The flying pig flu, Winter Solstice etc 28th December 2009

Is this the Flying Pig Flu

I seem to have had some sort of orrible virus for weeks. It's been a blasted nuisance as I've had no choice but to keep showing up at the boats to at least keep the bilge pumps working through the ice and keep Captain Kit fed.

I had a Solstice celebration planned. Originally I was going to take "Southam" for a trip down the canal to a place in Audenshaw where we could build a fire. Come the Solstice the cut was frozen. It was breakable, but "Southam" is 73 years old and feeling her age. I decided to build a fire near Portland Basin on a site where some scallies had been camping and so there was already a scorched patch.

Luckily a new volunteer called Gary offered to help build the fire. we had to drag all the incendiary materials, including parts of "Hazel"s interior, over 2 bridges and a field in snow and slippery ice. I was flagging as the lurgi had gone on to my chest and any exertion left me puffing like a steam train. Largely thanks to Emuna's imaginative input, and, of course Steve the Viking and his wassail bowl, the whole thing was a lot of fun.

We had a really nice latihan
in Manchester on Christmas Eve, and a really pleasant Christmas day, me and Emuna shut out the rest of the world for a couple of days. She gave me a digibole camelode which i am learning to use. I was still feeling rotten though, and on Boxing Day Emuna started to feel ill. We had to cancel a trip to Rugby to see my brother on 27th.

I've begun to feel better at last, and I'm becoming BOOOWAD!

I've started catching up with things. Near Portland Basin there's an area of woodland that I look after. It was a sludge lagoon for dredgings from the Ashton Canal between Portland Basin and Eli Whalleys. The council let us plant oak trees on it and they're doing nicely. In one part I planted a Yew surrounded by a ring of oaks from acorns of a tree that grows near my son's grave. It is a kind of memorial to him. Every now and then it's necessary to go and cut back the invasive sycamores etc. Today I decided to relieve the boowadome by doing that for a couple of hours. Sadly the main use that the public seem to have for the woodland is to shoot up drogs or drink cheap alcohol. The area is littered with the detritus of these activities. I wish I had more time to keep it clean.

It's amazing how big the pile of wood is that you create when cutting down a few sycamores. We have an excellent woodcutting volunteer who has joined recently. I'll have to get him involved in turning this lot into firewood. When I've worked out how to download pictures from my digibole camelode I'll show you a picture of the Yew tree.