spring is a time of reckless abundance;
gorse fills all views from the wheel house as we cruise to Dochgarroch from Muirtown
Dochgarroch is where the river Ness meets the canal and so water is everywhere
a duck swims past the boat with 10 ducklings in tight formation, I try not to think of the fact that I know they will mostly make a nice meal for something predatory.
Later, as I water the thirsty garden aboard Loch Ness Barge, I wonder if I will find 6 duck eggs like last year. None are in the plant pots and I am partly disappointed and partly relieved. Last year we found the nest when we were already on the move and therefore without the dilemma of whether to make the eggs into breakfast or to try to transfer the nest to the bank where the mother might find them.
We set off up Loch Ness in a soft grey watercolour light with almost no wind. Adrian, Mark and I are so in tune with the sounds of the boat engine, her hull and her systems that we all notice that our starboard engine is faltering a tiny amount now and then. This is a kind of relief as we have been discussing this problem as something we think is related to dirty fuel tanks clogging the filters on the fuel lines to the engines and starting to hinder the flow of fuel. We have just changed the port engine filter and cleaned that fuel tank, the starboard one is due next. This might confirm our theory. We change the filter and the problem disappears.
The weather gradually changes, the mist and cloud rising, the light strengthening. As the sun comes out, Mark starts resealing the saloon wall joint to the deck and I start to scrub off a winter of green slime from the decks, Adrian is steering. As I crouch down on the foredeck by the huge coil of rope looped over an old windlass, I spy our spring quota of duck eggs. There are 2 blue-ish eggs nestled against the long soft bristles of the broom I brought back from Mauritius, tucked behind the windlass. A few pieces of string and some other debris make up the sum total of the nest. Again the eggs have traveled far from the mother duck by the time of the discovery and are transferred to the fridge.