Travels With a Stupid Bird
We are a charity offering opportunities for disabled people or those with access difficulties to go boating on the Basingstoke Canal from Colt Hill Wharf, Odiham in Hampshire, UK.
We operate 2 boats: DAWN, a day boat; and MADAM BUTTERFLY, a cruising boat.
Both craft are specially designed and equipped to cater for those with disabilities or reduced mobility. Hydraulic lifts give easy access for those in wheelchairs and both boats have accessible toilets.
Self-drive hirings are open to both novices and experienced boaters alike, because full tuition tailored to individual requirements is provided at the start of each cruise by trained Dispatchers. If you have any concerns about boat handling, please contact us, as we will provide whatever support you need.
There are email options on the website.
First of all, let me explain my blog title - Travels With a Stupid Bird. I've 'borrowed' it from Husband's blog, with his permission, naturally. Our narrow boat, moored up in Warwickshire (we live in Hampshire) is called Dotterell. A dotterell, for those not in the know, as we weren't initially, is a stupid bird that allows itself to be preyed upon by other, bigger birds, which nick its eggs and attacks the stupid bird. The other stupid bird is me. I'm stupid, and I'm a bird. There you have it. Suits me.
So, there we were, four days into our cruise, sipping soup in our narrow boat cratch (cratch, not crutch *tut* - a cratch is an extended part of a narrow boat, like a mini conservatory at the sharp end) and watched the pouring rain. I contemplated putting a Buddha figure in there and Husband agreed. We've already got a hanging flower holder and a dragonfly on a stick. Might as well go the whole hog. Always wanted to be a part-time hippy.
We were moored in Nuneaton, in the Midlands. We'd decided to do an extended cruise, something we hadn't done in a long while because I couldn't cope. Once upon a time I was desperate to prove my expertise on water, so always took the tiller, and hated to be seen in the galley, because that's a 'woman's job'. Husband Graham always operated the locks cuz I hated having to talk to other lock users, and I hated double locks, where you might share a lock with other boaters. We're talking over a period of several years here. Since my 'cure', which it literally was, I've been able to do so much. And now we're heading for just over a week, from Napton, in Warwickshire, to just south of Birmingham. And back again. Oh, and Husband does the cooking. I'm chief bottle washer.
This was day...three or four. I'd lost track. All was well. Yes, it may have been lightly bucketing, but we moved on to our night time mooring, and it was the first and last time it'rained. I always take umpteen smartphone pics, so will post them asap. I admit I had a couple of 'brain storms', when we'd just been through eleven locks, one after the other, and the thought of cruising to Birmingham itself was too much for the old brain cells. So we turned round in a 'winding hole'. But I have to say, life became plain sailing, so to speak, after that. I felt good, the whole time, with a couple more brain hiccups which we quickly dealt with (the trick here is to STOP and sit and talk the problem through. Don't ignore the problem. This is where cognitive behavioral therapy comes in, and Husband is brilliant at it).
I was happy. I enjoyed myself, and spent a fair bit of time in the cratch while on the move, editing my novel and looking on the internet. I rarely did this when I was unwell. The final day, past Braunston and heading back to base in Napton, the weather was absolutely glorious. I took loads of photos, of which I've posted a small selection. The countryside is gorgeous, the pubs great, and other boaters waved and 'halloo'd' to.
I can honestly say I enjoyed the trip. And talking to people is no longer a problem. Once upon a time I'd return home from a trip and immediately feel depressed. This no longer happens. I now have this blog to write, my book to continue editing, artwork to do, goals to reach, bit by bit. Yay!