Saturday, January 18, 2014

Planes, Trains and Narrowboats

Remember two of my new year wants:  more impromptu activities and more conversations with strangers?  Well, did they change things for us yesterday and in a very good way.

I had gotten leftover pancakes and corned beef hash out for breakfast.  It must not have tickled Mike's taste buds because before I knew it he was asking if I wanted to walk into the coffee shop in Whittington and have breakfast.  I loved the idea since a.) no "cooking" for me, although reheating is not hard labor :) and b.) no dishes to wash. Yippee!

So, on went the wellies and we headed out to walk to town.

Normally, we walk to the first bridge over the canal and then head into town by walking through a residential section.  (Added aside:  I discovered on one of these walks that garage walls here, even in what we would call track housing, are BRICK.  How classy is that!  I told Mike that if our garage had had brick walls I might have turned it into a studio apartment for a teenager or for myself at points. :) 

Any way, back to yesterday.  We decided to walk up to the third bridge and head directly into town and the coffee shop.  (This was the impromptu part .)

As we reached the third bridge we met up with a man walking his short haired terrier, Branston, and we struck up a conversation. (The conversations with strangers part.) As often happens, as soon as he heard our American accents he wanted to know what we were doing in England in the winter, how long we were staying, etc. 

While talking we mentioned our soon to be trip back to the US for a visit.  He asked what we were going to do with the boat for those weeks we will be gone and we mentioned that, due to unforeseen lock closures, we were still in the process of finding a marina  we could get to with room to house the boat. 

As it turns out, Bob (the once stranger) lived just across the canal as did his father and mother, Eric and Doreen.  They, too, own narrow boats.  Eric and Doreen had taken theirs to Europe for 4-5 years in their younger days.  Kindred souls.

Bob and Eric and Doreen have private moorings along their canal waterfront for their boats.  (Do you see where this is heading?)  Bob suggested that we moor our boat with theirs while we were gone.  As he said, it would save us money and they could keep an eye on it for us.

Before we knew it, we were across the canal meeting Eric and Doreen, discussing taking a narrow boat to Europe and sailing on the canals there, and being invited back for fish and chips that evening to meet some of their friends who are also narrow boaters. (Wow, that is one run on sentence. :)

Somewhere in all of this the decision was made that we would, in fact, leave the boat there while we are gone.  I am not sure, but I believe it was Eric who decided but it could have been Bob. :)

Fish and chips from the local shop was yummy and their friends, Bob and Doris (I think I have her name right) were very nice to meet as was the first Bob' s wife, Kim.  Everyone seemed to take it as normal that relative strangers should be joining them for a meal and parking their boat, too.  I have a feeling we are not the first boaters helped out in this way.  Wonderful people.

Well, I have to close now since I have to get ready to go over to Eric and Doreen's.  We have been invited for coffee.  Ain't life grand!

Oh, by the time we reached the coffee shop yesterday we ended up with lunch. :)

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