The nights are drawing in, the Summer is over, School holidays finished and normality is returning to families everywhere and I'm feeling it more than most this year as the past 6 weeks we have been on a mammoth adventure, packing a bag full of clothes and only a few essentials, taking the dog and three children and leaving behind all home comforts, electrical gadgets and throwing caution to the wind and piling our family into a 20ft cruiser on the canals, which became our home for the summer. With only a small budget not big enough to stretch to world wide travel, but a gusto to explore and see new things we were ready to experience something new, already familiar with making the most out of the ordinary we were convinced we would have a great time, despite the small size and limited appliances.
With no set plan or time scale, we initially intended to get through a week, packing the cupboards with as much as we could fit as our budget would not stretch to pub meals, a 2 ringed gas cooker with a grill was our kitchen, but from previous camping holidays we were attuned to making gormet meals with minimal facilities.
Then when the sun shined we worked locks and went through tunnels.
Saw wildlife and animals and chatted to hundreds of friendly people, other boaters with stories to tell or passes by on the tow path all intrigued by our journey and ability to be managing without all the creature comforts everyone is so used to.
The days passed into weeks and we continued to enjoy our trip, using the British waterways facilities shower blocks and toilet disposal at regular set out locations along the canal made the journey comfy.
Stopping off to visit local towns to catch up with the real world in library's using the Internet access to keep on top of things, sampling the local farm shop products set out at locks and relishing the freedom away from computer screens and television.
We travelled all the way along the Staffs and Worcester Canal and then up the Shropshire Union turning off onto the Llangollen branch into Wales ,managing to find petrol stations close enough to refill without too much trouble.
The views are indescribable along the canal, natural beauty and it was a brilliant way to unwind from the everyday worries finishing each day watching the sunset before snuggling down worn out from the days activities.
We continued cruising along and reached the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct a breathtaking stream in the sky, the mammoth structure carries the Llangollen canal over the River Dee a huge 38 meters in height and over 1000ft long it is the tallest and longest Aqueduct in Britain and is worthy of its World Heritage site status, we moored in the Basin for a couple of nights so we could take in the sights around the beautiful area.
I could of happily stayed cruising the countryside for longer but reality calls, so we are home our adventure over, but our thirst for living with nature on your doorstep, learning the lessons only life can teach and seeing sights worthy of dreams is ever present, I have so many photos to look through and memories I want to record but for now it's back to the reality of school uniform shopping and answering emails which were left to one side and dreaming of the next break away.