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Down Under

by wilvir

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"Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Chief Seattle (1786–1866) leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes

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Field of Themes

(viewed 1199 times)
Hurleston, Llangollen Canal.

1. A 35' Dalek stands in the middle distance a quarter of a mile off. Conveniently a footpath from the canal leading to the field where it stands is clearly way-marked by white posts and a map giving directions from Bridge 3.
2. The Dalek celebrates the 50th anniversary of Dr Who.
3. Lit up at night, the Dalek senses movement, flashes its eye and rotates its eye-stalk, manipulator and gun-stick, calling out 'Exterminate! Exterminate!'

I found this iconic enemy of Dr Who after Ginny came across it when chatting with friends who had been moored in the area. 'Snugburys' is an organic farm famous for hay sculptures and renowned for its ice-cream.

For more info about Snugburys famous field and ice-cream go to:
13th Nov 2013, 19:21   comments (3)

Space, Distance & Time

(viewed 729 times)
1. This morning here on 'the cut'.
2/3. Meanwhile in Adelaide this evening.
10th Nov 2013, 11:10   comments (1)

At Last a Nip in the Air

Hurleston, Llangollen Canal. Friday 08Nov2013.

1. The approaching night sky begins to clear.
2. Hurleston Reservoir.
3. A Blackbird sings.
4. Twilight descends over the dam wall.
5. A blizzard of birds.

We arrived here at Hurleston a week ago, having locked-up onto the Llangollen Canal to enjoy the splendour of a world heritage site that really comes into its own when the leaves are falling in earnest, opening up the countryside to more inquisitive and admiring souls like me who aren't put off by a 'bit-of-weather' as winter sets in.

With logs and coal enough to keep us warm and cosy as the long nights draw in, we're enveloped by a coal-black darkness of clear night skies bejewelled with the wonders of the northern hemisphere that herald the arrival of early morning and late evening frosts, and with a chill that seems to want to keep us company throughout the day seeking to make our unprotected skin glow.

Hedgerows come and go, made invisible then visible by mist drifting low on the slightest of breezes until the sun causes it to rise and melt as its rays add just a minuscule touch of warmth to leaves dripping with condensation that turns to wisps of vapour as it spins away on the thermal of a fairies breath.

A blackbird serenades the arrival of twilight, risking the loss of a more sheltered branch to a less enthusiastic rival, too lazy to sing. Rooks gather to roost in a cluster of treetops ignoring the strengthening breeze that shakes more crisp leaves to the ground, giving sound to the footfall of a fox on the prowl. I catch its eyes, bright in the heartbeat of a torch flash.

The reservoir whispers in the freshening breeze as thousands of birds take to the air, disturbed by my silent yet visible presence. Gunner decides to bark at the white-caps being curled by the wind that a moment ago was just a breeze, breaking the advancing waves against the grass slope of the dam wall. The moon picks out details and highlights landmarks to guide us home. We're alone, but comforted by the beauty of our surroundings and the knowledge that this, 'the cut', is our home.
9th Nov 2013, 01:07   comments (0)

We Can Only Marvel

(viewed 944 times)
Hurleston, Llangollen Canal. Friday 08Nov2013.

Taken from the bow of the boat as the sun, sinking below the horizon, sets the sky ablaze with colour enough to caress the land with a last warming glow.

The more the days, weeks, months and years pass as I while away my time drifting about the countryside under the canopy of a window open to the universe, and marvel at the daytime wonders of our atmosphere, or the night-time splendour of our solar system and the milky-way, the more I am in awe of what I have learnt, and yet to learn, about our planet and the galaxy we inhabit. How very sad that millions of people, enslaved by the tyranny of government sponsored terrorism, war, famine, disease, poverty and corruption, are denied those same freedoms and opportunities to learn and wonder. If only..........!
8th Nov 2013, 19:04   comments (2)

Ignored by St Jude

North of Audlem, Shropshire Union Canal. Monday 29Oct2013.

The late afternoon sky is swept clean by the passing remnants of St Jude's Storm far to the south.

We did an overnight stop at Market Drayton on Tuesday of last week then moved out into the sticks the next day for a three night stay and on Saturday locked down to, and through, Audlem to tie up just north of Overwater Marina.

With the forecast south of us not looking to good for Sunday and today, we stayed put. Apart from some squally rain, with the occasional gust of wind enough to rock the boat, the dreaded coming of the storm passed us by, leaving us to sleep fitfully without a murmur other than for a heavy burst of rain to draw us back to the edge of awareness, but just not quite enough to bring us awake.

Tomorrow, tuesday, we move on once more.
29th Oct 2013, 00:58   comments (0)

Autumn from the Tiller

(viewed 791 times)
Today has been changeable to say the least weather-wise, with rain having been with us for most of it, but fortunately not enough to stop us cruising for close on six hours (well beyond the three hours we usually limit ourselves too). It must have been the midday 'full-english' we treated ourselves to at Norbury Junction after stopping to pick up diesel, gas and coal. A multi-fuel top-up was well deserved as we'd started the day expending a bit more energy than we normally would having tackled a tree that had fallen across the canal overnight. After forty-five minutes we finally managed to clear enough room to rope the boat past, leaving everything we'd touched spattered with mud.

The day got distinctly better after that.
22nd Oct 2013, 21:32   comments (0)

The King of Fishers

(viewed 728 times)

From a painting by Robin Armstrong.
20th Oct 2013, 23:32   comments (0)

Days End

(viewed 727 times)
Walking through woods and along deserted country lanes in the twilight I was reminded of how our senses compliment each other as day passes to night.

An unseen crab apple tree makes itself known as the sweet aroma of crushed apples rises up from where they've fallen as they're trodden underfoot. Hearing gives a skittish blackbird away as it rustles the leaves beneath a bush in search of a meal. The sound of a rabbit doing a fast u-turn and scurrying away as it senses Gunners approach. The shake of a branch as a grey squirrel, spooked by our passing, makes for a favourite tree, causing acorns to break free and strike the ground beneath. The smell of woodsmoke from a farmers bonfire carried far on the whisper of a breeze. The distant sound of a narrowboat engine clearing its throat and fading to nothing as it shuts down for the night. Rooks 'cawing' as they vie for room to roost amongst the treetops.

Our senses come awake as light fades and we seek to identify our now hidden surroundings by putting a face to a sound, a name to a smell, the cause to a feeling. This is what being alive means. Then, without warning, Gunner barks at the intangible form of a shadow and all hell breaks loose!

Ten minutes later and close to home I catch the aroma of dinner on the go, the disturbance of that ill-timed bark still reverberating amongst the trees and hedgerows as things once again settle down for the night.
20th Oct 2013, 00:46   comments (0)