Well this will be the third year in a row we have spent the winter on the River Thames. Bobbing up and down and doing battle with the strongest river currents we can recall. As I write, all of the locks on the Thames (and there are 46 of them) are displaying red boards. There’s a kind of traffic light system where a yellow board displayed at the entrance to a lock means the current is either increasing or decreasing, but a red board means thou shalt not move.
Commercial boats are exempted from these restrictions, and for most of the time looking out of our window at the ducks and swans swimming like the clappers to reach the bread some folks throw to feed them. We have a substantial chain attached to the bow to keep us safe and are very fortunate that the trip boat company John works for during the summer, Salters Steamers, allow us to moor without charge. We would otherwise be required to move every fourteen days to a new location, this being one of the requirements of a continuous cruiser.
When the flow decreases, we are then able to resume moving about, meeting and talking to different people in different locations. This slightly easier pace of life is a real blessing at this moment in time whilst John continues to recover from the heart surgery he had by the wonderful people at St Bart’s hospital in London. The new commercial boating season starts in May of next year, so we really feel God's hand on the timing of our movements.
We are looking forward to our Christmases! One in Cheltenham and another in Norwich. We will use Sat Nav for the not small journey, although we were tempted to email Santa and ask him for his flight plan. We will be able to be with both daughters and our son in laws, as well as the six grandchildren. We are also fortunate in that Barbara and I are cooking Christmas lunch in Norfolk on Our Saviour's day.
We also have a new government with amended, changed or the same policies, so who knows what 2020 will bring? Actually, somebody does know what the future holds. He has always known what is going to happen.
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
In His Name
John and Barbara Froggatt
Canal Ministries - sharing God's Love on the Inland Waterways.