Welcome to the world of Narrowboating

To risk is to live!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Soaking wet but happy!

I am in an area with a snail pace internet connection so no photos today I’m afraid. It’s a shame because I’d love to show you two contrasting photos of our current mooring. We are right beside Blake Mere, just outside Ellesmere. It is a stunningly beautiful lake with trees that cover the hill opposite and march down right into the water right round the Mere. Yesterday I took a photo of the sun glinting off the mirror like surface of the lake. Today I took a photo that Noah would recognise! It is absolutely tipping down here, as almost everywhere else. It is 1005 but as dark as a winter’s evening.

Every so often a boat passes us with plastic wrapped crew trying not to lose their brollys under overhanging trees. All but one have been hire boats as only people on a timetable would move in this! I am very fortunate. I was planning to move today but am under no time pressure, so we will have our third day here. Bonny is delighted, partly because she doesn’t like the rain, but mostly because there is a rabbit warren within 5 feet of the boat and watching them out of the window is like interactive TV for her!

I’ve just picked up a very exciting comment on the blog. It is from the previous owners of Don’t Panic!! The people who actually got her built and who made all the really good choices about how she was put together. They also left really useful things behind when they sold the boat like waterways guides, ropes, chains (for mooring) etc etc etc. Thank you Marion and Roger and I would love to stay in contact. The only problem is if I post my email address here, I am likely to be flooded with adverts for Viagra and worse! We may only be able to communicate through the comments form – if that is you can read comments made by me and others? I’m assuming you can.

I have only one really burning question… why the Latin inscription on the side of the boat? (Res severa est verum gaudium) I have been asked about it hundreds of times. I looked it up on the internet and have discovered it is a quote from Seneca. it seems to either mean ‘True joy is hard work’ or ‘True joy is a serious business’. Is this right? What does that mean? I have to say I sometimes get bored explaining it to people and so make up something silly instead! My personal preference is to replace it with ‘Walmington on Sea’. For those who don’t know that is where Dad’s Army is located will just assume its my home port! If I had a quid for every time someone pointed and said ‘Ha ha, Don’t Panic Captain Mainwaring’ as if they have come up with something entirely unique, I would be a rich woman.

I really hope the report I heard on radio 4 this morning was incorrect as they said this weather may continue for the next 3 months!! I was sorted of resigned to being rained on for a third of my trip, but for the whole three months? I may start to take it personally!


Lynda Alsford said...

I really do hope this weather doesn't continue for weeks to come. Whilst being in a boat and having it raining is rather dampening to one's spirits, you will float of course. I on the other hand have a week at New Wine soon where I will be staying in a tent. A tent is not the best place to be when it is constantly pouring with rain! Please God let it be mostly dry the week I am in Somerset!!

capthugeca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
capthugeca said...

Me too, Linda, though probably the week after. It isn't much fun trying to pitch tents in six inches of mud either. We lost a ground sheet a few years ago.

I do love the idea of TV for your dog, Mandy.

And how about suggesting the latin means "the reservoir is very gaudy". Hence you spend your time on canals.
I gather your boat is in good company. The same motto is on he Leipzig Gewandhaus.

Marian and Roger said...

Hi Mandy – this could be a long comment! We (Marian & Roger) would like to keep in touch as well – we had many happy times on Don’t Panic. E-mail would be good but you’re right not to post an address on an open website. So we just called Crick Marina on 01788-824034 and agreed that if you call them and give them your mobile number, they will then be happy to pass that on to us; we can then either call or text our e-mail address to you. What do you think?

That Latin motto! Either translation you give is fine. As you probably know (as you researched it), the motto was painted in the hall of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; we are both musical so we liked that and it seems to fit narrowboating well! A classics-educated friend says it has a double meaning because you can reverse such Latin phrases, giving the 2 meanings of “serious business (or hard work) is true joy” or “true joy is a serious business (or hard work)”. In modern language we might say that you only get true joy from things you have to put effort into, or even that you get out of life what you are prepared to put in. It’s no surprise to find it in a concert hall in 18th century Germany! We think it points in a slightly similar philosophical direction to your blog motto “To risk is to live”. We had the same problem of having to explain it! We think we might have been quite happy with “Walmington-on-Sea”.

Most people thought “Don’t Panic” was about Dad’s Army though a few mentioned The Hitchikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. It almost always raised smiles which we liked. The best comment was from a fisherman standing in pouring rain – “Ah, panic”, he said, shaking his head slowly from side to side, “sanity’s last refuge”. We chose the name for a more mundane reason. We used to have a 17 foot fibreglass boat with a tiny cabin to sleep in (it was yellow and black and called “Tigger”) – we used it on the canals and found ourselves in locks with steel NBs up to 53 feet long. This was seriously scary and we kept saying “Don’t Panic!”. We vowed that when we eventually got a narrowboat, that’s what she’d be called.

Your cruise so far is similar to one we did in 2004 (also a wet summer though not quite as bad as this one). We got to the T&M from Crick via the N Oxford & Coventry canals then did exactly what you’ve just done. So it’s the second time Don’t Panic has been up the Shroppie, along the Llangollen and across the aqueduct (yes we found it scary too – our daughter was with us and went in the cabin though she did come out on the way back across. We moored by Blake Mere on a rare nice day and had a barbecue.

Please call Crick with your number and we can set up e-mail contact. We had wonderful times on Don’t Panic – she was a very happy ship and we hope she will be for you.

Marian and Roger

PS We gave up boating because we’d moved to northern Cumbria and the 500-mile round trip from here to Crick became too much of a burden. We still miss the canals.

Mandy Wright said...

great info. Didn't know about the orchestra! Will leave my number as suggested!