... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

It was a brilliant idea...

It was a brilliant idea, sitting in the Nelson, a few pints down and two years away from the event. I was going to get a tattoo as well: the Grand Union coat of arms – two seahorses, only their top half real horses, hooves of cabbage leaves, their motto ‘Silent and Sure’. 

Not for me a girly pretty monochrome unobtrusive bird or butterfly, shoulder or ankle. No, I’d have gone the whole old salt hog, six inches square at least, full colour, between the shoulder blades.  It would have been great, but I was too easily deterred by others' horrified objections. And anyway, it would have hurt like hell.

The tattoo, however, was only peripheral to the Brilliant Idea, which I know I have mentioned to some passing blogging boaters. This was to celebrate my fiftieth birthday with, at last, a complete navigation of the Grand Union Canal and as many of its arms and branches as I could fit in (including for definite all those I've not yet travelled), taking various companions from my past and present along with me, and culminating with a monster party at the London Canal Museum. I had seventy on the guest list, and I booked the museum back in August 2013.

This morning I emailed to cancel. As I came to plan - and more importantly to budget - for both the trip and the party, it became clear that there were overwhelming difficulties of both a logistical and a financial nature. The hire of the museum itself was £800, and the food could easily have been that again. I realised I hadn't done enough saving and couldn't really pull that sort of sum out of the hat with five months to go - let alone justify spending it on a party for myself. Added to that, the requirements of work (the immovable object that is exam boards, among other things) meant that I couldn't make it the trip I really wanted it to be. The logistics of organising food and drink while on the move were depressing. Suddenly it seemed more problems than pleasures (a bit like going to Ellesmere Port in a Blizzard) and it was with a sense of relief as well as regret that I concluded, in the early hours of Monday morning, that cancelling was an option.

So I'm sorry, all those of you to whom I mentioned this and who might have been looking forward to it, anxiously scanning your inboxes even now for the engraved invitation. I'm sure I shall think of some, lower-key, substitute, and I will probably still be out boating on my birthday and hopefully see some of you - leave is booked, but trip plans are now up for grabs.

Maybe I'll just get the tattoo instead.....


  1. Shame, but with the liberalisation of the HE market..... those exam boards cannot be impacted !! So you really need someone who has a son who is a tattooist - have a look at Mates rates !

  2. Oh dear, Sarah - looks like you can't get out of it now!

  3. Sorry to hear that your plans have had to downsize. No point in adding stress to life when it can be avoided!

    Love the idea of a tattoo though, co-incidentally I'd get one myself if I could cope with the pain (probably not) and I'd decided a while back that it would have to be the Severn and Canal logo, which is a beautiful interlocking of and S and two Cs!

    1. I will if you will????
      Sounds like yours is monochrome though which is hardly fair!

  4. Sarah - I know that the GU lock gates are heavy but this idea would take "putting your back into it" to a completely different level!!!! Sorry about the change of plans - we had big ambitions for a trip on the Orient Express for our 25th wedding anniversary but circumstances dictated a change of plan. Hey Ho - the best is till to come.