Though the temperature is a little on the cool side still, the Sun is shining gloriously today and the rippled olive coloured stream of the Grand Union Canal beckons me seductively. A young couple have just arrived here to hire a boat, have been given their thorough tutorial and instructions and have just left with optimistic eagerness in their hearts and eyes.
All this feeds my need to travel soon.
I long for the relaxed chug of the engine with the feel of the familiar vibration beneath my feet; the fitful tug of the wind at my hair and the pressure of the rudder through my arm and hand. I need to satisfy my eyes and peace of mind with the colours of early spring again; the luxuriantly thick Blackthorn blossom just prior to the green bloom that arrives with early summer sunshine; the myriad fragrances and the call of happy bustling sounds of Nature. These are all overpowering after a long, cold and quiet winter.
The renewed Engine Room Deckhead sheathing.....
.....and Calorifier in the Shower Room
At this time of the year I always find myself ruminating about the year ahead and I wonder where we shall be taken and what is planned for 'Futurest' and I. One thing is for certain that within the few short months ahead of us, until we return back here at Kate Boats in November (the only definite plan so far and even that is open to cogitation) such a lot will happen. Many events, hopefully all of them happy ones, and new friends, all unknown at the moment will enter my life and that of ‘Futurest’s, all adding to the adventure that she and I have set ourselves up for.
Halfway through last year all seemed at first glimpse to be disastrous. We were miles away from our winter moorings without an engine and with no engineering facilities at all on the Chesterfield Canal. The waterway was like a little country creek and ‘Futurest’ and I didn’t even have half a paddle between us. But of course somehow not only did we manage to have the engine replaced and to return here before any bad winter weather arrived but eventually we managed to have all our outstanding jobs completed. I left the ship briefly for a week and was most surprised to find that not only the Engine Room deckhead sheathing had been replaced, but the leaking calorifier, an anxiety of mine for quite a while, had also been renewed by the time I returned. All done by this excellent company Kate Boats. They were brilliant!
So in true naval parlance ‘We are now ready for sea’ and eager to move by this Thursday when the Grand Union and the South Oxford Canals should both be unobstructed for our journey down to Cropredy and on to Banbury.