Saturday, 5 August 2017

Day 1. Oxford - Chirk

While my parents-in-law are visiting us here from Adelaide, they've decided to give us a little relief from sharing our little student flat with them by us all taking a week-long journey together in the confines of narrowboat on the canals along the Anglo-Welsh border.

I was planning on leaving the blogging thing until I returned to Oxford, but it turns out that we have (limited) internet access on the boat, so here follows a short little update on the day's activities that I hope to supplement with photos when I get the chance. I'm not generally a writer of holiday stories, but this is a week for trying new things, so I guess I'll give it a go.

We took the journey by car, with the parental units driving as Laura and I no longer have valid licenses here (one of the hazards of being in for the long-haul in a student town). They got to experience the joy of the British motorways along the road to Northern Wales. We stopped off in Shrewsbury along the way to have a look at the Abbey made famous by Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael novels. Some of the abbey was fortunate enough to survive the dissolution of the monasteries, and it's since been rebuilt as a rather grand local church.

By the time that arrived at the marina and went through the neccessary introductions to Debbie, which were extensive given that none of us had been on a narrowboat before, it was about 4pm. She's an 18-tonne, 45 foot narrowboat, one of many that have been recently built to accommodate the booming canal tourism craze. We're travelling here in the height of the season, but honestly it's hard to tell, as you'll often go for extended periods without seeing another human, even though the signs on life are all around.

We eventually set off Southward along the Llangollen Canal towards the town of Chirk, allegedly just twenty minutes down the way, though as we were gingerly feeling our way it took us a little bit longer. By the time we reached the township, where we'd planned to collect supplies, we just decided to moor up just outside the Chirk Tunnel where we could watch the other boats pass back and forth put off attempting it ourselves in the morning.

After night fall, we retired to dinner and a couple of games of Paperback, a game that Mrs. Owl had been looking forward to introducing to her father since we first played it. Unsurprisingly, he took to it like a duck to water and swiftly destroyed us at it in the first lighting-fast game, but I managed to get my own back in the second game by a single point (51-50), an excellent time to call it a night, in my personal opinion.

Safe voyages.

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