I woke up this morning to the sound of the church bells pealing in the town at 7am. Apart from the bells not even the birds were chirping, but then who can blame them when it is this cold. Maybe their beaks were frozen shut. I really do feel for the wildlife when the weather is this cold. I do realise that to some this is not cold, but for the UK it is freezing. Although we are very cosy on the boat. Due to the fact that it is a Saturday, there was no hurry to get up, so before I made us a cuppa, I stoked up both stoves to bring the temperature inside the boat up a bit as it was a little chilly. We then sat in bed drinking tea and talking about what the day would hold for us and if there were any plans to do anything. By 8.30am we had a visitor, Paddy crept up to the back cabin and laid his head on my lap. I took this as a sign he needed to go and visit the little boy's room outside. I clambered out of bed and did not waste anytime getting dressed, because the engine room was cold. Marmite then joined the party on the bed, hoping to find a nice warm place to snuggle down and go to sleep. She loves all the warmest places like most cats, unfortunately she lucked out because the bed was rolled up and put away.Before breakfast Paddy got his walk along a very crispy towpath. The temperature gauge was still reading -4.5c when we stepped off the boat. There is something so refreshing about walking in a heavy frost. It is as though the air is all new and fresh and you are the first to inhale it. I love to take a few deep breath's to clear the tubes. I would be quite happy to walk miles in this sort of weather, but Paddy never likes to go to far, because he knows his breakfast is waiting for him back on the boat. So no sooner he has done what is needed, he does an about turn and legs it along the towpath back to the boat, where he sits and waits for me to open the engine room doors, where he jumps back into the boat.
Having done all we needed to do and fought our way through the Christmas shoppers we made our way back to the boat. The bird feeders are now hanging on the swan neck and I hope that the birds will take advantage of some free food. When we had a garden we used to have a bird table and allsorts of feeders, but with living on a boat it is not as easy to put food out as we have no where to really hang it. But as we are not going anywhere at the moment the swan neck will do just fine.
Talking of Christmas shoppers. There seems to be a me-first seasonal confusion which manifests itself in shopping rage at Christmas time. People feel they have the right to push and shove their way through, using their elbows as battering rams. Whatever happened to the words excuse me please?
I feel for any shop worker because I have been there over the Christmas period. I used to work for M&S and still remember the queasy feeling that arrived on workday mornings in December, because I just knew what was coming. Even before the store opened, a horde of customers would be waiting outside the locked doors. Some would bang on the glass and point at their watches. Others would scan the aisles already mapping out their frantic dash. Whilst most of the encounters with Christmas shoppers were pleasant, every so often shopping rage would drown out the seasonal cheer. Remember to be polite, it costs nothing, but could be very rewarding when your looking for that something special. I can now laugh about this misplaced fury. But at the time, it felt like I was the one and only person shoppers could vent their rage at. It felt unnecessary and entirely at odds with the spirit of the season. Shop assistants are human too.
So with exactly one week of shopping left until Christmas, I wish you success. I hope you find everything on your list and you come out of it with your sense of humour in tact.
So with us back on the boat in the warmth, the snow has begun to fall, and I hope it is here to stay for a while. Stay safe and warm out there xx