Sunday, 28 December 2008

Christmas on the cut

New residents at High Line - Catherine (who's boat I'm moored alongside) and Will (who has Floss as his non-residential attachee) invited me to join them this year, so I did. The weather wasn't too bad, so it seemed only reasonable to take Tortoise out, and why not go somewhere I hadn't taken her before, even if it was the end of the Slough Arm?

tech note: the batteries (of unknown history) only lasted until we turned. This was a temporary lash up of the time lapse unit and a g-clamp, but any more solid version would also allow for an external power supply. The position of the camera was at the front of the roof - the artist in me wants the horizon to sit at the upper third of the image, so camera position/angle to be played with. This was a frame taken at every 5 seconds; the resulting avi file has a 10fps rate, I've no idea what youtube does to frame rate after that... Also apologies for the few frames of me staring into it to make sure it's working - that may well be a feature of such videos until I sort out some editing software. ;-)

As we went along I thought a slight yaw motion would show up badly on the time lapse video, but what it does show is how much a little boat needs course correcting, especially when driven with a glass of champagne in my hand and a dodgy soundtrack (link only really of interest to those who know Catherine and/work the work of Lynryrd Skynryd), not to mention texting, waving at people and generally bringing canal users into disrepute (about time, if you ask me).

In amongst the visiting, drinking and mediocre telly, I did manage a walk in the woodlands opposite, and found a 10" length of rail, presumably cast aside from the nearby railway line. I often need something solid to hammer things against, so I carried all 14kg of it (that's two stone to you) home. Another reminder of the serious work that the navvies who built the railways, and the canals before that, put in.

These couple of days were typical of something that sums up a great year of faffing about on the canals; the people. Whether I'm passing the time of day at a lock, chatting to Jim & Mary (previous owners of Tortoise) in the local supermarket, meeting other boating bloggers (Pav, Neil C, Andrew Denny, Carrie, Ali & Richard and of course the Bones & Maffi posse) or waffling at people on the towpath at Iver - it's all interesting, and dare I say it, a peer group I mostly seem to fit in to. To misquote one Marx, other people may not want to be members of a club that will have me, but to quote the other one:

The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal, not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society.

I'm used to my own company, but, by & large, people make it worth while. Thank you, one & all.

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