Mention the Grand Union Canal to me in less enlightened times and I would have envisaged an industrial landscape with forgotten decaying industrial buildings and ugly views. How wrong could I be. Yesterday we passed underneath the M25 on our approach to London. Tonight only 19 miles from central London (Paddington) we are moored in beautiful countryside to the south west of Watford in what feels like the heart of rural England.
This canal has been full of lovely surprises. Stoke Bruerne – a beautiful canal village, In Milton Keynes the whole of the canal was surrounded by beautifully kept parkland and a pristine towpath, in Aylesbury the old canal basin has been incorporated as the central focus of the town centre campus of the Aylesbury Vale University with secure moorings and now Watford. Surely this can’t be Watford. Totally quiet, apart from bird song and ripples from fish rising in the waters in which we are floating. I am sat in the front cockpit of our boat, or the ‘cratch’ as we boaters call it, feeling completely serene and one with nature around me.
Our garden, on the towpath next to the boat is awash with colour of wild flowers, blues, pinks, whites and yellows. My feelings at the moment cannot truly be put into words but I felt I had to write something just to try and express how lucky John and I feel to be living this life or as many friends say to us ‘living the dream’. I shall sleep well tonight.