It’s 4:00pm on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. Naturally that means —– BBQ time! Tesco, just around the corner closes at 5:00. A mad dash into the store revealed little selection but a joint of lamb seemed to fit the bill even though it was far too big for the two of us. Back at the boat the cob was lit and within the half hour the joint was beginning to release its succulent smells. A cob, by the way, is just another name for a posh BBQ.
A Leg of Lamb!
Two and a half hours later our meal was all but ready. Strangely enough at the same time we seemed to have a visitor. A ‘tramp’, ‘hobo’, ‘knight of the road’ or whatever you wish to call him, passed by. He stopped to stroke our dog, Bess. She’ll take all the attention that is given to her. We got chatting. In the course of our conversation we learnt that this gentleman had been on the road for the last 6 years, walking all over the UK. Amazingly, all that he carried with him was a medium –sized bag that housed his sleeping bag.
I asked him if he needed anything. He laughed! How about a new sleeping bag? How about this? How about that? His response was, ‘No, I’m ok, thanks.’ At this point the barbecued lamb joint was completely ready and smelled tantalising. ‘How about sharing some food with us?’ Got him!
We shared the lamb plus all the trimmings and, to follow, chocolate pudding with custard. He remained with us for the next 4 hours. He could talk for England! Yes, he could ‘talk the talk’ and ‘walk the walk’. He’s done them both.
On his way out I asked him if he wanted any money. ‘I could do with 20p for a packet of Rizla cigarette papers for the dog ends I find,’ he said. I gave him £2.20. He said, ‘What am I going to do with the £2?’
This is certainly not the lifestyle that I would choose but it was the one that he had chosen for himself. It just goes to show that you don’t need all the trappings of modern life to be happy and content. This gentleman is happy and content with so little – but, he did know God, who in turn knew him and knew that he needed a good meal, a comfortable seat for a while and stimulating company. And knowing God makes all the difference.
Well, here we are, lounging in the beautiful spring sunshine on our narrowboat, ‘Trinity’, enjoying the peacefulness of the canal around us and appreciating the beauty of God’s creation that we can both see and hear. Today is a special day because it is a time of reflection for us.
Time stands still!
Who are we? It’s now the moment to introduce ourselves.
We are Henry and Lin Kingsnorth and are pleased and thankful to be able to say that we have been married for 42 years. It will be of no surprise to you then to learn that we have 3 children (Jez, Claire and Liam), 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren all of whom have thoroughly enjoyed being with us on the canals at some time or other.
In 1986 I, Henry, started my own engineering company. In 2005 I handed the reins over to our eldest son, Jez, enabling me to retire. This was now our opportunity to be able to change our lifestyle and do what had been on our hearts for a long time – buy and live on a narrowboat.
A Narrowboat Gathering
Painting has always been a hobby of mine, particularly oil painting but I soon realised that even though a 70ft x 6ft 10 narrowboat is quite large there was no way that it would be able to house my paintings, let alone a studio!
Henry Kingsnorth Canal Artist
But the painter in me was not going to be daunted. I found that I could turn my abilities to the traditional art of roses and castles born out of the life on the canals. Now I am happily painting greetings cards in the ‘Canal Art’ style. Although the themes may be similar every one of my cards is totally unique (You can view a selection at http://www.dotsworkbox.co.uk/Greetings_Cards/index%20-%20canal_art_cards.htm)
As Christians we quickly joined the Boater’s Christian fellowship (BCF). This is a boating club for Christians and it enables us to meet others on the waterways who also belong, as we recognise the BCF window stickers on their boats. Through this organisation we were introduced to Canal Ministries which we became part of. We are now evangelists for this Mission. As we travel the canals of Great Britain we are privileged to be able to reach out to people in both practical and spiritual ways in order to meet their many differing needs.
Sitting here in the sunshine, musing over the last few years, we realise with thankfulness what an exciting and fulfilling life we have been leading.
Stress? How do you spell that - b-o-n-e?
We have many stories to tell and know that we shall have many more during 2011. There are some exciting events due to happen soon but these and the stories will have to wait until we write again.