Monday, 5 June 2017

TrackR. 4th June

Homerton Road Bridge
IMAG3629smIt was nice to be able to open the curtains at the bottom of the bed this morning and have a view again without everyone looking in at us with our morning cuppa in bed. Boats started passing us early. The first seemed to be very noisy and was making exceedingly slow progress for the amount of revs, something around the prop most probably. Most boats that were heading south returned after a while, including the chap who really should check his weedhatch, it would save him so much diesel and his hearing! They must have all been heading for water and pump outs two bridges back. NB Kelly Louise cruised by, this was the boat that Tom and Jan stayed on whilst the build of NB Waiouru was being sorted out. It was owned by Peter and Margaret who in 2014 had Kelly Louise grit blasted and blacked, sadly when she was put back in the water disaster struck, she sank. You can read Peter’s account starting here. We’d last seen her on hard standing at Wilton Marina, good that she is back afloat again.
P1040664smWow! Here is just so good. I didn’t have a camera to be able to show you, but Wow!! Once I’d managed to dash across the towpath there was a strip of friendly habitat, but on the other side there was another towpath. This had to be negotiated too, but once past all the bicycles and runners there lay sheer heaven. Big trees that I could climb for days and miles and miles of what I’m told is cow parsley, ideal for finding friends and generally jumping around in, like a loon. This was going to take me all day and maybe longer!
After an hour or so I went and started to walk circuits of the mown paths to see if I could hear our second mate. Some distance away her familiar meow responded to mine and we both headed back to Oleanna, Tilly taking the more direct route. Our return was well timed as up ahead a boat seemed to be pulling out. I walked up and paced out the new gap and checked to see if any large rocks were visible, but the water was all churned up. I still haven’t got Oleannas length in my head in regard to paces so came back and checked. We’d fit. A flurry of activity and we were pushing off, well I was, Mick was more leaping off! Past a few boats and just as we were pulling in to our improved mooring I could see an old friend walking up the towpath to find us. Luckily I’d warned him that we might nudge up.
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Ben and his daughter Sophie live in Hackney and had come for a nosy. Ben was two years above me at school in York, his first girl friend was the sister of my first boyfriend, so in our teen years we saw quite a bit of each other. Reacquainted through facebook I’d promised to let him know when we were in the area. Ben is a cellist and plays in the English Touring Orchestra that tours with English Touring Opera for part of the year, during the summer he works at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He teaches the cello and last year one of his students Sheku Kanneh-Mason won Young Musician of the Year. In what spare time he has he is a ceramicist and makes some rather lovely pots using different coloured and textured clays, his Strata pots are particularly fine. It was lovely to see him again and catch up on quite a bit of news.
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Food stocks were getting quite low and a few essentials were needed so we took a walk up towards Homerton to see what shops we could find. Walking up the towpath we passed a couple of familiar boats breasted up, last year we had been next door neighbours with them and Picasso whilst we had been in Little Venice. By Homerton Road Bridge there are colourful new flats and just behind them is the large Kingsmead Estate which seems to stretch as far as the eye can see. Built in the 30’s Kingsmead had a reputation. Back in 2009 the estate was in the top 4% for depravation in the country, but was doing it’s best to improve conditions. Photographer Gideon Mendel got together with Kingsmead school and provided 28 children with digital cameras for them to record their life on the estate over a period of six months. The photographs were put together as a video installation Kingsmead Eyes and shown at the V&A Museum of Childhood. I’ve not watched it all but it is a great insight into life around the estate seen through ten year olds eyes. Nowadays the estate still has it’s problems, but nowhere near as bad as it once was.
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Once back on board it was time to try out Mick’s Tilly’s new toy. After she lost a second collar this year Mick decided that we should get a tracking device to fit on her collar so that we could find her or a lost collar. He did some research and decided that a TrackR would be an affordable way of doing it without it being too big for our little cat. So two were ordered and had arrived at my brothers. Tilly had been left with the new tag attached to her collar for the afternoon so that she could get used to the weight and size of it before she was allowed out to explore. After an hour or so of not seeing her it was time to see if the TrackR worked for our needs.

With an app downloaded to Micks phone he should be able to pick up a bluetooth signal from Tilly’s collar. This would act in a ‘warmer’ ‘colder’ way until you got a 5/5 when you should be stood on top of her (or below if she was up a tree!). Also when her collar is in range you can get it to make a noise, so that you know its whereabouts. The website even suggests that you can train your cat to come home when it hears the noise. I have to say I was very sceptical about it. The two of us went outside to see if it would work. Mick walked up and down the towpath and Tilly’s collar didn’t come into range, so I decided that the mad cat woman would be more successful, so walked around the mowed paths calling for her. Nothing. I stayed with the boat whilst Mick ventured off to find her. He was gone for a while, in the meantime Tilly came home of her own free will a bit hungry. So no signal had been received or sent.
In the confines of the boat (laboratory conditions) it takes some time for the app and collar tag to register with each other, so outside either Mick or Tilly are likely to have moved before a connection could be made. Tilly is still wearing the tag as Mick hasn’t given up on it yet. I think that the cost of new collars and name tags will be cheaper and being a mad cat woman shouting into the bushes will be far more effective in the long run.
0 locks, 150ft, 1 improved mooring, 1 colander floating, 17 and 18th visitors, 2 decades at least, 1847 church standing out, 0 edamame beans, 2 loaves, 2 pints milk, 2 electric blue tags, 1 cat weighed down, 0/5! Hmmmm


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