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Water flowing underground
same as it ever was
For those who don't 'get it' 
4th-Jul-2005 05:39 pm
The lure of the water

`Messing ----- about in boats--or WITH boats. . . . . In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not.’

So said Ratty in Wind of the Willows. Of course, he wasn’t Pursar or Chief Engineer on an English narrowboat with its attendant housekeeping and maintenance requirements, but he had hit the lure of the waterways square in the middle of the target.

But he neglected to add that you meet such damned interesting folk on the waterways, particularly in France. In one sense, it’s a little like meeting people on the Web. You can be cruising alongside an American surgeon one week, and a French chef the next, while an English Pear Crumble Magnate awaits back in your home port. Nationality, religion, political colours, marital status, sexual orientation are insignificant considerations. There is a shared focus; provisioning - food, water, and fuel; doing laundry; safe cruising and locking (passing through locks - met The Grim Reaper in a few of those in France); weather forecasting; coping with breakdowns, accidents, and emergencies. These are the things that bring people together while messing about in boats.
4th-Jul-2005 05:37 pm (UTC)
It the 'boat' bit that bothers me.
5th-Jul-2005 02:37 pm (UTC)
Generally speaking, narrowboats are safe and they don't rock 'n' roll too much. I don't know anyone who's been seasick on one, apart from the loony Shepherd who was violently sick when we were attacked by two sea tugs crossing Calais harbour.
4th-Jul-2005 06:23 pm (UTC)
The book that always makes me feel like a guilty landlubber is Jerome K Jerome's 'Three Men In A Boat' - as far as I'm concerned, it's one of the funniest things in the English language. It's got everything you need: foppish Victorians, drama, pathos, and a bit with a dog.
5th-Jul-2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
Apart from the foppish Victorians, our cruises are a bit like that, with probably twice the drama, humour and number of dogs aboard.
4th-Jul-2005 06:44 pm (UTC)
there is nothing, absolutely nothing that is half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats * sighs*

lovely post and green is really my natural colour
5th-Jul-2005 02:39 pm (UTC) - green is really my natural colour
You sound like Lorne.

::inspects you for horns::
4th-Jul-2005 07:17 pm (UTC)
That sounds wonderful. I've never 'narrowboated' - a friend of mine had a couple of holidays renting a narrowboat, and said how great it was.

What I'd love is a little dinghy - a Topper. I used to sail as a teenager, our county council did some sort of scheme for schools in underprivileged areas, all we had to pay was our 50p a week for minibus petrol. I loved it so much, sailing really is a wonderful feeling, the sound of the waves, and the wind in your hair and all that. (Maybe too many viewings of Swallows and Amazons as a kid, too ;) ).

Which I suppose isn't *that* like narrowboating, but, you know :D No experience of the 'social' thing, but it sounds like something I'd enjoy.

And yes, I develop a hint of green when I read your reports on your return from France, too :D
5th-Jul-2005 02:41 pm (UTC)
Any form of boating is wonderful. But the added charm of the narrowboat is that it's a floating home - and you generally don't get a wet bum while cruising along.

Hopefully, there will be some French reports coming to your screen soon.
5th-Jul-2005 06:52 am (UTC) - Bon & Safe Voyage!
I'm not entirely selfish when I say I like your love of boats because it allows for a mighty good read - there's a compliment there!

Seriously - I do hope you have a great time and that those perilous French locks manage to be much easier this season!
5th-Jul-2005 02:44 pm (UTC) - Re: Bon & Safe Voyage!
Merci beacoup ma cheri.

I hope to be enthralling you with the beauty of my poetic writing very soon.

::mwaaa mwaaaa mwaa::
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