Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The whole beauty of the experience for me, I think, has also to do with the joy I took in being on our narrow boat, the Danube, when i was a child.

I think it must have been really the only thing me and my father truly had in common. The only time I could really relax in his presence - or at least I knew very clearly what I had to do to please him and get close to him.

Relax is maybe not the best word because he had a very perfectionist sense of how locks should be worked - with the minimum of loss of time - and how a boat should be steered.

I'm ashamed to say I seem to share this sometimes...

But apart from that, there were things about this holiday that made me really proud of my dad and able to see him in a new light. He got his narrow boat in 1953, when it was a really eccentric thing to do, and when it was generally assumed that the canals had had their day and there was really very little sense in preserving them.

he believed in a future for them very passionately; and was one of the campaigners who helped restore the Stratford canal. In fact, for a while he was Chairman of the society... and this was the canal we were travlelling down.

And now, just as he predicted, there is a whole new use for the canals and the Stratford canal, especially, gives amazing pleasure to a huge number of people.

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