Monday 5 September 2016

Retracing steps

The BCF weekend at Fazeley went well. It was good to meet up with some people we've known for a while and others who were new to us. On the Saturday morning I led a couple of sessions on one of BCF's values / aims, which included a fair bit of group discussion about the practicalities.

Saturday afternoon, by which time it had nearly stopped raining, we had a lot of fun and games, including an excellent treasure hunt devised by Halfie, followed by a barbecue, mostly eaten inside in the dry. In the evening there was a great deal of mutual entertainment. Sunday morning, since most of the participants had either come by boat or were staying locally and so were still around, we joined with St Paul's church for "café church" and then had a roast Sunday dinner together at a local pub. All very enjoyable, and it was good to get to know some new faces.

Some folks then pushed off elsewhere, but we stayed overnight, needing to get a pump-out and a new gas bottle from the local marina this morning. Then we turned around and retraced our steps up the Coventry Canal, stopping in the same spot at Fradley. On the way we fell foul of some bridge builder's joke. At a bridge the towpath typically ducks in under it, so the canal naturally narrows on that side, while on the other side the brickwork just drops down onto its footing and the edge of the canal runs close to it. But at Bridge 88, whoever designed or built it decided there should be a platform on that side as well.

The canal goes down to about the width of a lock, or perhaps a little less. On top of that, there's a lot of undergrowth concealing the platform as you approach. Fortunately, as there was a boat moored on the towpath just before the bridge, I was going really slow and was now angling in towards the towpath side. I was most surprised to feel a bump as we entered the bridge, as I was sure I'd left enough clearance from the towpath. It was only as we emerged that I realised I'd actually glance against the off-side platform.

It reminded me of one of those tricks of music publishers, who place a complicated and unexpected passage immediately after a page-turn!


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