Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hidden pleasures

Day 22, Newark to Stoke Bardolph lock

We've decided that the next point of interest will be Shardlow, and are looking forward to getting there tomorrow. We left Newark for the second time late this morning after a lazy wander around the town again, and continued up the Trent in warm sunshine offset by invigoratingly high winds, blowing spray right through the front hatches and into the boat. Undaunted, I was sitting out there, waiting for that sublime moment when the wind drops and you feel the full warmth of the sun. It didn't happen today though.

Another thing that's really good if you tune into it is when you're moving a heavy lock gate - one that's just on the boundary of your ability. You put every nerve and sinew into it, all straining to their fullest extent, and just in the moment when you think you will have to give up in frustration, something yields; not suddenly, very subtly, but unmistakably, and you just go with it.

Having had a plastic boat, and being very fond of it, I would never disparage them per se - although I do use the term Tupperware as a handy shorthand, I don't necessarily intend anything pejoritive by it. But there is in my eyes a great gulf between getting out and having fun in a cheap plastic boat, and posing around acting superior in a ridiculously expensive one. And I haven't been able to help noticing on the Trent, the resemblance between GRP boats and dodgem cars, in the way the bounce and spin around. No, give me something with a bit of bottom any day.

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