Sinodun Hills

Walk 2012

In this sweet field high raised above the Thames
Beneath the trenched hill of Sinodun
Amidst sweet dreams of disembodied names
Abide the setting of the August sun,
Here where this long ridge tells of days now done;
This moveless wave wherewith the meadow heaves
Beneath its clover and its barley-sheaves.

Across the gap made by our English hinds
Amidst the Roman's handiwork, behold
Far off the long-roofed church the shepherd binds
The withy round the hurdles of his fold
Down the foss the riverbed of old,
That through the long lapse of time has grown to be
The little grassy valley that you see.

Rest here awhile, not yet the eve is still,
The bees are wandering yet, and you may hear,
The barley mowers on the trenched hill,
The sheep-bells, and restless changing weir
All little sounds made musical and clear
Beneath the sky that burning August gives,
While yet the thought of glorious Summer lives.

- William Morris

National Trail

job #4 - It all adds up.

One t'ther half in a romper boiler suit

plus one newly fixed water heater home from a spell in a Mikuni borstal

equals HOT WATER!

Yes, yes, we have hot water. Not so pikey now, heh?

Well, okay, we are...

But at least we're clean!

Every boat should have one (you’ll feel naked otherwise).

It's true. You don’t realise it yet but you will. Yes, you will and you'll wonder how you survived so long without one.

All great ships in history had one (well ok, not all). The Vikings knew how to build a good ship and they used them to ward off evil spirits and scare the Bejesus out of everyone. The fact that not everyone believed in Jesus at the time is a mere technicality. I could have said it was used to frighten the pants off everyone instead, but I’m sure not everyone had undergarments either.

A mere nine centuries later it was introduced on galleons and other such vessels to help a non-literate society distinguish one vessel from another. I guess saying “that big ship over there” no longer held sway.

Yes, I’m talking about fidgureheads.

Their appeal has waned over the years but has never been entirely lost.

They might not seem an obvious feature on a narrowboat... primarily because they’re not. But this shouldn’t put you off having one. Traditionally ‘eyes’ were painted on the bow of a boat to ward off evil spirits but let’s face it, when you’re drunk and it’s dark and you’re trying to remember which boat is yours as you stumble home, it can be a bit difficult to pick out your boat in a line-up of likely characters – and the spirits (good or bad) don’t lend a hand.

And this is where Jon (aka Sasquatch - there have been sightings...) steps in to help. He, of the @workboatpug on Twitter makes figurehads out of rope. It’s like a fender-corndolly-type affair. And they are blimmin’ brilliant.

He’ll make you one – just ask him, and then you, like us, can have delusions of grandeur too. We no longer think of the boat as a humble monkey-come-narrowboat. No, we now sail in a mighty vessel that we use to scare the life out of the local population. In my head we are aboard The Queen Anne’s Revenge and we’re up to no good. That would make the Hubby Blackbeard and me... erm, ok, we’ll leave this analogy behind...

So, here's to Jon, allowing drunkards* to find their boats again.

*Not that we're this way inclined...