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It’s been a while. The floating thin object. Gorgeously purposeful purposelessness.

A slow chug. From town to village. Cross-country. Brass and rust. A held-breath, mindful morning. Ochre. Burnt Umber. Drab Olive. Hectic flirts of bright yellowredorange. Gloss highlights in a matt world.

Boat on tick-over. A heart-beat marking the moment. Less haste / less speed. Take stock of the endless possibilities of the nutshell. Return visit interior-scapes as the exterior world passes at walking pace.

A profusion of crab apples. Bulging fruits wilting on over-laden branches. A symbolic life and death. A hovering kezzie. Cruciform silhouette. Poetry in slow-motion.

A zig-zagging course up the Cut. I write,  glance up to correct the boat’s course, glance down to scrawl a few notes… the odd word… up, down, up, down. A nodding morning.

Cheep trills of birds about the engine’s noisy chatter. Chunter. Bass beat. Cold coffee, ceramic mug. Little Bourton Lock (10.15) not a boat passed, not one on the move. Perfect stillness. Antidote to pretty much anything.

Tentative sunshine dissolving mist and spotlighting the yellows. Never tire of this familiar route, the subtle challenge of the sinuous course.

First boat [Kapenta] at Bridge 157. Then a flurry nearing Cropredy. [Thomas Henry] Slap, slap disruption of kayak’s paddling. Fibreglass insects in full-on formation they catch me at a sharp corner and scatter annoyed. A gnat and whale encounter.

Precocious willows lean at preposterous angles and wilt, exhausted by the effort, into the water. [Moonbeam] [Pipsqueak] [Umbra] [Big Ben] [Adagio] [Maid of the Mist] [Vulcan] [Tarragon] [Bude] [Llanedos] [Myfanwy].

Set the ropes at 11.24. It’s been one blissful morning of solo boating.

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