As the train raced through the countryside and I was reflecting on how it seemed inappropriate to go home half way through my holiday, so when I got to Reading I left the station for a walk in the country. I asked the nearest bus uniform containing a person and asked which bus would take me into the country. He pointed and I boarded the bus and asked for a ticket to the country and was given one - no questions asked. Lovely.
We raced through the town, but when I looked out of the window I failed to see any of the country... no rolling hills, no wild flowers and no stone houses. Hmmm I thought... perhaps I should have been more specific. We passed a sign for Theale.. hmm I thought (again) - Milly M is going to Theale. I asked the driver where we were and where he was taking me to 'the canal' he said 'you can get to it through Theale'. Ah, I thought. I asked the bus where the canal was, and eventually a lady told me, but I had missed the stop... but the lovely driver stopped anyway. Splendid.
I strolled along the canal (when I found it!) and enjoyed the wild flowers, the fishermen, the beautiful winding water and the woods alongside it. I walked for a while, and then decided to stop to do some writing (what was I thinking? Mostly 'la la, lovely flowers, la la nice woods, la la aren't holidays grand!'). As I rested some boats came through the lock and I asked one of them how far Aldermaston was (which is where Maffi had said he was earlier)... I told them I was planning to surprise Maffi and Co. (see there was a plan eventually) and they told me to hop aboard and they would give me a lift. Canal people really are fabulous! Jim and Diane on Spirit of Gizmo were a lovely couple, but I only managed to chat for a short time before I heard Milly M's horn beeping (I swear Maffi is the only boater who beeps when he comes around a corner), and told them his boat was approaching. It took Maffi a while to spot me on the back of the boat, but a smooth transition took place, and I am now aboard Milly M.
Next time I go for a wonder I really ought to make sure I have some clean clothes! As I was walking along the canal I was rather dismayed as I could smell the vial odour of rotting bones (moi) which is what persuaded me to stop walking in the first place. I boarded the great ship, raided Maffi's wardrobe and I am now chilling out, taking air and enjoying my million dollar view across the river to sign which tells me guard dogs are on the looses - KEEP OUT!
Tomorrow I shall return to Oxford, pack and go to the Napton Banter, but for now I will enjoy the sun set, the quietness and the peace. This is what we call bliss.