Sunday, September 16, 2012

David (l) and Robin (r) at the Cape of Good Hope

Jet lag, Schmet lag.

It's Sunday evening --just before 7:00 p.m., and we're sitting in the Cape of Good Hope pub at Warwick. We had planned to buy groceries at Leamington Spa, but by the time we got there, at 4:30, all the supermarkets had closed. We changed plans and headed for Warwick, intending to have a pub dinner. We arrived here at 6:25, and when we approached the pub, we saw a sign advising that their Sunday hours are noon-7:00.  Oops -- but we were just in time to order our dinner.  It really didn't seem like the sort of place that would have wi-fi, so I almost didn't bother asking. I'm glad I did.

To my astonishment, I don't feel jet-lagged anymore. Maybe it's all the exercise I've gotten over the last two days. I certainly couldn't have said that last night -- and didn't. Here is what I wrote then:


September 15, 2012
We landed at Heathrow at ten o’clock in the morning. Brother David met us and whisked us off to Napton, Warwickshire – with a stop along the way at a Tesco supermarket, where we stocked up on the important stuff – like coffee and tea, steak pie and veggie pie.
Two o’clock was the official starting time for our narrowboat rental, and we were there in plenty of time. David will be with us for a few days, so the three of us spent a few minutes calling dibs on our various beds and figuring out where on earth to store things. This boat (the Monaco) is prettier than the other narrowboats we’ve rented – at least the interior is – but it has virtually no storage space. Robin is keeping his clothes in the cupboard under the bathroom sink, and I’ve put mine in a cubbyhole four feet off the floor, behind the foot of our bed. I have to crawl up and stand on the bed to get to my ad hoc dresser. David is using his suitcase as a dresser. It sits on top of the one bed that isn’t in use as a bed. Robin and I left our suitcases in storage at the marina, because if we kept on the boat, we would have to sleep in them.
We went through the paperwork, got our instructions from a man named Steve as to the operation of the Monaco and its peculiarities, and by three o’clock, we were headed out, Stratford-bound. I had rather thought that we would be in Stratford tomorrow, but I’m getting the impression that it’s farther away than either of us realized. It isn’t right on the Warwickshire Ring. Getting there involves a detour, but we have the boat for two weeks, and we could get around the Ring in a week, so we have lots of time to explore.
The best thing about this boat? It has a sliding roof. I’ve had half of it open right now, because I’m too jet-lagged to open the other side, but tomorrow I’m going to sit here with the entire centre section of the 59-foot boat open to the sunshine. Of course, we’ve heard that it will rain tomorrow, but that’s okay. There will be other days.
It’s 5:15 in the afternoon now (9:15 a.m. in our poor, jet-lagged brains) and we have come through three locks. Dinner is in the oven, and we have tied up for the night at Stockton. The brothers have walked across the bridge to a pub called The Boat Inn, to have a pint before dinner. I’ve stayed home to mind the pies.  Already, the flight, the length of it, the soreness of my bum and back from sitting in that airplane’s seat, are all fading from memory. A few minutes ago, I was floating through a narrow channel, reeds pushing up against the side of the boat. Now I’m sitting still, communing with the ducks and the swans. I’m happy.


So, that is how I was feeling at 5:15. We had dinner, cleaned up, and sat down to play cards -- mostly to keep ourselves awake. By 9:30, I was nearly weeping with fatigue, so in spite of the fact that the \music coming from the Boat Inn was extremely loud and of the head bashing kind, I went to bed and fell into a deep sleep. I slept until 3:00 a.m., woke up, told myself sternly that it was far too early to do that, and went back to sleep until 8:30.

Some of our less bossy traveling companions
We were on the move by 9:30, and all went well except that around noon I got thoroughly sick of being bellowed at by strange men, so I told Robin and David that they could handle the lock work themselves, and I retired to the inside of the boat. One of the bellowers, a man who I suspect has no authority or autonomy in his regular work life, mentioned to Robin that he had lost one of his crew members, so Robin told him what I had said. We pulled over and let Napoleon and buddies go on without us. Then I went topside again and resumed my duties.

It's been a long, long day, and I'm tired and sore, but no more than I would expect, given the work I've been doing. I don't feel jet-lagged at all.

I still don't know when we'll get to Stratford, but at least we have a proper canal map now (courtesy of the 24-hour Tesco gas station where we also bought marmalade, baked beans, and paper towels -- the best we could do in the absence of an open supermarket) -- so perhaps we'll be able to figure it out when we look at the map after dinner.

Meanwhile, though, I've had a call from my cousin Kathryn from Oxford. We plan to get together on Wednesday, probably to go to Evensong at Worcester Cathedral.  

We have told David that he can't leave us until at least the day after tomorrow, because tomorrow we have a flight of 21 locks to climb. Oy.
While I'm grateful for this wi-fi connection, I must say that it's mighty slow, and I don't have time to put any more photos up. Trust me, there are a lot of them, and eventually I'll find a way to post them. Meanwhile, have a lovely evening. 


Linda said...

Good to hear that you have arrived, but I just can not imagine 21 boat locks in one day. Wow!

Sandra Leigh said...

It's best not to think about it, Linda. Trust me.

The Bug said...

Here are worlds colliding - I just read about narrow boats on my friend Steve's blog (he's a New Yorker who moved to London last year - you might know him - his blog is here: And now here you are ON one! Cool! Can't wait to read all about your adventures. I'm off to check out the 21 locks now...

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