Tomorrow we take over Herbie from Claire and co at the Black Horse in Greenford from where we'll bring her home next day. It so happens that we'll be at the Black Horse anyway enjoying an annual dinner with friends in remembrance of Alison, a very dear friend who died a few years back at the age of 52.
Alison was possibly the most funny and cheerful person I ever knew despite the fact that she was often in pain from a life long arthritic condition. Apart from being very well known on the folk scene nationally as a member of all girl groups Hen Party and Bread & Roses, she also slummed it with me and Kath in our group Man Sandwich (I was the man in the sandwich, Alison was the main singer and Kath played hammer dulcimer). We were of course absolutely brilliant and extremely famous, albeit only within a ten mile radius. Such was our commercial success that sometimes our fees almost covered our petrol costs. There was always a great deal of laughter from us and from the audience, and we still laugh at memories of Alison and treasure the few live recordings we have.
Alison would not have liked narrowboating any more than she enjoyed camping, which she loathed. Not for her a cassette loo. Its a good job we don't all like it or the canals would be too overcrowded, which in the South East, they are generally not. Strange that. The most crowded part of the country with the most road traffic, has the least boat traffic. We very rarely queue for locks on the Grand Union. and in the seventeen miles between our moorings and Paddington we often pass only half a dozen moving boats. In canal terms, London is less well known than Llangollen and less frequented than Shropshire. Who'd have thought it.