Friday, October 25, 2013

A very English Weekend

Last weekend I was in England for just a few days. I was visiting a friend who is not in the best of health, so it was a sort of morale boosting mission. For that reason alone, I was glad to be there to lend an ear, shoulder or hand when she needed it. This friend lives on a narrowboat, which made it even more of a pleasure for me, so although neither the weather nor her health were good enough to go out 'faring', we did have some lovely walks along the towpath.

The countryside in the area of Rugby is very pretty with its gentle hills and patchwork fields, and there are some beautiful cross country footpaths where you can crest a hill and see a panorama of what makes England so special spread out before you. Living in the flatlands as I do now, it is wonderful to climb hills and see the shadow plays across the valleys. Another thing I miss in the Netherlands is the hedgerows. I love the way they define the fields, and I think this might even be unique to Britain.

The canals themselves are an enchanting parallel world but I was surprised at how busy they still are even in school term times. Of course although it was very wet much of the time, it is not cold and so the intrepid keep going. The other advantage on the English canals is that you can stop quite easily and wait out the weather if you have the time. That isn't possible over here as moorings are strictly designated and the canals are too big anyway. It all seems very relaxed and easy going on the English canals. I imagine that as long as you aren't in a hurry and can deal with the shenannigans of the hire boat party goers (of which I believe there are many), then there is not much to worry about.

My friend, who has also lived on a barge here in Rotterdam, says it is totally different and much easier to do your own thing in England - one of the reasons she prefers it there. You don't have to worry about commercial traffic at all.

I have posted a number of photos on Facebook, but I have added a few here for my non Facebook friends to see. It was, as the saying goes, most enjoyable!


  1. Val, I love the English country side. Great pics. Stefan xx

  2. Captures the magic of the countryside and the English canals very well indeed. I'm glad the rain held off for the beautiful photographs! Good health to your friend.

  3. You were in England? And none of us got to meet up!! Though I'm sure your friend appreciated the visit. Come back again soon!!!¬

  4. Thank you, stefan!

    Christina, it was lovely to see it again. I had forgotten how pretty the English countryside really is.

    Carol, I knew I wouldn't be able to go anywhere else, so I didn't say anything about it, but next time will be different. I'd love to meet up with you!

  5. Beautiful photos. I can see why you had such a great time. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hope your friend is feeling better. I'm sure your visit helped. I love that stretch of the canal and it isn't far from where we live. Next time you visit do let me know and we'll pop over to say hello.

    We've been on a number of hire canal boats but never encountered these party boats you mention. Everyone we have met is very friendly and I always think it's like going back in time to a slower more friendly world.

  7. So glad our canals made you so welcome, Val.(Another time, come and explore our Kennet and Avon. With a lock or two around Devizes!)

  8. glad you enjoyed your trip to our little island, lovely pics by the way, the weather managed to behave itself for once!
    Stormy weather is forecast tonight so you timed your visit well...
    I'm not getting your posts, I have to look for them, so I will subscribe again.

  9. Carol, thank you. I'm glad you like the photos!

    Ros, it's great that you've only had good experiences. I think my friend spends around seven months of the year cruising from place to place, so they probably see the good and the bad, but yes, it is like going back in time isn't it. I loved the peaceful, friendly atmosphere!

    Jo, I'd love to explore the K&A. I think my brother moors his boat on it, so will have to make a visit it to it one of these days. Now those locks around Devizes…yes, one or two… :-)

    Anita, thank you! I was lucky with these walks as I must say the rest of the time it was raining, so we took our chances when we could. Stay safe in the storm!

  10. Hey Val gorgeous pics. I'm wondering why you don't move from Rotterdam? Is there any reason why not?
    Great that you got to spend such a delightful time with your friend. NO doubt your visit cheered her up immensely.

    I must check if I'm following you on fb. Even if I am, fb doesn't send out many notifications these days.


  11. Hi Val .. that's always so good to be out helping friends ... and I'm sure she felt a great deal of relief having you there ..

    Also it sounds like you had a lovely time - the weather was warm last week and England was in fine fettle ... interesting about the lazy hazy days of English waterways over the commercial ventures in Rotterdam ..

    The canal paths are gorgeous to walk along ... so pleased you had a happy time helping out ..

    Cheers Hilary

  12. Just catching up with blogs. You were in England? You sneaky girl! I do hope your friend's health is improving I'm sure your visit did her the powere of good. I love the photos it looks so peaceful.

  13. Hi Denise, thank you! Believe it or not, I like Rotterdam very much and especially the Oude Haven. It's just a bit too noisy and busy for seven days a week, which is why I go away at weekends. But why do I stay in Rotterdam? Well, work is the main reason. At my age, I don't have many options for getting another job and I have built up a very good freelance work basis here, so here I stay until I can cast off the ropes and sail away :-)

    Hilary, thanks a million. I have a lovely time and enjoyed it immensely.

    Anne, yes, I know. I felt a bit bad not saying anything, but I knew I wouldn't be able to see anyone else, not even my own family. I'm glad you like the photos!


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