There have been green shoots poking up out of the ground for a little while now; delicate blossom on the blackthorn for a week or so, and tthe buds on the weeping willow just behind the boats have burst into leaf.
But today was the first day when it has really felt like spring. Warm and dry enough to be outside all day, doing jobs, casually chatting, sharing cups of tea, in a way that just doesn't happen when you're tucked away inside away from the weather. All the good things about boating, in short.
And at last it feels as if we are getting ready to go boating; preparing for our trip to Droitwich for Easter. Ian and Clair on Plover are going too, and have been here getting Plover shipshape. Jim (in his shorts for the first time in 2012!) was painting and rearranging Chertsey's top planks. For the Droitwich trip, because of a low bridge and to minimise the effect of wind, we are taking down the deckboard (and the cratch if we had one), the mast and stands, and clothing the boat up with the top planks low down. It's still necessary to give them a bit of height so that rainwater can drain off easily. Milk crates have been found to be just about the right height for this, but not being able to lay our hands on four of those, Jim has made some wooden boxes which will sit on the cross planks and support the top planks so that we will still be able to walk on them. I had to go round to the towpath to see from a distance whether they were all level and straight. One more box remains to be made, to go at the back end.
Meanwhile, I spring cleaned Chertsey's cabin, and brought all the brasses out for a clean.