Friday, June 14, 2019

Merrily ,merrily...

Not rowing, but Canal Narrow boating is not an exclusive club. Spouse and I now know a thing or two. This is not strictly true as spouse and a colleague once took four  children round the Cheshire Ring when he worked for Social Services forty years ago. He remembers that one child fell in the canal , and he hung  the boat on the cill .

See my language is now becoming techno boatspeak. I now know what a paddle is, a windlass, a chamber and that one sails on the right hand side, and that ducks may have thirteen ducklings . I know many of the places along the Staffordshire and Worcester canal from Great Haywood to Debsdale lock and back.

It took me one week to work out how locks work , whether we are sailing up higher terrain, whether the narrow boat coming towards us is actually a moored boat , and how to make a cup of tea when going in a lock when the boat may hit the bankside and mugs spill .

 I now know how to

  • Wind a paddle up (this may be very strenuous)
  • Let a paddle down (this is never strenuous , but one needs to remember to keep the rachet safeguard on)
  • Fill the water tank,remembering to keep the business end of hose clean and away from ground)
  • put the windlass always back in same place by bow doors
  •  see that what looks like black paint maybe thick black oil
  • spot an approaching lock
  • Always shut bow doors in an ascending lock 
  • How to dry wet cushions and carpets 
  • call to person at tiller that  a boat is approaching (wave a map at them , calling doesn't work)
  • spot the rope marks on bridges, left when boats were hauled by horses
  • Sleep on a a bed like a 60cm wide plank 
I now know one can easily last a week without "Neighbours" and "Pointless" and even without the daily Newspaper whose crossword  punctuates each day .I now know that a child bookworm may read 10 books in 5 days , and that two under tens can easily play on top of a double bunk for 2 hours without making a mess or using any toys except paper, pens and imagination.
I know that I never want to eat another chip . Whilst canalside pub meals are a rare daily treat , the Staffordshire  publicans need to discover how to serve more imaginative pub grub. The one exception was the Manor House Pub at Whittington , who not only let us dine in our own Tudor chamber, but did a Cauliflower Steak ,sounds boring , but was a delicious Veggie Main , cooked on a grill and served with a brilliant sauce.
I didn't read a single page of my book , Spouse managed much of Clayhanger , his themed choice for Staffordshire. I could not really move from my place on the bow watching the canalside Vegetation, the Mayflies , the Ducks and the Gardens of the posh and poor alike. I must have been making the tea when we went past the famous garden of John Massie of Ashwood nurseries , but my sister videoed it .
Favourite Lock ,Bumblehole just south of The Bratch

Spouse & I stayed 2 days in the Premier Inn on the Stone Road, Stafford before joining Family party  of Nephew and wife, and two children , and my sister, at the Anglo Welsh Boatyard. We thought Stafford was a great place , the people loved their town and using our bus passes  to town managed to see The Ancient High House,the two interesting churches   great coffee stops and learn the meaning of the Staffordshire Knot .