Māhina Avon Ring – Day 1

Today marks day 1 on a last minute decision to go for a boat trip. With potential changes ahead i didn’t want to miss the window to enjoy some time on my boat on the canals. Since buying her i haven’t gone far so i wanted to take advantage, I’m NEVER at home during summer so the break due to Covid has been welcome weirdly in many ways.

I was so nervous, just like i am before i journey to Download or any gig (even though its a journey made so many years in a row). Keeping my body on the right side of nervous, excitement rather than the wrong side of nervous, anxiety is a battle i know well. Like the other women in my family the multiple toilet trips before we walk out the door, the palpitations, jiggy leg, nausea were all present and correct this morning.

I kept telling myself it was silly and, like always, as soon as i got moving it was forgotten. I am a little apprehensive about the journey as i’m about to do things i haven’t done before while trying to manoeuvre a 48ft steel tube with no brakes but here goes. Steering down the Gloucester & Sharpness canal is my comfort zone so i took the opportunity to remember how my boat responds and get comfy.

With the lockdown we haven’t been anywhere so i’m going easy on myself. We’ve changed the ballast locations so she sits a little differently in the water now and there is a small change in the steering but she’s still very responsive. During this time you have to book the bridges in advance. Some you can fit under and others have a very patient employee of the trust to operate the structure for you (all good for Kate the learner here………..maybe i should have on P plates??!).

It sometimes feels like you need a movie-styled one note ‘aaahhhhhhh’ as the gates open in front of you and you glide through. I wasn’t going to make a big deal of it but thought seeing as it is quiet and the pontoons in Gloucester Docks were empty that i’ll manoeuvre and moor. This may seem so trivial but a lifetime of being trained not to touch your car into the fence/garage door/cat makes mooring a boat feel so alien, like i fail my test if i slowly touch the squashy (made for this purpose) fender onto the pontoon! Talk about adding a shit tonne of pressure to be perfect when I’ve seen the most experienced boaters bump their way back onto a mooring.

The video makes it look a lot faster, i promise, the bump was very slight. I felt good for just doing it and not having a massive audience to judge me or hold up score cards rating my performance. Settling in for the night, its strangely and also nicely quiet here. With the restaurants and pubs not open yet there is a window of peace (read squawking seagulls) before the humdrum of the waterside returns.

For those interested todays journey can be found here: https://youtu.be/lb3sliubiSc

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