the voyage of friendship
part 6: brotherly love
Hello again family and friends.
Last time, I left you on the towpath as I picked my old school friend, Philippa and her mum Margaret, from outside her mum’s house in Simpson. Later this week my companions were 3 of my lovely brothers and there's been a whole lot of reminiscing about old times. The other theme this week was the cold weather and layers of clothes were important for all of us. Phil quickly got the hang of locks and we kept warm jumping on and off Therapy, but poor Margaret was quite chilled by the time she was collected by a nice woman called "Diddly".
In between chatting about the happy times and the less happy things in our lives, reminding each other of teachers, people and incidents otherwise long forgotten, and Bunty's antics allowing, Philippa knitted me a beautiful fair isle patterned hat.
Bob (who appears to love the boat and can't keep away) joined us again for an afternoon, cycling out to Leighton Buzzard then cycling home again.
Philippa put the last stitch into my great new hat before being picked by the friendly Diddly at Cheddington.
Another brother, Dan met me next morning. He loves snow and was rewarded one afternoon as we drove through a blizzard, wrapped in hats, scarves, gloves and waterproofs. OK, it was cold but it was great fun!
Therapy has central heating and when we moor up in the evening we can shut the curtains, cook a hot meal and settle down to scrabble, cards or blethering. The voyage has been exactly as I hoped in that respect, giving me lots of time with people I love, something of a luxury in the modern age.
Jenny, Struan and kids joined us on the last stretch into Hemel Hempstead, and Dan's girlfriend Jidtka joined us at Hemel Hempstead. We were a big family team again and locks were devoured quickly. I sat back and played with my little grandchildren.
We had another big family meal on board that evening. On a 45-foot narrowboat it’s good that we're a close family!
My oldest brother Mick, a seasoned sailor joined us next day with my niece, Katherine who worked hard and kept us on our toes. Dan and Jidtka left and Ewan joined us, bringing my clean laundry and other essentials. It was a cold night especially for little Katherine but she quickly learned to play cards and proceeded to thrash aunty Sal and uncle Ewan.
The countryside we're moving through is beautiful and we see places from the canal that we would never normally see. It’s a slower, more gentle world and you can't help but relax. Now as we approach Watford, I'm expecting more urban scenery but Cassiobury park is a fantastic nature reserve that we cruised through for miles and miles. At Watford Mick and Katherine leave us and Ewan took me down to the point where I would meet my next guests. Without Ewan the whole trip would never happen and the only difficult aspect of it is that he's not doing it with me. Together we decided that the big city is not a place for a wee puppy and as I'm approaching London I reluctantly let her go back to the farm with Ewan to learn about sheep.
I'm left moored up under a bridge in Watford, all by myself in the freezing cold, missing my husband and missing my dog. What will the next section bring? Will I make it to London?
Until next time, warm wishes to all.