10 Miles – for this week
Totals: 721 Miles, 595 Locks, 22 Tunnels, 18 Lift Bridges, 12 Swing Bridges
Earlier in the week it looked likely that the most exciting thing that had happened was going to a pumpout and fill up with diesel and truning the boat around to come back to Braunston, but as the week went on and I sat down and thought more about what had actually happened I really saw that all of the things that we all espouse to about what is great about being on the water was what had happened and what I should be most pleased about.
For me (us) it is about being relaxed; doing what we want to do; meeting and talking to perfect strangers; having a freedom to explore new places and to truly enjoy all of this – and that is what has happened this week.
Yes, there are still the needs to be satisfied, like getting the pumpout; like filling the diesel and water tanks; and the shopping for food and of course removing the rubbish.
But this week I have had so many different and varied conversations – not the standard ones about toilets and engines but more about nature and history and family and people.
I met a couple who had been on their boat for 28 years and it has only been in the last 8 years that they really have had a chance to spend extended periods of time on it and be able to travel further than what a week had allowed; how it is not just movement for movements sake, but enjoying the location where you are. The dog laid down in boredom until he got some tidbits from the lady of the boat.
A casual conversation introduced me to a couple who were with friends on holiday back to the UK from whence they had moved 30 years ago to Australia – Perth to be precise. How much they all enjoyed the canal lifestyle – the more relaxed that they were after even a day on the water. The man was an ex-lockie from the Braunston area and I was listening to someone who was able to talk about the way of life from many years ago and how the canals were; what they were all about – the dog of course couldn’t have cared less – he just wanted to go for his walk, but as usual he showed great patience as I listened.
A meeting with a woman waiting for her daughter to arrive for a couple of days afloat and she told me about how much she loved thunderstorms and her desire to be one of the storm chasers in the American mid-west; her dog was more patient. Her husband intermittently wandering back from the road way to say no sign of them yet. Banjo started the whining act but I wasn’t listening.
Discussing an upcoming talk on canals with the man posting the details on the noticeboard – he was 76 years of age and didn’t look it, had had a stroke which didn’t show and had spent 30 years as a liveaboard prior to all of this before he bought a house right along side a lock and was involved with the Braunston History Society; the dog gave up and went to look at the water in the lock.
And in-between all of these there have been so many numerous short conversations along the tow path about things of inconsequence but all of which give a chance to meet and talk to total strangers.
Nowhere is there a system as large as this one where people cruise along, walk along and talk along and seemingly wander aimlessly through each day, but at the same time experience the unique qualities of another person; engage them in sometime deep conversations or just simply discuss where they have been or where they are going.
|the building on the left is the Admiral Nelson pub at Lock 3|
the building on the right a private cottage - no problems
with the drive home - and all flanked by a lovely lock setting
No, it may not have been an exciting week in terms of what most people would call exciting, certainly not from our kids point of view, but, yes, an exciting week in terms of the people that I have met.
|part of a pathway we discovered leading from Lock 6 |
back to Lock 3 - flanked by plane trees
Now, off to clean up after the dog who has really been bored witless!