Starcat 1 by my favourite artist

Monday, 10 December 2012

Turn off Your Mind, Relax and Float Downstream

Having been gently chided for being too ranty on recent posts - something with which I wholeheartedly agree, what better way to start the de-rantification with a week on the Shropshire Union Canal?

No doubt Beatlemaniacs will have seen the allusion to Tomorrow Never Knows, probably the most technically revolutionary song of the 60's and the farewell remark of one of my most gifted students at the end of the last class before my holiday.

But first, the context: as readers of my musings will have detected, work at the moment is rather stressful, so last week I took a week off and made the above trip at the invitation of my cousin (A) and her husband (M).

Luckily, my timetable and the fact that there were two national bank holidays in Spain (BTW, one of the bank holidays is Dec. 8th - the date of Lennon's murder) made it possible for me to go without too much disruption to students and my colleague who graciously subbed for me on one of the working days.

A rather dramatic view of Nantwich Marina with café, 
chandler's and  junk shop (junk as in tat, not the 
Chinese boat!)
So, off we flew from Faro to Bristol, where we overnighted at A&M's house before some early motoring up to Natwich Marina where their narrow boat is moored.

I had often seen adverts for canal holidays and thought that they must be fun. And, of course, who hasn't fantasised about living on a houseboat?

Well, the good boat W. was to be our home for the next seven days and after loading her up with supplies, we chugged out of the marina at a stately 2mph on our 60ft. narrowboat, bound for rollicking adventures? No. Bound for a relaxing week on a form of transport that dog walkers on the towpath can overtake without breaking into a sweat. What a joy to do something that is excitement-lite and where time and the scenery slide by so slowly that you have plenty of time to take it all in. An example: 20th-century transport gives the observer time to say to their companion "Look at that badger over there?" but the companion hardly ever has time to look before it is past, replying "What badger?"

The Bollock-Talker's theory of relativity:
 "The time gained by fast transport is equally proportional to the sensations and observations lost thereby, due to the velocity at which the vehicle is travelling".

On this journey, for example, I even had time to call my daughter, J., up from below to observe squirrels etc. on the banks as we glided past.

To end this first instalment a relatively unknown song,  by Pink Floyd, which I feel captures the lazy contentment of life on slow moving water, even if it does describe a summer's day.
The next instalment will, I feel, be a bit on the technical side. But not overly so.

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