‘A Canal Journey’, Day 1 by Lucy Waters

I blinked my weaping eyes and let the last sorrowful tears run down my face. The ending music which calls the CD of Out Of The Ashes carried on incesintly until finally it draged to a close. I started to become aware that my knuckles are white and my hand is beginning to cramp. Then I realised why… I was gripping mum hand so tight my viens were showing (they always do though). Slowly I relaxed my hold on her and looked into her face:her eyes were puffing and swollen from crying and I could tell she lue was tired after driving solidly for around to hours. The CD Out Of The Ashes by Michiel Morpurgo made us both cry like gushing water pipes.

Thrusting the palm of my small hand into my eye, I pull myself together and tell me to get a grip.

“Where are they supposed to meet us?” I ask to break the silence.

“At Morrisons.” Mum replied in a slight stutter, we’re such soft hearts.

“Are we nearly there?”

“Well the satnav says we should be there in a few minutes,” she said confusedly, “But I can only see Morisons petrol station not Morrisons.”

I scour the landscape for any sign leading to Morrisons or any shoppers laiden down with shopping. We were on our way to see my aunt who’s real name is Catherine but because she always used to go by the name Elsie that’s what I’ve grown to know her as. She invited me to stay with her and her husband Don on their canal boat and train her dog Billie 4 paws.

I’m here now. We met Elsie outside Morrisons and walked down to the boat Hades. Billie is such a darling! She-yes she- can already sit, lie down, do paw left and right and beg (mostly thanks to Elsie).

Hades is a lovely, sweet, little boat. In my room the bedding is white with blue and yellow flowers all over the place. It is so pretty and makes me feel happy just looking at it.

Me and Elsie set sail straight away-I mean after a cuppa and buiscuit with my mum of coarse. She showed me how to start the engine by turning the key, Like fitting the last piece of the puzzle in place before the whole enormity of the brilliant picture unravels befor your eyes. Key turned and gear set, we sped of. Well it wasn’t much of a sped more of a trundle.  I stood up ,holding Billie’s collar so she didn’t run into the water-it was her first boat trip-, and closed my eyes. The howling wind whistled through my hair and clothes like a giant boa constricter rapping everything in sight in it’s massive deadly coils;the canal was a huge,lanky shard of murky green glass stretching out it’s thin arms everywhere. The engine was purring in an indignant way like a collosal cat whining when you shut it out; the rippling waves and florishing flowers were a show of neat wild where everything grows by itself without help yet it all fits together in one infinite collashe of mother nature’s power. The scene, so wonderfully untuched, was beautiful and magnificent in its own way.

Startlingly pretty, fairy tale like cottage after startlingly pretty, fairy tale like cottage past us by on the way, some with gorgeous puppies in the window, until at last we came to my first lock. Just like Billie, I was really excited. Elsie showed me the ropes and let me have a go doing it but the mechinary was so heavy and stiff, like pushing up an iron limosine filled with boulders, that I couldn’t lift it in the end so she had to. I helped with everything else though! Excuses, excuses! If I can  do the locks by the end of this I’ll have muscles like a body builder!

chugging along through the waving weeds and serene song birds; the whistling wind and the picturesque canal; the dogs insanely barking like 2 boncors alarmoclocks,past yet another lock I still couldn’t do, I feel like I could get used to living on a boat. I am rattling of talk like a true chatter box so Elsie might be feeling a bit irratated.

15 min away from the pig place where my family and I had once gone and camped while 2 of us slept in Camille’s -Elsie and Don’s daughter’s- canal boat, we met Don… He had a beard and army coat on. After we picked him up we came to my 3rd lock. This time Don did the work while Elsie steared and I sat inside so I could watch from the window as we drifted and sank slowly down. Draping, terrible, ripped moss that sent chilling shivers sown my spine hung like riped animal skin caught on the shark like teeth in a dragon’s mouth. I felt my eyes grow wild as we descended helplessly into the bloodthirsty maw of the dragon’s gulf. Joyfully I laughed madly.

At the next lock Elsie and I took Zofia and Billie 4 paws for a walk along the beautiful canal. Both of them must have been stuffed full of the treats I’d been feaking them because they both kept urinating! At the end of the walk we picked up their van: It was white but covered in scratches, the dogs were put in the boot (Billie thrown in but Zofia gracefully leaping) and we sat up front.

The car seat was charcoal grey with spashes of white from the blanket of dog fur covering the entire thing.

We drove-well Elsie drove, I sat back and watched-to the pub where we met Don and played card games while they had a beer. I taught them cosino, which is a card game I learnt in Denmark, and Irish snap which got very competative, almost to the point of finger crushing!

Once we were back on board, I taught Don how to play spit, another very competative and stressful card game, while Elsie made supper which was chicken stir fry. It was deliscous! I tried some new things which took part in the dish such as water chessnuts and been sprouts. I cleared my whole plate.

Afterwards I played spit again with Elsie,  who is really good, before another finger crushing game of Irish snap…

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