I blame all those authors and poets I studied in high school.

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Boys walking along the tow path

There’s something about the English countryside that just appeals to me. It makes me think of 19th Century explorers and exploiters and their wives pining for the rolling hills of home, all to a backing-tape of Jerusalem. We had a fabulous day meandering through the countryside today. Jennifer and the boys walked the tow-paths along the canal while I boated along in their wake. Everywhere there were rolling hills and fields, wildflowers lined the banks, birds sang – and all on a lovely warm day with a cooling breeze. It was idyllic.

Part of the positive experience was the realisation that we really didn’t have to get anywhere. We are carrying our beds and all supplies with us as we go. So when we got stuck in a long queue of boats waiting to use a lock it wasn’t a problem – worst case we would just moor for the night.

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Flag and underwear waving in the wind

We did get through the lock and have completed a circuit mooring again tonight in very near where we moored on our first night. All of the local canal-people we have met have applauded our lack of need to actually get anywhere in particular. The experience, rather tritely, is all about the journey not the destination.

Anyway, today was not all calm: we did have one adrenaline-rushing moment when I managed to collide with another boat head-on (half my fault, half theirs), bounce of a moored boat and crash headlong into a low-hanging tree on the bank. (By the way, in case you’re thinking the last few posts make our trip sound like a slow-motion pinball machine, there does seem to be no way to do this that does not involve some scrapes and bounces – the locals just carry pots of paint with them.)

P1030115The result of our crash was two-fold. First, I was chagrined to have achieved my worst crash since our first night. Second, we came away having left some mementos from our washing line hanging on the tree. I’m sure for weeks to come people will be making up stories about why an Australian flag and a pair of underpants are flying proudly from a tree outside Braunston.