So much has happened in the last year that it all feels a bit of a blur. We have moved back to the UK, I have set up my own business, and we have had our first baby.
And all of it has been awesome.
It is lovely when all the hard work pays off, when you are able to take a well earned break and enjoy unwinding a little. For the last three days Sian, Toby and I have been navigating the Trent and Mersey with the excellent company of my dear mum and dad. Not only has it been great to show Sian how I spent pretty much every holiday of my childhood, it has also given me a lot of time to think about this blog, my website, my business…and it is all very exciting.
I was lucky enough to work with my sister, Felicity, for four days in Reading early last week, and she was very keen to see me blogging regularly again. I will post properly about the KNITSONIK project within the next few weeks, but in the mean time I am keen to share with you our latest adventure.
I started this blog a good few years back, and it has since snowballed into my full website – a place where you can see my work and prices, and dip into the blog if you want to. I was getting a little hung up that my blog should just show off my commercial work – mainly weddings, and so I have shied away from more personal posts like this one since we have been back. But, as my sister wisely said, the blog has suffered for this and I really do miss writing my melancholic ramblings.
So this post marks a return to that blog; where I update you with our adventures, share my photos and thoughts, and generally clear my head of the day to day nonsense that rattles on. I hope very much that this is a welcome return, and that you all enjoy reading the posts again.
Growing up, I always remember going back to school in September and catching up with my class mates. We would all be eager to hear about the theme parks of Florida that a lucky kid had got to visit, or the miles of golden beaches that someone had witnessed when they had flown to Spain. But the curious, excited eyes dulled whenever I would announce where I had spent my summer. Places like Birmingham and Shropshire don’t really sound as sexy as the waterparks of Turkey, or the cafes of Paris, but to me – even now, they are home to the most beautiful and unknown world of the British Waterways: our canals.
It’s hard to narrow down (excuse the pun) just what is so wonderful about the canals. One moment you are in the heart of a built up city – London, Birmingham, Manchester, and then within a few minutes you find yourself in the midst of the most beautiful, untouched country side that our fair isles have to offer. This particular holiday, we went on mum and dad’s shared boat ‘Teal’. At 58 feet, she isn’t by any means the biggest we have been on (usually 70 feet) but it does mean that she is able to navigate every water way in the UK, as she fits in all the locks.
I have to be honest, as with all narrow boats, there are a lot of compromises, namely that there isn’t masses of space. You can’t really shower properly unless you are two feet tall, and the kitchen isn’t going to allow you to prepare a roast dinner for 15. But then you can forgive little Teal these very understandable misgivings, because she is able to take you to places that no other vehicle can.
And this holiday has been made all the more special, because I have been able to share it with Sian and with Toby. I have talked about the canals to the point of boredom with Sian so many times, so it was a real treat to finally show her what I have been banging on about all these years. I think it is safe to say that she enjoyed our three day outing 🙂
And I was very easily able to demonstrate my love of nature and heavy industry. The irony of our waterways is that, although they are beautiful, tranquil and important country reserves, they actually represent the industrialization of the modern world. As the factories and machines produced more and more, they needed a constant source of fuel and materials, and trade routes to distribute their finished wares. Every mile of beautiful, untouched scenery of the canal represents tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of the thick black smoke the chimneys belched in the sprawling cities they connect.
But, my absolute favourite part of this trip was introducing Toby to the waterways. Just as my mum and dad instilled this love and respect for these amazing anomalies of the western world some 30 years ago, I too am keen for my son to grow up understanding the history and importance of our canals.
Thanks for reading guys – it’s great to be back.