Life of adventure, Travelling between housesits

By the canal without a boat

The canals I imagine could tell many stories

and sing many different songs

An information highway of sorts

With coal and iron

Being the source

All 4,500 miles many years ago.

We had an early summer in the United Kingdom, well for a few days we did. Leicestershire is a good central place to stop in our travels from the south to the north.  On our way up we had made a mental note to visit the Foxton Locks on our return, and that’s what we did.

I must admit the squire had more enthusiasm to seek out information about all things of the watery kind than I did.  Though once there I soon became enthralled with what was once a thriving life on and around the water.  Now I sense it is an escapism of sorts for many who have found the stagnant life of a home on land not quite doing it for their wandering spirit.

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Whatever reason there are still many people who have a love affair with the canals around the UK.  Those with more passion have set up charity’s to keep alive this wonderful lifestyle and recreation areas. https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/

So what is so fascinating about Foxton Locks?

Firstly there is only one other system that is similar, and that’s the Panama Canal.  Next is that it has moved with the times, no pun intended!  How?  When the Foxton Canal was first started it was done by a system called the “Incline Plane” the boats were lifted and lowered up the hill and onto the canal.  To read more detail about this scheme go to this website http://www.fipt.org.uk/. Or if you out and about in the area, head to the Foxton Locks and visit the museum at The Boiler House, [pictured below].

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These canal locks are so fascinating to watch the canal boats go through and up the 20 plus locks.  One of the locals informed us that it can take up to 45mins to 1 hour.  Patience is differently required when you live in a canal boat.  Well, the couple that we spoke to are dealers and were in the process of moving narrow boats from one region to the biggest inland boat show in the UK  http://www.crickboatshow.com/

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The first lock, which is the start of a slow movement of nearly an hour through the locks to the top of the hill.
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Having come up from under the bridge!
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A perfect fit you could say!!
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Top of the hill.  To the right of the photo are the ponds where the water flows to and from the canals.  These ponds are situated all the way down the hill.

After walking around the paths watching the narrow boats move gracefully through the perfect fit of the canal, it brought back to us a marvellous period in our lives.  This was when the squire and I were motorhomers.

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The space we called home a while ago.  Sold and now loved by someone else.

We lived full time on and off for 10 years in a converted bus.  I know there’s a small part of us that misses the cosy, simple days where we shared a tiny space which had everything we needed and nothing more, and every morning marked a new adventure each time the engine roared into action.

FOXTON LOCKS

45 thoughts on “By the canal without a boat”

  1. That’s a lot of locks! Doing them in an hour is not long at all… The Panama Canal consists of six locks and it took us a day and a night to get through all of them. During the night, we anchored (and sat idle) on Gatun Lake, so I guess that doesn’t count. 🙂 Nice scenery! I bet you miss life in a motor home. Good memories (and quite a bit of space by the looks of it). did you convert the bus yourselves?

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    1. No we brought it converted though we did change the sofa covers. Now the Panama Canal would be one heck of an experience, boating in general would be. Boating and motorhoming is all about getting to the next best scenery spot 🙂

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  2. 10 years in a converted bus… that’s good going! I yearn for a simpler life with less stuff. I do pretty well in my small 2 bedroom unit, but I find myself still wanting to declutter and minimalise the ‘stuff’ so I have less to care for and more time for experiences. I’d love to spend some time on a canal boat, it looks so relaxing and peaceful.

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    1. Yes we lived on and off in our converted bus in those 10 years, the longest time fulltime was 4.5 years. It is a simpler life and more value is placed on experiences and getting “out there” than possessions. Having said that we will go back to owning a house without wheels when the timing is right 🙂

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  3. I remember watching for hours the boats making their way through the locks of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. The process itself was mesmerizing and observing the people on the boats as it was happening was so much fun. The Panama Canal is definitely on my list… perhaps I should add the Foxton Locks.

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    1. Wow, yes the Panama canal would be an adventure. Not sure the Foxton Locks is on the same level so to speak:-) Yes, you are right it is mesmerizing watching the process the narrowboats go through. We both enjoyed learning more about life on the canals!

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  4. It looks like such a cute, quaint little area– reminds me a bit of a setting out of a storybook! And I bet you had many adventures on your motor-home. I love the idea of looking at every day as a new adventure– even from my boring, stays-in-one-place home. 😉

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  5. I am more convinced then ever that you should write some kind of memoir about your housesitting (and converted bus-living) adventures. I’m personally so fascinated by how this lifestyle has worked for you, the delights you’ve seen, or the challenges that you’ve had to overcome. I can’t help but think others would be interested, too! The blog is wonderful, but a book might be something to think about. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Angela. Oh yes, there have been a few challenges along the way 🙂 Not sure my confidence stretches that far to completing a book!. Though never say never and could be a challenge for me when we settle down, again. 🙂

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  6. I love the canal boats too. When we lived in U.K. we enjoyed watching the locks open and close and the constant movement. What a great life! Lovely post that brings back great memories. One day we might get back there to hire one.

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    1. It is interesting how those locks work. Especially this one, another one we stopped and watched for a while was in Scotland. You never know Deb, you might get here. Just thinking the Murray River would be another place to do some smooth boating. We thought of hiring a boat there 🙂 When we visited Echuca the river was very low.

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  7. Canals always remind me of Rosie and Jim hehe. It must be so nice to travel around on one of these boats, I imagine it must be a very smooth ride? The inside looks very nice, traditional on the outside yet modern on the inside 🙂

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    1. The picture of an inside area was our old converted motorhome Em. Though I have seen many various deco in the narrowboats. It is basically like living in a small apartment. You just have to be an organised tidy person or otherwise it becomes a nightmare!

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  8. I’ve always wanted to do a narrow boat holiday but as I’m a single mum to three kids I didn’t have another adult to help with the locks – apparently my kids (now 18,16,14) are now old enough but don’t want to go!!

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  9. I did a fleeting canal boat trip when I was a child…until I got over confident running from one end to the other and fell off the roof, splitting my lip and causing one hell of a nosebleed 😂

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