2004 (Leeds - Liverpool Canal)

First day: Friday 2nd July

As in previous years, the canal holiday started for me in Wantage and I drove down there on the Friday afternoon. It was unlike previous years in two ways, though. For June it has always been a toss-up whether the pleasures of a canal holiday outweigh the discomforts, so she'd decided to give it a miss this time round. Also, Nick and Penny had decided to go ahead of us as they wanted to visit Nick's sister and her family in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. We'd arranged to meet at The Navigation in Skipton.

One unfortunate episode made this a particularly busy start to the holiday. A couple of days previously my office had been burgled. Only today, as I searched around for my mobile phone, I realised that it had been one of the items stolen. It feels as though about half the day has been then taken up with phoning to get the stolen phone cut off, dashing off to Comet to buy a new 'pay as you go' package and then arranging for the new phone to be activated with my old number. It wouldn't have been difficult to tell that I'm not a great user of mobiles. It took me about a quarter of an hour just to find where the 'sim card' was!

The journey was very slow — though it wasn't helped by the fact that I realised when I got to Vauxhall that I'd forgotten to take the waterproof jacket. It took another half hour or so to drive back and get it. The M4 is often slow, but it was so slow today that it didn't get up to normal motorway speeds till well past Reading.

I did get there eventually, of course, and I've been able to relax and enjoy the evening with Alan and June. Alan was cooking this evening and he turned out rather a good pizza. He says he's doing rather less baking these days — and they've been known to buy shop bread rather more often than they used to.

On previous holidays I've taken the laptop with me — mainly so that I can keep a diary as we go along. I've kept a journal regularly since early 2000, using a computer, so I've got used to this way of working. This time, though, I wanted to travel light (as far as possible) so I decided to use my Palm with an add-on keyboard. I've used this on various occasions when I've been staying with my father and it has worked pretty well. I thought this scheme was doomed to failure when I confidently connected the keyboard, to make some notes about today — and I found I couldn't type anything. The machine kept on trying to synchronise with a computer that it seemed to think it was connected to. I tried all sorts of things to stop it doing this, but nothing worked. In the end, as all else had failed, I tried 'rebooting' the machine and to my surprise the problem just went completely away.

Well, I'm off to bed now, as it's just coming up to eleven o'clock. I've been waking up early the past few days, perhaps because of the light mornings. We'll see how that goes tomorrow.

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