Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A Narrow-Boating We Shall Go....


 









 










 
 




 



 

 












Seventeen of us on two narrow-boats for the weekend in glorious weather. Lots of cheese sandwiches were made and consumed along with packets of crisps and enormous quantities of kit kats. Birthday cake was eaten. Vast piles of washing up was done. Fry-ups were enjoyed. The Teenage Contingent played cards all crammed together around one tiny table. Or perched next to one another on the roof and talked. The two littlies joined in, when they weren't busy throwing ropes to catch sharks and octopuses. Mothers' hearts and stomachs flipped over more than once at the carefree antics of cherished offspring in too-close proximity to roof edges surrounded by water. Husbands did broadly well at steering. Grandad tended to steer into banks (perhaps by virtue of being pickled in gin for most of the weekend). Occasional Grounding Occurred. Poles proved useful. Granny narrowly avoided decapitation by a very exciting but a-little-too-close-for-comfort Swing Bridge Incident. Screens/ mobiles/ TV/ notepads/ ipods and ipads were barely looked at or touched. Books were read instead. Ice cold Vodka was enjoyed up on the roof in the sun. G&T, champagne and homebrew were all drunk. Some Other Boats were gently bumped into by accident. More than once. Heads were shaken and one or two fists too. Two aqueducts were admired. Wych Elm was pointed out. Herons were observed. Three Twenty-Something Damsels In Distress were towed to meet their friends amid great hilarity (and frankly quite a bit of flirting. Husbands were admonished and had the grace to look Sheepish). Quiet contemplation was had in bucket fulls. Locks were navigated while eager onlookers looked on, eagerly, and offered help that wasn't always helpful. Giggles were had and rest was achieved. Overall, very little washing occurred. People were waved at, greeted and responded in kind. Warmth was shared. Bath stone was admired. Swing bridges were eventually mastered without the requirement for taking Granny's head off. A pair of beaten silver earrings and some stocking fillers were purchased. Children were told not to scamper along the roof but it proved to be just too much fun to resist. Adults didn't resist either. The technique of chucking milk cartons between boats without loosing them in the canal was perfected. Banjos being played along the towpath were bopped to on the roof, spontaneously. Banjo-players smiled in reply. A little bit of sunbathing was had. Stories were swapped and news exchanged. Digby Hound was walked and mastered The Plank, despite expressing Serious Reservations. Tow paths were run along and bridges waved from. Boats were moored outside the pub. Further family members arrived and much hugging and kissing ensued. Glasses of the cold bubbly stuff were handed out and raised to the Three Birthday People (80, 85 & 18) in whose honour the trip was held. Presents were unwrapped and ooh and ahhed over. A couple on a Tandem stopped and offered to take photos. A man on a unicycle came past. Supper was eaten in the pub and local beers were tried out. Worn out littlies fell asleep on their mothers' laps very suddenly and completely. Teenagers drooped. Head torches were donned and boats were regained safely. No one fell in but there was one torch fatality. The next morning mist was admired, fog braved and the chill air of early October mornings was shivered in. Velvet shawls proved useful buffers against the cold. Lamps were lit and the small beams shone out across the water. Layers were worn and then peeled off as the sun climbed and the fog dissipated. Tousled heads emerged and yawns and stretching occured. Breath unfurled slowly on the air like wreaths of smoke and voices echoed. The roof slowly dried and all the children climbed back on it one last time. Home, once regained, was all the more lovely for a beautiful weekend away with family and friends.

CT.

53 comments:

  1. Sounds absolutely amazing. What a wonderful way to spend time with friends and family.....have spent many a time on the river, beautiful.
    Lovely lovely post..........

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    1. First time I've been- it was absolutely lovely.

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  2. Such a wonderful description. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures!

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    1. Thanks Sarah, I'm glad you enjoyed it :o)

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  3. Oh what a blissful weekend, so many good memories I think. I know Bath and Bradford-on-Avon quite well, both beautiful places. I always thought if I had a dog I would call him Digby. It's a top dog name. Glad you had such a lovely time, I hope the birthday people enjoyed it all very much. The weather looks perfect, as does the gin. CJ xx

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    1. Indeed- lots to look back on and smile about. x

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  4. There is nothing -absolutely nothing - half as much fun as simply messing about in boats. Thanks for letting us come along too.

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  5. The photos and the writing had me entranced! What a wonderful experience, and such a fun weekend. Did you rent these boats? It all looks very gypsy-like!! We have a Trent canal here in Ontario that my nephew and his friends went on for a week. At one point the canal goes OVER the road on a waterway bridge, which was the most exciting part for them all as they didn't realize that would happen.
    Wendy

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    1. Yup, rented from a narrow-boat company for the weekend. I'll bet it was very thrilling to go across the waterway bridge- we felt the same about the aqueducts.

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  6. Sounds like a perfect time!!!! I love how you wrote about it too! So glad you all had fun together and enjoyed it so much! Happy Birthday to all those celebrating! xx

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  7. Sounds good enough to book an holiday on a narrow boat CT.

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  8. That sounds amazing and a great way to celebrate a birthday, wonderful pictures and words. You descriptions bought memories of a boating holiday with my parents including things I had completely forgotten. Sarah x

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    1. That's so lovely that it stirred forgotten memories x

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  9. Oh CT what a lovely thing to have shared with your family. It makes me yearn to go and visit my lot right now. I heartily approve of the cheese sandwich/crisps/kitkat/gin combo. You jus can't beat it.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Cheese sarnies, crisps and kitkats (and gin) are family stalwarts here...:o) XX

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  10. What an absolutely amazing weekend.
    I enjoyed your photo's and your post so much.
    Thank you.

    All the best Jan

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  11. Wonderful. Wonderful way to celebrate a family. You are so very lucky.
    I have always wanted to travel by boat like your family did, ever since watching the movie Swallows and Amazons ! Coots Club.
    I wanted to be either Port or Starboard.
    Love the amazing way you wrote this post !

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Thanks Parsnip. It was a lovely weekend.

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  12. Sounds like an exert from a Famous Five Adventure...adult style. I was quite expecting 'lashings of ginger beer' to feature somewhere.
    Reminded me also of the hilarity of Three Men in a Boat!!!
    Utterly fantastic!!!
    We did this adventure once...with another couple from Guildford narrow boat yard....up the Thames to see where the Magna Carta was signed etc. I couldn't navigate the boat to save my life...my poor husband had to do very quick toilet breaks...with me shrieking "we are heading towards the bank" constantly. The other female hated being down low when the water was flooding in from the top...so her rather hilarious, mean husband made her stand at the top end of the boat, so she got maximum affect and he got maximum value from laughing.
    Too much gin was drunk, but a happy 5 days was had by all.
    Your trip sounded just the ticket...what a fantastic way to gather friends, give the teenagers something to do and have the biggest laugh ever. Happy post, happy photos and happy days!
    Just brilliant xxx

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    1. Oh dear- steering wasn't my forte either :o) The locks were a mixture of scary and exciting :o) xx

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  13. What a wonderful post! It all sounds soo utterly English:)) I love the way you described it too; made me smiled:) Glad granny still has her head in its proper place so we can enjoy wonderful posts like this one:)

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    1. Yes big relief about Granny's head- it would have put a bit of a damper on the weekend had she lost it! xx

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  14. so glad you all had a wonderful time - lots of lovely memories made, i'm sure! gorgeous pics as well. *sigh* xo

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    1. The best of weekends away. River Magic I guess :o) xx

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  15. This brought back such lovely memories for me. When we lived in The Midlands (with my previous husband) our neighbours were narrow-boaters and we would go off for weekends with them from Alrewas near Wolverhampton. I remember the time when I had knitted my son his first cricket sweater (white and cable stitch - taken me hours) and while wearing it he fell in. The canals are quite shallow and he could swim anyway, so he swam out. The sweater was floor-length and the colour never recovered.

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    1. I got as far as white and hand-knitted and I knew what was coming! Oh no, poor you! At least he was OK. L managed to half fall in and escaped with one soaked leg and a mother with slightly shredded nerves :o) x

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  16. What a wonderful holiday and such nice boats - very different from the boats I see. This would be such fun and for sure I would go on this trip. Cheers - great photos of trip.

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    1. You would love narrow-boating along 200 year old English canals- such a feat of engineering and surrounded by beautiful countryside. No Canadian sea swells and swirling mists though :o)

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  17. Your lovely post brought back lots of wonderful memories for me too - several happy family holidays on barges/narrowboats. I loved the slower pace of life and the time to just watch and enjoy the countryside. We always chose a book and read it out loud in the evenings - of course, 'Wind in the Willows' was one choice. Messing about in boats, just perfect!
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Hi Ellie and thanks for the comment. It is such a lovely way to travel, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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  18. Sounds like a wonderful family weekend creating so many happy memories. Glad you had such a good time :)

    Always fancied a holiday on a narrowboat - it certainly sounds fun.

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    1. It was great fun- I can highly recommend it. As long as the weather is good. Bit claustrophobic otherwise, potentially :o)

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  19. That looks and sounds lovely, although some of those pics. show a lot of other boats. I'd be afraid of smashing into them. A nicely stocked bar, I notice.

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    1. That was definitely the nerve-wracking bit, that and the kids on the roof!

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  20. Yes! Yes! Yes! Would so love to do this. It looks amazing. Even if I'd cause more than a single sinking

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  21. What a lovely account of a very lovely-sounding trip. I've always fancied a jaunt on a narrow boat and you've made it sound brilliant fun (near-misses notwithstanding!). I'm glad you all survived intact :-)

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  22. What a delight to see all your photos of your adventure!! And your writing is inspiring. Good thing you had several sets of strong arms for opening and closing the locks :) I adore the Roses and Castles painting associated with the narrowboats. My dad, who is 86, remembers seeing the canal boats going by at the end of his grandfather's fields in Derby.

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    1. That's a wonderful story about your Great Grandfather, I love things like that.

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  23. I've always wanted a holiday on a narrow boat, it sounds wonderful. Glad you had a good time.:-)

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    1. It is a lovely thing to do, as long as the weather holds :o)

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  24. How exciting! Such a lovely idea and spectacular photos. :-)

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  25. Great photos of your family journey on the canal. It sounded just perfect and I'm sure the alcohol helped calm the nerves!

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  26. Looks so lovely - glad you had such a fab weekend. xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x