This is clearly not the post of a reflective blogger, - but I'm a woman of my word and so here, as threatened, is evidence of our recent trip (more on flickr for those with more manners than sense!).
We were incredibly blessed with the weather, which was warmer than many summer cruises we've taken, and there seems to be a benevolent something about the boat which more than counters the possible tensions created by lots of Flemings in one small space. We knew this often worked (it is, after all, one reason why we are buying a narrowboat at all) but given the exhaustion levels of several of the party on day one, and some fairly huge things going on in all directions in recent weeks, it felt rather miraculous that even when the engine failed on Wednesday morning (going through a tunnel, of course) we all sat quite happily in the sun till a marvellous mechanic arrived to set all to rights. Not a word of grouch and grumble, even from those who normally like to get on with getting wherever we are going. The fact that we were stuck here might have had something to do with it, of course...the air laden with bird song, the trees that were so green that they looked as if the colour had been invented for them only seconds before, spring at its most perfect, and we were forced to sit and enjoy it.
Our relentlessly barking dogs were preternaturally peaceful too, overjoyed with knowing exactly where their family was at all times, and enjoying some long walks along the tow path and the feeling of wind in the whiskers!
Incidentally, the friends from whom we're buying the boat are keen ringers, so the boat is currently "Fabian Stedman" - but though the male Flemings ring, we need a new name to mark the adoption process (not least because I find it very hard to square the circle of a boat, which is definitively female, having a guy's name). We've had some thoughts, but a few suggestions would always be welcome...She's not a young boat, but she's sound and friendly..and she's going to be ours!