Intimate Canal Moments

in Amazing Naturelast year (edited)

I was warm and cosy inside my boat, as raindrops hit the roof and echoed. When the rain eased, I immediately opened my door and I felt the cold winds kiss my face. Grabbing my bag, hat and gloves; I wrapped up and stepped off the boat, for an intimate moment with the canals and towpaths.

A new me...?
Must be!

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...Recalling my past winters; I've always spent them wishing I was a bear, wanting to hibernate till springtime.
Now, I fulfill my desire to explore the cold outdoors.

As cold as always; Still, something felt different from all the other years.

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"Could spending time in nature, during the winter be an antidote for feelings of gloom and despair, during the winter?"

I do have reason to believe my exposure to such vast nature, is what has brought this positive change, and I'm just loving it.

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With hardly anyone along the towpaths, and no boats cruising, my intimate moments with the canals and locks are satisfying.

Beautiful canal cottage at the bottom of Hatton Flight Of Locks.

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Leaky Lock


Approaching the locks by foot is a completely different feeling from arriving on the boat. A bit weird actually.
However, without any destination on my agenda, besides the Hatton Flight of Locks, and no one in sight for acres on end, I stopped for a real close and intimate view of the canal locks, as leaky waters flowed.

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Gates to keep water out⤴️
Paddle⤴️
Water leaking into the chamber while gates are closed
Leaks are due to unleveled gates from locks being so old, built 1930's

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For boats to descend/ascend to the next level, the paddles would be released to let the water in to fill this chamber.

When this chamber is full to the exact level of the canal, only then would the gates be able to release, for the boat to enter.

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Now, imagine this chamber to be full of water while the boat waits inside. The lock-assistant (normally me, with my windlass) would then close the gates and paddles, behind the boat.

The skipper would then wait in the boat for the lock-assistant to open paddles on the exiting end of the lock. As the lock-assistant opens the paddles, water would start to empty from the chamber, which would cause the boat to slowly lower to the ground level.

With the water completely drained from the chamber, the lock-assistant would now be able to open the gates, for the skipper to drive the boat through to the canals.

Fascinating, isn't it?

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I made my way up the 5th lock of the 21 flight of locks, where I could see the swift movements of trains at a distance.
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With it being winter, daylight disappeared fast and the natural sunset lights and reflections illuminated the canals stunningly.

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How beautiful the canals are?

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Tha atmosphere is lovely and peaceful, and as the glare disappeared, I welcomed the warm evening light that made me feel relaxed.

Tempted to stay, but I made my way back to my boat before nightfall.

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...and like climax, down came snow.

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The Happy Ending...

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Are you still stuck waiting for the canal to open again? At least the location is pleasant, and you're not moored behind some concrete urban eyesore!

Yes, we are still waiting. Hopefully in a few days we'll be able to move. If not, it's not so much of a problem, because as you've said, it's quite pleasant here. It's only strange to not see any traffic on the canals, but nice :)

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It is very nice. How I wish I could experience winter just once hehehe

It's strange you say that😆 but I totally get what you mean coming from a tropical country myself.
The first time I experienced winter I hated it. First snow I thought "once was enough".
I'm only just more appreciative of snow after 14 years:)
Someday you'll get to experience winter, maybe even a milder one like in S.Korea, Taiwan, or Japan? Somewhere closer and more highly possible for you?

The tropical country is indeed great, but sometimes we want to experience other things that are not available on our end. 😊😇
Korea or Japan will be ideal, my cousin lives in Japan but most of the time she wanted to stay here in PH with her daughter. But she keeps on inviting me to visit her but the pandemic made it impossible. ☹😟

I love Japan. You should defienitely take any opportunity to visit Japan.
It would be a culture shock for you, but a good eye-opener.
Japan is like being on another planet in some places. They do things differently. I never made it to Korea, but Taiwan also feels like first world country and it gets pretty cold, especially up in Mountainous regions :)

Yay! I will consider that. 😊😇
Been to Taiwan once, it was before Pandemic and it was supposed to be summer or warm but when we get there it was raining all the time.

Yes, one February I went to Alishan Mountains and it was cold with lots of misty muntains; breathtakingly beautiful:)
Went to Taipei for 2 days and it rained the entire time. Luckily I had a raincoat and an umbrella, but my sneakers was soaking wet. I HATE wet shoes. That was not pleasant!
Still loved it because the food at the night markets is awesome😋

Which night Market? In Raohe? We went there. The food is great. 🤗🤗
I never had the chance to visit like the mountains and the farthest part I visited during that trip is in Shifen.

I don't quite remember the name of the night market. It was in Taipei for sure though. They also have clothing shops with products from Japan and Korea closeby.
Some locals took us around, so I didn't need to pay much attention to the name :)

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Wow, how lovely! I see the bear reference :). Also, you look way too happy to be out in this cold weather haha. Must be the nature like you said.

I used to live along the river lea in Hackney, so I was always walking along the canals there. I've witnessed a few of these locks being opened and closed, and I find the rushing water a quite therapeutic actually. I've even been on a narrow boat once, invited on by total strangers. The attempted a pretty large lock with the water about 2-3 meters high. The boat got flooded because we were too close to the doors and they opened too quickly or something. I have a video of it somewhere :)

Haha, that's funny! I'd love to see that video. Something must have gone terribly wrong. I bet they were canalboat renters. I'm afraid of them during summer and bank holidays.

Once we were moored up and I saw a boat coming towards ours at full speed doing a perfect zig-zag pattern. I alerted Cameron quickly so he could go out push the oncoming boat away as the teenager came crashing into ours.
Luckily she didn't cause too much damage.


Yes, it's quite normal for other narrowboaters to invite you in for a tour or coffee.
One morning I was heading to yoga in the nearby park and I got cornered by a man who was an Olympian Talker. I could not get away. Two hours went by and I just had to forget the yoga. He was a really nice guy and I didn't want to be rude.🤣

Yes, it has to be my environment why I'm happy and smiling in the cold. I didn't know that it was possible for me to do such🤣

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