Friday 14 October 2016

Three score and ten

Years, that is. Since my mother (of blessed memory) gave birth to her third son at twenty past four in the afternoon and, as she put it, had a nice cup of tea afterwards. Little sign, then, of all the grief he would cause later on!

Now I'm not very good at birthdays, neither my own nor anybody else's. The combination of event management and creative purchase doesn't seem to fit particularly well. We have something special planned for next year as a joint celebration, and a sudden fit of inspiration led to an idea in which Sons One to Three will also take part – but that's for next month. Today saw us merely planning to cruise something under a mile back to our home base in Great Haywood Marina.

My best beloved decided this was inadequate, and invited me out for breakfast. The last time we'd been to the café by Haywood Lock they had a good and attractive fire going, so we cruised down, moored up and walked across. Alas, the fire is long gone, all bricked up and closed in. It didn't feel very cosy at all, so we decided to walk down to Shugborough instead. That took us across the Trent,

all sparkly in the morning sunshine,

though the one heron on view looked distinctly chilly.

Down to the entrance to the estate – only to find that they've already closed up for the winter, with various refurbishments in hand before they open again next spring.

Breakfast out was looking less and less likely, but we decided on a stroll down to the Canal Farm Shop café near Haywood Junction. On the way we encountered a CRT work-party.

My first thought was "What on earth are they doing with a lock gate beam down a hole in the ground?" Then we realised that it is in fact to be a splendid new signpost for the junction.

On a bit, over the road and into the café, where we ate a very good breakfast – though by now it was rather late to be going by that name. Before walking back to Erin Mae we popped into the farm shop itself and bought, among other things, a most excellent pair of Bakewell tarts which we have just consumed with a cup of tea. Tonight I shall cook us a perfectly adequate birthday dinner with some of Morrisons' pork loin medallions.

Birthdays come and go, but anything over the three score and ten is a happy bonus. My best beloved will now spend the next few months reminding me what a young thing she is (well, she won't hit this landmark till next June).


  1. Happy birthday then Martin! You must have worked up quite an appetite by the time you eventually had a breakfast in front of you!
    We too are contemplating how to mark the 'three score and ten' point next year, September for both of us. Presumably you too grew up being told that you were Post-War Babes, part of the Bulge and all that...
    On another point I recognise fully the conscience difficulties you experienced regarding a difficulty with another boater a few days ago. We still bear the mental scars of an incident with an irate boater on the Avon some five or six years ago, and were not pleased to meet him again in East Anglia about two years ago. It was with a great sense of relief that when his boat was spotted a couple of weeks ago no-one appeared to be on board. Fortunately the vast majority of boaters are good humoured and helpful...
    Best wishes for many more happy birthdays.
    Sue/Boatwif /nb Cleddau

  2. Happy Birthday, Martin. Do you know the name of the boat in the photo?

    1. Thanks, Halfie. I did see the boat's name as we passed, but I don't remember it. I'll see if it's still around tomorrow.

  3. Happy Birthday Martin and wishes for many more to come . Hopefully see you soon back at GHM
    Dawn , Adrain and Jet N.B. Chalico

    1. Thank you, folks. Looking forward to seeing you when we pop back up in a week or two.