Canal Transport

I’m game to try all modes of transport – or most anyway.  If it’s a one person doo-dad, I do best on my own.  Not as a passenger.  Ski-doos, bikes, and mopeds fall into this category.  As with ballroom dancing, I like to lead. Our journey to Bath landed us on the River Avon, one of four such named in England.  Long skinny barges were parked along the river’s edge.  The definition of barge and lock widened -- or narrowed -- in my mind when I first saw these in England. Until then, my point of reference was barges and locks on the Mississippi River.  Barges in England carry charm and quaintness, unlike their floating counterparts on the Mississippi.  I have always thought this would be a lovely way to see the English countryside, to find small out-of-the-way pubs… to relax.

Barges first sailed canals and rivers via horse power – the four-legged kind.  A tow rope would run between barge and horse; then the horse would walk along the canal slowly dragging the barge with it.  Today, canals have towpaths next to them which were worn by horses' hooves years ago.

Lock systems are in place to move boats through varying depths/heights of water.  This engineering feat still amazes me; however, I had never seen anything like this which is outside Bath.

A series of 14 locks built in the 1800’s.  Under the bridge we were on and farther downstream was another series of 13 locks.  These are all manual locks.  It takes 7 hours to move through them.  Ahhh.  Seven hours of solitude.  Perhaps writing or reading.  Similar to walking 26 miles or stirring a pot of risotto for a half hour.  That’s it.  That’s all you could do: focus on one thing.

Would there be enough books, drawing paper, origami paper, LEGOS to manage a creeping voyage for 6-, 8- and 50-something year-olds?  For the Malcolms, this vehicle might work best if I flew solo, like the moped, because this looks incredibly boring in the best possible way.

(When Bill thinks about traveling with me, the word vacation isn't what comes to mind... Book Draggin'.)