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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Unofficial Countryside

A little bit of nature goes a long, long way… five floors up and the balcony offers strawberries, attracts bees and colour and optimism. It’s our pocket-sized piece of what Richard Mabey coined as unofficial countryside.

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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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Away 15. An Autumn Afternoon

A walk from Cropredy to Varney’s Lock along the valley of the Cherwell past the 1664 battleground and between distant low hills that provide glimpses through tall hedgerows of the villages of Williamscot and Wardington, Clattercote and Claydon.

We ‘5-peas-in-a-pod’ on a rare afternoon out together.

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Dainty Sinuosity…


The first page of the Dollis-Mutton-Brent notebook.  And we’re up in the northern-most reaches of the River Brent’s catchment following the Dollis Brook as it descends a shallow valley through the wonderfully named Whetstone Stray Open Space between Totteridge & Whetstone and Woodside stations.

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