Saturday, 31 July 2010

There and back again

So, we are back.

We've been back for a week, actually, and that week has been full of various appointments. And laundry. Lots of that.

It does feel rather strange being in a house again. There is so much space - and so many things - and we keep asking ourselves why we actually need bricks and mortar, when we've just lived perfectly happily on our narrowboat for five weeks.

We have had a wonderful time. We have both got very brown, we have both lost some weight - about a stone between us - and we are both feeling much fitter. I have had to move the buckle on my jeans belt in by three holes, which is most gratifying.

I managed more than I had thought possible. I can't push lock gates or wind the paddles if the mechanism is heavy - and I can't stand and steer for very long, but I can definitely manage a lock that is properly maintained, and I am walking better and further that I could have imagined.

And Jessie has grown so much! We started off with a little 9 week old puppy, a real baby.

When we arrived home, she was 14 weeks old, and growing into a happy, healthy and confident little dog.

She loved the boat. She very much liked the fact that we were all together, all day long - and she also loved meeting so many people and so many dogs - literally dozens of people and dogs, every day. The towpath is a busy place, and it seems that everybody wants to stop and talk to such a pretty little puppy. Jess loves everybody, unreservedly. It is lovely.

She remembered the house, though, when we arrived home again. No doubt about that.

Knitting has been minimal. Would you believe that in five weeks, all I have to show is the unfinished back of a pullover? This is partly due to looking after little Jessie - very time consuming! - but also because the old carpal tunnel problem is playing up again. I hope it settles soon, it is quite inconvenient.

But we did have a lovely time.

Our favourite part of the Kennet & Avon is the part known as the Long Pound - 15 miles without a lock, winding through the Wiltshire Wolds, mostly under the view of the White Horse at Milk Hill.

The centre of Reading is quite spectacular from the water - it is a pity that there is nowhere to moor up and visit the shops or a restaurant. The waterway through the Oracle is too narrow and twisty for two boats to pass safely, so this section is controlled by traffic lights - and there really is nowhere to stop.

And then we were on the Thames. I've never been on the Thames before, not on a narrowboat, and it is quite an experience. It is so big. And so beautiful, too. (That's Windsor Castle, of course.)

Then on to the River Wey - the Wey Navigation is old, as you can see.

I think my favourite thing along the Wey is this little building at the riverside near Pyrford. It has a blue plaque, which I think speaks for itself.

I get shivers, looking at that.

I could go on. Two weeks to Guildford - three weeks to get back home again. The journey would take something like two and a half hours by car. There is no doubt that travelling at walking pace gives one a completely different appreciation of distance.

We have enjoyed being away - and we are happy to be back, as well.

The scenery as we neared home was not dramatic or spectacular, but still beautiful to us.


Helen said...

Glad that you had a good time and are able to do so much, that's wonderful. I had no idea John Donne lived in Woking: thanks for the photo, it's now my desktop wallpaper.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, it sounds like a wonderful trip and you sound very energized. Jessie is adorable. I can well understand everyone wanting to greet her!

Barbara in CA

Joan said...

Welcome back! It sounds like it did all three of you a power of good. Thank you for the lovely pictures of the adorable puppy and the countryside-- if you had been busy knitting, you wouldn't have been able to take the pictures!

Experimental Knitter said...

Welcome back! I always wondered what the white horse looked like, having read about it in books. Your photos are lovely.