Welcome to the world of Narrowboating

To risk is to live!

Thursday, 31 January 2013


It has been extremely windy here over the last three days. Despite that, Stan and I braved a trip in the boat down to Streethay as I was seriously in need of diesel and a pump out. It took us quite a while but it’s a lovely thing to be full of diesel and water and empty of poo.

I am getting stronger and stronger but I’m not yet allowed to jump and so can’t easily get on and off roof to do locks and the lock ladders are also tricky. So I am very lucky to have help as both Jan and Stan worked the locks for me – all I had to do was steer. Yesterday we braved even stronger gusts of wind to turn the boat at the village of Alrewas, as she sits much better on my new mooring if  facing the lock flight.

Turning a narrowboat (or winding as it is known) in a gale is an exciting operation, akin to a fairground ride! You have to find a winding hole – in our case just past the first lock into Alrewas. You then note which way the wind is blowing and position your boat accordingly as, as soon as you turn broadways to the wind, the boat will start travelling quickly in a sideways direction. If you don’t manage to complete the turn quickly enough you can end up being blown past the wide part of the canal, provided for turning, and onto the narrower part which means you can end up being jammed across the canal with your bow on one bank and stern on the other!

You could have heard my engine roaring a mile away as I swung ‘Don’t Panic’ into the wind and turned her through 180 degrees. All very thrilling and the fact that I managed it OK has given another boost to my confidence.

Today I had intended to take it easy as not just my foot, but my whole body is aching after the exertions of the last few days. (It is amazing how quickly my muscles have deteriorated since being laid up and it’s a painful business getting them to work again – particularly my back). However, so far Bonny and I have been caught in rain of monsoon proportions on our morning walk. Then on our return the wind strengthened and blew my TV aerial down from the roof, bending all its prongs and in the process knocking my chimney into the cut. Bonny got out of the boat in all the excitement and showed every sign of running away. But I managed to persuade her back into the boat, rescue my chimney from the water, straighten out my aerial and tie it and my chimney firmly to the deck. I have now collapsed into my boat, taken a pain killer and put the kettle on. Hopefully my restful day will start here!!

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