We have been living on our narrow boat for 48 weeks come next Tuesday.
We have survived the (mild) winter and experienced some (normal and expected) flooding.
We have had various trips up river for the duration of one to three hours.
We have NOT been through a lock yet, neither have we stayed overnight away from the Marina.
WHAT ARE YOU? WIMPS OR SOMETHING?
GOT A NARROW BOAT AND NOT BEEN ANYWHERE?
PEOPLE PAY FOR CANAL/RIVERBOAT HOLIDAYS AND YOU ARE LIVING THE LIFE!
WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?
Yes, OK, I hear you, no need to shout.
All that is going to change as to celebrate, we are going to a Boat Festival for next weekend and will be away from the Marina, Wifi (thus our blogs) and Mains Electricity for well over a week!
Our route will cover a distance of around 90 miles, involve the opening and closing of some 40 locks, and will introduce us to a ‘Lavender Boat’ (for our loo waste) for the festival duration.
In preparation, we drove up to one of the locks on our route to watch how they worked. Most are unmanned and so it is up to us/boaters to operate them.
We offered to take lines, lift paddles and push open gates, and I had the time of my life. Everyone was so nice and had lots of useful tips to pass on. The gates and lock mechanisms are straightforward and not as heavy as you’d think, after all, you’re not pushing against the flow of the water, the water is actually working with you!
It’s a great workout anyway, exercising all of the muscles rather than just a few, so we should be megga fit (to drop) by the time we get back.
After assisting 4 narrow boats and a lazy plastic pig (everyone calls cruisers plastic pigs, but these guys stayed inside and let us and the narrow boat waiting to come through do all the work!) we came home having been there over an hour.
Any anxiety has therefore gone out of the window and I can’t wait to set off. I’d even say I’m excited at the prospect, and I don’t usually get excited!
We’ll do some basic shopping before we go, we already have a map and guide book, our ticket and the mooring to the festival is sorted as it was all included in the price.
Maggie will be fine as our overnight moorings on the way are adjacent to fields, and when we get out for the locks, then she will come out too to stretch her legs and ‘do the business’.
There will be fireworks one night, but we shall put down her blanket in the bathroom and cover the window should she wish to go in there rather than snuggle into one of us on the bench. We would never leave her alone and can easily watch the display from the boat anyway (mug of tea and sticky bun in hand) whilst giving her reassurance.
We have no idea what it’s going to be like, and you know what, we don’t care.
It’s going to be FUN!
Look out for the score cards as we go through our first lock………