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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Uncanny meeting with two members of the Australian canal society

Love these Opal cards. The enable you to travel on buses, trains, and ferries here in Sydney. We have something similar in the way of Oyster cards in London and no doubt other UK cities also have them as well. Keep them top up, tap them on the machine going onto whichever transport used and tap off at the other end. So with our cards topped up, we headed once more into Sydney. This time to meet up with some members of the Australian Canal society. Strange isn't it to think of canals in Australia but there are quite a few as mentioned in one of my previous posts, but the society is not about them but of our UK canals. The arrangement was meet at Circular Quay at the Darling Harbour ferry port. It was a bit like the blind leading the blind as neither of us knew what each other looked like. Our correspondence John told us he sprouted a white beard, wore long shorts and his white socks were pulled up to the knee, not the usual way in Australian attire. So finding each other turned out to be very easy after all. With John was his wife Ann and the arrangement was for us to meet their President Jan with two other members Peter and Helen at the maritime museum.

Now, this was the uncanny part. We met Jan at the museum and was told Peter and Helen would be along for lunch. We exchanged magazines and newsletters of each other societies (we belong to the ECP&DA) had a long talk with Jan about her role in the society and how she started narrow boating back in the 70's which got her hooked. She returns to the Uk as often as possible to continue her journey. And John, the font of all knowledge about Sydney Harbour, ferry names and the buildings  gave us a lesson in how Sydney became the place it is today. Then Helen and Peter arrived. Something vaguely familiar about both of them but couldn't quite put a finger on it. Then a chance comment and the penny dropped. During the fire and pollution of the Erewash canal back in 2012 an Australian couple arrived on a hire boat up to Langley Mill. They stayed in the basin overnight and then was told there was to be no boat movement back down the canal until further notice. So they were stuck and had to be collected by the hire company and taken back to their base by car, leaving the boat to be returned at a later date. We got to know them in that time. And now all those years later we met again. Uncanny isn't it! Anyway, the hours slipped by and we were treated to a fabulous lunch at the maritime restaurant. Jan will be returning to the UK in October and we hope very much to meet up then. Big thank you go out to our new found friends across the pond for making this British couple so welcome.

From L to R, Ann, John, Helen, Peter, Jan (president) Ian and me

During the lunch the Pyrmont swing bridge opened to let a high-masted yacht through.

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