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Here are further images of the journey through England’s midland waterways taken by me walking alongside Sam and James in Pacific Pete in July 2003.
This stone stork beside the Cherwell section of the Oxford Canal seemed amused by the attempts of their mother to draw her offspring away from him.
Small bridges, narrow locks and a few narrowboats on this section required careful negotiation by the rower. Navigator James looked quite thoughtful in the third picture.
The River Soar for part of the Oxford Union Canal stretch. The towpaths here were better tended than some. Willowherb thrived in the brickwork of this bridge.
Dragonflies mated; waterlilies bloomed; and a stone wall provided a backdrop for wild flowers.
An art group concentrated hard on a lock as we approached Leicester.
Nearing the city of my birth, we passed a derelict graffiti-bedaubed factory,
outside which a leaf lay on a bed of water weed.
Soon Pacific Pete was gliding through the city.
Fast forward to today, and we have a supermoon,
heralding in Jackie’s classic cottage pie served with perfect cabbage, broccoli, and carrots, with which she drank Hoegaarden whilst I drank more of the Chateauneuf.
Last night those, unlike me, who were awake to see it experienced the phenomenon known as supermoon. The moon in these circumstances is larger and considerably brighter than normal. According to Wikipedia ‘A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. The technical name is the perigee-syzygyof the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The term “supermoon” is not astronomical, but originated in modern astrology. The association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the supermoon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but the evidence of such a link is widely held to be unconvincing.’.
A series of photographs I discovered in my camera suggested that Flo had been up and about at the relevant time.
This morning Jackie drove Sheila and me to Milford on Sea, and home via the beach and The Needles Eye Cafe where the ladies drank coffee whilst I wandered along the wave and spray buffeted shingle. Balls of the foam that the Japanese call sea flowers reached the car park as they rolled along in the wind which had torn them from the creamy surface of the water.
Boards along the footpath give details of the damage wrought in the February storms, and an update on the ongoing work. Today the winds were strong enough to make the destruction of concrete beach huts entirely credible. Back in February, barriers were erected around the damage site. Signs suggested a rather optimistic timescale for the necessary work to be completed. There has been considerable delay which will, no doubt continue for some time, because of wrangling over New Forest District Council’s plans to replace all 118 huts. The buildings are privately owned, but on council land. Many of them have been discovered to contain asbestos. The Local Authority wish to replace them all and charge their owners what a repair would cost. Some owners think that replacement is unnecessary; some residents consider them an eyesore anyway and would prefer their removal. I can see this debate outliving some of the protagonists.
For lunch, the rest of us enjoyed pizza and salad, whilst Scooby gnawed at the bone from yesterday’s lamb joint. I think he was silently warning me off.
This afternoon Jackie drove us all to Boscombe, in order to view the:
Community Support Officers were in attendance, and Scooby was happy to be held up by Flo.
We drove round to the cliff above the beach, where Jackie and Sheila remained in the car and Flo and I walked for a while with Scooby. On this extremely blustery day there was very little activity on the beach far below.
Back home Sheila was to take us out to The Royal Oak for dinner. When we arrived we were told there would be a 45 minute wait for food. We didn’t want to wait that long so we drove on to The Crown at Everton which was closed. Next stop was therefore The Plough at Tiptoe, where Jackie and Flo enjoyed the half rack of pork ribs, Sheila the scampi, and I the mixed grill. When you’ve had the mixed grill, that’s it. You do not risk dessert. But Jackie and Flo scoffed creme brulee and Sheila ice cream. I drank Doom Bar. There was Becks for Jackie, Apple juice for Flo, and sparkling water for Sheila