Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

We’re all going on a summer holiday…

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The river levels had dropped, we’ve left the car behind and set off upriver. By moving in the morning and mooring late lunchtime, we have managed to avoid most of the showers. We spent the weekend moored next to the farmland of an old psychiatric hospital – the land has run to meadow and the French chateau inspired-hospital is being developed into apartments surrounded, unfortunately, by institutional new housing.



We have been waking in the mornings to silence – no cars, no trains and, surprisingly, no birds. Snails and slugs are still in their element. Friday, I found a slug wandering across the gunwale as I walked to the bows to rope up in a lock. On my journey back to the stern I picked it up and put it in a safe place so I could release it on land later. I had my eye on it and knew where it was for ages, and then it disappeared. Now I worry it’s in a damp spot starving somewhere and I’d be relieved to find it munching on my few remaining pea plants.

We walked and walked over the weekend and found only damson and sloe bushes devoid of fruit. The hawthorn bushes were doing well, so the birds won’t starve this winter, but they will be on a limited diet. Yesterday, a little further upstream, walking around an area completely new to us, we hit upon a couple of bullace trees. Without anything useful to carry them in, we stuffed our shirt and short pockets full – hooray for combats – and we have fresh fruit to nibble on for the next few days.

This morning, there were yellow boards back on the river and we almost ground to a halt approaching a bridge as the fast-flowing water hit us. The lock-keeper at Clifton says the weather forecast for next week is dry and hot and they will be slowing the water down in the next couple of days. The weather forecast online isn’t so positive. We’ll just have to whack up the revs and burn some diesel if we want to get to Oxford before we have to head back downstream and back to college.


Written by Sarah Ann

August 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm

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