Messing About In Boats
Oh Joy! The sun came out at the weekend. Even better, we were able to travel up to the Lake District and stay with my parents.
Since Pete’s knee, although improving, still requires tender care (it really ought to get its own blog!) Pete was reluctant to risk using the inflatable canoe. Fortunately, my dad has a boat. Now, it does have an engine so I’m not able to count it as providing any level of exercise but it’s certainly a great way of getting a huge blast of fresh air!
We were able to head down to Windermere and launch the somewhat venerable motor boat on to a beautifully calm and shimmering lake. My brother, who hopefully won’t mind me mentioning this, is, like me, also the wrong (right?!) side of forty, did point out that the boat is as old as him. However, it still serves us well. We were able to whizz about at a good rate of knots (but definitely still within the lake speed limit!) and feel the fresh air on our faces.
I love to stare up at the Lakeland fells that rise up around the lake edges, watch the birds scoot over the water’s surface and ogle enviously at the houses nestling above the shores. Those houses have remained the same, majestic and old, all my life; places where, in my mind’s eye, the children from Swallows and Amazons could run down the gardens to the stone boathouses and jump into their sailing boats. But changes are afoot; some of the houses are being demolished and replaced with huge homes, all glass and wood. Impressive, but yet to become characterful.
Meanwhile, I can still maintain the Arthur Ransome dream as my brother has inherited a Norfolk dinghy which has been in the family for years, having been brought back from the Norfolk Broads by our grandad. It’s the first boat I ever sailed in and is still my favourite for its sturdiness. It dates from about 1928 and creaks reassuringly when you sit in it. It’s been lovingly restored to its shining wooden glory, initially by my uncle, then in turn by my brother.
So, after the speedy motor boat ride, I was able to step back in time and into the sailing boat, where I could sit and listen to the gentle waves lap the boat’s sides. We waited, in no hurry on this gloriously sunny day, as the wind ebbed and flowed, taking us so far along the lake, then disappearing for a while, before gently blowing us along once more. Idyllic! What a difference the sun makes!