The cut calls, but where on earth to go now?
Iam, as I recall saying in an earlier column, a man who likes a plan. When I haven’t got one, I fret. Well, I haven’t got one now and I’m fretting. We are nearly halfway into the year and I really don’t have a cruising plan for the year.
We are dithering around and that doesn’t work either for me or for Mrs B. I know that for many boaters the whole delight of the canals is to find a nice spot, tie up for two weeks and do nothing. Except meander down to the pub or take the dog for a gentle walk before an afternoon snooze.
I’m afraid that both of us have the ‘keep busy’ gene. Mrs B can’t sit in a chair for longer than ten minutes without feeling the urge to go and wash the boat or polish some brass. Me, I can manage half an hour – maybe longer if I’m listening to football on Radio 5 Live – but then I’m dragging the map out, thinking about where we could go next in some interesting walk we could tackle.
And that’s our present dilemma: where to go next. We’ve got past the canal ticking off stage; we have been pretty much everywhere, even dragged ourselves to most extremities of the BCN. There are a few gaps: the River Wey would be good if we find ourselves down that way (excuse the or pun), the Erewash another if we are passing nearby but the Lee & Stort I’m content to miss – we walked much of the towpath when we lived in the area and I can’t help think that today’s reality of multiple moored boats would mar our happy memories.
So where? At the moment we are drifting about, saying hello to a few old chums and calling in at one or two familiar pubs but the itch in my brain that says ‘what’s the plan?’ is still demanding to be scratched.
The trouble is that we both know where we’d like to go – oop north. We love the scenery, the walks and, compared with the busy Midlands and even busier southern waterways, the space and the peace.
But lovely as those Pennine stretches of the Leeds & Liverpool might be, it is damned hard work to get to them. I know – we only did it last year in both directions and I’m still aching.
The Macclesfield and Peak Forest canals are a delight. I look at the photographs of the stunning hill walks we did and I’m transported right back there.
But, as I said, we only did all this last year and it really does seem daft to be heading back that way for another dose of hard work when there is so much else to see and do. Especially as we have a week’s walking holiday on the Pennine Way planned with some Canadian friends who are visiting Europe (encouraged in the walking trip in no small part by my blogging on our walking exploits from the boat last year).
But it’s easy to dawdle and dither while the sun is shining; even Mrs B can be persuaded to sit for more than a few moments on the tug deck while we savour a couple of stubbies and muse on how lovely it is to be away from the stresses and strains of traffic, house repairs and domestic bills.
Maybe by the time the next column’s deadline comes around we will have pointed our bows in one direction and started off on a definite route. On the other hand, maybe we won’t. Maybe I will have weaned myself off maps and we will just evolve into gentle drifters, happy to go slowly to nowhere in particular.
‘Both of us have the ‘keep busy’ gene. Mrs B can’t sit in a chair for longer than ten minutes without feeling the urge to go and wash the boat or polish some brass’