Friday, September 08, 2006

This comes to you from Hungerford, a lovely town in West Berkshire. I've walked from the canal, through the churchyard, down the narrow lane and out onto the high street. Robin is back on the boat, checking out the television, probably, if he can stop watching the moorhens and ducks that are hanging out a few yards away. We both walked downtown earlier this afternoon, again through the churchyard, where we met a (normally nocturnal) hedgehog who was obviously confused about the time.

I haven't yet found a place where I can upload my Word document to a computer, so I'm going to have to wing it -

Day 1 - September 6.

Our journey started with a bit of fun. We flew Baxter Air from Nanaimo to Vancouver. Neither of us had ever been on a float plane before, so we were a little apprehensive. As it turned out, it was the best part of the trip. No. That's damning with faint praise. It was better than that. In the company of the pilot and two other passengers, we flew at 500 feet over the strait, and it felt like 50. We were doing 110 miles per hour, but seemed to be crawling. We saw ducks under the water (well, Robin did.), lots of fish breaking the surface, and generally great scenery. It felt to me like riding in an old jalopy, but up in the air. I'd do it again in a second.

We lost a day somewhere over the Atlantic, and frankly I hope we don't find it again. It was pretty awful, although British Airways did provide toothbrushes, tiny tubes of toothpaste, and warm socks - and the food wasn't bad. The bad thing was the overcrowding. They really, seriously need to remove at least a third of the seats. Then there was the unremitting thirst.

Well, anyway.....

We landed at Heathrow after circling for an extra twenty minutes, and brother David was waiting for us. He drove us to Aldermaston by way of a supermarket, so this time we started our canal trip with food and drink aboard - definitely the thing to do.

David came with us as far as Thatcham, learning the ropes and giving me some much-needed help with the grunt work. Then he hopped off, caught the train back to Aldermaston, and drove home. We kept going almost to Newbury, then had to stop because we were too exhausted to continue. It was about then that I remembered - the last time we did this, the time that was so wonderful - we were not sick with colds and suffering from jet lag.

Day 2 - September 7. We sailed just into Newbury, did a little shopping, ate brunch, watched the locals feeding the dozens of swans and their ducky hangers-on, then sailed on to Kintbury, where we spent last night.

Day 3 - September 8. That's today, isn't it? We left Kintbury in the company of a privately owned narrowboat, the Amber Moon, whose operators have spent the last four months on the canals. With their expert help, we made it to Hungerford in only a couple of hours, and there (here) we'll stay until Monday, or at least our boat will. We will take the train back to Newbury tomorrow to pick up a rental car, and on Sunday we'll meet David and Sheila at Padstow in Cornwall for their son Steve's motorcycle race (and now for something completely different!).

This last part of the trip has been the most scenic so far - partly because it is scenic, and partly (mostly, I suspect) because we're beginning to work our way back into the land of the living. At some point this afternoon I realized that I wasn't dizzy, wasn't retiring to my bed between locks, didn't feel as if death were lurking behind my eyes somewhere. In short, my jet lag is abating. Hallelujah! I'm starting to enjoy this!

No comments: