You know that feeling you get when you find yourself in a simple, happy place with the prospect of new friendships and the opportunity to actually open a bottle of wine because there is someone to share it with? Well, that was me at the end of the old year. I had chatted with a wide variety of very nice liveaboards who were, like me, happy to be ‘trapped’ by the winter maintenance closures on an 8 mile length of the Kennet and Avon Canal centred on Hungerford, with all the necessary services in place and a perfectly benign environment. I could even get some exercise because the YMCA football youth worker first met at Thatcham in 2017 is now at St Lawrence’s Hungerford!
And you also know that completely different feeling when God has a plan and lays some of it before you and how much better a feeling that is. So I scrambled, at the last minute, to the next section of closed canal, starting at Great Bedwyn and running along the top of Wiltshire to Devizes, and the Caen Hill Flight. Contextually, I come from Bournemouth and so have experienced snow only six times in my lifetime. That’s once a decade and a long way from Salisbury plain’s 20 days per year! Perhaps it’s time to discover whether I do 'cold'.
To get a picture of the K&A, you can join its Facebook page. Lots of posts and humanity, but with careful looking you can get an insight into the flows of concern and human expression that reside there. My perception, when I passed through this stretch in July 2017, was of some dereliction. A linear housing estate of the dispossessed, a lot of expensive, picture postcard housing, little visible life or movement and a sense of being shut off. Few shops, no train services beyond Pewsey, no parking, private churches, very narrow ‘b’ roads, looming hillsides.
So here I am, ready to begin a new adventure and excited to have my perceptions shattered. God remains good and has already given me an introduction to boaters on permanent moorings here. And I get to watch the maintenance of an industrial archaeological site as a start to my period here. Also, I have a sneaky feeling that I will get down to Bath again before I get to my summer cruise. (No clues about that, you’ll have to watch this space!)
In His Name
NB Dawn Run
Canal Ministries - sharing God's Love on the Inland Waterways.