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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaving the Coventry Behind

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." ~Harriet Tubman

   At Fazeley Junction where the Coventry canal meets the Birmingham & Fazeley canal we moored up and I went inside the British Waterways offices to have my name added to the boat registration. It was the final item we needed to address in order to consolidate our earthly goods in order to satisfy the UK Border Agency for the following round of hoops awaiting us in twenty one month's time.
   As I was explaining our circumstances--how we met, fell in love, married in  the states, needed to merge our belongings to provide proof to the border agency that we are indeed living together as husband and wife, etc., etc., my eyes fell on plastic wrapped parcels of the most recent Towpath Talk. 
   I tore one open, grabbed three copies, opened one to page 92 and told the BW personnel, "Look! This is us," pointing to the Wet Web column by Helen Gazely which featured a small bit about me and Les and our romance. How satisfying that was!! Many thanks to Helen for featuring us.
   Yesterday afternoon we stopped at Fradley Junction for water, tipped the rubbish, and washed down the NB Valerie. Then Les turned left at the junction onto the Trent & Mersey canal. This is all new territory for me. The locks we are moving through now are single, deep locks which I much prefer to the large double locks on the Grand Union.
   We cruised for another hour and a half, passing Mal Edwards MBE, maker of fenders and one of the many characters that have befriended Dear Sir along his travels. He and Mal cruised together for awhile when Les first started living aboard. Up in Wales they frequented pubs on music nights as Mal plays the squeezebox. Les recalls brilliant evenings filled with good craic.
   Les slowed the boat and chatted with Mal for a a short bit, introducing me as his wife, which brought a keen look from Mr. Edwards.  He said he would see us up on the Llanny (the Llongollen Canal) and we waved goodbye.
   Shortly after NB Valerie was moored in late afternoon on a wooded stretch some ways past Kings Bromley Marina. It is a lovely quiet spot, with a large field across the canal on the offside. 
   Later as we prepared for bed, Les and I looked out the window upon an enchanted night. There were so many stars in the sky, the trees seemed spangled with them; the quarter moon hung low, like a wine skin spilling liquid light across the dark water which barely rippled from a warm breeze. Owls called to each other across the midnight woods, lulling us to slumber.
   I woke just before dawn this morning to a chorus of birds serenading me back to the world from a sleep of strange dreams. I lay there listening in delight and wonder: who orchestrates the birds so each particular song can be heard above the other? The world is a place of wonder and I am immensely grateful for my place in it, tucked warmly under the quilt next to my beloved.


Nev Wells said...

Another great post, shame I missed you on my patch. You really should consider writing a book you have such a great way with words.

Take care

Nev NB Waterlily (Fradley junction)

Les Biggs said...

Oh Nev, I am gutted we missed meeting you! I didn't see your boat there. We filled with H20 on the Coventry side and then turned left on the T & M.

Thanks for the words of encouragement. :)

I am working on turning my blog into a manuscript in the hope of getting it published. I still have my other book on cancer to finish.
And I would love to write a fiction book for young readers--Narrow Boat Magick!

But is is amazing how quickly time flies while doing "nothing!!"

John Witts said...

On the subject of the night sky, surely few can better Tom Waits's lyric:

"The moon's a silver sickle with champagne stars......."

From the album 'The Heart of Saturday Night'

Les Biggs said...

Well said John!

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs