Messing about on the river!
As Ratty said to Mole in Wind in the Willows: “there is nothing— absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” So, with this in mind, on Thursday 16th May and Tuesday 21st May, residents and staff of The Old Hall decided it was time to put Ratty’s theory to the test and set sail.
Taking advantage of a recent spell of glorious weather, picnic hampers were duly packed with an assortment of goodies and off we headed to Guildford to board the Swingbridge – a charmingly traditional wide-beam canal boat owned by Surrey Care Trust – joining it at Dapdune Wharf, where we were greeted with hot drinks by the attentive crew.
With time on our side and not a care in the world, the vessel motored lazily along the course of the Wey Navigation, wending its way through Millmead Lock in Guildford town centre to the rear of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, before continuing to its destination at St Catherine’s Lock, near Godalming.
As the journey progressed, the knowledgeable boat hands regaled us with a wealth of information about the river, and one lucky set of passengers were even treated to an impromptu performance on the ukulele – a scene that could easily have come straight from Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat.
But all good things must come to an end – if only temporarily – and the boat eventually turned round, retracing its route as it meandered steadily back downstream to Dapdune Wharf where we all alighted, relaxed and refreshed by the day and grateful for the sterling efforts of our friends at Surrey Care Trust.
A wonderful time had been enjoyed by all. And, looking back on the events of the day as we made our way home, there was one thing we all agreed on: there really is nothing like messing about in boats. Now it’s time to get our ‘sea legs’ back in training ready for the next adventure!