Messing About in Boats

 I love water. Rivers, canals, lakes, the sea etc.. I was brought up across the road from the River Thames in Sunbury and was initiated into rowing our wooden clunker dinghy from an early age. I grabbed the oars before you could utter: 'Land ahoy!' My bro and I used to pull on our swim jims, run barefoot over the road and across a field, and leap into our narrow branch of water, just up (or down - if you're like me, you haven't a clue) from Hampton Court, disturbing the fishermen - my brother joined them when he was older - as we went. This was the sixties. Just before flower power and all that. Health and safety? What's that?

Many moons later, having married my narrow boat bonkers Husband, we acquired our own, and also a traditional Canadian canoe for me, to go with my wild west hobby (seemed appropriate, although I identify with the female version of a mountainman, rather than a native American).

We've taken many cruises in Dotterall (our narrow boat), and several trips in the canoe, which certainly could be classed as rather Swallows and Amazons. One time in the middle of the Hamble when the tide was up (riding the swell left by passing giant gin tubs is particularly interesting), finishing up with a pub lunch, and last time the Thames at Weybridge. This latter is brilliant. Large expanses of water, several narrow channels, a couple of wiers, a lock, and swimmers to paddle round, and all the life that happens on a river on a warm day in the summer, finishing up, of course, with a pub lunch. 

I do have acouple of feminist observations to make, as far as river transport goes as opposed to those of canals. Why is it that it's always the blokes - often wearing peaked caps - who drive the cruisers on the river, whereas on canals, the girls take the tiller almost as often as the blokes? Don't get it.