though we did have 2 close encounters with the murky waters of the Birmingham-Fazely (32 locks in 1 day...aaarggghhh) and Staffordshire-Worcestershire canals (one involved the long-suffering clockmaker, but no I didn't push him). Given that this was England in August, the weather was surprisingly good. This was fortunate, as 2 out of 6 waterproofs got stuck in the boot of someone's car. The box of books was excellent in a happy trashy sort of way, - one day I'll learn not to take the worthy volume requiring concentration that I've failed to read thus far all year...if I've not concentrated at home, I'm certainly not going to manage it on holiday. The lack of phonecalls about pcc meetings was fantastic, though I did find myself wondering and worrying about various parish/homebased situations as the week went on. However, that's par for the course, and relationships on board were largely harmonious, since, as Liz sagely remarked, narrowboats may be narrow, but they are certainly loooong... For the first time ever we were joined by one of the children's "partners"...to whit the official girl-friend of my very own, 13 and 4 days old Loud Boy. This was an uneasy novelty, not because she was anything other than delightful, as I knew before we invited her (though I'm really not sure what the poor girl made of the untrammelled madness of the combined Fleming household: she only jumped in once to escape), but because it's a new situation for me to be the mother of such young loves. Not at all sure what a 12/13 year old relationship should look like,- so I spent a fair bit of time worrying that we were all Too Much for her, and that she was utterly wretched and about to dump LB on the strength of this, then being confounded by finding them lying curled up like a pair of kittens,- and with a similar degree of innocence...
And the hot news? We are investigating the possibility of acquiring a narrowboat of Our Very Own. It does make sense...L.C. is short of projects now he is no longer living in a collapsing Georgian farmhouse with a garden too big to manage, and his wife is rather less available than she might be on Sunday afternoons. Because our house has tenants (thanks be to God) we're short of somewhere to bolt outside the parish. My parents are no longer living, and both my honorary mother and L.H's mother are in small flats, so there is nowhere we can honestly impose ourselves when we need to get out of the Curate's House and in the past year this has tended to encourage holidays that blurr the boundaries with work, earning me general opprobium from most of my family. A narrowboat, unlike a weekend cottage, could move to be within easy reach of wherever God and the C of E may take us in the years ahead, so it might also become somewhere to vanish on the dreaded day off.
We've come home armed with phone numbers and are having supper on Monday with the only people we know who actually own one already...Even if nothing comes of it, it has lifted the end-of-holiday gloom that seems to fall when you realise that the sun glinting on the water is now glinting for someone else,- and none of the post you had hoped for has arrived in your absence. Serious panic now on about the final Greenbelt ticket (ordered after the others, when Darling Daughter decided she would be in the country after all this year)...not to mention the RevGal's tote bag (which I was hoping to use to return the 24 library books).
At least, there would be panic, if I could muster the energy.
The trouble is that I now feel so thoroughly unwound I can't actually imagine how I will stir myself into of action of any kind on the morrow, when even loading the washing machine feels far too much like hard work. What's more, though I was totally oblivious to any rolling of the boat, now we're back on land, the room seems to be behaving in a thoroughly restless fashion. Not really looking forward to taking to my bike, if it continues thus.
Tomorrow, however, is A level day, when maternal resolve may well be needed. Watch this space.