A limerick a week #190

It’s a week past May Day and we’re still in lockdown. The date reminded me of the freedom to roam that we had last year as friends and I cruised the Grand Union and Stratford canals, and when on May Day itself we had been awakened at an ungodly hour by Morris Dancers celebrating dawn in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Bridge 55, a classic ‘split-bridge’ of the type that are a feature of the South Stratford canal. In the days of horse-powered canal boats, the gap in the centre of the bridge allowed the tow rope to be fed through so that boats could pass without unhitching the horse. (The pic is one of my B&W analogue prints that was exhibited in the Gray’s School of Art exhibition until Covid-19 shut it down).

That sense of freedom resonated further as I walked @calliebordeaux down the old Deeside railway line into Aberdeen’s Duthie Park earlier this week. It was eerily quiet (despite lockdown, there are usually a few people around) and, as I walked through an old railway cutting with birds chirruping away, it reminded me of cruising through similar cuttings on the South Stratford canal. That, in turn, brought back to mind a quote that I have previously posted, by Francesca Morini: “I usually start walking along the canal carrying the weight of my slightly dull existence on my shoulders and end up with a head full of dreams”.

And it’s true, canals can be dreamy places whether you’re walking down the towpath or holding the tiller whilst chugging along on a three-miles-an-hour pub crawl cruise. Once you feel confident at the tiller it’s 99.9% relaxation and only 0.1% blind panic; a reversal of the percentages of when you first started out!

Cruisin’ not boozin’ – two of the ‘three men in a boat’ captured in analogue B&W.

Here’s the limerick:

A narrowboat skipper once said:
“There’s no need for ‘full speed ahead’,
‘Cos, you see, this canal
Is a taproom locale
So we’ll leg it at a snail’s pace instead”.

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😎 Former scientist, now graduated to a life of leisure; Family man (which may surprise the family - it certainly surprises him); Likes cycling and old-fashioned B&W film photography; Dislikes greasy-pole-climbing 'yes men'; Thinks Afterlife (previously known as Thea Gilmore) should be much better known than she is; Values decency over achievement.

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