Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Boating and The Bard

Boating and The Bard
15th July 2009

It's been a weekend of contrasts.

Friday saw Wand'ring Bark recovered from Calf Heath Boatyard resplendent with a shiny black hull and new annodes glinting in the watery depths. It's two and a half years since she was last out of the water and long overdue for some TLC. The few annodes which survived the rigours of the winter's ice were completely shot and they have been replaced by four chunky 2.8kg blocks, two to the bows and two on the swim. The stern gland was also starting to weep so fresh packing was added for good measure.

Stowe Pool Lichfield

Saturday was a day to myself, with Jeff doing Duke of Edinburgh Award stuff and Belle off to the theatre in Stratford with her God daughter. This provided a window of opportunity for uninterrupted boat tinkering which included:

Replacement of the puny hatch bolts with some more substantial versions to repel would be invaders.

A good wash down of the topsides with turtle wax shampoo.

Finally, I purchased a slightly used stern button fender from my neighbour for £20 and replaced the old one, which had sagged and become riddled with some form of aquatic fungus (yuk).

Sunday contained yet more culture for the Ahabs. Tilly was home for the day and the three of us set off to watch an amateur production of Much Ado About Nothing in the grounds of Stowe House, part of the Lichfield Festival. The picnic lunch on the lawn was very pleasant but sadly the play was as far from a rib tickling laugh as it was possible to get. I stood in awe that the actors were able to recall those endless lines, but humour was notable by its absence.

With Tilly getting restless we decamped to Cafe Nero and a good Mocca - a wise move.

But not all was lost. The expedition gave me an opportunity to walk Round Stowe Pool, one of Lichfield's three fishery lakes (there used to be four) before returning to collect a very weary and smelly adolescent boy. Stowe Pool is interesting in that it was constructed in the eighteenth century but with the demise of the fishery it was passed onto the Stouth Staffs Water Company in the mid 1800's whereupon the banks were raised and strengthened, rising up to six metres above the original ground level.

Humpy the carp

Today the lake is enjoyed by walkers who can wander round atop the levee and fishermen who patiently stalk Old Humpy, a 50 year old 25lb carp who lurks in the depths. Humpy's comrade in arms, Two-Tone, died a few years ago. I guess that a fish can only take so many landings!

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