Denise broke her leg in two place some years ago, when she did not notice the fishing line I had put across the stairs......( only joking honest ) Serious arthritis has been the result of her injuries making walking flights of locks difficult to say the least. I have suggested that she took over the steering duties, but she dislikes the lonely responsibility of being in charge of the boat at the bottom of locks intensely, preferring the social chat with other boaters operating paddles, etc.
I have been fortunate to remain fairly fit in retirement, but even I have developed a problem in one eye that has left me with sight difficulties. I know Lord Nelson overcame such irrelevant problems, but I don't think I would suit an eye-patch and bi-cornered hat until the time comes to mutter "Kiss me Hardy" and fall off the back of the boat.
So a judgement had to be made and we have decided to sell the boat and do other things........perhaps something a little larger, with other people to do the work whilst we study the far sea-scape horizon, sipping some nautical rum-infused concoction. Sound like a plan ?
We have had a great time over the past ten years overcoming the challenges that rivers and canals occasionally throw at you. Fortunately the number of nice people who said 'hello' as we passed by far outnumbered the tight-lipped ones who obviously hate the concept of a smiled 'hello' to strangers.
Standing on the back of boat at 4mph for hours gives you plenty of time to reflect on the incredibly beautiful tranquil world of canals and rivers that we are blessed with in the United Kingdom. I never tired of the constantly unfolding parameters of water that revealed such beauty, especially the green field agricultural vistas that you would need a heart of stone to ignore and be unmoved by.
British canals are a time-warp with very little changed since they were constructed over two-hundred years ago. I, for one, never lost sight of the fantastic engineering achievement made principally by the brain, brawn, and shovel of the early 'Navvies'..... occasionally in the middle of a long dark tunnel for example you realise that the thousands and thousands of bricks lining the wall were placed by human hand risking their lives working in dangerous darkness. Following the ghosts of thousands of working boats through the centuries you are just a nano-second in the timescale of canal history that will exist for ever.
Without the boats I would not have enjoyed early glorious June morning walkies together with trusty hound 'Suzy' as the low sun burns through mist lying on the water creating a beauty that borders on a religious revelation. Thankfully these things are given to us for free in life. You do not need a boat, just get up very early and walk the nearest canal tow-path.
So the new crew for 'San Serriffe' who will guide her continuing travels on the U.K canal system are Jan and John Revitt who (if I am any judge) belong in Division One of the 'Genuine Nice People League' ..........give them a wave and some friendly banter at the locks as 'San Serriffe' waits patiently to cruise onwards to new adventures as she was designed to........
Only regret things you have never done - not the things you have.