We enjoyed our time at Clonony & mum managed another bus trip to Athlone with the bus picking her up at the canal bridge. However, on Sunday news came out in the evening that NPHET was recommending the whole country move to level 5 which is effectively full lockdown again.
We were currently at level 3. This was a bit of a shock & we didn’t know if it meant the locks on the canal would close so in the morning mum thought we’d better move. She rang the lock keeper & he agreed it’d be wise to move so off we set to meet him
First it was back up through the staircase lock that is operated with the middle gates open.
Then just a single lock which got us on a along flat level. Mum was aiming for a nice jetty she’s spotted in June but not stopped at. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the boat in anywhere near it was too shallow & too far for our 8ft planks so sadly we had to cruise on. On the way down mum had spotted a tap at the next bridge so we next aimed for there as if we were going to be locked down we needed to be by water. We also couldn’t get anywhere near the bank there but by fluke a chap was just returning to his car parked nearby & saw mum struggling so he came to help. So mum threw ropes at him & between them managed to get planks in situ so ta da we’re moored up!
So we’re having to be brave & use planks again. It’s a lovely little spot but fairly remote. Nobody comes this side of the canal at all & there’s a nice big grassed area for us. Theres a bungalow opposite & the lady there has shouted across a few times to check we’re OK.
There’s nice walkies up the canal both ways & even a big stone picnic table but mum says its too cold for picnics!
The village of Ferbane is about a ten minute bike ride away & has a garage, a Centra shop, a pharmacy, a hairdressers, a pub or two & a dentist & drs. The tap works so mum has deemed it a place to stop whilst the government decides if we’re going into lockdown or not. Our friend Mags has said she’ll help us get diesel & if we need pump out its only a day back to Shannon Harbour. So the government didn’t put us into full lockdown then but all social mixing indoors has been stopped not that that really affects us & we’re not allowed to travel out of the county currently. We’re now in County Offaly.
Mum finally got to visit Lough Boora. She’d wanted to visit on the way past before but due to the virus none of the buses were running but now she has Falcon she’s been able to cycle there.
Transformed from its previous incarnation as a commercial bog where peat was harvested to heat homes around the country, today Lough Boora Discovery Park is home to countless species of birds and wildlife, fish-filled lakes and a permanent exhibition of huge outdoor sculptures. These sculptures give the park an other-worldly feel, created using the old industrial materials of the bog such as locomotives, rail-line and timber, all crafted into magnificent works of art. The raised bogs of the Midlands of Ireland evolved after the last Ice Age, around 15,000 years ago. Mesolithic people wandered through Ireland and one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Ireland is at Lough Boora.
It has 3 different cycle routes & lots to see & do. Mum only saw part of it & hopes to go back if permitted.
Now mum being mum is as busy as ever. She has set herself 12 goals to accomplish over winter although we may fail the cruising one if lockdown arrives. One of them though is a virtual cycling challenge. She’s loving it you pick your route so she’s doing The Ring of Kerry & you can walk run or cycle it. You log your distances & it tracks you on a map so you can see where you are on Google streetview & you get postcards along the way & a medal when you complete it. Well it’s keeping her out of our fur anyway.
One of her other goals is some boat painting – she’s going to freshen up all the paintwork inside the cratch over winter but more of a priority she wants to sort out the scrapes & bumps from the season between the waterline & the gunwhales before they go rusty. She had this bright idea that because we can’t get into the bank its an opportunity to get in the water as its not very deep & get this side done. Well it might not be very deep at the front or the middle of the boat but the level dropped suddenly towards the back so that was mum soaked. Oh how we laughed!!
The water was freezing too! Anyway she’s happy as she’s got it all fertaned & our rust patches have turned a nice black colour. She’s hoping to get a few nice days to put the paint on but the rust treatment was the most crucial.
Unfortunately one of her other goals is to learn that blasted tin whistle. I tell you it sounds worst that a cat with its tail stood on! I wouldn’t mind but she seems to think as long as folks can recognise the tune she’s doing OK!! Me & Cosmo may need to invest in some ear plugs.
So for now we’re staying here whilst we see if we get locked down or not. Even today as we type this there’s government meetings about the possibility of level 5.