Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Feeding the Ducks

Day 21, Reading to Eton Rowing Club

Having started to display the symptoms of scurvy, beri-beri, and incipient rickets, I waved Jim off to Tescos this morning with a list saying things like Fruit! Vegetables! Orange juice! Lentils!!!!! The time has come to cook proper food again. After all, it's not as if the boat doesn't have a kitchen... So he returned with this:

I stowed the vegetables most attractively in the big brass cooking pot, and the fruit in the fruitbowl, before we set off. One of the things I like about boat living, although it also took a bit of geting used to, is how everything earns its place with multiple uses, and how few things have one home, but have to move about as space is required.

Today we had hoped to catch up with Magnet Man and purchase... a magnet. Very excitedly, we saw his boat at Cookham, but sadly he didn't seem to be there. On the other hand, we did catch up with Amy and James, the Lucky Ducks, again, and knowing how I always cook too much, invited them to join in our repast. I felt very smug chopping onions and garlic (and tomatoes and peppers and spinach) to make my favourite lentil curry (at times like this, you need to feel a bit worthy. Eventually the guilty pleasure of living on beer and chocolate (and toffee pecan meringue roulade) wears a little thin, and only pulses will satisfy the soul).

I also felt singularly fortunate, as around that time there was a sudden and torrential downpour; I mean incredibly heavy. Poor Jim was stuck with the steering, so I did my bit by moving the coal box so that the water could run off him (and run it did) straight into the bilge. Nifty. Glad we didn't get the coal wet, as there was just enough for a couple more fires.

Shortly after that we started looking for a mooring. There were some marked on the map but I'm never sure if we're looking in the right place and there's usually some humming and hawing about where we should go. In the distance, there was a piled section of bank, but it was suspiciously empty. I looked through the binoculars and after a while could make out a two-tone blue sign. Joy abounded when I could read the words 'Environment Agency' and '24 hours'. Once we were both tied up, we realised that this was the very place, by Eton Rowing Club's boat house, that we had stopped with Helyn on one of our very earliest outings. On that occasion, it marked the very extent of our journey before we turned back for Penton Hook.

After dinner, James showed us Dorney Lake, purpose built by the club and apparently the best rowing lake in the country, where the rowing events of the 2012 Olympics (does such a thing bear thinking about?) will be held.

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