Friday, September 07, 2007

Canals and boats and water

Today we did something completely different. I took my cousins to the Grand Union Canal, and we even managed to go for a half hour trip up the canal! I had never done that before, and it was such fun. England is criss-crossed by a canal network, and even though it is no longer used to transport goods like coal and corn all over the place, the canal network is busy. Especially in the summer, because you can hire a narrowboat and spend a week or 2 drifting about the canals, stopping in the countryside and exploring an England which you do not see on commercials.
Doesn't this look incredibly British? And so peaceful. It was a lovely day, and warm and very beautiful.

The boat on the right (below) is the one we went on.

There are series of locks all over the network, to raise the boats up or lower them down, and we watched this one. If you look on the right, you will see the men pulling the lock gates back into place. If you want to use the lock, you are the one who manages the gate process.

And look how the water drops. And the boat. It is quite quick really. Well, quick is a relative term. The average speed on the canals is about 2 miles an hour. This is the kind of holiday you take to really relax and slow the pace of your life. Apparently it takes about 4 days to go roughly 60 miles.

Once the blue boat had gone through the lock downstream, 2 boats came in to be raised up. You can tell that we were there a few hours. It is absolutely fascinating to watch.

And I just loved this... please note the 2 border collies on the boat! They were so cute. Some people actually live on the boats, by the way. They have pot plants on the roof and beautiful canal painting on the sides of the boats.

And this was on the way up the river on our trip. I think the word "glide " is what I am looking for. The narrowboat glides up the canal. We had a wonderful time, as I said, and my cousins, who had never seen the canals or narrowboats or the locks just loved every minute. I have no idea how many photos were taken, but I do know there are a lot!

And while we are on the subject of water, here is a photo of another place near where I live here in middle England. Having guests means I get to take a closer look at what, perhaps, I tend to take for granted.

I live in a beautiful place.


Jungle Mom said...

Loved seeing the photos.

Kelli said...

WHen I was graduated from high school. I spent a summer in England and Scotland. We lived on two canal boats (there were about 30 of us) which we picked up in Birmingham and toured through England and Wales.

These pics bring back a ton of great memories.

Now, I need to go find some slides and reminisce.

Penless Thoughts said...

Your pictures and narrative were a delight!

Morning Glory said...

Oh my goodness! We have talked and talked about doing that for a week sometime and almost made plans to next summer. Be we changed our minds for this trip. It's still something I really want to do. I loved seeing these pictures!!

PEA said...

You certainly do live in a very beautiful area...isn't it funny how we get company and do things we've never done before even though we live in the area!! There are Locks a few hours away from here and I also find it fascinating watching the boats/ships go through them. It must be a wonderful way to see parts of England by traveling through those canals! Beautiful pictures!! xox

Linda said...

You do indeed live in a beautiful place Linds. It looks just like the England of my dreams. One of these days....
My Mom is having a friend come to visit from England in March. They became friends through quilting. I will have to get all the details from my Mom about where she lives, etc. I am so excited to have her come. She wants to ride a horse!! I think we can arrange that.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Oh, beautiful, Linds--it is so nice to see a bit more of where you live!


meggie said...

Those pictures do tell a pretty story. I have always thought I would love to travel on one of those canals. I am not very happy on ocean water, but a river might be different I would imagine.

Susie said...

What beautiful pictures of your gorgeous area! I've been reading back through and catching up since I've returned. I know you understand that feeling. Still much to do, but all in time!

Dawn said...

Now that sounds like a great way to spend a vacation! We must think of that for our retirement.