Narrowboats and canals.

In October we spent a few days on the Oxford canal with a couple of friends who own a narrowboat; this was a wonderful experience of a very different world, a slow moving chug through the rolling English countryside, which ( apart from tending to the lock-gates which could be quite strenuous) was relaxing and convivial; visiting the lovely old country pubs dotted along the canal added to the feeling of well-being and bonhomie.

Where we were on the Oxford Canal is a “flight” of 7 locks, then several more for good measure, so we girls did a lot of walking along the towpath from one lock-gate to another. However once we got on to a long stretch of water with no locks, we could get down to some serious relaxing, and enjoy the passing scenery, supping tea whilst the boys drove. There are many quaint old bridges crossing the canal, some with huge (worrying) cracks you could slot your fingers in. The world slows down to a steady rhythm of the chugging engine, constantly changing skies,  water-birds’ cries, green glades and calm contentment.

A few photos and a few sketches:

the marina where the narrowboat is moored:

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This cat lives on the neighbour’s boat:

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Friend Dave driving his narrowboat, DOVETAIL:

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Friend Lorraine pushing the hefty wooden lockgate, I  had just closed the other one , so I wasn’t slacking!

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A green glade:

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Serenely chugging along :

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That’s the holiday snaps, now for the sketches:

 

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I promise , your nose really does NOT look like that Lorraine!

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I  jotted down a list of words to serve as tripwires to my memories of our splendid holiday, perhaps one day I will write a poem in the fashion of W.H. Auden’s “Night Mail”,  that’s a long way off though…you will be forgiven for not reading to the end of the list, it means more to me than to you!

morning mists

gentle chugging,

rattling dishes

open door, sound changes

towpath, gravel

paddles winding,

easing, grinding

heaving lockgates

revving, reversing

bobbing in lock, backing and forthing

chug, chug , chugging

 

silt like waves

stuck on bank

quaint old bridges,

slow, slide under bridge

slow , to pass another

Napton

Marston Doles

warm pubs inviting,

dogs allowed,

The Wharf, Fenny Compton

ducks,  swans and cygnets

coots and moorhens

FIREFLY, TITAN, ERIC.

DOVETAIL

chug, chug , chugging

 

whirling eddies

floating leaves, twigs , small branches

cows, sheep, gates

sheep in water, rescue

reeds, irises

clouds scuttling

grey sky morose-ing

ominous

rain, wind, squall

safe and cosy

wood stove heating

chug, chug , chugging

 

church bells chiming

clinking bottles

seagulls, rooks

rich earth ploughed

blackberries dipping,overloaded

rosehips, berries

coxes apples

mighty willows

ancient hedging

armco edges

sheep fencing

dock leaves

chug, chug , chugging

 

damaged bridges, concrete smashed

creaking

paddling

roof gardens

dogs

MARY RUSSELL

RESOLUTION

coal bags on top

MYSTIC DANCER

STORYTELLER

CONSTANCE

fisherman

mallards

private mooring

diamond patterns

chug, chug , chugging

 

AFRICAN QUEEN

BOBBIN

sad old willow stump

swell and rocking

wartime bunker

oops bashed the bank

CONQUISTA

WAKE

MISTLETOE

sun panels

mini gardens

floating shop with painted cans

cat in prison

marina

toilets

cassette

chug, chug , chugging

 

timid doggie

chattering magpies

pumpkins, sparrows

tollhouse

chattering people

laughter,anger-panic-bump!

rustling bags, zip the luggage

clean the kitchen

moor with rope

secure the lock

harvest moon, orange

sunset

home

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3 thoughts on “Narrowboats and canals.

  1. Loved this Liz. Just wish we could have seen you. I particularly liked the sketches and the words were so evocative.
    I will feel better for reading it.
    Love Sue

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