Croissants and Canal Boats

The Canal In The SkySunday morning, and the SAS arrive. No not that Army lot with their blacked-out faces and rubber dinghies, but Sue and Steve in their black Passat, all ready for a croissant laden breakfast and a canal holiday planning meeting. We’re off to Shropshire in a few days, to take charge of a narrow boat and cruise the Llangollen canal, come hell and high water.

Now Bumble, Sue and Steve are old hands at this sort of thing. To them a lock is a way of changing level along a canal, not two users trying to access the same data or the thing I put my front door key in, as it is in my world. Despite the water being only a few feet deep, I sense I’m out of my depth already.

Actually, I’m really looking forward to the challenge. Not the challenge of learning about locks and boats, knots and navigation and the like. The challenge of getting around a narrow boat with Steve around, who was never designed with narrow boats in mind. He’s a proper, old fashioned, jolly giant, so I’m sure we will get to know each other all too intimately during the seven days afloat.

I have to say, that I have been having a few reservations about the trip. For one, we will be going over the Pontcysyllte aqueduct at Trevor. When Thomas Telford and William Jessop opened the aqueduct a month after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, it was the tallest canal boat crossing in the world and at 126ft (over 38 metres) high it is still an impressive and buttock clenching structure.

I’m also going to be thrown in at the deep end, figuratively I hope, in terms of being out of my comfort zone, with no experience of canal navigation whatsoever. But as they say (whoever they are), feel the fear and do it anyway. We are hoping for at least a day or two of good weather, though North Wales is better know for its lush green valleys than its sun-soaked beaches, so a fair deal of chanting is required before we cast off.

Naturally, being immersed in the Welsh countryside, blogging may prove to be another challenge. But be assured that I will post as often as connectivity allows, and fill in any missing bits when we return to ‘civilisation’. With a maximum speed of 4mph, it going to be a great excuse to chill out and take things nice and slow.

Time will tell whether the natives, and my fellow crew members take kindly to me chanting from the bow (the pointy end apparently) first thing in the morning. So if you hear a loud splash and the blogging stops abruptly, you’ll know what’s happened. Please tell my kith and kin I loved them all dearly.

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