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  • clivenmel

June 1st

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Well it�s hard to believe but it is June already!  Where did the last five months go?!  I remember Mummy telling me that when you reach 21 the years fly by � she wasn�t kidding.  What she didn�t tell me was that they pick us speed the older you get!    Anyway, it is definitely Flaming June at the moment � the weather is absolutely fantastic and soooooooooooooooo warm!  In fact as I am typing this it is 7.30pm, there isn�t a cloud in the sky and the sun is really warm still.  Do you think we might actually have a proper summer this year?  I do hope so.  Or, do you think this is it!!   Well � what have we done today?  We left our moorings next to Cassiobury Park around 11.00 this morning.  It was already warm and sunny and again the trees were full of birds singing their hearts out � lovely.  We had a really lovely cruise, the countryside round here is very pretty, well certainly from the aspect of the canal that is.   We negotiated eleven locks today but as they were well spaced out they weren�t too tiring.  I had chance to rest between locks and enjoy the sunshine and the scenery.  Before you ask � yes we are wearing our suntan lotion and hats! Whilst I was emptying one of the locks I noticed some honey bees flying around the balance beam and disappearing down a hole.  One of the bees looked to have a green abdomen, which was very strange, however when I looked closer I could see it was carrying a leaf which it proceeded to drag down the hole in the beam!    Well, it is good to see honey bees alive and kicking anywhere in the light of their current demise, but a lock balance beam seems a very strange place to build a nest! I had popped inside at one point to make some sandwiches and a cuppa when Clive yelled for me to come back on deck.  I rushed up to see what all the fuss was about and he was pointing at a tree branch just above the water � I was delighted to see what it was he was pointing at, it proved I am not going totally insane � a Terrapin!  Yes a real live Terrapin living and breathing, sunbathing on a branch in an English canal!  I am afraid I didn�t manage to get a really clear shot of it but am putting this photo in just to prove my sanity to you lot as well!   I have to see we often see some strange things as we are cruising up and down the British waterways but we weren�t prepared for this!  I had just commented to Clive that there was a really lovely property situated overlooking a lake over to our left when we suddenly saw what appeared to be a Brontosaurus (or something similar) rearing its head over the bushes!  Sometimes you do wonder!   One of the places we passed today was once the site of the Ovaltine factory!  Unfortunately the factory, which opened in 1913, closed in 2002 when the manufacture of the delicious bedtime beverage was transferred to Switzerland.  It�s a long time since its 1930s heyday and the children�s �League of Ovaltinies�.  They even had their own fleet of narrowboats painted with eye-catching advertising livery and even had a dairy and an egg farm, according to our canal book.  The old factory has now been enveloped in a new housing scheme.   I decided to defrost the fridge today � it was getting a bit iced up!  I got two great big icebergs out of it and threw them into the canal, I am sure anybody seeing them floating down the cut would have wondered what the heck was going on!  In saying that, it doesn�t seem all that long since the canals were covered with ice and un-navigable!  A far cry from the heat of today.   We soon arrived at Apsley Marina.  No I haven�t suddenly become dyslexic!  It�s not Aspley as in Huddersfield, but Apsley as in Hertfordshire!  This is another one of those rejuvenated canalside districts where the old disused warehouses and factories have been torn down and lovely new apartments, shops, eateries and pubs have replaced them.  It is really nice and looks to be a very desirable place to live.  It is great that they are doing this all over the country now, bringing life back to decayed and derelict areas alongside the waterways.  In some places they have used existing buildings like some of the northern mills and just converted them into classy apartments, in others, where the buildings are not salvageable, they have built from scratch, but they are all very tastefully done.         We managed to find a lovely mooring just beyond the marina itself, right next to the bridge that crosses the canal to the pub!  It was so handy we thought, oh well why not!  We only went for a drink really but ended up having dinner there and very nice it was too.   So, no washing up tonight � lovely!

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