‘Making time’ – the more I look at those two words the more they imply a challenge. How on earth do you ‘make’ more time? By stepping off the gravy train perhaps? Or slowing the merry-go-round of work-life and home-life demands? Well, perhaps that too, but I guess the best I can realistically hope for is to ‘make better use of’ my time? To achieve a greater sense of balance and proportion.

It’s what I’m trying to do over these cloudy June weekends as our Summer journey aboard Eileen unfolds. I’m aiming to make the best possible use of the available time to both savour the Summer and most importantly enjoy reconnecting with members of my family in a way that hardly seems possible in manic workaday London.

The photos record a day spent with six year old Joe. We travelled only a few miles, from Cropredy up the Claydon flight to The Wharf Inn at Fenny Compton. It was little more than a long morning’s chug, but I wouldn’t have missed a moment of it. We had a grand time… as hopefully the photos show…

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Joe came prepared with camera, notebook, pencils, a few toy cars… a rucksack of essentials in fact!
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There’s that camera, Joe’s videoing our rise through Broadmoor Lock at Appletree.
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‘Skipper’ Joe takes the helm, with the two wooden boxes (beneath his feet) elevating that critical distance to enable him to see along the line of the cabin top Joe’s confidence as a steerer has increased…
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We’re on the way up the 5-lock incline of the Claydon flight. Joe was fully involved in the climb, as soon as the boat had risen sufficiently in the lock for him to safely climb out and he was there, wrestling with the gates and as pleased as punch when it finally opened…
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Ah, the joys of a typical English summer’s day, with storm clouds building on the horizon…
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Joe found the tin horn that came with the boat, and used it to noisily trumpet our presence as we approached bridge holes and locks… it makes a heck of a bellow if blow hard enough!
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Me-taking-a-photo-of-Joe-taking-a-photo as we enter the narrow section of what was once Fenny Compton ‘tunnel’, the woodland and shrubbery closing in dramatically around us…
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An ‘African Queen’ moment as the Eileen pushes through the foliage of the ‘tunnel’….
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Skipper Joe taking a well-earned rest in the garden of the Wharf Inn…

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