Rain, Rain, Go Away

Rain, Rain, Go Away - © Bridget Lemin 2012With the Meteorological Office reporting that June has been the wettest on record in the UK, I imagine that many of us are getting pretty cheesed off with the lack of a ‘proper’ summer.

Recently Wimbledon and now the London Olympics both rely quite heavily on reasonable conditions, so it will be interesting to see how the authorities cope with the unseasonal rain.

The economy could do with some fine weather too, the UK tourism industry needs a good summer to turn a profit, but the outlook looks rather bleak. Even our own holiday was not without a couple of days of rain, as you can see.

But we should all remember that life, in the form we know it, would not exist on Earth if it were not for water. Only weeks ago we were being told that there was a water shortage and that hosepipe bans would be with us all summer. For the poor weatherman, having to spread the news of doom and gloom each evening, it can’t be much fun either.

In the news today, the Environment Agency have issued a report, stating that the Government should plan for more ‘extreme weather’ brought on by man-made global warming. It cannot come as any surprise, we have been releasing increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere for decades, and we all know the connection between cause and effect.

But as with all things in life, this is all part of a longer cycle of events. Remembering back to my childhood, the sun shone every day during the school summer holidays, it was always roasting hot during exam times and the Wheel of Life will turn again.

So let’s look on the bright side. As someone once said, there is no such thing as bad weather, just a poor choice of clothing. Whilst I sympathise with the poor souls who are watching their homes get ruined by flood water, we actually need the water. So like the Boy Scouts, be prepared, carry an umbrella, and remember that every cloud has a silver lining.

The Race Is On

St. Alkmund's Church - WhitchurchBy close of play tonight, we had to back within minutes of the marina, ready to hand our trusty craft back first thing in the morning. As though to amplify the sadness that we all felt as the week afloat came to an end, the heavens had opened and it remained that way pretty much all day.

Donning our wet weather gear, we made our soggy way back towards Ellesmere, leaving time to stop off for a walk into Whitchurch. Strangely, though we were getting soaked through, it really didn’t matter. So by the time we moored just outside the town, we were all, apart maybe from Steve, keen to make our way along the route of the closed Whitchurch spur.

It really was very wet. I was wearing my ever present shorts and a cagoule, but by the time we had walked down the high street and found a quaint little cafe, I even had puddles in my pockets and my wallet was soaked. An alternative meaning to money laundering.

The cafe, Percy’s Coffee and Curious, was a fantastic little place. The hot coffee and toasted teacakes went a long way to warming and reviving us, and the collection of interesting antique items soon made us forget the rain. We stayed long enough to dry out a fair bit, but Steve had had enough of traipsing around the town, so set off back to the boat.

After a focussed expedition to find sausages made from ‘happy’ pigs, and the procurement of some properly muddy organic potatoes, we stopped off at St. Alkmund’s Church. It is a truly magnificent building, both inside and out. The stained glass windows are stunning, and although I have no particular feelings for the religion it houses, it is hard to not be impressed with the architecture.

Bumble was absolutely in her element. Her love of architecture means that she spends more time looking up at buildings and not enough time looking where she is going, hence the extensive history of sprained ankles. But we were all happy to share her enthusiasm in such an atmospheric place. Even the cleaning lady’s vacuum cleaner couldn’t dampen our admiration.

The walk back proved a little too eventful for comfort too. Apart from the fact that we were, yet again, soaked through, down to our unmentionables, Sue failed to negotiate a rather rough section of the path. She tumbled, rather gracefully I thought, into the biggest, muddiest puddle you have ever seen, and had to be hosed down when we finally made in back on board.

Steve, all snug and dry in the cabin, made a fine job of turning our purchases into a magnificent meal of bangers and mash, more than welcome after the moistest of mornings. Then, after getting things all ship shape again, it was time to brave the elements again and get ourselves back to Ellesmere.

The day had been strangely pleasant, despite the rain. We were back close to the marina, so all set for handover in the morning. Once you are soaked through, you can’t get any wetter. If you can come to terms with the slight discomfort, it really isn’t bad at all. We had seen a beautiful church, explored a delightful market town, and because of the weather, we had the place almost to ourselves. A truly fitting last full day afloat.

Quiescent Sunday

Second Hand StuffAfter our rather hectic and task filled Saturday, it was wonderful to have a slow and peaceful Sunday morning. We lay in bed all morning talking. There seems so much to talk about, the past, the present and the future and somehow time just flies by.

So by the time we had showered and got ourselves ready to leave it was after noon. First stop was the local recycling centre. It seems so much better, disposing of unwanted items, when you know that over 50% of the raw materials will be reused.

We then took a few other items to Wot Nots in Westerleigh, a second hand shop, who warehouse and sell unwanted items on. They only accept things they think will sell, so we had to keep one of the light fittings we had taken, but some of the items will find a new home and we might get a couple of pounds for them.

A quick whizz round Sainsbury’s and then off to see B’s parents, with a welcome cup of coffee and a nice chat. By now the day was almost over, so we spent an hour or so preparing dinner.

By the time it was cooked, eaten and cleared away it was time for bed again. Sunday evenings are always too short, knowing that in the early hours of Monday I have to set off back for Ringwood. But it had been a restful day and a fitting end to a lovely weekend.

Sash Windows, Stuff And Supper

Indian SupperSaturday morning and the sun was shining. The sash window restoration man arrived rather too promptly, but was good enough to sit in his van until we had finished breakfast. The friend of a friend, he has just started out on his own, so we were keen to give him some business if it all sounded plausible.

To be honest it didn’t start too well. The first thing he showed us was a cream plastic insert, used to allow the windows to be removed for painting. As B is allergic to plastic, ethically speaking, he was on a sticky wicket from the off. But he was a very nice chap and he’s going to quote to renovate the worst of the windows, so we’ll reserve judgement.

When he left, the sun was still shining intermittently, but the rain clouds were building, just as the weather people had predicted. So getting the ‘stuff’ out of the sun lounge and into the garage, and vice versa, took on an added importance. It’s never much fun trying to rearrange things when you and they have taken a good soaking.

Actually things turned out rather well. The rain, what there was if it, wasn’t too heavy and nor was the majority of the ‘stuff’, so good progress was made in both locations. The Yaris was parked in the driveway, ready to receive the charity shop donations. We had already delivered several boxes of books to the Amnesty International bookshop on the Gloucester Road, but there was much more ‘rationalisation’ to be done.

To be honest, it was a lot more fun than I had expected, and B was a bit more willing to part with some of the less important treasure than I had feared. The day flew by, both places gradually took on an air of organised pandemonium, and the Yaris filled with unwanted goodies.

Sadly the process took longer than anticipated, so there was no time to deliver said donations. We were both fairly pooped by the time we decided to call it a day, so when I made a tentative suggestion that we take our evening repast at the local Indian restaurant, it was accepted with much enthusiasm.

We walked round to the Raj Mahal, managing to dodge the early evening showers and had a very tasty selection of their excellent fare. Indian food has, in the past, not agreed with B’s constitution on the whole, but whatever had caused the problem in the past obviously wasn’t present this time, so by 10:30, both full to bursting, we retired for a well earned, and dyspeptic free night.

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