Saturday, 26 July 2014

Land-based for a while

Travelling by train yesterday towards London I could see the canal off and on almost all the way – the juxtaposition of the development of the canal and railway systems is plain to see regarding the routes that they both took, one slightly before the other. Getting to London from Macclesfield yesterday took 1 hour 50 minutes on the Virgin Pendolino. I know the trains back in the 1800s would have been a lot slower, but how long would that journey take on a working boat, even if travelling 12 or 14 hours a day? No wonder the canal trade diminished so rapidly. In thinking of the pleasure we boaters get from being on the cut and that walkers get from being beside it I am very grateful to Tom Rolt and all the other campaigners and volunteers and workers that have restored the assets for us to enjoy.
David, if you are reading this in NZ (in the depths of winter …) be aware I am keen to start heading south-ish when you are back here. It just looked lovely yesterday in the sunshine. I think I recognised Great Linford where, back in 1990, I first got a narrowboat broadside across the canal trying to stop after we’d almost passed the park. I remember our being there with the kids – great memories that made me smile. That was a lovely trip, wasn’t it? Tim as the ace steerer, and Kirsty as the ace lockwheeler – it wasn’t until we were on our next narrowboat trip a few years later that we realised how strong she had been at nearly 13 working the GU locks singlehandedly. Do you remember Tim’s dishes roster where he’d assigned himself more turns than anyone else and wasn’t allowed to amend it? What mean parents …
Enough nostalgia!

Travelling by train was good – I booked a seat in the quiet coach from Macclesfield to Euston (to avoid the phone conversations that all seem to start ‘I’m on the train, we’re coming into …, I’ll be there at …’), and then the Tube one stop over to St Pancras. As I came out on to the main concourse at Euston, I was gobsmacked at the crush of people there. I had forgotten just how crowded it could be, even though I had been preparing myself for it. I was pleased I knew where to go as I couldn’t see any signs for the Underground for some reason. I was booked on the fast train from St Pancras to Faversham, no stops till it was well out of London. Lesley had told me to come out of the side gate at Gillingham, so there I was looking for a gate in the fence … Doh! Had to ask and was directed to a proper exit with ticket gobblers and flapping barriers.
Her new bathroom looks great and our first task today is to find a few more accoutrements (all women of a certain age need accoutrements) to finish it off – a hand-towel ring (square, stainless steel), a towel rail (square, stainless steel), a mirror and something for tonal lift to go on the wall. I am thinking an orange starfish perhaps … I suggested a cow or a chicken (those readers who know my house will understand) but Lesley just sniffed derisively, so a starfish it may have to be! Perhaps some flying ducks?
Our next tasks include a visit to the conservatory showroom. She had received some CAD pics from a guy (the one she dared to get around here without me recently) and the style he had drawn up is appropriately called ‘Lean to’ as that is exactly what it looks like! Yuk. She is keen to have something that looks like it is part of the house rather than tacked on, so the roofline and style need to match, and a lean to has neither in common with her house. So that’s out then…
We are also going to Wickes to fall in love again with the kitchen style she chose last year (it’s very lovely – plain, classic, classy) and to organise for them to come and measure up, plan it and get it installed. She had a plan done last year very quickly by another firm, and it looked great, so hopefully she will stick with that – it was an efficient layout and made good use of the small space. I am keen though to get her to consider opening up the end wall of the kitchen and having it open plan, but that may be a bridge too far …
Scrapers, yes, we have to buy scrapers so we can get the paint off her end wall in the hallway. The extreme weather rainstorms of the winter destroyed the pointing on the external wall (she’s end of terrace) and it leaked lifting some of the internal plaster exposing the trunking for the power cables. Scary stuff.
So a busy few days coming up, helping spend her money – always a pleasure!


Barry and Pauline said...

flappers, with a wild imagination can't you picture the flappers being lock gates and just how much power that card has in opening them!
Keep having fun

Marilyn McDonald said...

Barry, you are just remembering how hard you had to work to get the Marple lock paddles open! There are times when your idea would be good - at least I wouldn't have to get a second newspaper to read while waiting, eh? Mx