Oh the joys of waking up in the early hours and listening to the rain thumping on the roof, knowing full well the cap was not on the chimney and there for the rain would be washing the tar down the chimney, which would then run on to the stove top. Yes that is what greeting my thinking at round 4 am. Not being able to then sleep, I had to get up and put the cap on the chimney, just for my own piece of mind. Of course to do this I had to climb over Keith, who was also woken up mainly by me being on the move. Chimney covered, there was only one other thing to do and that was make us a brew. Thankfully after a brew, we both managed to settle back down beneath the duvet and get some sleep until 7 am. I am sure that with mature age comes the problem of sleeping some nights.
Because we were awake, Marmite wanted us to know in no uncertain terms she was feeling chilly, because I had allowed the saloon stove to go out, because we were getting to warm and because I had cleaned the fire out and replaced the fire rope around the chimney I did not bother to relight it. Because Marmite was feeling he cold, she crept beneath the duvet for a warm before I got up at 7.45 am.
It was still raining when it was time to take Paddy out for his walk. Paddy’s face said it all really, he was not a happy boy. He has never enjoyed getting wet, but needs must, so I dragged him off the boat and took him for a quickie.
Once the rain had desisted, we took a stroll into Stone to see if there had been any changes and it also gave us the chance to catch-up with people we know. The town has certainly changed and we did not feel for the better. There were empty shops and the ones that had been empty were now taken over by charity shops. Stone is a small canal side town and yet it now has ten charity shops. This to me is way too many for such a small place and it does actually over power the town. Stone is now a town of charity shops, barbers, hairdressers and places to eat. The pet shop which we liked went about a week ago and a Heron Foods shop which opened three years ago has already gone. Sadly the town has lost it friendly feeling, which it always used to have. Something is now clearly missing. Having spoken to someone in the know, I was told that the rental on the shops was so high, no one could afford to take them on, but charity shops are rental free. There has to be something wrong with that surely?
There are some very good independant shops still in the town, but they are being over powered by the charity shops etc.
Having been depressed with what we saw in the town, we walked up the canal towpath back to the boat, calling in to Canal Cruising to say “hello” to Pete, Karen and Charlie and then onto to Stone Boat Building to say “hello” to Kath and Brian. It seems that all in their own way are stepping back from their businesses and letting the next generation of their families take over. I guess we are all of the same age, when getting on with living is more important than money and business. Some of it has been bought on by the fact that we have lost people we know this past year and it really brings home to us that we need to make the most of everyday. Work and money are not the be all and end all.
We are still in Stone having caught up with lost of people we know including Roger (boat builder)and Teresa. We went out with Tina and Rob for a lovely meal on Friday night in Wetherspoons, it was Fish night, so it would have been rude not to have had the Fish and Chips, which was excellent. Unfortunately going to bed on a full stomach did nothing to help my Hernia. But never mind, we hd a lovely evening catching-up.
Saturday we walked into Stone, as I wanted to get some fruit and vegetables from All Seasons and Keith wanted a compass, which he needed for his new railway layout design. he is now on design number four.
Today being Sunday I got to catch-up with Clare on NB Foxglove, before Keith joined us and then Roy, Clare’s husband came and caught up with us, he has been working on their Historic Working Boat Admiral. Beautiful day today, after a very heavy frost this morning.
Tomorrow we are heading off.