At the grand old age of… late 40s, Kat decided it was high time she learned something new, with a bit of a ‘hands on’ feel about it rather than sitting in front of a computer screen. So, what better way than to take a narrowboat navigation day course?
My stepdad recently bought a narrowboat, intending to spend his retirement with mum, cruising down the waterways at the leisurely speed of 4 miles per hour. So, I thought it might be a good idea to help him out with all the navigational stuff that’s necessary for a nice, easy-going and peaceful life on the canals. You know, things like driving, mooring up, tackling locks and tying ropes, while trying not to fall in, etc. etc. What fun! But oh, what hard work!
Our tutor for the day was a lovely chap in his 60s I guess, who smoked like a chimney but had a very practical, no-nonsense approach. He occasionally yelled at me for my misdemeanours, such as my rubbish attempt at ‘flicking’ a rope from standing on the boat, to unhook it from a mooring peg on the towpath. A useful move if you’re the only person in charge of the boat and are inside a lock system while the water levels are adjusting.
Driving a boat, I must admit I’ve attempted before, on a Rambutan outing to Foxton Locks just a few miles from here in Market Harborough. However, if any of the bunch remember, hopefully, they don’t, I was hastily removed from being in charge of the tiller (the ‘arm’ that steers the boat) when it became obvious that I’d (a.) had a drop too much wine, and (b.) was trying to steer in the complete opposite way to how you’re meant to steer! Well, this I am pleased to report has improved drastically, and I now have it firmly in my head that when steering, the tiller needs to point in the direction you want the ‘back-end’ of the boat to go since you’re steering from the back! I didn’t crash… even in a tunnel!
Locks were quite hard work, and for a slight, very petite person like myself, there were a couple that refused to budge for ages while I was pushing against the gates with all my (tiny) might! But perseverance yielded results, and despite a good few bashes and bruises being discovered the following day, both my stepdad and I agreed that the whole experience was fabulous, worthwhile, and may well come in extremely handy in the near future!
The short ending to a longish story is that it’s never too late to give something completely new a go, indeed, life can become pretty mundane with the same routines day-to-day.
What are you going to try out for a new experience? What have you tried so far? I’d love to hear your stories. #HaveaGo #LifelongLearning