Cruising below Bourton lock on Saturday we were treated to an aerial display by a gang of swallows swooping and skimming around us like jets round an aircraft carrier. What with them and the cowslips along the banks and the hawthorne bushes all budded up ready to burst out the May blossom, you might expect it to have felt like spring. Well if you’re reading this in the UK, you’ll know that it flippin’ well didn’t. The only reason that we were out on Herbie was that we were baby sitting Grace for the weekend and her entertainment of choice was to go boating. We didn’t feel so keen looking at the weather forecast and we did warn her that it would be cold and wet and that she would need to be out on the back of the boat etc. but she was adamant. So that’s what we did, and I have to say she was a real trooper.
Grace is only ten years old but she’s turning into a right good boater. She did her bit at every lock and did 90% of the helming too, even turning us nicely at the awkward Tramway winding hole below Banbury. All I did was stand beside her offering the occasional word of advice or encouragement. Hopefully when Kath and I get too old and frail to do all this stuff, Grace might be able to take us out for a trip.
Some of the lock paddles down there are pretty heavy and stiff, but she wouldn’t give in, adopting a technique of hopping back and forth across the balance beam to get a good pull on the windlass.
I did my bit of course
As we were returning after turning the boat a kind man on a boat whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, but it was something about a Wren, enquired after our roof box – he was obviously a blog reader. Well there are still tiny bits to do. One thing we are thinking of is stiffening the edges of the canvass cover with a dowel to keep the edge straight. It has tended to pucker up in the past, allowing rain puddles to collect on the canvass. My expeditions to Wickes /Toolstation for bits and pieces are a bit restricted at the moment as our car has developed an electrical fault. It goes in for (I hope) a fix tomorrow.
Having temporarily satisfied Grace’s boating desires we are now negotiating with Peter, our youngest son, over a break with him next weekend, so we might be out cruising again. He is not nearly such a good helmsman as Grace, but you can’t be good at everything and he is amazing at lots of things. I don’t know where he gets it from, I can’t be good at anything much.