Narrowboat Adventures: Week 12 November 20, 2017
Bonfire Night November 14, 2017
I’ve always missed the rituals of Bonfire Night (commemorating Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up Parliament) right back to my first November at sea. I have fond memories of the weeks leading up: the damp leaves stuffed into old clothes to make a Guy; hauling him around in a barrow in order to solicit pennies; damp, dark nights, with garden clearance bonfires; sparklers and old milk bottles set in sand to launch rockets; the smell of burnt gunpowder; Catherine Wheels that wouldn’t spin; splitting sticks for toffee apples, making and devouring them.This year John and I scored. We tied up just outside Dunham Town (a very elegant village) and found ourselves adjacent to a field in which a large bonfire had been built. It was November 4th – would they have the fireworks on an non-school night – or wait for the better weather promised for the actual day? Fortunately for us, they were eminently sensible. A shelter was erected and they proceeded (between showers) to give us an excellent show. From the banging and popping further afield, it was apparent that much money was being burned all around. We even had a more distant but repeat performance by full moonlight on November 5th. I am please to report that Bonfire Night is not dead!
Narrowboat Adventures: Weeks Nine And Ten November 11, 2017
Narrowboat Adventures: Week Eight November 5, 2017
Narrowboat Adventures: Week Seven October 25, 2017
Narrowboat Adventures: Weeks Five and Six October 17, 2017
Narrowboat Adventures (and Beyond!): Weeks Three and Four September 28, 2017
The time is flying by and suddenly, Week 3 has morphed into Week 4 and I am back in North America!
I won’t be on this continent for long, though. I’m spending the week with my Adventure Knitters in beautiful Nelson, British Columbia. More on that later…
Into our 3rd week, we were settling into a slightly more leisurely pace.Leaves were beginning to fall from some trees. On one lovely evening, we tied up under an oak tree and spent the night listening to the staccato machine-gun style rattle of acorns with every gust of wind. Our lesson: on nights when there are strong winds forecast, we won’t plan to moor under any type of tree in case of larger things than acorns breaking loose!For the last two weeks on the boat we’d been setting our sights on reaching Ellesmere Port or Chester on September 20th – not a tall order by car, but on a narrowboat (traveling at walking pace) you have to allow time for lock delays or other unexpected happenings and you can’t just hurry up.
I had a train to catch that Wednesday to get to Heathrow – hard to take a break from your journey, but needs must! John’s plan was to visit his mum and clean and do laundry. We also planned to offload any summer or unwanted gear – anything for space.We had gradually been learning how long we can go without taking on potable water, fuel, and how to judge the holding tank gauge for just-in-time pumpouts! Finding garbage drop offs can prove challenging, the Canals and River Trust have been removing skips from some of the watering points …. there is a quite a bit of fly tipping in evidence under the railway bridges.We’d taken Queen Bee to Ellesmere Port National Waterways Museum, to moor up whilst I’m away. The museum is situated on a basin accessed by a couple of locks and offers a snug protected berth. In fact, we’ve become part of the exhibit! Gongoozlers were busy taking pics as we came through the locks. We offloaded bin bags full of laundry and excess gear. John is taking the opportunity to stock up with dry goods and tonic water, which we constantly run out of!I was prepared with clothing and a small carry on case to be able to leave the boat as we passed through Chester and walk to the railway station.
As it happened we had a day in hand and decided to moor up Queen Bee and rent a car (had to walk to get that), and visit my mother in law for a night before my departure.
Next thing I knew, I was on my way to Nelson.I was dropped at Chester station and caught a train to London. This was a little like narrowboating in reverse, as the train line frequently criss crossed the canal that I had spent the previous 2 weeks on – it looked very tranquil on the cut.This felt cruel, having chugged alongside train tracks on many occasions over the previous couple of weeks. Now I found myself on a train, catching glimpses of the canal. It all looked so peaceful, rather like looking at a model scene. I saw the locks we’d recently been through and several boats on the move. I couldn’t exactly identify them without a map and they look so different from inside a train.
I then caught the tube across London during rush hour to get to Heathrow.
Next I had to find the hotel that I had booked! Couldn’t locate the shuttle buses so took a taxi. In the morning I was successful in catching a bus back to LHR and flew to Vancouver.
Here I was picked up by Judy, my Adventure Knitting co-conspirator, and conveyed to a very welcome bed and hot shower. We set off early the next morning on the 10 hour up-and-down car journey to Nelson, crossing several mountain ranges. The huge trees and craggy mountains were quite a contrast to the flatness of canal travel.
And now that I am here, let the Adventure Knitting begin!
My Almost Saintly Socks is our half-price pattern of the week!
An entertaining project for the ardent sock knitter, for those in search of an interesting foot-suntan pattern, or those with naturally hot feet! The scallop holes stitch pattern sets off hand-painted yarns beautifully.
The Almost Saintly Socks pattern is half-price ($4.50) until October 3!