Two Young Carers had to drop out at very short notice, but the other 4 teenage girls and two teenage boys joined us on the Friday evening for a weekend away on the canal. We only had a short trip on the Friday evening, but then on Saturday went down to Cassio Rare Breeds Farm then on to Rickmansworth for the night. On Sunday we visited the Rickmansworth Waterways Trust, including a visit to their historic boat Roger before returning to base.
The group were all strangers to each other when they met on the Friday, and started off very quiet and withdrawn. Conversations soon started to flow, though, and before long they were chatting quietly to each other. By around 10.30pm, they were chatting and laughing away. Round about 2am they were still going strong, and continued to do so for some time afterwards. We felt that they needed this break, and that it was their weekend, so we didn’t stop them. Fortunately, by Saturday evening, they were a good deal more tired, and went to their beds soon after 11.00pm.
They all had a go at working locks, and soon learned what to do, and everyone that we could cajole into doing so had a go at steering. Otherwise, there was lots of chat, music, games, ….. and, of course, bubbles. As ever, the squirrel monkeys, meercats and other animals were memorable, and they were amazed (and rather appalled) at living condition on a working narrowboat in the 1930’s. By the end of the weekend, they were firm friends, and swapped contact details so that they could keep in touch. There were lots of good comments from the young people at the end of the trip, and I felt privileged to be able to give these fantastic young people a bit of a different experience and some time away to chill and chat.
John Bennett April 2017