Time on the narrowboat always helps me see things differently.
Instead of hurtling from pillar to post, constantly diverted, filling my days with a host of different people, with widely differing needs, I'm constrained (happily) to travel at 6 mph down a narrow stretch of water, in the company of a very small group of people.
I read alot (of course) but I spend alot of time doing almost nothing - watching for herons on the bank, looking at patterns of ripples in the water (these are more exciting in our new world of river cruising - though there's lots I miss about canal life), smoothing the velvet softness of Libby's ears.
This summer, the usual feeling of being in a different world was compounded by the fact that we were actually very close to home.
From our home mooring at Tewkesbury we cruised down the Severn to Gloucester, the little city that I know best, in whose Cathedral I was ordained, whose geography is mapped out, for me, in terms of the parish boundaries of my friends.
Quite extraordinary to view it as a visitor...to look up at the Cathedral from the basin of the docks; to spend a while focussed not on the ecclesiastical present but on the maritime past as we wandered between the warehouses and noticed how the tiny Mariners' Church echoed the shape of the mercantile temples that surrounded it; to wander past the embryonic Gloucester Quays shopping mall, on which so much of the city's future may depend. To be a tourist at home!
All in all, a summer of interesting perspectives...but I suspect that it will at Greenbelt that I really find my eyes are opened and all sorts of things appear in a new light.