Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Bugsworth basin & Bunty

I took the boat to the end of the canal for a couple of nights at Bugsworth basin and practically had the place to myself. Only a couple of other boats that looked to be shared boats were there for a while. I was wondering that there weren't any local liveabords as it's a lovely green spot, away from the road and surrounded with trees but I guess the rather aggressive red sign threatening a £10 a night overstay charge on the 48hr limit was a bit off-putting.
As anyone who's been there knows, it's a warren of canal arms where boats loaded up with limestone and has been lovingly restored. There's also a 3D model of the way the basin used to look, along with old buildings, now long gone. Funnily enough, it only has a couple of little boat models in the whole basin, whereas I think the place was heaving with them at one time. Thing is, like some other canal restoration projects, I get the feeling that it's been restored more for the benefit of walkers/historians rather than boaters. It's maintained within an inch of its life! The very short grass was being shorn again while I was there; there are dog-bins every few yards and I didn't feel I could even chop wood alongside my boat for fear of getting messy splinters on the ground. I thought I was being paranoid until I came to fill up with water again before leaving. My hosepipe isn't very long so I had to start the tap running and dash onto the boat, holding it into the water tank and once it was full, dashed back out with it to stop the tap. Of course I left a watery trail behind me and an officious-looking character said "oh dear, you have made a mess"!
I did laugh though when some anarchic geese flew in and pooed the towpath up in 5 minutes. Childish, I know ;-)

Speaking of childish things, last week I came across a 'Bunty' magazine from 1972. I pounced on it, as I was 9 back then and remember reading Bunty sometimes and wanted to see if I recalled any of the characters, etc. I was horrified to see what sexist rubbish I was exposed to! It was all about 'straightening out' tom-boys, knowing how to behave in a ladylike way, cleaning a home. One story, involves a husband wanting to buy a new fridge. He says he'll dump the old one in the countryside and the wife gently reprimands him for being a 'litter-bug'. We later see it piled into a landfill. Ah - the dawning of environmental awareness in the world of Bunty!
A few pages later and my spirits rise as I see a quiz page where a girl is walking out in the countryside, with things that need identifying. Is this where I found my interest in nature perhaps? No! The quiz is titled 'Dangers in the countryside' and explains how a simple walk can result in disaster. You have to identify all the bad things that can happen, like an insect bite or nettle sting. It even had 'storm cloud' listed! It's a wonder girls ever ventured outside of their well-ordered homes.
Luckily, it doesn't look as though any of it has rubbed off on me ;-)

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