The last hurrah?

On a rain-filled, late Autumn, Wednesday morning; on what feels to be a devastating low point for the politics of hope/decency/democracy, perhaps you’ll forgive me if, for a moment at least, I bury my head in my hands and remember the last hurrah of Autumn.


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Boat & Landscape

Another picture post, celebrating the season.

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.
The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go, not one lasts.

Autumn Movement, Carl Sandburg 1918

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We were blessed by a couple of those ‘held breath’ Autumnal days, when things pause before the decline into Winter. A chance to sit and stare a while, enjoy the water,  and take the boat out for the shortest of cruises.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Pictures are more articulate than I could hope to be, so this is a picture post.

Autumn half term holidays. The London Escape. The return to the boat. Just 48 hours away. But what quality time!

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Autumn by boat


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.

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Wabi-Sabi of boat

Our old boat Eileen is a project that’s never likely to be completed. In my minds-eye there are grand designs and the hope that the ‘next big push’ will move it towards some degree of completeness – but it never actually happens. Time’s not on my side and life gets in the way. There’s just too much distraction and not enough daylight as the boat’s located just too far from home to make an evening’s work on it viable. Still, that’s not to say we can’t enjoy it’s rough-&-ready incompleteness. We can indulge in ‘glamping’ afloat perhaps, shabby-chic without the chic and, over time, we’ve cobbled together a camping stove and sleeping bag ‘make-do and mend’ mindset that works. The threadbare space, the unfinished rough-edges being seen as an antidote to slickness. The boat’s concrete materiality is a refreshing change from the temptations of the virtual world.

This year we’ve not been able to get a-boat as much as I’d like. This picture-post is about when we did and for a few days enjoyed the wabi-sabi of the boat

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Writing re-visited: Happily adrift, one inch from the land…

One of the greatest attractions of inland boating on the English canals is it’s anachronistic pace, it’s deceleration of life. A friend has a theory that our souls can only travel at walking pace and that canal boating is a perfect mode of transport to try to re-connect body and soul because, in travelling at less than a gentle walking pace, a long boat journey offers the possibility of your soul finally catching up with your carcass!

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Away 16. Home Mooring

Misty morning. A much-delayed return journey to Banbury. Home mooring on Halloween. From mist to watery sunshine. Cropredy Mill through Slat Mill, Bourton and Hardwick Locks. Mellow. Pete passed, ‘Rill’ towing a butty. Cheery waves and smiles. We call and pass at walking pace. Trees show rib-cages through yellow leaves. A last painted-splattered late morning, late season chug.

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