We had the pleasure of spending last weekend aboard Kate's parent's new canal boat: Load of Hay. I'd been on their last boat, Beta Blocker, but hadn't spent the night aboard. Come to think of it, I've never spent the night aboard a boat let alone a canal boat so there was plenty to look forward to. The boat itself is beautiful, both inside and out, and was given lots of nice comments from passers-by as we made our way along the Grand Union.
The journey started at Aplsey, which is about forty-five minutes north from Euston station. After a cup of tea and biscuits we set off, ready and eager to tackle the many locks that lay ahead of us. As the day passed we saw a heron, swans and ducks and plenty of walkers, joggers and anglers all enjoying the canal and its bankside.
After lunch we pressed on further towards our destination of Apsley. Kate and I took a break from lock-tending to read the papers and attempt to make further headway with the jigsaw that Anne and Dave had started. It was a boating scene jigsaw so we weren't really shirking our duties, honest.
Later in the afternoon we moored-up, just beyond the swing bridge that's a traffic-stopper in every sense and got ready to settle down for the night. We had a lovely dinner in The Three Horseshoes pub, located conveniently next to the swing bridge. After dinner we took the short walk back to the boat and got ready for the night. The dining area of the boat converted ingeniously into out bed and after adding the bedding it didn't take long for us to fall asleep.
Morning came and a hearty breakfast of cereal and croissants, with Kate's prize winning marmalade, set us up for the eleven locks that lay between us and Tring. My lock technique was becoming quite honed by lunchtime, although I did have a job opening a paddle that was discretely locked. A lesson learnt for the next voyage.
By five o'clock we'd reached Tring, where Kate and I would disembark to get the train back to London. We'd had a lovely weekend and with all the sunshine, exercise and fresh air we felt fully recharged and ready for the week ahead. I should add, however, an unexpected side-effect of my canal boating weekend was that it took a while for my land-legs to return, my head spent most of yesterday gently swaying. I call it a souvenir.
Take a look at the Load of Hay video I made of our time on the boat over in the projects section.