This Canal Life

Many years ago I watched one of those travel shows which featured a segment on British canal boat holidays. Bobbing along in your little floating caravan on quiet waterways from one waterside drinking place to another looked very idyllic.

Since arriving in the UK I have continued to be captivated by life along the canals – and it is very exciting to find myself in my new flat overlooking a real life canal.

Union Canal looking towards the Pentlands, Edinburgh.

Many of my posts this year have been reporting on Edinburgh’s snowy weather – so I am pleased to announce that to coincide with our move springtime has arrived at long last to Scotland. From where I sit the birds sing, the sun is shining,  the wind blows gently in the lush green trees and just a stones throw away the life of the canal burbles happily along.

Union Canal tenements, Edinburgh.

My new commute to work starts out along the canal and my current waddle allows for plenty of time to watch the world go by. Although there are no flamingos to watch on this city waterway there is plenty of non exotic birdlife to keep this amateur twitcher happy.  

Flamingos inside at the new flat

There is a lone swan on a stretch of canal I walk along regularly- and for the first few days I felt rather sorry for this solitary bird. But then one morning I saw it attacking the ducks quite vehemently – which brought back all my childhood memories of being chased down by hissing geese and dissolved my sympathy.

A Union Canal Mallard

The ducks seem quite good at attacking each other – though perhaps springtime in the air is making the male ducks boisterous. Looking up at the bellies of some ducks flying overhead the other day I saw two ducks clip wings, I was close enough to hear the soft sound of feathers colliding in mid air. The bumped elbows jostled for space in the crowded air for a moment and then separated out again.

On the footpath with me there are fast folks on bikes, runners, and daily commuters with headphones and some place better to be; but there are also the meandering folks feeding the birds, children in prams demanding that flowers be picked for them, couples happy to stare into each others eyes and feel the sun on their backs and people sitting on benches reading their books by the water.

The canal boats putter along quietly under the warbling pigeon bridge off towards Glasgow. Once the canal was used for industrial transport – now that trains and trucks have taken up that role the canal is a leisure zone – canal boats are floating restaurants and holiday accommodation – providing waterway wine time. 

Canal boat

As I walk along by the water, or sit in my new lounge room looking down on the world it is pleasant to imagine that things will always be sunny and green in my new canal life – and after a winter which seemed to go on forever who could blame me for indulging in a fantasy of endless springtime – and possibly a few days of summer??

Sunny days on the canal, Edinburgh.

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