What is supposed to be spring to our untrained eye still looks a bit like winter, only with grass, it feels like winter too, to us at least. We are assured that when the time comes the leaves will begin to move, the flowers will bud and the world around us will change.
When the time comes for a change, it just arrives without warning for us too, as it did when we woke this morning. Suddenly the tasks that yesterday were necessary to have complete before departure, were no longer important. The only thing that matters when that feeling is upon us is being underway, so as yet unfitted fenders were lashed to the roof waiting for another day, and before he could do anything to resist we were poking the geriatric Mr Perkins in the ribs, trying to rouse him from his slumber.
He remains quite cantankerous but the wiring renovations completed last year have taken the sting out of his starting argument at least. The love that Bill lavished on him over winter has left him with a much greater ration of oil than we would normally allow, and like a fat old Labrador, he's gulping it as though there will be no tomorrow, but apart from the odd hiccough he grumbles away all day pushing us along at our usual walking pace.
Five hours at six kilometres per hour and nine locks further down the canal we are moored, alone in the countryside and we are on our way. Life just looks different somehow.
We have another hundred and sixty or so locks to pass before we reach Paris, and are just happy to be on the move, although it must be said that we were just as happy sitting still not twenty four hours ago.