Happy Christmas from Yardley Gobion

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year
from a cold, snowy and icy Yardley Gobion.

Steve & Maggie

Snow & Ice at Kingfisher Marina

Yesterday we walked from our village through the snow to the marina at Yardley Gobion. We had over a foot of snow over the weekend and temperatures have been regularly down to - 8 deg C at night and not above zero during the day. One night saw -10 deg C. The ice is well and truly set in along the canal with some snow settled on top of it.

Views from Bridge 60

When we boarded Albert she just didn't rock - it was if she was set in concrete.

Solid ice with some snow on top

The snow on the boats is very impressive, you can hardly recognise which boat is which.

Spot your boat!

A boat moored next to Albert, Jenny Wren, has the whole cabin side covered with snow with the snow extending onto staging. The patterns on the fore and aft fenders, and mooring lines are amazing.

Continous Snow

There's a pigeon box under there!

Stern fenders and snow drifts

Earlier in the winter I left a convector heater in the engine room set to a frost setting. It is probably used quite a bit of electricity by now but hopefully it will be worth it when we come to the thaw; a spring thaw as in 1962/3? Who knows! Certainly no Christmas cruising this year.

IWA First Bulletin

I have just purchased a copy, a first edition, of Robert Aickman's The River Runs Uphill; I intend to review it at some stage. However, I was immediately struck by a fact that leapt out of a page - that Aickman records that the first IWA bulletin carried an obitury for a member Montagu Aubery Lloyd (Aickman's spelling). Aickman reports that Lloyd died after his cruiser sank on the Gloucester & Berkeley canal. He did of course, but this was after his boat had been repaired and his crew had travelled very close to their home on the Thames. The book was completed by Montague's daughter-in-law Ann who accompanied him on his voyage.

I reviewed the book which records the Lloyd family's epic voyage back in November 2007. Aickman considered that this was the first inland cruising book to be published post foundation of the IWA. In Aickman's list of the Associations early books is the classic Flower of Gloster and Bonthron's My Holidays on the Inland Waterways, both of which I own.

Hungry Heron

Some time ago I posted a blog about herons and their behaviour. We live just over a mile from the Grand Union canal and the River Tove is just beyond it, so herons are not unknown in our village. Just over a week ago a heron perched on the roof of house in our High Street for over an hour. We presumed that it was eying up the local garden ponds but we saw no action.

Then yesterday morning we drew back the curtains in our bedroom, looked over towards the flat roof of our garage, and got quite a shock. A heron was on the roof trying to cope with a large brightly coloured goldfish. Although the fish appeared dead from the start (it didn't move), because of its size the heron took several attempts to swallow it. I photographed the whole episode through glass so the images are not the best; I wasn't going to open a window and disturb the bird and get cold.

The video below is a slideshow from my photos.

Heron Eating a Large Goldfish

In the penultimate slide the fish is lodged in the bird's throat. After swallowing the fish the heron stayed on the roof for a few minutes, presumably to settle its stomach! It then took off in a very laboured manner. We will have to ask our neighbours to see of they are missing any fish.

When I posted the video on You Tube I noticed that there was also a Heron eats Goldfish video. In that video the fish is still moving!

Granny's Shiny Boats

I notice that Granny Buttons has posted about shiny boats. His latest features NB Morpheus which is part of a shared ownership with our friends Bob & Helen Westlake. Here they are, recently passing through Stoke Bruerne.

NB Morpheus at Stoke Bruerne, October 2010

The boat is still shiny but not quite so spectacular as in Andrews' original photo. However, you can still see another boat in the reflection.

Frozen in

Its just 9 months since we had lots of snow and ice - now its back again.

In common with most of the country we have snow in Northamptonshire but not as much as up north. The ice is pretty impressive. We visited Kingfisher Marina on Monday and watch Jon from Baxter's breaking ice with a boat that needed blacking in the dry dock. It took quite an effort!

Yesterday we checked on Albert and took the attached photos. As you can see from the broken sheets, the ice is quite thick already.