His family have been big fans of narrow boating for years, they owned a boat before I met him and several years ago brought another. In the last couple of years Aaron and I went out on it many times, with various friends and once just the two of us, although that's much harder work without a 'crew' to help with the locks!
I was very surprised how much I enjoyed it even in the rain, it turns out rain is not actually that bad if you are dressed for it which until boating I never really had been! Aaron had always described time on the boat as a '4 mile per hour pub crawl' but to be honest I thought it sounded a little dull - I'm all for pub crawls (or being lazy more likely to find one and stay there!) but I'd never had any big yearning to spend time in the countryside, especially given the fact it was bound to be cold and raining on whatever weekend we chose to go.
But even on the times we had bad weather (which were surprisingly few) the days we spent on the boat was some of the best time I've spent.
The boat was moored at Harefield which was just over an hours drive from home so it was easy to pop up for the weekend, and if we timed it with a bank holiday for a day off it felt like a week's holiday! It always amazed me how 2 or 3 days on the canal could seem like so much longer. It's a complete contradiction of things relaxing and exhausting at the same time, we were usually too hot or too cold depending on how close you were to the fire, and usually damp and dirty until you could get home and have a shower. No matter how much you ate and drank (which was always lots) you worked so hard that you never put on a pound :)
One weekend we had such a stressful journey to the marina but with in minutes of being on board we were moving and I was sat outside on the front of the boat with one of my best friends, with a jug of pimms and and the sun setting - relaxed in seconds!
I can't pick out one particular trip as being the best because they all had so many good points, cruising along at 4 miles an hour with plenty of beers on board and good friends - what could be better!
Written as part of Cafe Bebe's Flashback Friday