Half Term

The first trip of the year on N.B. Jessica yesterday was surprisingly short in distance. I had misunderstood the warning of another boater and set off towards Lin’s Mill with two grand children and one of their friends (13, 9 and 9) on board. We had gone less than half a mile from the basin at Ratho when we came across the first fallen tree. “This is easy”, I thought as we squeezed past the out-stretched branches. But I had not seen the next tree, it reached right across to the tow-path, leaving no room to squeeze by. We tied the bow rope to the tree and I prepared lunch. I have no idea what the many passers by thought. Our windows were too steemed up as we tucked in to our pasta. We had grandiose ideas of cutting through the branches, but it was quite unrealistic. With only an hour and a half before I was due to return the children to their parents I called a halt to the experiments with the bow-saw and we backed out. I had hoped that as the canal seemed quite wide there I might have been able to turn the 14.5 metre boat. But no! So I had to try to get her going in reverse all the way back to the basin. The children were willing but unskilled at towing her with three ropes, and in the end I found it easier to do the work entirely with the reverse gear to get backward propulsion, and forward gear to correct the direction. I takes tremendous skill to control a boat in that way, which is why many narrowboats have bow-thrusters to help stear. In the end we tied her up short of the basin (and the car) alongside The Seagull Trust dry dock. I was extremely grateful for the help this morning from Seagull Trust (http://www.seagulltrust.org.uk/ratho ) volunteers. Bob left his work on the cleaning of the hull of one of their boats, and assisted me in checking out the weed hatch before I returned to our home mooring. See the picture below:



About The Skipper

I use my narrowboat to offer a place for rest and refreshment, conversation and encounter. I am a Franciscan Tertiary (Anglaican) and a spiritual director. I have been married to Michael for over 45 years. We have two grown up sons and grandchildren of all ages.
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