the Captain has returned to his default activity, the planning of boat cruises. There is already a Plan A, now he’s working on a Plan B. When might staying overnight on boats be allowed? When might waterway navigation be possible again?

Time will tell – but the knowledge that the vaccination programme is well under way (and that snowdrops and a single daffodil head are nodding in the garden) suggests that boating might get under way again, some time this year…


Since 28th November, 2020 (last blog post): miles walked 218;  miles driven 48

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2 Responses

  1. Jaqueline Biggs says:

    Very good post Sue! the coffee table for the front garden is a triumph Ken! It is simply quite beautiful and very fine craft work. You should be proud. I am relieved to read you both got your Covid vaccinations. Tick! Stay safe, stay well!

    Love Jaq xxx

  2. Sue Deveson says:

    Hi Jaq,
    Last summer when we had several socially distanced garden gatherings the need for a side table was apparent and we used a rather hideous orange topped bed-table with a table napkin pegged over the top. I think Ken’s woodwork table top is more visually attractive, it has recycled the metal legs and hopefully will see good service once it is warm enough to be outside again!
    It’s always good to hear from you.

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