by Ella-Rose aged 6 (copied directly from her journal in which she had dictated the following)
Being on a canalboat is like being on kayaks because it’s skinny. Canalboats are always skinny so that they can fit in the locks. Locks are hard to open and it’s hard to wind the metal sort of thing. Mummy helped me do that. Then Tessa and I opened the swing bridge all by ourselves. It was hard too, but we pushed with all our might.
I am officially the captain of the Bewicks Swan, a 70 foot canal boat. This beauty has a top speed of (I estimate) 8-10 mph, however the speed limit on the section of the Kennet canal is 4 mph (officially). It is powered by a sweet and reliable (so far!) Isuzu marine diesel which throbs away not-so-quietly under your feet as you pilot the behemoth down the canal, shaking the tiller roughly in your hand. We gained control of the vessel after a quick walk through the boat with general operating instructions (how to operate the toilets and not flood the bathroom, how to drain the showers, how to fill the water tanks etc). Then general operation of the controls and motor… then we had an hour’s hands-on training as we motored up the canal with a technician on board, showing us the ins and outs of operating the swing bridges, and opening and closing the locks without sinking the boat! Simple really! I mean, how much damage can one really do with a 70 foot stell vessel LOL!!!! There were a few anxious moments that first hour cruising, but “no worries mate!”.
The Bewicks Swan is a 12 berther – 4 single bunks fore and aft, and two double beds (or can be configured as two single) mid-ship. It can be configured with two decent sized tables (although we manage to all squeeze around one!) There are two bathrooms, each with toilet, shower and washbasin. Not palatial, but waaaay more room than in a motorhome! It has a decent galley – 4 burner fast hob, gas oven, microwave and full size sink, and more bench space than some apartments I know! There is also a surprising amount of storage under bunks and in several large cupboards and wardrobes. The passageway that winds its way from fore to aft is mostly single-track riding only!… no passing expect at passing bays which are the bathrooms and the central cabin areas. Ella-Rose was right, just like living in a kayak! Still, we are VERY comfortable! Just as well, as this will be our home for the next week, and the weather forecast is typical England… so we might have quite a few hours below decks! Thankfully today was fine, and we have started to perfect (?!) our lock-opening-closing technique – but more of that in a later post! Nine locks in total today, and no mishaps at all!
better pics to come hopefully!
Tags: 2012, postcard: England