Friday, March 02, 2007
We are spending the winter in Mexico, posting to The Amazing Voyages of the Turtle. R has talked to quite a few people about our narrowboating adventures, and I have referred them to this blog. Somehow I thought I had uploaded my photos from our last trip on the Kennet-Avon Canal, but I see that I've only put one picture in here. That won't do. Here are some more:
This first picture features R and our Canadian flag. You will note that it is rather large. That was an accident. I bought it without paying much attention to the size, and when we unfolded it (in England, on the boat) we were both a bit shocked. It turned out to be a happy accident for the most part, though. It was a great conversation piece, and it made the boat easy to spot from a distance - most useful when we had wandered off to a pub for dinner and were coming home in the evening gloom. The only time it caused problems was when we had to go through a tunnel or under a bridge. We lost it overboard a couple of times, but it floated nicely, so we always got it back.
Picture #2 is the bridge at the approach to Bath. Bath is a beautiful city. I would love to visit it again. We didn't go to the Roman baths this time, and I've been kicking myself ever since. All along the canal there are bridges. Some are large and imposing, like this one, and we cruised right under them. Others are swing bridges that I operated by leaning mightily against the balance beam. Still others were electrically operated. Those were really fun. I would climb out of the boat, close the gates so nobody would be tempted to drive a car onto the bridge, use my British Waterways key to open the control box, and push the green button to make the bridge open, which it would do slowly, ponderously, accompanied by a very important-sounding hum. After the boat(s) had gone through, I would perform the whole operation in reverse.
The most wonderful thing about narrowboating is the view of England that it affords. It's quite different from any of the other ways you might see the country. This picture of the Vale of Pewsey is an example of that unsurpassed view. If Rick Steves were with us, he would call it "England Through the Back Door". I like to think of it as "England in Slow Motion". Moving at three miles an hour gives me a much greater appreciation of the countryside than I can feel riding at the breakneck speeds expected on English roads.
And here is the part of narrowboating that first thrilled me - waking up in the morning, looking out the galley window, and seeing one of these fellows. Their personalities aren't nearly as pretty as their plumage, but I still love seeing them.