The Shroppie, the three grizzly bears from Oxley Marina, and Conscious Ageing.

The Shroppie
The Shroppie

The Shropshire Canal, affectionately called the Shroppie, has turned into one of the highlights of the journey so far. Not because of its beauty – much of it is a long, boring dawdle down a lockless straight cut – but because of the extraordinary feat of engineering that created it in the first place. It is awesome that this canal (and indeed, all of our 2000 miles of canal networks) was dug by thousands of navvies with little more than shovels and a lot of muscle.

Just south of Market Drayton, the Shroppie completely changes as it passes under a magnificent towering red brick bridge shielded by a canopy of enormous deciduous trees to reveal the deep rock Woodseaves Cutting, a hidden treasure only really accessible to those fortunate enough to travel on a narrrowboat.

Continue reading “The Shroppie, the three grizzly bears from Oxley Marina, and Conscious Ageing.”

Mooring under trees is good for the soul, but a disaster for solar panels and batteries

Little Venice Basin
Little Venice Basin

For the past few days I have had a beautiful mooring under the dappled shade of a gorgeous plane tree, skirting Rembrandt Gardens in Little Venice Basin.

You can only secure this mooring by pre-booking via email to the delightful and helpful Sarah who runs Rembrandt Moorings.

There are only two moorings at that, so I was very pleased when she offered me seven days. This meant I could move from the not so lovely concrete maze that surrounds the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union, settle in, enjoy what London has to offer, and email the location of the boat to all those coming to the pop-up death café.

But I am beginning to learn that things are never that easy when your home is a narrrowboat, and you have access to a finite amount of onboard resources, without which nothing works.

Continue reading “Mooring under trees is good for the soul, but a disaster for solar panels and batteries”

A Marathon Journey and a whole load of friends to help along the way.

20150428_195155Sitting on Mystic Moon in Limehouse Basin on a gloriously sunny evening, pinching myself to make sure I am not dreaming, and giving thanks to everyone who helped me get here.

It’s been quite a trip getting up the Kennet and Avon, entering the Thames, and then making the awesome voyage down the tidal Thames under Tower Bridge, before that treacherous turn into Limehouse lock.

The entire adventure reminded me of two great teachings:

One – it really is not about the destination. The journey is everything.

Two – There’s always someone to help. All you have to do is ask.

So this is a eulogy to those who tipped up at the right moment and so generously gave their time and enthusiasm to make sure I completed my overwhelming desire to do ‘The Thames Dash, which, quite unwittingly, I had chosen to do on Sunday, 26th April: the day of the London Marathon.

Continue reading “A Marathon Journey and a whole load of friends to help along the way.”

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