Thursday, 2 October 2008

A smell of adventure in the air

Tomorrow is my last day in my current job, before I move on to pastures new. Tonight was probably the hardest of all my evening cruising missions so far, despite not involving any locks, tunnels or other obstructions to delay my progress. It was also the most enjoyable in some ways.

After work, I drove to the next mooring spot, about 5 miles further North, and then cycled back to the boat. The thinking behind this was that I would rather cruise as the light was starting to drop than cycle on the roads, and I knew that I was pushing it for time as I was aiming to cover almost twice the distance I had managed last night.

Things started well - 45 mins to walk/cycle back to the boat seemed reasonable, considering that the towpath in some places wasn't really wide (or safe) enough to even walk along, let alone cycle.

Upon my return to the boat, I discovered that my mooring pins had been ripped from the ground, presumably by a passing boat going a little too quickly. Still, no harm was done and the wind was blowing in the right direction, pushing my boat against the bank.

I set off cruising, and made reasonable progress although the canal was quite overgrown and weeded up in places. The light began to drop, reminding me of the beautiful sunsets I have seen from these villages in the past. I took a few photos, and remembered the tree in Yelvertoft which I took a photo of last winter when it was bare of leaves, sitting against a pretty purple skyline. Today, that same tree is covered in greenery. I took a photo anyway.

As it got progressively darker, I realised that time was very much against me, again. The more sensible part of me realised that I could just stop, tie up, and continue to my car at sunrise before work, however there didn't seem much fun in that and the new box of firelighters was in my car. Also, the weather man isn't promising nice things for tomorrow morning, and so I suspect that a half-hour cruise at 6:30am might not seem too appealing.

I eventually arrived at my pre-determined mooring at 8pm, around 45 minutes after it had become what most people would class as "dark". The canal here is so deserted that it really did feel like I was cruising into the wilderness, miles from another soul. In reality, I'm only a mile or so from the nearest village, but it feels further.

There was a minor drama as I came to moor up, as my centre rope came loose from the cleat which attaches it to the top of the boat, whilst I was stood on the bank. Fortunately there was nobody around to see me fly backwards and land on my bum, so I got up pretty quickly and managed to jump back onto the boat and reattach the rope. Mental note to self: attach rope properly before going near rivers.

The fire is now lit, the lamb stew has been eaten (well, some of it), and the rain has begun pattering quite heavily on the roof. I'm glad I didn't plan on walking far before work tomorrow.

For the next week or so rain will be no excuse not to cruise, but right now I'm glad that I am curled up on my sofa, watching the flames in the fire and sipping a glass of red. It's a hard life, but somebody has to do it.

No comments: