Stalker swans and silly dogs: The canal-boat trip.

Yesterday saw us jumping out of bed a little too early for a Saturday morning.  There was no fuss from the girls about getting changed and the littlest bear even willingly brushed her hair.  We were out of the house before 8am and the blue skies told us we were in for a good day.

It was a day to be on a boat.

A little while ago we decided to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday on a canal boat.  I mean, what makes more sense than piling 6 adults, 4 kids and a water-obsessed dog into a 25 ft long vessel for 7 hours?

After the washout of a summer we’ve just had we were all prepared with raincoats and cuppa-soups to keep us warm.  I reckon it would still be a giggle in the rain but littlies might soon get cold and grumpy.  We were very lucky that the sun mostly definitely had his hat on for our epic canal voyage.

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We sailed with Pennine Cruisers of Skipton and would absolutely recommend them.  One of the guys showed us everything we needed to know when we first got on, and gently warned us to keep a hold of the manual bridges because they can swing back onto the boat when it’s passing through.  A group of ‘hens’ found this out the hard way the previous week and returned the boat minus two windows.    The little kitchenette was equipped with all you’d need to make a brew and wash up afterwards.  My mother nearly sunk the boat with the ‘picnic’ she brought so we were all well fed throughout the day.

We set off and it was smooth sailing (see what I did there?) from the beginning.  Mr C and my brother took first duty as captain and co-captain.

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Due to peer pressure from friends and family I decided to ignore Mr C’s objections to bringing ‘the hat’.  Not only did I bring ‘the hat’ but I insisted that if you’re going to steer than you’ve got to wear it.  Much to the amusement of people passing us by.  My mother even saluted to a bunch of scouts riding by on the footpath and they nearly all crashed into each other for staring at the deranged lady in the funny hat.

The day can be quite long for littlies so when they weren’t tucking into crafts that granny had brought along, we tried to keep them as involved as possible.  Without crashing the boat.

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 They loved jumping off to help open the bridges and having a (heavily supervised!) go at steering.  They took the responsibility of reporting on the position of our stalker-swan very seriously.  Roughly every 30 seconds.  They were thrilled that the swan continued to follow the boat for miles. The youngest littlie on board is not quite two and he even managed a nap in the afternoon thanks to his pushchair, the footpath running the length of the canal and Mr C’s fine mooring skills.

At one point there was a slight ‘situation’ with the dog.  Silly silly dog.  We had just moored up to open a bridge and she seized the opportunity to attempt a swim.  My brother and sister in law had just jumped off the boat minutes earlier to open the bridge and everyone else was pre-occupied either by littlies or moving the boat off again.  Everyone except my dad.  And my sister-in-law who happened to be taking a nice family photo from the canal-side when it happened…

10329175_10153453553886609_2049181533631612103_nWe laugh now, especially at the what-are-the-chances-of-catching-that photo, but it was a little hairy for a while.  The (silly) dog couldn’t get out by herself and we couldn’t reach her from the boat so my brother and sister-in-law ran around and pulled her out from the side of the canal.  It was a little bit like a scene out of The Giant Turnip.  My sister-in-law pulled my brother and my brother pulled the dog.

Silly dog.  She stayed inside after that.

The dog incident aside, it was a blast.  I’d say everyone should experience a day on a canal boat at least once.  If you havn’t already, think about putting it on your bucket list.

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