Grand Union Canal trip.

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Many of the barges are brightly decorated reflecting the colourful characters of their owners. Some are for hire, or holiday use but many are full time homes, some with permanent moorings.

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My first lock since I was a child. Try to spot the “tiger”. Yes, even the dogs dressed up! The photo is not so good he looked splendid!

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Inside the lock gates ( a little claustrophobic with high walls all around and water pouring in lol!)

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Open water. It was a beautiful 1 hour trip.

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Many barges have pot plants on top like mobile gardens (not to mention, wood, bicycles, and even a motor bike!)

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Flags, flowers, and bright painted tankards and pots lent a carnival vitality.

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This was one of the barges featured in the tug of war which was great fun requiring many spectators to climb on board and act as ballast and featuring some slightly inebriated colourful characters (I decided against “just in case”  for my camera’s sake.

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They waterside folige gave some beautiful views. (We also “collected” a bit on the bows after a tight turn lol!)

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Returning to the lock gates. Our “skipper” had a sense of homor having volunteers help heave the gate bars open. We were all chuckling since he put them pushing the wrong side so they couldn’t understand why one old guy could open his gate so easily when two young ones couldn’t move theirs an inch – they caught on eventually.

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Why I didn’t blog yesterday.

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It’s that time of year when folks from all around flock to my tiny town for the Grand Union Canal boat festival. For two days every year its as if we’ve been transported back to the 70’S (or even earlier). Folks with flowers, smiles, feathered hats and colourful costumes abound, (and that’s just the spectators!) There are three stages for live events, historic re enactment, craft stalls, fun fair, boat rides and much more. Here’s a glimpse of what I was up to yesterday.

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I always fancied a knight in shining armor, these were all very realistic though – not so shiny! There were several contenders (tourney winner announced today). I also watched as they armed the knights etc.

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Wouldn’t be a country festival without Morris dancers! They also roamed around enjoying the festival between performance together with Star Wars personalities.

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Kids petting zoo (we English love our animals) with goats, lambs, rabbits, etc. I didn’t actually do this one, though I’d have loved to if I could pass as a child.

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This one I did do – free speed boat trips round the lake perfect for a hot day – feel the spray!

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Walk along the canal to watch the barge tug of war and admire all the canal boats in town for the festival decked out for the festivities.

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Couldn’t get a good picture of this (due to the crowds of people) but she playing a boat song.

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My favourite (and smallest) music venue featuring folk and river songs. I spent an pleasant hour here while waiting to catch the final trip up the canal.(see tomorrows post when I’ve sorted the photos – guess where I’m off too?.)

Land of Spirits.

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imgur.com iceland

(Photo from imur.com)

Cold, wild, mysterious and incredibly beautiful this land draws many photographers. I’ve never been myself (though I have an open invitation) but one of my daughters went to visit and stayed several months with an old friend of mine. I’ve learned a lot from them both. It’s known for strange events and supernatural happenings and has been the background for several epic stories.

Ivo De Decker iceland

(photo Ivo De Decker)

It’s social structure and economics are quite unusual, it’s people independent. There are hot springs and geysers, and much of the power is generated naturally due to the volcanic nature of the island. Have you guessed it yet?

Peter Hammer

(Photo by Peter Hammer)

The answer is Iceland! Enjoy these glorious pictures gleaned from my friend’s facebook and let them wet your appetite!

(Be sure to click on them to enjoy them to the fullest)

coolbiere iceland

(Photo by coolbiere)

Einar Gudmann iceland

(Photo by Einar Gudmann)

Menno Schaefer iceland

(Photo by Menno Schaefer)

bored panda iceland

(Photo by bored panda)

Goodbyes.

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The ivory tower is empty now, no footsteps on the stair,

I listen out to hear them, but know they are not there.

No shouting to disturb me, no head to enter in,

My tower’s all my own again tranquillity within.

And yet I’ll hear their echo until they come again,

Those precious ones that love me, my own among the men.

With hearts so soft and open, young minds that seek and see,

A world so full of wonder, so empty, yet so free.

Life’s yet to take its toll on them while childhood rules the day,

Their greatest of decisions, of what to watch or play.

The comfort of a daughter whose love is rare and true

With whom to share heart’s secrets and who gives hers to you.

The dust it now has settled, the mess no longer frowns,

The table’s clear, the lights turned off, the shoe rack empty now.

Yet something now seems missing as I settle to my work,

I sigh in quiet contentment, but something’s bound to lurk.

I miss the noise, the bustle, (though I could not bear it long),

Each time they come to visit it lifts my heart in song.

And now I hear it echo as I settle down to write,

A smile dawns on my face ‘mist memories warm and bright.