What lies behind those blinds that are always drawn on the towpath side? Who resides in these floating baked bean tins? What is it really like in there?
We do! Hello!
Now as a boater during December you get to witness one of natures great phenomenon’s. Now you’ll only witness them for seven days of the year. They are characterised by the slipping and sliding around the tow paths, and the distinct mumbling of questions similar to the above.
Christmas brings one thing in abundance to the canal network … the Christmas walkers. Oh how we love you. Genuinely any canal near any settlement will see a serious increase in foot traffic during Christmas week, walking off that turkey and all that!
What do annual canal walkers all have in common? A distinct curiosity for all things boat. It’s quite nice to be snuggled up inside your boat like a little hibernating bear, when your ears are pricked by the unmistakable sound of approaching Christmas walkers.
My favourite Christmas walker scenario goes something like this:
Infant Christmas Walker: Mum is someone in there? [Undoubtedly pointing at ourboat]
Parent Christmas Walker: Don’t be silly sweetheart it’s just parked look all the blinds are down.
Me: Picks perfect moment to crash through the front doors to collect more coal and scare the Christmas Walker.
It’s great, you normally get met with a oh sorry we didn’t know anyone was in there, bet you’re cold (I hope this is legible, my eyes are too busy rolling for a spell check here!). Yes Sandra my blinds are down to prevent the second breed of Christmas Walker you will encounter. The Christmas walker who assumes your boat is public property and they will quite happily squint up to the glass to get a better look in, I mean really! This genuinely happens, it is genuinely annoying and at times terrifying.
I really think the CRT needs to invest in a Christmas Boat Guide campaign, to help the poor Christmas Walkers. The worst type have to be those who hop onto your boat for a quick picture (Got to get them Instagram likes hey!) and don’t realise not only is someone aboard, but it is their home, please be polite.
Boaters have to be some of the friendliest and most accommodating people I have met, but we are people none the less, people who fear greatly the Christmas Walker.
James & Kirsty