Saturday 29 March 2014

Good day for wildlife

It's been really nice recently to be able to get up early and go running in daylight, very few people about at 6.00am but the river is getting lively.

This couple of Oyster Catchers seemed to have paired off and be setting up home on the old remains of a fishing boat. It's a good spot out on the mud and only reachable by water, so it should be a safe place for a nest.

Further out I think this is a pair of Canada geese, they were quite a common sight when we lived up in the Midlands, but  there doesn't seem to be to be so many down on the coast.

A couple of Black Headed Gulls were resting at the other end of the wreck, faces turned away from the north westerly wind which was cold despite the early sunshine.

A few days before I spotted this pair of swans one white and one black, and I guess quite rare pair.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Salterns Way to Itchenor

We took the Salterns trail from Dell Quay down to Itchenor in Chichester Harbour at the end of the summer. The trail actually runs from the centre of Chichester down to East Head in the Witterings, but I like the middle section which runs through the boat yards and these delightful villages.

The water front at Itchenor is always lively with a mix of cruising and racing boats and more than a few high performance skiffs from the sailing club. Our former neighbour sailed International 14's in the fleet at Itchenor.

There's a great mix of traditional and modern, that looks like a Squib in the foreground and a lovely gaff cutter getting ready to leave.

Chichester harbour is a great place for day sailing and is home to fleets of XOD, Sunbeams and Swallows,  I think this is a Solent Sunbeam designed by Alfred Westmacot and still keenly raced in the Solent.

Just outside the village is the former Northshore yard, builders of the Southerly lifting keel yachts and Fisher motor sailors before the company went into receivership last year, fortunately the company has recovered under the Southerly  name.

The big spring tide brought high water right up to the top of the hard, well past the dinghies, one owner had to put on waders to set out to his tender in  the dinghy compound. The tide came right up to the front of the sailing club.

Sunday 23 March 2014

New Skiff

I received a email from Andrew who's been following BB for some time and has recently decided to take up rowing.

This is the fine looking boat he chose, made by Steve McColl of Cornish Skiffs, who describes the boat as follows,  "It's a lightweight hull, designed by my father (an ex flash boat racer in the 80's). It's his vision and my handy work. I work full time as a laminator and row/produce these as a side line. finished weight is around 80kg. It's not a race boat, but moves with ease when rowed well..more of a performance day boat. she draws very little water and leaves minimal wake. She gets compliments on appearance regularly".

Andrew launched on the Hamble last weekend for a row down to Mercury and up river to Manour Farm. He most probably passed me as I was working on Matilda Emilie on the reach going down to Mercury on the Hackett Marsh side of the river (western bank), my black skiff Gato Nego was tied up alongside.

Please stop by and say hello anytime if you see me.

Friday 21 March 2014

Silken mists outside the window

It's been a joy to go out running in the fabulous misty mornings we've had recently. The river flat calm, still and quiet.

I couldn't resist a picture of  Chouette of Mersey out on her mooring just before the early sunshine came up over the trees on the eastern riverbank. Oyster-catchers in the foreground having a good time on the exposed mud.

Above Bunny Meadow the local alpacas were out grazing, not exactly a Bursledon native, but cute none the less.


Appropriately named Dazzle looking spectacular in the low sunlight.

And the title? It's a line from a Jethro Tull song Fires at Midnight.

Silken mist outside the window
Frogs and newts slip in the dark
too much hurry ruins the body
I'll sit easy ... fan the spark

Seems appropriate enjoy the moment.

Tuesday 18 March 2014


You may remember that we have been thinking about a sailing club that Joseph to join so he can go sailing with children of his own age and without mum and dad.

In the end the decision was made for us, although lots of clubs have cadet sections Hamble River Sailing Club is the only club which actively takes kids from age 5 onward. The idea is to get the young ones out on the water and enjoying boats as early as possible.

While all the clubs we visited were friendly, Hamble River really came across as child friendly. there's a big toy cupboard in the club house and the kids seem to be encouraged to have the run of the place.

We went down for the familiarisation day, learning where everything is and how things worked. There was a session on rigging boats, here Joseph is having fun finding out that little blue rope that holds the sprit  is called a "snotter."

There are great views from the club house up the river. In the dinghy park the club has a number of boats, Opi's Lasers. Wayfarer that members can use including two brand new RS Visions - that might just be the excuse I need not to get Erica's SCOW ready for the season.

Saturday 15 March 2014

Olivia Rose

Our first grand child Olivia Rose arrived fit and well weighing 6 lbs 4 ounces, mum (eldest daughter Clare) and baby looking absolutely gorgeous. I'm a slightly biased and very happy new granddad.

While the girls are enjoying all the attention we haven't forgotten Mike, congratulations on being a new dad it's the best.

Monday 10 March 2014

Warsash Whirlpool

The river path going down to Warsash is built up on a causeway which protects the saltings and a wildlife area known as Bunny Meadow.  To let the tide water in and out there are some large culverts which flow under the path.

The open end of the culverts create a whirlpool pretty much like a domestic sink as the tide flows out. We were walking along last week at just the right time to see them, about three or so hours after high water

Saturday 8 March 2014

Blogger shouting challenge

Our local DIY superstore like most retailers these days have set aside special parking for disabled drivers and families with young children. These spaces enjoy extra space and are close to the door. Joseph at nearly 5 is more than able to walk across the car park, so I tend not to use them.

Coming out of the shop with Joseph holding one hand and a load of paint and stuff in the other on a busy Saturday morning I saw a white Audi A2 pull in to the last vacant mothers with kids parking space. A couple in their very late 50’s or early 60’s got out with no kids, so as I passed I shouted out “Oh no, you’ve left your kids behind!” The woman looked amused and the man stood bemused so I pointed and continued in a very loud and astonished voice “You’ve got no kids, did you leave them behind at the last shops?”

Now clearly embarrassed, the man wouldn’t look at me, but just turned and walked off. At that point I ran dry on sarcasm so I was reduced to shouting at his back “don’t you think that’s a little selfish taking one of these spots B&Q have put in especially for people with babies?”

So fellow bloggers maybe it;s not a big deal but here’s the challenge, frankly the best thing I can think of is to embarrass this kind of thoughtless selfishness which seems all too often  to pervades our modern life these days.

What smart, witty, insulting or generally clever things would you say in such circumstances?

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Emsworth Walk Part 2

After a pleasant lunch and just after HW we headed back to the car via the Promenade which circles around the Mill Pond, past the Slipper sailing Club (below) on the way to the delightfully named Creek End.

This yacht was clearly taking water, being buffeted by the waves being whipped up on they're way across the harbour. It was well down on it's waterline and the movement was slow suggesting that it was slowly filling, hopefully the owners got to her before too much damage was done.

Out in the moorings the boats were bounding around in the wild conditions, while those in background were safely tucked up in the marina which is well protected from the westerly's.

Our route back around the harbour path was blocked, so we took the long and safe way around back to the car.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Emsworth Walk - Part 1

We quite often like to walk around Emsworth on a Saturday, wander around the old town, drop into one of the cafes for lunch and check out the interesting boats. With a very big spring tide and westerly gale blowing over winter things were a bit tricky recently.

 I don't know why there's this obsession in England for stopping cyclist from using footpaths, but even the most hardened off road riders might have found this one a challenge.

The causeway across the Slipper mill pond was awash, but it didn't stop these hardy walkers even though the water came over the top of their wellies.

Even in the calm and sheltered creek besides Dolphin quay this boat wasn't looking too good.