We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

HOTW Seend Cleeve, Kennet & Avon Canal

Meet Fran

"In the real world, I do everything in a hurry. I normally find it hard to sit and wait for anything because I feel I'm too busy to waste time. I work part-time as well as being a mum and a wife, so this enforced slow pace is bliss. We've been on a few hire boat holidays now, and it's almost as if they're an excuse for me to give myself permission to occasionally hang about and do absolutely nothing. Once I've done my bit here with the windlass, I get the chance to sit and chill while the water slowly fills the lock.

We meet new people every time we hire a narrowboat. Boaters tend to chat to each other, especially when we're working the locks and waiting for the water to go up or down. I've noticed one topic that crops up a lot at the lock gates is "Why is it that we women usually do all the hard physical work at the locks, while the men just sit and steer the boats in?" I don't know the answer to that, but most of us find it amusing to tease the men about it! Other women I've met with their windlasses joke that their husbands want to be the boat's captain in charge, but my husband isn't like that. No, the secret truth for me is that I'm terrified of driving that great big 70-foot thing! There's no way I would let him swap with me!"

Fran, Seend Cleeve, Kennet & Avon Canal