Louisa Parry

Louisa is a container of multitudes. She likes people, places and things.

This blog is mostly used for her "Three Beautiful Things" journal - every night before bed, she records at least three pleasant things that happened during the day. They're not always about her cats. She occasionally writes slightly more substantial stuff too.

Contact: louisa at louisaparry dot co dot uk // @louisa_

21 April 2016 ~ 0 Comments

3BT – bullrushes/bacon/bow-wow, up the Ant, wild mooring

3BT

1. I want to touch a bullrush – an almost compulsive desire – but they’re too far into the lake on the other side of the bank. Next time.

1b. Good smoky bacon.

1c. A bow-wow: the same springer we saw in Acle yesterday is still super excited about being on a boat.

2. The river Ant seemed so wide the other day but after being on the Bure and the Thurne, it feels narrow and hemmed in. It’s still beautiful though.

2b. There’s more at Ludham Bridge than we thought there would be. We have warm scones with clotted cream at the cafe and I pick up some ideas from the art shop: raku birds and animals, and bold acrylic paintings on burlap sacking.

2c. The Hall and tower at How Hill from the opposite direction: it looks majestic on the hill.

3. We spot some people wild mooring – using trees rather than rhond anchors. We’re tempted by spots close to Irstead but crack on, thinking we can turn around if needs be – then find the perfect spot just at the edge of Barton Broad: wooded banks opening out on the lake – just beautiful.

3b. I walk as far as I can along the marshy bank. There is a surprisingly number of seashells on the river bank. I collect some to show John.

3c. The binoculars often make me laugh when I realise how far away I’m looking.

3d. Tetris-style packing up.

3e. The sun comes out when I step outside. A solo rower glides from the wide broad into the river. Thanks to a mirror on a stick on his bow, he can position himself impressively perfectly in the middle of the water.

3f. The people mudweighting in the broad move on and our view becomes boat free – human free – again.

3g. Lots of little fish jumping up at duck. I spot five or six at once.

20 April 2016 ~ 0 Comments

3BT – floating, down to Acle, lunch & dog, silliness, St Benet’s again

3BT

0. This happened a few times – from the first hour we were on the boat to nearly the last, but I record it today – walking towards the back of the boat while it’s moving: feeling like I’m floating, hanging in one spot in space.

1. John does his physical daily exercises while I do my mental ones.

1b. We bob down Fleet Dyke to check out the mooring possibilities. More excitingly, we see two men gathering reeds for thatching. Back on the Bure, a little red hut with black dead trees behind it. Two mills with white sails perfectly composed up the Thurne towards Ludham. A man cutting the lawn at Tall Mill. The dalek mill beyond.

1c. 6mph! #needforspeed

1d. The wind catches the water but only on one side – the rest is smooth. The divide looks like clasped weft weaving.

1e. A perfect bit of mooring – except for when I tumble over a molehill and go over my ankle. So ‘a perfect bit of mooring while hopping’ would be a better way to describe it.

2. The lunch is mostly flavoured with sugar and vinegar but that’s not entirely a complaint.

2b. A nose sticks out of a doghouse. I stand back rather than immediately approach and she comes to me. She accepts a tickle then flops in the cool shade. Later, we have our ice creams, she sits with us and accepts our dog-starved attention.

3. It’s so warm that we crank back the canopy. John takes over driving and demands I serenade him while he “works”. I sing to him the silly song I’ve had in my head since we passed Upton Dyke – a parody of ‘Uptown Girl’ about the difficulty of navigating such a narrow river passage.

3b. I start dancing – the smooth wooden floor makes it fun – then realise I should put some music on. The Shee – traditional Scottish & English folk music – is a perfect accompaniment as we cruise down the sunny river.

4. Back to St Benet’s for a second night. We read in the sunshine then John plays the guitar just for me. An upside down swan seems to defy gravity and a white duck has a perfect Donald Duck curl to its tail.

4b. There aren’t as many birds around tonight but the stars are bright and there’s some mysterious rustling on the grasses in the bank. On the other side, a bird or bug lets out a constant rattle.

4c. I doubt the sunset will be as pretty as the previous night because the sky is featureless as the sun dips – but then red stained clouds slowly appear.

4d. I somehow win a round of Ricochet Robots with a 17 move gambit (even though there is a 7 mover available).

4e. I finish my next book. It absorbs me without scaring me. So a good book.

19 April 2016 ~ 0 Comments

3BT – grove/warm, along the Bure, at St Benet’s, birdwatching at sunset

3BT

1. A grove of trees – such a pretty route to the bins.

1b. It’s still fairly early (for us!) but warm enough that I have to shed my hoodie for my water-filling chores.

2. The river is much quieter as we go through Horning than it was on our journey to Salhouse on Sunday.

2b. We think we’ve “fixed” the problem with our boat but it recurs. We have to double back to Horning to await the engineer – we have to sit in a riverside pub garden in the sunshine, eating sausage rolls and drinking local beer. Such a hardship.

2c. We watch a dredger at work – impressive to have such massive machinery working on floating rafts.

3. The moorings at St Benet’s Abbey are fairly quiet. People come and go all day but it’s never busy, and when night falls, all the boats are pleasantly separated.

3b. What I thought was the Abbey is actually the gatehouse – with a mill built around its old walls. It’s much more interesting than the actual abbey – which is just structureless mounds of stones – and we both gasp as we walk inside the tower of bricks.

3c. The smoothness of the stones. More old graffiti.

3d. Sunbathing and reading on the bow again. A goose watches me eat my biscuits, cocking its head every time I take a bite.

3e. I cook a risotto. With dull knives and a glass chopping board – and a strange cooker and lack of utensils – I have to stay more focused than I do at home. It works out well.

4. The unusual shape of a bird catches my eye – it turns out to be a barn owl hunting its supper. We watch it swoop over the fields and it leads us to spotting deer, birds fighting in flight and other tiny birds catching flies.

4b. We’re watching for fish bobbing up for insects and both stare agog – then laugh – when a grebe appears from nowhere.

4c. A lovely sunset in a perfect place/position.

4d. A yellow wagtail hangs out with a group of pied ones – sometime in the last week we became birdspotters.

4e. I think I’ve lost the game but actually one neat move lets me win.

18 April 2016 ~ 0 Comments

3BT – boat/bow/taxi, Norwich castle & town, dog/broad

1. The boat isn’t quite as cold as the day before.

1b. Breakfast on the bow.

1c. I use a strip of kitchen roll to measure the distance and we decide that it’ll be all together easier – and not that expensive – to get a taxi the whole way. The chatty driver does himself out of a return journey by telling us about the bus routes.

2. The castle looks too new to be truly interesting – but then we see it’s just a facade. The Norman keep inside is still anciently impressive, with old graffiti carved into the stone. We drop coins down the well and count as they fall. We also enjoy the aural exhibit to illustrate the castle’s toilet facilities and the smooth wood at hand height on the thousand year old door.

2b. There are more hippy shops than I would have imagined – my kind of town. (The two or three impressive yarn shops helps its cause too.) And the waffle house, let’s not forget the waffle house. The menu isn’t clear and we are a little perplexed about the idea of salads on waffles but we roll with it. The chicken on my caesar is succulent and flavourful. We have dessert waffles too: my chocolate mousse is thick and rich, like uncooked cake batter sprinkled with cocoa.

2c. A book shop, a games shop, and an antique shop where the building is more impressive than most of the items for sale.

2d. On the way out, we spot a ginger cat on a lawn and when we return, its getting a hug from its dad. When he sees us, he lowers the cat to the ground, as if it’ll ruin his image to be seen as a cat hugger. Too late, mate: you’re one of us and we know it.

2d. I think we’ve reached the halfway point back to the car park but actually we’re very nearly there.

3. A perfect dog – a black ‘working’ cocker spaniel – comes over to say hello.

3b. The broad is even quieter than the previous night – a boat side-on down the staithe stops the single late incomer from mooring at our end.

17 April 2016 ~ 0 Comments

3BT – morning & ducks, boats & houses, a village & a broad, pub & duck & still

3BT

1. My glass of water is the good kind of cold.

1b. The soft light of morning.

1c. A trio of ducks visit – do they want a cup of tea too? I open the bedroom curtains just as one of them walks along the side of the boat. A few minutes later, a boat passes with a man feeding a duck on its bow.

1d. A bird of prey catches its breakfast as we make ours.

2. The sailboats are pretty – but stress inducing – as we come through Horning.

2b. Traditional houses in black and thatch, stylish new additions and ever so cute ones in pastel shades.

3. To find another quiet haven. (This time, Salhouse Broad.)

3b. A walk through the edge of the village in the sunshine; a change of plan when we find somewhere that meets our needs – they have good local meat and will even makes us sandwiches.

3c. John has a decent flat white and an “artisanal tropical donut’ at a post office in a small village. My lemon cake is also good.

3d. A watchful heron.

3e. The collective sigh of relief when the hen party boats leave the broad.

3f. With a water standpipe nearby, we both take the opportunity to have showers – it’s a better experience than we thought it would be.

4. The pub is a good way up the road (again, it feels quicker coming back) but it’s a lovely spring evening so we enjoy the walk.

4b. Good – if not brilliant – food and free wife distracts us from our games.

4c. We surprise a duck on the way back to the boat.

4d. Spared from traffic and chugging engines for a few hours, the broad becomes glassily still.

16 April 2016 ~ 0 Comments

3BT – practise/birds/village, How Hill/bridge/landmarks, mooring/reading/home cooked/silence/lights

3BT

1. The other boats disappear while we’re having breakfast so we can take our time to practise again and again. We both have hard skills to learn.

1b. A family of ducks swims by in our path. A swan plays chicken with us then turns and follows in our wake. Swifts dive and swirl all around us.

1c. A pretty village and decrepit mills.

2. We pull up at How Hill for lunch. I make friends with a pair of sweet ducks and a swan barges into the conversation too.

2b. We pass under our first bridge without incident.

2c. A watchful heron, geese and a gosling, a lake that’s not on the maps.

3. We miss the last place at Ranworth by a couple of minutes, so we head back to the Bure and pull up at an unserviced mooring down from St Benedict’s Church in Horning. We reason that we’re free to stay overnight and settle in – a swan swims over for a tithe and geese nosey around too.

3b. Reading on the stern just before sunset.

3c. Home-cooked pasta sauce, hundreds of miles from home.

3d. As sunset falls, the river grows increasingly silent. Fish splash about and geese fly over towards their roosts.

3e. The party boat is ridiculously big, loud and garish – but on its return (when we hear its music for an unfeasibly long time), its colourful lights makes pretty streaks in the black water.

3f. The Martian is the perfect book for this holiday.