Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Gallery - Letter C

I haven't joined in with Tara over at Sticky Fingers in such a long time, and not sure why when I have skimmed through the posts most weeks but this week I was compelled to join in. The theme this week - The Letter C. I could have picked all sorts of things, Chloe - Children - Cute but no there was only one thing I could think of - Canal

beautiful canal scene summer hot air balloon

Last summer we went off on an amazing trip across the canals, we travelled all squashed up into a tiny little boat, with no mod cons, no gadgets, nothing really except each other, we set off having never been onboard a boat much before and ventured out into the canals.  Although I did post about it on my return I never did blog about it to the depth I had visualised I would.

young boy looking out over water on canal boat

I guess without internet access on board, and then loosing my notepad of diary entries, (to find it again then loose it a second time!) When I returned home and fell back into the routine of house and home I just didn't seem to have the time or motivation to put the memories of the trip down on the blog, which is a real shame.

father and son lessons chhildhood memories
Before we set off, we didn't know if the children would enjoy it, we didn't know if we'd be ready to strangle each other after a couple of days, after all its idealistic to think that everyone can get along in such close quarters for a long time, but not really realistic.

children at lock canal british countryshide childhood activities
 There were arguments naturally, but it turns out we had a fair amount of fun too, the main underlying trouble being that Jake was grumpy about leaving his friends and computer,  which meant he complained about wanting to go back home, and the rain meant there were days when we simply couldn't do anything much at all.

working the locks along the british canals

There were the times I thought we were going to starve if we didn't find a shop soon, but over all we made it to our destination and back again with smiles on our faces, full of possibilities and longing to stay in this dream.

llangollen montgomery canal juntion sign post

The canals really are such a peaceful part of the countryside, the people who gather around them seem to be happy to appreciate the slow flow of life there, nothing moves fast onboard a boat and the hustle around roads and towns is just not there at all, it was wonderful to just be doing something which was so different to normal, and meeting people who were different to those we would normally interact with.

timeless scenic countryside canal beauty

We were in some ways, the odd ones out, a young family, bustling with noise and energy, three children and a huge boxer dog, crammed into a tiny day boat, yet heading off on this strange trip together.

children enjoying playing outdoors The people we crossed paths with along the way, mainly older people, full of stories about their lives and interesting snippets of wisdom, made the trip that bit more interesting, it was almost like watching a whole other world.

cricket ground beautiful scence

There were Farm shops which sold the most delicious sausages made right there on the farm along the canalside, with the sellers by the locks inviting you down the tow path to go visit the animals and see how the farm worked, all this added yet more adventure.

We met those living onboard boats,  enjoying the countryside in the same way as us, helping us through fleets of locks with much more experienced hands.

We made friends with boating neighbours as we crossed paths on the same journey. Returning and seeing the same faces weeks later as we slowly traced our path homeward bound.

Everyone seemed interested in us, and stopped us to chat, where were we going? why? how on earth did we all fit? Many older people saying they had done the same thing as children in a small boat many years ago with their parents, and were pleased to see a family enjoying the simple pleasures in a time now when technology is favoured.

 People on the footpath stopped to chatter to us about their own childhoods and buy pictures from the children as they impersonated the lock side sellers.

So so many friendly faces, the man who brought us the cracked eggs in the morning, after seeing us pass by the day before, he brought great big fresh eggs that had been bustled quickly into a truck to get them from farm to canalside, offering them to us as a gift instead of throwing them away. How we enjoyed the feast of fresh farm eggs that morning!

The sunsets, the scenery, the fresh air.

old fashioned red phone box british heritage countryside

But like with everything, it can not last forever.

The winter has been long, and cold, the boat has sat and been left moored up, with wisps of our dreams tied alongside. We haven't followed through with our plan of spending as much time as possible onboard, and infact we haven't been out on the boat at all since we returned home 6 months ago.

We are a young family, the children are growing, and as much as we wanted to grasp that carefree old fashioned life and follow our dreams last summer, reality hits.

Jakes protests during the trip about wanting to spend the summer with his friends echoed throughout the journey, and his un enthusiasm has prevented us going on weekend trips onboard since, and sheer mention of planning another summer away results in strops and moans.

 Whilst it really was the ideal place to be for me and Darren, and we would jump and live aboard right now if we had the option to buy a bigger narrow boat, but  we do have to consider the facts,  and these unfortunately are that our children are drawn to the buzz of electrical gadgets and friends right here. Not to mention the money side of things, keeping a boat although isn't hugely expensive, it still drains finances we really do not have, and whilst away onboard we can't be home working, so logistically its not doable.

So with a heavy heart we have packed up and said goodbye to Misty Blue and the canals.

We simply can't merit the cost of keeping her if we are not going to get the use from her.

We can't leave the children home alone whilst me and Darren sneak off to enjoy the canals, and the protests and wanting to stay close to friends and home comforts seem to be ever growing.

So for now, we will have to put a break on our canal living dreams, hopefully not forever, I really can imagine living onboard one day,  but just not yet, right now we need to find something new to entertain us this summer, something that we can all enjoy together, even though it  is increasingly difficult to find that illusive thing which means spending time with us parents is more fun than the draw of the xbox and school friends.

I am determined not to just allow the children to disappear into the bedrooms forever more, on the brink of teenage years,and hope that we can convince them to spend time with us n day trips out instead of long breaks away.

So this is my input to the Gallery - Letter C

Childhood - Canals -Changes


  1. That looks like a lovely holiday! I'd love to hire a barge for a week x

  2. Oh wow, it looks amazing and your photo's are beautiful. I hope one day you get to live your dream. xx

  3. Some really gorgeous photos there. I've never thought of having a trip on a canal before but this looks really lovely!

  4. What a beautiful post. But its left me feeling sad.

    You had your own boat??!! Why can't kid's appreciate how awesome that it? I hope your dream comes true on day x

    1. I know makes me sad too.. shakes the kids!! I dunno we could have just forced them along again this summer, they did secreatly enjoy it and I know they will look back on it fondly in years to come, but no this year we'll give the abit more homespace instead of forcing us boring parents on them constantly...

  5. Lovely photos. We did a canal boat holiday when my eldest were little. I hope to do it with the youngest ones some day. It's such a different pace of life. I hope your dreams come true Sarah xxx

    1. I' sure when I settle on what exactly my dreams are made of then they will... its so hard to find the balance tho, all the mod cons, yet al the peace...


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