After a couple of boat-less weeks, and the disappointment of not making it up to the mooring over the half term holiday last week, it’s with a huge sense of anticipation that I look forward to leaving work tomorrow evening and driving solo up to the boat. I can’t help but see returning to the boat as hugely optimistic, affirming and positive.
I look forward to all aspects of it:
The Heath Check – is everything OK with the boat?
The Plan: remembering the notepad and tape measure, I want to get the bunks for the kids sketched out. Could I build them as modules and then transfer to the boat???
The Practicalities: coal, water, lighting, food, camera
The keeping-things-simple: so it’s a sleeping bag, a thick jumper, a gas lamp, a torch, a 5ltr. bottle of water from Tescos and the stove ticking over in the background…
The Meet-Up: it’s the Historic Narrow Boat Club AGM at Napton on Saturday afternoon. I’m looking forward to rubbing shoulders with the hugely skilled and passionate boaters who keep our heritage fleet afloat… Their commitment, passion, energy, skill and knowledge is humbling, in so many ways I wish I could emulate them.
Though not about a boat, the following description capture a little of the mood I associate with a solo visit to the boat:
Inside the hut there is a mirror, a pine bed, a small table and a chair, and a little Summerfield No. 20 iron stove in one corner near the door, with stainless-steel pipe that sometimes glows in the dark in winter when the stove is opened up and roaring its miniature roar. There are steel plates up the walls all round the stove to reflect the heat back inside , and to prevent fire. In the other corner, by the door, is a little corner cupboard with extra blankets, spare candles and matches, and warming bottles of whiskey and red wine.
The hut looks out over the middle field, now filling with yellow pools of buttercups, ox-eye daisies and the purple of vetches. Dusk is falling, and the robins are last to sing.
pg. 118 Notes from Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin