Canal capers. ‘What floats your boat?’

There really *is* nothing so nice as messing about on the water, folks. And if, like me, you were feeling uber stressed after yet another speeding fine ( !?) and if, like Pixie you were feeling pretty frazzled after  being i/c a class of wee darlings and if, like Numero Uno son you’d had health issues..but in fact Anybody would be better for a few nights ( in this case) 4.. or even 6.. or more!

Of being away from Traffic, Noise, Hustle and Bustle, Work, People, and the 21st Century generally..

The peace that surpasseth all understanding can be found in a narrow Nature reserve ‘corridor’ that seems unchanged since the industrial age began and horse drawn barges were towed up and down at a pace that we should all aspire to and return to, if only to re-charge.

The quacking of ducks and the gentle chugging of the boat as you proceed through the green water at a pace only slightly faster than an amble, plus the hypnotic sight of GREENery and trees and golden brickwork bridges and vistas and views and willows and swans; fine old buildings coming down to the water’s edge and almost bowing  down to admire themselves in the reflections.

Of course this man -made haven, created in the late 1700s in many cases, has been painstakingly preserved and restored by none other than Volunteers and Enthusiasts, often in the  1960s and ongoing ..

If there is a down side  to all this it *might* be the locks and the only downside there tbh is IF there is an audience and IF there is That Odious man of a certain age ( always over 50) there he will ALWAYS tell you ‘You shouldn’t do it like that, you want to be doing it like this’..Curse him and pity his poor wife. But leave him and his interfering narkiness behind and sit on the arm of the lock gate and watch the rushing waters and marvel at the simple mechanism of a design that survives centuries of use and has not been improved on.

Many fascinating stories can be told of How the canals began and How they were brought back from a sad neglect to their present day idyllic selves.

One of my favourites is a plaque on the Stratford canal : ”SONACS; we were not experts so we did not know what could not be done’ Hutchings, MBE, project leader.”

There’s a lesson for us here; until we try we can’t know what we can do.

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