Water,Water. Everywhere

I haven’t been lucky with boats this year. Last Saturday, it being a lovely day, my young friend and I (she in combat gear) decided to give my big boat it’s first clean of the season. Armed with a variety of brushes, buckets and cleaning materials we undid the tonneau cover. All looked fine. That is until we looked into the engine compartment, where to our horror we found it was immersed in nearly two feet of water. The same, but not quite as deep, in the cabin and storage section. Two hours spent bailing hardly lowered the water, so after a perfunctorily clean I arranged for Ivan, the boatman, to collect ‘Marsh Mundy’ and take it down river to his workshop to pump out the water and see what damage had occurred. (We had already removed 5 large bin bags full of ruined clothing, chairs, barbecue sets, crockery etc and taken it to the tip). The water must have got in after the snow melted in the winter and possibly due to a leaky ‘Houdini Hatch’ directly over the cabin. Anyway the boat’s just been returned and hopefully if I leave the cover off for the next couple of days – and if this glorious weather lasts - it may start to dry, especially in the carpeted cabin. 

Talking of glorious weather, this blossom in the lock-keepers garden echoes the whole countryside at the moment. On Sunday morning I visited friends who live on the Hennerton backwater. Over the years, from a completely bare site, they have made the most beautiful garden. This is a general view looking down towards the backwater.

In days gone by I imagine there must have been lavish riverside parties because this original bathing hut remains at the bottom of the garden and would have been used in the modest Edwardian times.

Just across the stream is an island, and at this time of year the Loddon lilies are at their best. They don’t last long but right now sprinkle the island everywhere.

Back in the garden I spied this gypsy caravan tucked away in a corner. (I must make use of this in a painting sometime).

More views of the garden. Don’t the blue pots contrast beautifully with the spring greenery? No doubt as summer approaches they’ll be filled with flowers.

As its ‘that’ time of year my painting schedule was interrupted last week by the need to spend 3 days compiling my tax affairs. What a bore! But at least it’s done early this year. My cleaning lady left me recently ‘to spend more time with her family’ I think, so I put an ad in our local paper – ‘The Henley Standard’. What a good little newspaper that is, because in response to just one tiny classified I’ve received over 25 replies. Times must be tough.

I called to see Paul and Debbie yesterday. Paul is recovering from the hernia operation he underwent a couple of days ago but is looking fit and well. It was lovely sitting on their verandah and watching the occasional boat glide by in the glistening sunshine. The pair of swans that annually build in their creek have almost completed their nest this year. Here’s the pen putting the finishing touches to it. Unfortunately one of the swans that regularly nest in our garden was found dead last week. The Swanline people who came to collect it said that it had been killed by a fox.

Hooray… my dinghy will be in the water next Wednesday – a bit late for Easter, but it has to be varnished a number of times before launching. This is how it was the other day with Trevor Green, who did all the work on it,