Friday, 6 May 2011

A Day on the River

Holding off continuing with my London posts to take you for a day on the British waterways. Our country is criss-crossed with canals and rivers that link up to take one the length and breadth of the country.
In times gone by the canals were very much horse drawn working waterways but today they are used for pleasure.

Here is our first glimpse of our day yesterday with our old friends Dave and Val  who have lived on their barge for the last 4 years travelling the waterways since their retirement while renting out their cottage and small holding in rural Devon

We set off from Harlow in Essex amongst the May blossom and Cow Parsley covering the countryside

and encounter our first lock
We navigated 12 of these throughout our day
Dave has Alan to move one side of the lock gates (which makes it quicker) and I chat to Val while she steers

inside the lock always feels a bit spooky to me

I find it amazing the amount of salad and vegetables they manage to grow in troughs on the roof

The sleeping quarters and bathroom are in the middle of the boat

It is at this point we encounter a problem with the engine
This was caused by a large plastic bag getting entangled 
around the propeller

While Dave works Val and I take a walk along the tow path and the guys will pick us up later when all is well

The point at which they pick us up 40 minutes later 
and it is raining

We stop for lunch in a traditional old English pub in the town of Sawbridgeworth just over the county border in Hertfordshire.

A view of the town as we walk  back to the boat

We walk through the churchyard

and past this field of Pampas grass

and back on the boat passing a 17th century
lock keepers cottage
These cottages are now privately owned or holiday lets as lock keepers no longer exist 

we pass a modern development along this part of the river

and many other barges

Alan enjoying working the locks

Until we come to a point where we can turn the barge
The speed limit on the canals and rivers is 4 miles per hour
so it will take us several hours to get back to our car

We chat to this couple as we pass admiring their flowers

These horses seem to be having a conversation of their own
and on the other side riders out in the early evening

and finally a swan graces us with it's presence
 Apart from a stop for lunch we were on the water from  10.0 am until 9.30 pm
enjoying a pleasant supper before saying our goodbyes  and embarking on our 45 minute drive home
Hope you enjoyed the trip with us


Needled Mom said...

What a wonderful trip that was!!! I did enjoy every minute of it. That is quite the adventure to live on the barge and I, too, am amazed at their growing abilities.

La Petite Gallery said...

Barbara, you two really know how to live. What a wonderful day. I went
on a boat ride out of London.
Passed beautiful estates. There were swans everywhere . I had my first taste of chips w/ vinagar. There were men to work the locks. When did they stop that. I'd like to rent that Lock keepers cottage, guess you need a boat. Thanks for a fun trip. Have a Happy Mothers day.

Schnitzel and the Trout said...

Absolutely delightful! Do you friends write about their life ont he barge? I think that would be so interesting to read.

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

What wonderful fun!

Charlene said...

Barb, I really enjoyed your post and pictures. I have always thought that would be great to travel in one of those boats.
One question....when night comes do they just tie the boat to the bank and sleep?

I always enjoy you posts. I live in Arkansas, USA, and you have probally seen on the news that our "Mighty Mississippi River" is flooding in several area, thankfully not in my area.

Happy Mother's Day

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

It's nice that you can get on and off whenever you come across something interesting....barging on the canals seems very relaxing. That was a long, leisurely day for you.

Marilyn said...

I am always learning new things thanks to kind people like yourself that share such interesting pieces of the life they live. Thanks so much! ♥♫

Martha said...

I love the idea of these boats. We see them occasionally and I find it hard to believe that people live on them -- of course, the Brits may find it hard to believe that people live in RV's!!!

Looks like a fun day!

Annie Jeffries said...

Good evening. What magic. Traveling on a barge is on my Bucket List. I may never get back to Europe but I think maybe the Mississippi River my have barge travels. Somehow though, I would rather go back to England again.

Linda said...

That looks like so much fun. I'd love to do it for just one day. I think a week would be too much. They have canals in France too. Maybe one day...

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Barbara

Yes-I did enjoy your trip on the waterways! The pictures are lovely and thank you for sharing.

Look forward to more adventures.

Have a great week end!

Tracy :)

Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

What a delightful trip.

talesfromagarden said...

Hi Barbara,I have always been fascinated by these barges,they look so great all decked out with flowers and I have always thought what a great way to live,so relaxing!I am glad to read the speed limit is 4 miles per hour!Everywhere looks so scenic and its the first time I have seen the interior of a barge,very plush,thank you!
Must be lovely during the warmer times of Summer to have a holiday like this.

Rhonda said...

Just recently saw a TV show that featured barge living-a couple was trying to decide which 1 of 3 barges they should purchase. Now to see your post just ties it all together for me. It looks so peaceful. Thank you for sharing this unique way of enjoying the water.
BTW, my Aunt - Trissa gave me a link earlier this week to your blog site. I just love it!

Jan at Love It said...

Thanks for your wonderful post. I love all your photos, it's like our own personal tour! I too would love to rent out one of those lockkeepers cottages and converse with the barge people going by!

Pomona said...

What a lovely trip - very evocative photos!

Pomona x

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

How beautiful your river ride was. It was interesting to see that they live in the barge. It's rather like my camper inside. Thank you for sharing the pictures, I always enjoy them.

Vee said...

What an amazing lifestyle! I'd love to spend a day on the water in a houseboat/barge. I did get a chuckle out of your walking and being out in the rain until the men caught up with you. (Those plastic bags are such a nuisance when left to blow about.)

Lori Zehr said...

This post was very interesting and evoked many pleasant memories for me. When I was in your country a few years ago (in May!) we went to a lock and watched the barges. Also visited a traditional pub and enjoyed a fine meal! As I read this, I felt like I had been to the places you were describing, though it was a different area. I love cow parsley as well--I think it's so delicate and should be appreciated more!

nikkipolani said...

Absolutely thoroughly enjoyed, Barbara! Thank you for this lovely and descriptive visit. Not having traveled on a river or canal or through a lock, I appreciated your commentary and accompanying photos.

Theresa said...

Hi.. I loved the pictures and felt I was along for the ride! It looks like fun!

Theresa said...

loved the pictures and felt like I was along for the ride!

bristowmom said...

What an interesting life your friends are living! I think it would be fun for a time, although I don't think I could live in those cramped quarters for years on end. I never knew people are living on barges. I learn so many things from your blog!

Nancie said...

These pictures are so beautiful, Barbara! Glad you have had a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing with us and bringing us along :) I like the swan picture. So sweet.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and your encouragement. It is so good to hear from you again. Hope you have a very blessed week. Take care and God bless!

Warm regards,

Willow said...

I loved this post, Barbara! What a wonderful way to relax for one day or spend your retirement years.

Bishop Stone said...

I love the photos of the barge trip. I think it would be such a lovely way to travel, and I like the idea of lookin into the back gardens of all those houses. I have walked along some of those canals while visiting the UK and had a great time wandering about. I also loved Gryph Rhys jones show on the Uk rivers. Have you seen it?

Unknown said...

I loved the picturesque boat ride with you. Its relaxed enjoyment, full of simple pleasures of the wayside village and the meanderig river. Thank you.