Canals, Chickens and Courgettes!

Well the title says it all really, but I’ll go into a little more detail for you because I know you’ll want to hear it.

I finally had a little weeks holiday. It was a long time coming, and this particular holiday had to be postponed a couple of times because of that other C word… not that one although I felt like saying that word quite a few times, but the other one.

But finally my little holiday had arrived. I didn’t go with the family, but 7 other bell ringing friends. So after leaving instructions for what to eat for dinner and how to look after Victoria (our chicken), off I went to have a leisurely time on a narrowboat, and a little bit of ringing as well. Look you can’t go on a holiday with 8 bell ringers and not go ringing it’s just not normal.

Our first ring on Sunday morning for their service.

I had never been on a narrowboat before so this was all very new for me. Once you go used to how little space there was (which didn’t take long) then it was fine. Our boat was called Louise and was 70 foot long, which seems incredibly long when you have to drive, or pilot it from the back, there is a lot of boat in front of you. I’m glad to say that when I piloted the boat for a very brief time I was told I did very well. I think they were being nice, although I didn’t crash into anything, so I guess I did alright. Near the end of the holiday I even managed to pilot the boat in and out of two locks which I was very impressed with.

Concentrating very hard on not crashing into anything.

Everyone mucked in and helped with various things, it all worked out very well. The weather was brilliant, with most of the days hot and sunny. We did have one day where it poured with rain, but most of us had bought water proofs and I had my wellies and a full set of waterproofs (including my sexy waders) so I was lovely and dry.

Just a gentle sail along the canal in the sunshine.

In the evenings after dinner we played various games, many were new to me, but I got the hang of fairly quickly. I think my favourite was Rummikub, I was even taught how to play poker, I did make sure I could keep my clothes on for that particular game.

The gentle rocking of the boat made you sleep soundly and in the morning we all woke up at various times to have breakfast and then were usually off sailing again about 10.30am. Sometimes we had a cooked breakfast which was amazing, and other times it was toast and cereal.

As the boat was chugging along, if you wanted to get off and have a walk then you waited until you got to a bridge because it narrowed a little and the boat slowed and off you hopped. I did that a couple of times. You just walked along the canal path and when you wanted to get back on the boat you just waited until you reached another bridge and then hopped back on. No one ended up falling in the water this year so that was a bonus.

We rang at 4 different towers, which were all beautiful bells to ring. I know many of you will wonder what I mean by beautiful bells. Well some bells sound fabulous, but are a bugger to ring and others are easy to ring but sound awful. But all these towers the bells sounded fabulous and were easy to ring. It’s a bit like a car, some cars are much easier to drive than others. After ringing for 35 years you know when bells are good ones….Yes I’m that old!

Brinklow church. I think these were my favourite.

When I returned home after some lovely welcome home cuddles from Mark and the kids I went out to see Victoria. She gave me a look as if to say “Where on earth have you been?” and wandered off. She soon came round and we had a little cuddle and a wander round the garden and greenhouses.

Everything in the garden looked ok, although some plants in the greenhouses had been over watered, so I quickly sorted them out. One thing I didn’t put on the list before I went away was to harvest the courgettes. Silly me, I thought the humans would look and pick some, but as it wasn’t in their job description they didn’t do it. Before I left for my little gallivant on the canals, my courgettes were very tiny, a little bigger than my thumb, but by the time I returned they had grown a little larger….just a little larger.

Yes they are courgettes, although I think they have ideas of grandeur.

On the Sunday we took our son off to university. It’s his first year and we needed to get him settled into his new room. I was fine until I hugged him goodbye and then the memories of dropping him off for his first day a nursery and primary school came flooding back. It doesn’t matter how old they are, he’ll still be my little baby, even at 6 foot 1.5 inches! When he comes back for Christmas I expect he’ll be taller still.

The following weekend Mark and I drove to Aylesford to pick up 6 new little friends for Victoria. This time we got them from Fresh Start for Hens. I was very surprised how many feathers they had, and they’re not as flitty as normal. Before we put them in their carrying box I popped in to the pet store to get a few bits. As I left the store, one chicken flew up onto the verrander clearly trying to escape. The lady below couldn’t get to her, so I picked her up and said “Well you’re coming home with me then.” I walked down the steps and towards Mark. “I’ve got one!” I said.

They have all settled in very well and as I write this they have had their second lot of worming medicine, just 1 more days to go. And I’ve rubbed in some louse powder into their feathers, just incase. They’re laying very well and have had a little wander around the garden. We do have names for them all, but they all look so similar it’s going to be difficult, so I may just call them all “my darlings”. One does have a slight limp, not sure why, her legs feel fine, but I’ll see how she goes she may just have pulled something, so at the moment she’s called “limpy”.

Our new little ones.

It’ll be a case of introducing them together gradually because I can’t cope with any fighting. They all seem very happy and chatty with each other and can see each other all the time so hopefully that’ll help when they all finally come together.

More tidying of the garden this week, the weather is turning more autumnal now and various veggies are finishing, some are still going but will finish in about a months time, but others still have lots more growing to do.

Have a wonderful week and weekend and I’ll see you soon xx

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2 Responses to Canals, Chickens and Courgettes!

  1. NebraskaDave says:

    Claire, canals look to be interesting but Nebraska just has rivers and is not level enough for canals. We do have some canals around lake front areas that connect houses that are not on the lake front to houses near the lake. I’ve never traveled on a canal but it does look like fun. I seem to remember that you got some rescue chickens a while back. Are the new ones the same?

    Autumn is touching Nebraska as well. The night time temperatures are getting down into the 45F (7C). Leaves are changing colors with a slight drop. Fall is my second favorite season. The cooler weather brings on outside firepit gatherings with neighbors. The busyness of summer is winding down and preparation for winter is on the horizon. The earth is slowly sliding into a restful slumber. I’ve been starting to cleanup the garden and finish up the summer structure projects.

    I’m glad to see that you and your family is doing well.

    Nebraska Dave
    Urban Farmer

    • To go up and down hills in a canal boat you have to go in a lock and either let water out or in. It’s an amazing feat of engineering really. If you have to go up/down a steep incline then there are lots of lock together. It is very peaceful on a canal, I can’t wait to do it again. The chicken I rescued a while back was Victoria, and she was all alone at a school. The ex battery hens we get only tend to last 2-4 years. Poor things have been through a lot before we get them so are quite traumatised. Still I give them lots of love and they are happy with us. We’ve not quite got to autumn yet…well we have but the weather doesn’t seem to know. This weekend is still in the low to mid 20’s during the day, but as of Monday we’ll most probably be mid teens. The plants will start going to sleep and the tidy up will continue.
      Take care xx

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