Life, photos but not the universe

Travelling backwards

See, I’ve forgotten what happened a couple of weeks ago and I can easily remember that I’m cooking sausages and burgers and kidneys now. Those are the left overs from the party. And we decided to have a mixed grill with them. So naturally, I put them all (except the burgers) under a grill. Well, the clue is in the name right?
But no. It seems that himself always fries the kidneys and cooks the sausages in the oven and oh well, you get the picture I’m sure. A mixed grill isn’t grilled around here.*
It’s taken us about five years but finally we seem to have calculated almost the right amount of food for the family hordes. We didn’t run out of bread and we only had a few bits and bobs left over. We did forget to get anything for Sunday, when all but Sister in Law and two nieces had gone but we managed ok. Hey, if you can feed the five thousand, you can certainly feed the remaining five!
So going backwards, we returned from the canals on a Thursday afternoon, laden with dirty washing and bags and stuff and Barney disappeared into the garden to erect two gazebos, four tables, three barbecues and a tent. Plus one car shaped paddling pool. Sadly, the bubble machine has finally given up and refused to perform at all.
Among other things, I washed the kitchen floor. I’d quite forgotten what it looked like under there! There was a plan to wash the shower while having one on the morning of the party but due to a ‘quick’ look at our canal trip route on Google Earth, I wasn’t up early enough to do that. No problem. The frosted effect was fine.
Then people arrived and we sort of arranged seats and glasses and plates and stuff around them as they chatted in the garden. Then it was all lovely for quite a long time. Food, family, sunshine, drink, small children and the three dogs all busy chatting and laughing a lot. The teenagers were all older, more stunning than ever and very tall! The tots had all grown a good bit since last year and Mr and Mrs Middle had brought their beautiful bump. Youngest and Himself and their three gorgeous children were there, Youngest as usual with somebody’s tiniest tot welded to her hip, effortlessly containing and directing the wildness of a little horde of half naked sunny children. One dog spent most of the afternoon paddling (that is to say, lying in the pool, flapping her feet and then leaping out to shower everyone generously with her long spaniel coat) and the other two, being elderly and not fond of water unless in comes in small, neat bowls, lay in the sun and looked sedate while sometimes sneaking over to anyone who was eating and pretended they weren’t at all thinking about scraps.

We were very aware of missing Great Grandad, sitting in the sun with a glass in his hand, which in turn reminded us of Great Grandma and Auntie Ella. On the other hand, we were also missing three cousins with their very new babies and /or bumps. And Brother in Law and his wife were still on the boat but we had, after all, just spent a week with them so we didn’t feel too cheated : )
Eldest wasn’t there either, not at a rest weekend for ladies which was what I first thought he told me on the phone (very bad line dear, what did you say you were doing????) but at a festival. Well those who couldn’t come were all missed but still it was lovely.
Families! Tragedies, triumphs and sadnesses all in our minds. It’s so good to share time with them and to have this opportunity to take stock.
So there was a week with Brother in Law and his wife. To be honest I’m almost all canaled out. It seems as if we’ve been setting off on boats every five minutes for the last year or two but it was really nice spending time with those two. I think for the first time ever. We’ve visited each other briefly over the years but always in company or on missions involving hospitals or parties or children.
I remember that BoL came on one of our earliest canal trips (35 years ago?) and spent a good deal of time nipping ashore to make phone calls to a mysterious female ‘friend’. Guess who that became : )
Anyway, the two brothers thoroughly enjoyed the locking and steering and anoraking around bridges and tunnels and stuff. SiL and I had many long talks and learned quite a lot about each other. She’s a very sweet person (in spite of having a sense of humour dry enough to match BiL’s and an iron will to boot). I discovered that BiL is really very sociable as well as sharing the dry family wit and it has to be said that a good deal of wine was drunk!

And SiL made marvellous breakfasts and dinners and pies were bought for lunch and some canalside pubs provided us with the odd meal – some of which I’m afraid weren’t really even as good as odd but it’s all pot luck on these trips. Fine dining isn’t often an option! And in one case, at an eagerly awaited and highly recommended canalside curry house, dining wasn’t an option at all!!

So, we went through the Harecastle Tunnel – twice. It’s a mile and a half long and takes three quarters of an hour to travel through. No passing so there are British Waterway Board men at each end to regulate the safe passage of boats : ) Have you read the instructions? one of them asked Barney as we waited our turn. Oh yes he says confidently – after all he’s done a tunnel or twenty in his time. So how many hoots if you see someone coming towards you? What do you do if you break down? What does it mean if you hear three blasts from behind you? How far should you keep behind the boat in front?
Well you’ve got plenty of time to read the instructions before you go in.
Barney was deflated : ) A little.**
When I was Google Earthing the trip, I followed the canal to Harecastle tunnel and then of course, lost the canal. (GE doesn’t have laser eyes to see underground – yet!). But then I found Boathorse lane. Could there be a clearer indication of where to go? (Because in the days when narrow boats were towed by horses, the horses were led over the hills that the tunnels went under)

We saw a steam train several times since we travelled alongside its track for a while but for some reason, each time we saw it it was going backwards. I’m sorry but however venerable the train, if it’s going backwards it just looks silly.

When we reached Nantwich where we had to leave the the in laws and the boat there was a good deal of discussion about how we should get back to the boatyard where we’d left our car. The original idea involved both of us, buses, trains and all our luggage (And probably would have taken us all day). The eventual plan sent Barney off to catch a bus which went nearly as far as we had wound our watery way round the countryside but took an hour and a half instead of six days. His return journey to meet us on the boat took fifteen minutes. Interesting eh?

Said BiL when I was snapping away around a lock, “isn’t it all a bit nondescript around here?”

Dunno.  What do you think?

*It was very nice though by any name
**And after our last trip, I made a point of looking for the fire extinguishers. True, I immediately forgot where they were but later on I checked again so I reckon I’d have found at least one of them in a an emergency. Um, didn’t think to read the instructions though

August 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment