Having returned somewhat fuzzily from a wedding do on Saturday night (in Bristol), we made a little bit of progress – both along the canals and through our hangovers – on Sunday, ending up at Pewsey. Today, we pootled along to Bedwyn – and had to go down a flight of 11 or so locks. Having spent Friday going up Caen Hill and therefore up a pretty big hill, it feels almost like being cheated out of your altitude, having to come down all these locks again. Fortunately, we shared the lock-load with a nice couple on their holiday-home-boat – they’re a lot easier with two pairs of arms to wield the windlasses and push the gates.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a bit of an infestation of bunting at the moment – Union Jack bunting, to be precise. It’s even made it across the canals and on to boats, like some invasive plant species they warn you about on the news. Although I’ll lay a penny to a pound that retiree and holiday boats are more susceptible to the epidemic than most liveaboards. Suffice to say we shall not be joining in the bunting infestation, or the Union Jack waving, or – worse still – the printed-out pictures of Her or any Royals in Reenie’s windows. Weird. The only quite amusing instance of flaggery was a washing line with assorted undergarments with the Union Jack upon them – including some large bloomers. Perhaps it sums up how I feel about the whole thing a little more.
We went for a walk to get a quiet pint earlier, but the one of two pubs in Bedwyn that was open was already in full Royalist party swing. It seems they’re a big fan of HRH in Wiltshire. There was a covers band banging out soft rock numbers, while very many flush-faced middle aged people rocked back and forth, with that giddy smile of those who don’t get out very much. Not really something you can join in with later on, or if you really really hate all this Jubilee nonsense.
So we’re back aboard, and I’m writing this with a fire going – in June. It’s really not very balmy and summery this evening. Tomorrow, onwards to glamorous Hungerford and perhaps Newbury. Maybe the epidemic-infestation of bunting and flags will start to subside after the long weekend is over (but I shan’t be back in the office!)…