Sunday 19 August 2012


One of the things we've appreciated about boating is the chance encounter. You come across an extraordinary range of people, in the marina, at the locks, where you moor up for the night. They are normally uncomplicated meetings, with little hanging on them, but they often have more substance than a friendly chat with the supermarket till-operator. Time is the significant factor. Usually nobody's in a particular hurry, and you can't do much about the rate at which a lock fills.

Either side of Erin Mae's berth at Great Haywood are a couple of spaces they use for visiting boats. So we got to know Steve and Sue on NB Pitch while they were here from Ripon for a while. This weekend, after our dash back from Alrewas, we found Ray and Val in NB Holly's Wander, down from the Leeds and Liverpool. Ray came out while I was gently playing my guitar as evening fell, and we talked first about music and then about scouting, which has clearly been a life-long enthusiasm of his. Guitars around a camp-fire evoke particular memories for him, and for me, though I was never a scout.

They've gone away and left their boat here for a week, and then their son and family will be taking her out for a while – all in all it's unlikely we'll see them again. But it's been good to meet and to share more than just the fleeting moment which is all that busy lives so often allow. One thing I shan't forget in a hurry is that they grow lettuce on the roof of the boat and had some, freshly cut, for tea last night!


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