Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Sad times, happy memories

It's been a difficult few days.  Adrian's mum died early on Saturday morning, following a lengthy illness.

Ann came with us on several boating trips, when we had a share in Debdale.  The first time, it's fair to say she was rather worried by the whole thing and arrived by train and taxi at Calcutt (where we'd done our Helman's Certificate) in a state of some anxiety.  That evening, we just went up one lock from the wharf and moored.  The next day turned out to be one of my favourite ever days boating.  It was warm and sunny; the Napton flight was busy, and it took much longer than it should have done.  In spite of the slow progress, everyone was in good spirits.  When we reached the summit pound, I steered while Adrian and his mum sat in the well deck talking, taking in the views, and enjoying the sunshine.  It was just glorious.  We finished the day at Fenny Compton, and the Wharf Inn, and the trip took us all the way down to Oxford and back.

After that, she booked herself into our plans regularly.  Ann came with us to Foxton and Market Harborough on one trip, and another when we went to the end of the Ashby and down to Coventry basin.  She also came to Stratford, and Birmingham, which she was fascinated by.  On that trip, we went to the Black Country Museum, my lasting memory of which is leaving her sitting outside the coal mine, while we did the tour.  When we emerged, it seemed that she'd chatted to most of the other visitors to the museum.  We also took her along some of the waterways that I suspect may serious boaters haven't travelled, because from Dudley we turned onto the Wyrley and Essington (where Adrian steered while Ann and I stood at the bow pointing out the worst of the rubbish, so we could avoid getting it round the prop), and onto Walsall basin for the night; we returned to central Birmingham via the Walsall canal.

When Debdale moved to Norbury Junction, Ann came with us to Stourport and then down the Severn to Worcester.  She wasn't keen on the river (not as much to look at as on the canals), and took against Worcester quite understandably when we were woken in the early hours by drunken students running up and down the roof.

Then we had a new year trip to Audlem.  New Year's Eve was spent at Market Drayton, and at midnight we watched the canal starting to freeze.  The next day, we were ice breaking for quite a while.

On every trip, you'd suddenly become aware that towpath walkers were chatting away to the front of the boat, and you'd realise that Ann was in the well deck.  Barely an hour went by without tea (and more than likely biscuits) appearing at the back of the boat for the crew.  And through the course of the week, anything brass got cleaner and cleaner.  In fact, everything got cleaner and cleaner.

Ann wanted to visit Briar Rose, but she was never well enough, which is a source of great regret.  However, it was a great pleasure to introduce her to the canals, and I was so pleased that she enjoyed her weeks on board with us -- and not just the countrside but the gritty industrial areas too.

We will miss her.


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

We are so sorry to hear your news Adrian. Both Ian and I will be thinking of you at this sad time.

Mike, Mags, Poppy and Abbey said...

Can I offer our condolences and to say that we are sorry to read of your sad loss.

Mick n Mags

Halfie said...

Very sorry to read this, and my condolences to you both. An excellent and moving obit, Adam.

Anonymous said...

Hi Both
Just to say that our thoughts are with you at this sad time.
Bob June and Phoenix

Anonymous said...

so sorry to hear of yet another sad loss, my mum would love to visit me but is far too ill with terminal cancer so you were lucky to show your mum the joys of the the canals, god bless you both my prayers are with you

love and blessings

candy marsh

Kevin said...

So sorry to hear your sad news Adrian.
Please accept our deepest condolences.
Kevin & Harry xx

One Thing After Another said...

On gosh, my sympathies to both of you. Stay wel and try and keep your spirits up. Thoughts are with you.
Lewis & Pawel x

Jim said...

My sympathies are with you and with Adrian of course. I can understand how he must be feeling. The sadness will lessen with time, but the memories will be with him forever.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear your sad news - you're in my thoughts...

Sue, nb Indigo Dream

Neil Corbett said...

Very sad for you both but you have a store of lovely memories that I hope will give you some comfort.
Please pass on our condolences to Adrian.
Kath & Neil (nb Herbie)

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear more sad news. So glad Ann had her fun times with you.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear this Adam. I know Adrian spent a lot of time with his Mum..

Sue xx

Nev Wells said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is good you have so many fond memories of Ann on your boating trips, they will last forever, keep telling them to keep her with you. I gave my mum some dates for a trip on Percy in May, she like Ann must have done takes great enjoyment from the canals but also from being close to people she loves.

Take care both of you


Bruce in Sanity said...

Adrian and Adam

We're very sorry to hear of your sad loss. As others have said above, at least you have some great memories to keep.

Take care both

Bruce & Sheila

Anonymous said...

It is the memories that are so important at this time....you both have the satisfaction of knowing that Ann enjoyed the boating and enjoyed being able to share your life with you.

Carol Palin said...

Our condolences to you both at this very sad time.

Jo (Boatwoman) said...

We are so very sorry to hear of your loss Adrian, your in our thoughts. You have such wonderful memories, which will help see you through this difficult time.

Hugssssss Jo & Keith xxxxxxxxxx

Tom and Jan said...

What wonderful memories you have of boating with Ann. We hope they give you some comfort at this time.

Tom & Jan

Stephen & Jayne said...

Thinking of you both.
Love Stephen & Jayne

Pip - nb Windsong said...

So sorry to read your news, Adrian. You are in our thoughts.
Pip and Roger. xxx

Jill and Graham, MR said...

Poor Adrian. Thinking of you both at this terrible time xx

Adrian said...

Thank you for all your very kind words and support. I do truly appreciate it.