Saturday, November 01, 2008

Extreme boating - or "you're not as young as you hope you are"

This past week, having been half term for the Dufflepud, we've been afloat again on the good ship Polyphony...For the first time ever, we were cruising with an agenda as the plan was to move her from her former mooring in Northamptonshire (a good 2 hours drive from here, so really not attractive as a day off option) to the delights of Tewkesbury, which may well get flooded but is only half an hour from home.

This meant, of course, that our normal highly relaxed style of voyage had to be modified. We needed to accomplish a certain distance each day in order to reach our goal before Sunday. Longsuffering Clockmaker and the Dufflepud are both highly accomplished helmsmen, and I'm not that hopeless when it comes to locks, so we were pretty confident of reaching our goal, specially when the good friends who are Polyphony's former owners offered to come and help too.
What could be nicer, we thought, than a cruise through the heart of England in autumn...the beauty of the golden leaves reflected in the still waters of the "cut"..?
We had one day like that - and it was indeed good
But on Tuesday afternoon things changed.
The sky became leaden and rain was followed by hail, which in turn gave way to sleet and then honest to goodness snow.
In October.
And this was no half hearted flurry but the real McCoy...settling all around us and transforming the world for almost 24 hours.
It looked very beautiful - but there was one snag.
Our on-board heating system had decided to give up the ghost, leaving us with no option but to huddle around the gas oven, wrapped in numerous blankets...
All very character-building, no doubt, but I was decidedly cross to discover how much I minded being half-frozen, how that degree of discomfort seemed to become the most important thing about me for a while.
I'd always thought of myself as, if not quite a hardy perenniel then at least reasonably stoic in the face of misfortune, but I have to say that I would have HATED to share a boat with myself last week. Clearly I am becoming elderly, set in my ways and devoted to my creature comforts...not attractive attributes in the least, and ones I'm unwilling to own, but the evidence seems pretty clear-cut really.
Adventure is all very well, if you have warm feet and the prospect of a cosy bed ahead, but if it's a case of wearing all your clothes inside your sleeping bag then on the whole, if you don't mind terribly, count me out!


Sam Gamgee said...

You, my friend, have a bit of hobbit in you. :)

Songbird said...

Oh, my goodness, snow?

Erin said...

oh dear...the weather is beautiful here...but when I was a kid we always took our boat out of the water Thanksgiving weekend (2nd weekend in Oct) so I can't imagine being on the boat at this time of year.