Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The given

Before I start – thank you, thank you, thank you for buying the book. We did really well on Monday so for several hours we were in the top 100 ebooks in the Humour category, namely No. 83. Jane sent me an ecstatic email swearing that for a time we were in adjacent rankings to Bridget Jones’ Diary, but she hasn’t yet learned to do a screenshot so I don’t have the proof. (For anyone who didn’t read my blog post on Monday, the ebook of PLOTTING FOR BEGINNERS is available online to buy here at a bargain price.)
Back to the barge, and to the title of this post.
When Dave and I are on a canal trip a deux, there are two givens. One is that I will fall over against the steel hull at least once, and come away with several large bruises, and the other is that on the very first morning we will have a spat. There are limitless possibilities for marital wrangling (as you will know). Last year the spat was about which one of us had locked us out of the barge on a chilly morning at 7.30 a.m. with me still in my pyjamas. I blamed Dave. He blamed me. He was stressed. I was relaxed (if shivering) as there has never been a practical mess we’ve been in that Dave hasn’t been able to get us out of. And my faith was justified: he got us out of that one, accompanied by much muttering.
Last week our first morning squabble began with my asking how to steer the boat in reverse. Dave – being an ex-teacher – likes to explain things from first principles. The problem with this is that first, I don’t have a practical mind like his, and second, I want speedy answers, not something along the lines of.. “OK, forget the reversing for a minute…think of the boat in this way…….blah….blah…” 
However kindly it's meant, I don’t want a half hour lecture. I want specifics. e.g. “Look, all I want to know is…if I am this far from the bank with the stern pointing to the middle of the canal, and I want to get there. Do I point the tiller this way or that way?”
The way to resolve these disputes is not to talk things through, but to back off and go and get some breakfast. There wouldn’t be any fighting if a girl was allowed to wake up slowly and quietly and to have her two mugs of Yorkshire tea and her muesli before she was expected to be compos mentis. And I speak as someone who has just spilled her mug of tea on the bedroom floor because she put it on a sloping pile of books on the bedside table…
It doesn’t matter: after that little tiff on our first morning, it’s always plain sailing.


Anonymous said...

Your photos reminded me that I actually live by the Grand Union Canal! So easy to forget! All taken for granted ... Twenty years ago I thought it was the perfect spot, now I hardly notice it unless a boat makes an unexpected sort of noise! How weird is that?

Chris A

Sue Hepworth said...

Do you mean your house actually backs onto the canal???? wow! How fab!

Anonymous said...

Fronts. This is my second. The first had a 1st floor living room with French windows and balcony overlooking the canal. It was perfection. Swans nested on the bank so we saw their babies first. Now we are a bit back from the bank behind lots of shrubs so only see it all from indoors during the winter when the leaves are gone. But we take it for granted...your lovely pictures reminded me how much I loved it when I first came here ...
Chris A

Mary K said...

These photos are absolutely beautiful, what must I do to live where you live?! This is Mary K.(commenter from your Jam Today post) back again to your blog now that it is summer and I am not loaded with homework and worrying about university. I forgot how much I loved to read your blog. Just wanted to comment and thank you for keeping up your amazing blog!

Sue Hepworth said...

Hi Mary K, nice to have you back!
I do live in a beautiful place, but we don't get a lot of sunshine here. I don't have photos on my blog of all the grey days we get with overcast skies. The winters seem to go on forever - 4 months at least of cold and wet and/or snow and most of those days we don't see the sun, except maybe for a pale, wishywashy glow trying to break through the cloud cover. I do find the winters trying, but as soon as May is here, I love it. May to December are the best months here, so if you ever visit the UK, make sure you arrive mid-May and don't waste any time in London! It's just a dirty crowded city.