Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Am I living the dream?

Time has flown by and I've been living on the canal boat for over two months now. It's taken me a lot longer than I anticipated to write the first blog once we actually moved on board as life has been pretty full-on and hectic ever since!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and we now realise that we should have reigned our excitement in a bit and not set off on our travels as soon as we did. And that we should have figured out how we were going to stop and moor up before we did, as it suddenly dawned on us an hour into our first journey that we didn't have a clue how to do it. But we figured it out, sort of. The first time involved me leaping from the boat and pulling it to a stop with the ropes! We've now discovered that we do it in a much easier and more sedate manner, which will also stop me developing a body builder look.

Despite my pre-move worries about Rusty the cat she hasn't got lost once but has taken regular dips in the canal. So regular that we've come to believe she actually likes it and jumps in.

As well as having to learn loads (you have to turn a pump on to get water to come out of the taps, for example, which took us 4 days to figure out!) we have met some incredibly lovely and helpful people, seen places we would never have discovered otherwise and spent a lot of time surrounded by stunning landscapes and wildlife. All went swimmingly for the first few weeks and it was everything we'd dreamed it would be.

Then the engine broke. And it wouldn't start again. And we were stranded on the towpath for over two weeks with no lights and power. We've had a lot of candlelit dinners, which was nice for a few days then just a pain as you couldn't see what you were doing when cooking them or eating them.
But the power of social media as a good thing then came into full force when a friend I'd made on Twitter, Brian, who also lives on a canal boat, came to our rescue.

Someone must have been smiling on us as we broke down close to where his permanent mooring is and he not only spent a whole day trying to get the engine started for us, he also gave us lifts in his car to get shopping, he lent us a battery powered lamp and then he towed us for three days back to the boatyard we’d originally started out at. Without him and his lovely wife, Jean, we would have been well and truly buggered and without Twitter I would never have known them.

So, we've been back at the marina for a few weeks now and our new engine was installed yesterday. When we moved the boat from the workshop area back to our mooring yesterday afternoon it was the first time that she moved in over a month without us pulling her by the ropes or someone towing us. It felt good. Really good. And it sounded even better. We now realise how bad the original engine was as we can have a conversation without shouting when this new one is running!
So am I living the dream? It's getting there. I had no idea it would be as hard as these first couple of months have been but I'm sure things will get better. We're staying put until after Christmas to get lots of DIY done and have a little rest. And when it's all calmed down again I'll be getting back on with my writing, as that agent that I met at York will not wait forever to read my novel.

So what's everyone else been up to while I've been stranded on the canal?