Saturday, June 23, 2007
Braunston bites again
I think the working boat rally at Braunston will always have a rather special place in my heart; a year ago I was someone who enjoyed boating, and was vaguely interested, with the academic's constant itch for learning new stuff, in boats and their history(ies) ... and then I went to Braunston, and came away knowing very little more, but with a passion to find out, and a wish never to be torn away from these beautiful, magnificent, dignified creations. No matter how well built a new boat is, or how lovely its lines, or how well it reproduces the appearance of an old one, it's not the same; it doesn't have the bearing, the venerability. I can admire it, even see its beauty, but it won't grab me viscerally like an old one, even - maybe especially - an old one that's been abused, neglected, converted.
I didn't mean to go off on such a flight of fancy, but clearly Braunston is my idea of heaven. We spent about six hours there today, and are going again tomorrow, so there was no rush to do anything. At one point (can't remember where Jim had disappeared to) I was just sitting reading, looking up when anything interesting went past ... what better place to be?
The beer and the beanburgers were both every bit as good as last year; the weather wasn't, quite - but then the weather last June was exceptional. And the boats, of course, were miles better, now I know that little bit more about (some of) them.