Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back on the water

Just back from a week in Cavan/Fermanagh, most of which was spent on the boat. The first couple of days had Joe in overalls with a nasty noisy sanding machine and face mask. I managed to avoid this unpleasant activity through various means, but am hugely appreciative of Joe doing it. Then, once the decks were (partly) sanded and painted, off we went into the north.

Parkland at Crom Castle
We took a circuitous route to begin with, stopping for the first night at Crom Castle which is something we always seem to do. It's such a delicious place to stay, and we often meet people we know, or people we get to know. It was barbecue time too, and for once we timed it well - we frequently buy the wherewithall for the barbecue but for various reasons end up eating it the following day. Buying stuff when on a boat isn't straightforward. For example on the Erne you have the choice of Belturbet (way off down a river) in the south or Enniskillen in the middle. Beyond Enniskillen is Kesh, or way way off in Donegal is Belleek. But to get to either of these you have to trust to the winds. The broad lough is not for the fainthearted, and once down it you may not get back without broken crockery and spirit.

Rhododendrons at Crom (bad pic sorry)
There were less boats out than we'd expected for a weekend in which Friday and Monday were bank holidays - two bank holidays in the north as this was the weekend of the Royal Wedding. I think the boaters had all gone abroad having taken the middle three days of the week as holiday. Or perhaps they decided to stay at home to watch the wedding, and were so overwhelmed by the emotion they had to spend the rest of the weekend recovering.

The hotel at Knockninny
Many people watched it on their boats. The people in the cottages at Crom had it on - they were so engrossed they didn't notice us peering through their windows. We had to wait until the newspapers the next day to see what The Dress was like. But first, showers and dinner at Knockninny where, I'm sad to report, we ended up drinking brandies in the bar until too late. We nearly got away with a Relatively Low Alcohol Evening, as Marshall the landlord was away and the waitress, although efficient, did not provide for conversation, and there seemed to be no chatty guests. But our downfall came with the arrival of Gail. She was the sort of landlady who somehow gets people talking and, in our sad case, drinking brandy.

Winter Solstice at Knockninny

The young fellow we eventually got talking to had arrived with his young lady as we were eating, both carrying smart clothes on hangers. A short while later they came down for dinner. Then there he was on his own drinking beer. Not very romantic, I thought. Had they had a row? Was he a selfish bastard who would drink beer in the bar because he always did that on Friday night? But no! The mystery was resolved. His fair lady was applying the fake tan for the wedding they were attending on the following day, and he had been banished because, his girlfriend told him, of the fumes. Sounded like a tall story to me.

First bat scare of the year. There I was in the conservatory typing away, Joe in the barn (converted I must emphasise) adjoining. Out he rushed, exclaiming wildly.
'Oh my god there's a bat'
The Bat Expulsion Procedure was immediately put in place. Joe vacated the premises, I closed the door on him, opened appropriate doors and windows in the barn, sat in with the bat watching it circle until it eventually found the way out, had the discussion Where Did It Get In. They can wriggle through the tiniest of spaces so we never find out.

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