Saturday, March 31, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Springing up overnight
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Stand up Comedy.
For some strange reason, last year, I decided I needed to fill the echoing chasm of my cultural experience and I found myself bundling along to various shows and films that were, quite frankly, rubbish.
They were so rubbish that even my cultural friends glazed over when I tried to discuss (or invite) them to it with me.
So I decided to give up. However, I still had three tickets I haven’t used up (2 for stand up and one for a ballet) and that is why last night I was at the Playhouse sitting down watching Steward Lee standing up.
Stewart Lee (recommeneded by Kim and Jim who did a certain amount of back peddling when they realised I had actually taken their advice and booked a ticket) lost me towards the end, but mostly I thought he was quite good. I don’t think I would be able to sit through a Radio or TV show but there is something quite delightful about the live performance.
I actually booked 2 sessions of stand up. One was Steward Lee the next one is Paul Merton.
I actually know who Paul Merton is, so that has to be a good start and I am rather fond of him.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Banbury to the dark place
The arrival of two friends marked the departure from Spice Ball park, through the things necessary to get to the waterpoint for the neceesary exhange of goods for the passage south. Tom was substituted by Lucy who came hurtling in from the right and we were off. Boots and I set off walking to Grants Lock but our walk was curtailed by this lift bridge which I have never seen down. Boots and I sat and waited for the good ship to loom into view before we unceremoniously hung for our lives to open it.
Getting Boots back on the boat can be quite interesting and sometimes desperate measures are called for. In such an event it is important to ensure that both creatures (human and canine) have the same facial expression.
We threw ourselves at Lucy who was sitting peacefully on the front.
Allan and I took it in turns to steer/lock while Lucy and Boots maintained position on the front keeping a look out for all adversity.
Aynho was beautiful as usual.
and I was quite surprised at the Algae leading up to Heyford Common
A glorious boating day.
We moored up somewhere dark.
The following morning the day went brilliantly until I came out of the last lock. The gear box seems to be misbehaving. It was so sudden I am hoping that it is the cables rather than the actual gear box, but I didn’t have any time to look yesterday because I had to make room for my new piano.
Woo hooooooooooooooooooo. My dear neighbour has PROMISED me she will sing out of tune at ALL concerts to ensure my piano playing sounds fab.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Windows in time
Friday, March 23, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
No Problem, Bones, Bones and Sextans
Lo! There was a holler across the waterway and yonder on the diesel point were some familiar figures moving around a familiar boat… so I hurriedly looked busy and got some varnishing done before the aforementioned arrived.
There was great excitement and once again I was chin wagging with Sue and Vick on No Problem. It was good to catch up AND they came baring gifts.
Sue left with, as I later discovered, a renewed energy to wipe her doors down, and I was left with a burning desire to make ginger cake… anyone know ay good recipes for it?
I have been hopeless tired/fatigued this week and have decided on a reviving dinner to get my iron levels up. This has led to a new top tip from the fine kitchen of the good ship:
PUT THE OVEN ON.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Banbury, Flowers, Plastic and Views
I think the title says it all. Banbury has a few gems around the place and this is one:
The delectable Erica sent me some flowers via Kate on Sunday. I rather like them!
Marks and Spencers always puzzles me. I went to buy some mushrooms the other day. You have to pay for a plastic bag - which is great, it gives you the impression they are saving on waste. They aren’t. These mushrooms came in a well wrapped plastic tray and I was astonished to see that each mushroom had been carefully grown (or the box moulded or both) to fit the indentations. Sometimes, when I shop there, I feel as though I am buying a lot of packaging and the food comes free.
And this is the view out of my window. The boat in view is for sale. I rather like it. I won’t buy it, but it makes me want to!
so there we are. Another few days have passed in Banbury. Before I know what has happened I will be boating again. A friend is coming for the weekend which will be nice and I am hoping another friend will join the merry band then there will be three of us…although it is only Tuesday, but Saturday there may be a million volunteers to make tea and sandwiches! One never knows.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Weeks away - the PEOPLE!
What a wonderful time I am having in Banbury.
I arrived with friends and spent the week bumping into people I rarely see other than when I am here and it was lovely… despite a dog peeing up my leg and then that, Boots and Wallace being all masterful with a very sweet and bemused Labrador whose owner dragged him away from us all saying ‘oh dear, they are just being nice’. It was utterly out of my comfort zone which pleased the boyz no end remarking that the walk had just entered theirs.
On Monday Sonflower came over for some cheese and wine bringing with them the most delicious cheeses they had found on the cheese boat.
On Tuesday I had a royal visit from my father and in the evening Maffi, Peter and I went to Ye Old Reindeer Inn for a drink and in the process met the two lovely people off Cousin Jack who, that day, had got married! They only told us as we were leaving but it was wonderful to share a bit of their happy day.
On Thursday I was spoilt with an afternoon of luncheon, shopping and a whizz around the Ashmolean. Pete found the section on British History Particularly inspiriting…. it seemed rather sparse compared to the other sections. We got rather disorientated in the gallery but soon found our way back to the comfort zone of skulls and weapons. Thursday night saw Dom, Helen and I back in Ye Olde Reindeer where we were brilliant on the quiz and came a storming last. It was destined for doom when the first round was something to do with children.
I drank tea with Marrianne and Steve on Friday before collapsing back to my chair with exhaustion. I remained there until Sunday morning whereupon I embarked upon a shopping spree where I can only say that buying the brooms last would have perhaps made the whole encounter run a bit smoother.
Kate Saffin came to drop off some flowers and a card from the delectable Erica and timed it perfectly for luncheon so we shared that together before she left. I had a swift breather before afternoon tea with Chris and Joy and later an excited friend came aboard who had just viewed a narrowboat. He is looking for something around the 20K mark and there doesn’t seem to be much around. I am finding the whole process very exciting.
After a walk in the park where Boots ran off and decided to spend the time chatting with the rabbits I reclined in my chair again.
And so it is Monday. I can’t afford to have such a busy week because I need to get my boat back to Thrupp by Sunday. It isn’t too far but single handed it can wear me out and I don’t want to be exhausted for my return to work on Monday.
Good times. I do like it in Banbury – despite the crime.
After reviewing your query, we'll need to speak to you over the phone to get this sorted. We've tried to call you a few times but haven't been able to get in touch or it's not been convenient for you to speak.
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Friday, March 16, 2012
Dusty and the Pen
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Graves, Flowers and Bones
When I returned to the area and visited Mothers grave I noticed the plaque had been changed. I asked Dad about he - and he had no idea, so it wasn't him. The plaque is still wrong though. This time Mum's name is correct, her age is correct, but the date she died is incorrect.
I think Mum would have liked that.
My sister is rather keen on flowers and when my Mum's friend suggested some flowers my sister jumped at the chance. The soil is still sinking so there is no point putting any one yet, and so as to keep away from the mower they will go near the grave stone, but the sister thought it would be nice to have something...and as they won't get in the way of the mower she went armed with some flowers and set about digging them in. In doing so she unearthed a bone.
Here it all is:You can probably tell which bit I like.
Oxford Canal Marston Doles Lock 15 - Claydon Lock 21
19 Mar 2012 until further notice
From Monday 19th March Marston Doles Lock 15 - Claydon Lock 21 will be open from 10.00am - 2.00pm daily.
Last entry at Marston Doles 1.45pm
Last entry at Claydon 1.00pm
Grand Union Canal Braunston Lock Flight 1-6
Monday 19 March 2012 until further notice From Monday 19th March Braunston Flight will be open 9.00am - 4.00pm daily.
Last entry to flight 2.30pm.
Grand Union Canal Calcutt Locks 1-3
Monday 19 March 2012 until further notice From Monday 19th March Calcutt Locks 1-3 will be open 9.00am - 4.00pm daily.
Last entry into flight 3.30pm
North Oxford Canal Hillmorton Locks 2-7
19 Mar 2012 until further notice
From Monday 19th March 2012 Hillmorton Flight will be locked overnight from 5.00pm - 9.00am.
Grand Union Canal Buckby Lock Flight 7-13
19 Mar 2012 until further notice
From Monday 19th March Buckby Flight will be open 10.00am - 3.00pm daily.
Last entry for through traffic 1.30pm
Grand Union Canal Stoke Bruerne Locks 16 - 20
19 Mar 2012 until further notice
From Monday 19th March 2012 the Flight will be open from 10.00am - 3.00pm daily.
The last entry into the Flight will be 2.00pm.
Summer cruising on the canals doesn't look good. For private boaters it is enough of a problem but what about those who rely on the waterways for the food on their table - the traders and the hire boaters? Get your rain sticks out folks!
Sunday, March 11, 2012
I had Heather with me today which was lovely. I do enjoy Heathers company and this time she had a go at steering. After a close encounter with the bank, a tree, some mud and a pole she got the hang of manoeuvring the boat around really well. There were a couple of boats stemmed up at Aynho and this little dog, from one of the boats, legged it up the towpath at a dog and forgot to stop. She was very friendly and made sure the lock was done proficiently until her owner arrived to retrieve her.
Grants lock is always a welcome sight.
When filling up with water Fran and Peter came to visit. The Mill centre decided we all wanted to listen to music so we took the opportunity to move on.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Heyford to Aynho
Yesterday wasn’t my best day and so when I awoke this morning I was rather pleased it was over, I had survived the night; strong and valiant warrior that I am. With a new day under my belt I had a lovely walk around the village before setting sail for northern climates. It was an exciting day for my friend because she finally decided she wanted to learn to single hand her and her husbands boat and while he was at work was a prime opportunity. Both boats set off and I loved having her smiling company at the locks and following behind. The water levels are suffering and before I set off I learnt that restrictions are going in place very soon indeed.
A heron having a go at being a moustache.
The sun shone upon my friend
The arrival into Aynho from the south is very colourful
and now a view from my sidehatch.
Friday, March 09, 2012
I have often wondered what help looks like and when I was much younger I set about a drawing task trying to work it out. No-one was ever witness to this project which is a jolly good thing, because it would have raised a few eyebrows from anyone who came across the pile of drawings with various strange things on with help written in weird ways. Instead it was all mine and in the end help came out as an Eagle. It has remained that way still and I have carried that piece of paper around in my head still. The word ‘help’ on the left and then an eagles head comes from the right hand side with its legs and talons outstretched as it comes in to land from off the page. I never drew the whole eagle, just the head, neck, legs and claws in flight. Whenever I wonder what help looks like I remember that picture.
One may wonder why help came out as an Eagle and I think it was because help can destroy, but it can also take one to safety.
I supposed that to help your children you have to get to know them first. To help them you have to help in a way that helps them in a way they understand. To help a friend, you have to get to know them too. Otherwise help isn’t helping that person, but actually helping yourself. A lot of the time we help people motivated by our own needs. There is something true in the ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ but I think many of us forget the last part of that – ‘love thyself’, and in doing so often forget the first part – ‘love thy neighbour’ and if both are remembered I wonder whether the all important ‘as’ is forgotten.
What is the point of all this? Well, I think, perhaps, that the only person that really knows us is ourselves. Only we can really truly help ourselves, and if we can’t be a neighbour to ourselves then what is left? The best help comes from within - when we stop looking to the outside world and start giving from the inside world.
I imagine this is all a pile of codswallop (my spell checker thinks that is a perfectly acceptable word which is reassuring), but it is strange what one thinks about when a car pulls out of a side road onto an empty main road, save for a motorcyclist, and narrowly misses squashing the motorcyclist.
So that is the ramblings of the idiot on the motorcycle. I should have left my bike at the train station but that went wrong, as did my afternoon.
I am off boating this weekend. I am my way to buy a new broom for the boat. The old broom is very past it and I could have gone to get one by car but it isn’t for the car, it is for the boat. Brooms ahoy. I suppose there will be a national broom shortage declared before I even get to the shop.
The school play!
It was utterly wonderful. Really, it was. The singing was absolutely amazing, the acting brilliant and I spent most of the time remembering my years of that age and gushing with pride that I was there for my godson. I could tell he loved his part but when he was the dame - my word; he had me in stitches!! He was on top form. I thought he was utterly wonderful and very amusing. I told him so in the car on the way home and we had a highly amusing conversation about his costume for that part; if anyone wants to know how to make a paper mache cocunut bra (even when the balloons are deflating), he is your boy. At 13 I think he is all man. It was concluded that the part was a bit riske as the first night of the play saw his skirt was falling down, then last night his coconut bra wasn't working (not that I noticed.. I thought it added to the comedy) and he thinks the wig might have it in for him tonight....
I think it must have been the longest school play in the world as I didn't get home until 11:40, but I do like school plays. This one was excellent.
Something I was reminded of was how much I love this family and how much this family loves me. I haven't seen much of them because of various things but I am really really hoping that that will change, fortunately I can do something about it. I must. What is really good about this is that it is me that needs to get myself organised and I think I can do that.
In other news I had a great revelation this morning:
I used to think the essential part of a hairbrush was simply to own one rather than actually use it. Having caught a glimpse of my hair in the mirror at work this morning I am wondering whether to waiver on that principle and start using it. Just in case you were wondering, it wasn't as bad as the last time (here)
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Looking Backwards, leaning forwards.
I am a great fan of solitude - solitude is my best friend. I am also a great fan of bad poetry and whenever solitude and I go for a walk something marks the moment of thought. The marking is usually a pile of lines that won't share with each other. Each line stealing the words it wants and then rejecting any more when it has had its fill. As the words pour out of the pen they cascade down the page. I am not sure it is even poetry but rather it is an expression collected in form.
I am also a great fan of thought, but more of truth. Life is never perfect, but I tend to 'rejoice' in the good and the bad. I am partly ashamed of my 'creative' (I use the term loosely) expression because it could be interpreted as me wearing my heart on my sleeve or being too open. I don't think anyone can possibly be too open, sometimes life doesn't work out and it is only the truth and honesty that sets us free. I think. What I show here is nothing. My heart is firmly placed in jar on a bookcase in my fathers house and isn't anywhere near my wardrobe, let alone my sleeve. I take great satisfaction in writing. Words are so universal, so general, so clever and once released they hold their own meaning. It is easy to interpret them in our own mind with our own experiences and project them onto the writer, but that is, perhaps, a mistake. Words own themselves. They don't really give us a full insight into the soul of the writer, only a window into something that probably reflects the reader more than the writer. Perhaps.
I don't often read what I write, but I have recently returned to some of my old stuff - I stumbled upon it and here it is.
I mark events with bad poetry. July 2004 marked the 'end' of a particular time for me and this is what I wrote
t* is over You took it all
You took my life
Held it captive
In endless strife.
It took my all
To take my life
To set it free
To end the strife.
the clouds are gathering
stormy skies covering
the sun peering through
looking for love
the birds take their rest
spiders take their cover
the rain begins to pour
trying to drown this lover
the flood gates open
washing all away
leaving what is sturdy
this love is here to stay
within the walls of terror
the haunting and the screams
within this myrth so dark
this love is my dream
sitting in my shelter
in your loving arms
resting in your presence
this love my soul it calms
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Blogging Arrivals and Visitors
And Molly spent quite a bit of time trying to disappear.
When I was in Banbury the other week Maffi said that NB Paneke had asked after me. I am not sure I have seen them before but, the name is the same as a surname of someone I once knew so I remembered it. Maffi mentioned their distracting abilities and fun here and has periodically talked about them when we have spoken. When Maffi was here last night he asked whether they had arrived, I didn't know, but this morning that question was answered when I took the dogs for a stroll up the towpath.
There they are I told Wallace and Boots. Both dogs seemed to be completely oblivious to the arrival of the expected vessle. Boots was on major sniff mode and heaven knows what happened to Wallace - he was well up for his walk this morning and was bearing go faster stripes as he whizzed up the towpath with Boots and I in tow.
Monday, March 05, 2012
We awoke at silly o'clock and headed home nice and early to enjoy a full day back at the ranch doing ranch things. The light was spectacular as the sun appeared as the snow and rain cleared
This morning I came across this poster. I found the bottom line most curious and I don't think I know what it means. It reads "British Waterways do no remove this Notice it is NOT on BW land). Does it mean that although BW put the poster up they admonish all responsibility for it thenceforth as it isn't on their land? . Is that right? If it is, does that mean that if I have some rubbish on my land and move it onto BW land I don't have to clear it up?
in other news I have been looking around my boat and decided it isn't nearly as bad as the house people and other people make out.
Friday, March 02, 2012
and then one does a bit of boating:
and then stops in a lock to write some poetry:
and then life goes on:
What do you do?
When your mother has just died?
I don’t know about you but when something big happens I need quiet, space and time.
Recently my dear friends dear Father died, and he said he needed quiet and time to get used to the change. I knew I needed to do the same, but only because it rang true when he said it was part of the way things were for him.
Following Mum’s death I took 2 days off work and I gave myself just that, quiet, space and time. I walked, I thought, I sat and I reflected. Firstly I visited a place where I had been with Mum, and secondly to a place I had been with me.
the last time I looked down this path – Mum was in the middle of it. She wasn’t this time.
I often go here to think. It is quiet, it is lonely, it is windswept, it has views and it is utterly wonderful.
I sat on a bench and I time, space and silence sat in the seat next to me.
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Mum would have been 67 today. Instead she is not here. We are.
Mum isn't here for her birthday. Our Mum is free. She can't share anything we do any more but we held her, carried her, and saw her life unfold and eventually end. We loved her unconditionally and we all walked the road we walked, together. Isn't that an honour? Our Mum had to die at some point and that point, for her, was when she did.
My mother is not here any more. She lived, she died, she is free.
The last years of her life were extra special. My sister thought the same. I remember them tenderly as we had time together as we got to know our mother in her bedridden way. Our mum could certainly live even in that state - utterly amazing. She maintained and built her friendships and relationships and lived. Our Mum, I think, said everything she wanted and needed to say. We had the time to say everything we wanted and needed to say which, at the end of her life, was just to say 'I love you'. What a blessing that is. Had my Mum died suddenly years ago I would have been hanging onto the grave stone wondering, asking, questioning, wishing. Instead I am there in peace with Peace.
My Mum left a note for me written 18months ago in it she said (amongst other things) 'When I die don't be sad darling, and if you are remember I love you, I am proud of you....." If I feel sad my mother has gone it is more for the love that has gone because I don't think I could be any more proud of her and part of that pride is how she was peaceful in the face of what was, for her body, an agonising process of death.
Grief often catches up with us, but when I think I feel sad I remember that when our Mum was in the last couple of days of her life the whole house was enveloped in Peace. When you stepped into the room with her bed the whole atomosphere said 'Stop. Be Still' 'Slow, Calm, Peace' and one couldn't help but be there and sit in those last few moments in peace, enveloped in Peace.
Our mum has gone, and life goes on. I am not sure what that life will look like amongst all this change but isn't that part of the fun of traveling the long road that is set before us.
I am not sad, I am utterly honoured. Does it get better than that? I don't think it is any easier being honoured than sad; both are overwhelming but perhaps one is easier to understand than the other.
Flowers and a card
A friend visited me yesterday which was just so lovely. She came with flowers and a beautiful card. The flowers are my favourite; purple tulips and the card is strikingly gorgeous. The symbol 'the dance' is a metaphor for life.
We had very little time together but this morning as I look over the misty water there is a mark of a friend looking with me.