Hooligans or helpers?

I moved the boat from Cowroast to Bulbourne, just a few miles along the Tring summit. Those locations themselves are full of local history.

The name of Cowroast on the old A41 was probably derived from cow rest, a place where cattle were rested up on the drive down to London.DSCN8169

Bulbourne is still a Canal and River Trust workshop, much diminished from the time when lock gates were made there. There is still a privately run dry dock alongside the first lock descending northwards since the London and the Thames some 37 miles and 56 locks away.

The summit cutting is up to 30 feet deep, or high depending on your point of view, and several miles long. It is a cool place to cruise as it is mainly shaded by trees on both sides.


As usual I was following a kingfisher as it flew from one waterside perch to another, catching insects from the surface as it went.

Mooring up early due to the heat I was able to spend some time watching the fish. Now being a trained biologist I know my fish. These were of the type that I would definitely describe as medium to big, about two foot long each. They seemed to be in a family, or gang, I think that is called a school, or is it shoal? Anyway these were fish. Like I said I know my fish when I see them as close as this. They were very close to the surface, I suspect that oxygen levels were low, due to the heat, and they were keeping near to the surface where it was more concentrated. That gave me a good view and enabled me to identify them, as fish. They had eyes, a mouth, they definitely had fins, no arms or legs, and were swimming, so I conclude these were fish. If you think that my definition could possibly include other types of aquatic animals I have checked and it is quite unlikely that they were dolphins or whales.

Now during the afternoon I got quite fond of my slow moving family of fish. They seemed to like to be around the bit of water where I was moored, it is nice to have a bit of company, even if my attempts at dialogue did not seem to result in any meaningful responses.

It was hot, really hot therefore even though my lighter painted roof reduced the impact of the sun I was driven to go for a shady walk. By shady I mean in the shadows of the trees, not anything underhand. Near Bulbourne there is a wildlife reserve where I sat and watched a tern swooping and diving to take insects off of the surface. It kept this up for at least 30 minutes that I watched it, a fantastic aerial acrobat.

It was one of those very hot nights, about 26C in the boat, when sleep does not come easily anyway. I say “anyway” because I was disturbed. I woke in the night to a noise best described as a “toyng, toyng”. A bit like a soft mallet hitting the metal of the boat. It kept happening but was not located in any one place, it seemed to come from all over the boat, suggesting that it was not a burglar or the usual type of vandal. It would stop for a bit then resume, “toyng, toyng, toyng, toyng”.

I looked over the side in the twilight, it stopped. But there in the water was the occasional bubble and tell tale movement on the surface that indicate there is something moving just below the surface.

Now I know that they meant well by cleaning the algae off of my hull, but why the hull couldn’t they do it in the day instead of lazily basking in the sun? No wonder they did not answer back during the day, they were embarrassed about what they were planning.

Anyway, I have finished my bit of carping.

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