Living on Coot (part two)

Nobody drowned, we didn’t sink, although we did get caught on the side of a lock once. What a treasured memory that will be one day. Watching the boat go down in the lock as Astra played happily on the bow, Andy shouting and gesticulating wildly at me and me standing there thinking, ‘what’s he on about?’. Only to notice the boat was hanging, right before the weight of it tipped it sideways and it fell. No real harm done, just a bit of cleaning up inside, but very scary. I read the advice about these situations again, and this time I remembered them. I’m good like that.

We had a head on collision, with someone who was obviously a beginner – we had been on the boat for a good few weeks at this point, clearly experts. Well, we had at least picked up that looking where you’re going is helpful, as is *not* steaming around a bend on the wrong side of the canal. Hmph, beginnners eh? Left a nasty dent on the front of our boat, but he gave us a wry smile as he passed so that made it all okay.

And there was the Blisworth Tunnel. 2.5 miles of pitch dark, only marginally wider than the width of two narrowboats. Andy’s night vision, we discovered, is not great. Mine is slightly better, so I was able to watch as we zigzagged down the tunnnel, bashing into one side then careering over to bash into the other. Eventually Andy straightened us up and we scraped along the side for the next 2 miles. Hey, at least we were going in a straight line!

We took the boat to a marina so we could have some furniture built. We were only supposed to stay for a few weeks, but then the Sydney job came up and we needed a place to leave the boat….
It is quite a community, 50 boats lined up in a row. Some folk are of the, ‘I moved onto a boat so I don’t have to mix with people’ variety, but most are friendly, smiling, sociable. Astra spends hours outside each day, cycling or scootering up and down, taking her toys off to play with them in her den. It’s a safe and relaxing place to live. Quiet, peaceful, with wide open skies and fields and distant church spires.

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