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First day on the narrowboat.  Just looking around, soaking it all in. Each side, each corner, the views from each end.  The details of the boat, the look of our possessions within it.  Even with laundry hanging up.  Especially with laundry hanging up, because that is what it looks like with us living in it.  That means that we are here, that we live here.

We need a new hose attachment to be able to fill the water tank, but no matter, the water tap is only the length of next door’s boat away so it’s easy to fill our empty bottles and use that water for washing up and the loo, and bought water for drinking.  Mind you, the tap water is drinking water so I may not continue being this fussy.  Already I have given up on washing fruit and vegetables and have embraced various other water saving adjustments.  When we have the water tank filled and have water running from the taps, well, that will seem like absolute luxury.

After a very cosy and toasty first night’s sleep, my husband brought me a mug of tea in bed, lit the fire and then went out to buy fuel and to give me a bit if space on my own to nest.  After feeling overwhelmed by stuff for about five minutes, I soon settled in to putting clothes away and generally getting organised.  It was a (relatively) warm, sunny day and we went for a walk along the towpath then went in search of the nearest launderette.  (This was expensive, I am going to try and stick to hand washing.  In the summer we can use the washing machine on the bank but I am not really up for doing that now.)

We hung up the washing to air, then my husband did the washing up and cleaned up the kitchen and I emptied and put away stuff from the numerous bags.  Still more to do, but by the time we had finished it looked a lot better, even with the washing.  I cooked a simple and nutritious meal, so nice to eat home cooked food.  Everything is near each other and we’ve left the pulses out as they tend to get forgotten, and we aren’t using the freezer, I am using it as an overflow for spare toiletries etc.  Both meals so far consisted of chickpeas or beans, stir fried vegetables, coconut milk, noodles and spices.  So simple, so nutritious and so tasty.
After dinner I went and sat outside on my own with a coffee, a cigarette and some biscuits.  Just sitting out on the deck, looking at the starry starry night, watching the brightly lit up windows of the trains going by, seeing the soft glow from our neighbours’ windows, the glow of solar lights dotted about on the bank, and the brighter glow of our own porthole near my seat.

I wish I could find the words to adequately describe how lovely it is here.  It feels surreal, unbelievable, like being in the middle of a dream coming true.  Sensory overload, but in a good way.  And work receding, my old house forgotten, knowing that this will free up enormous areas of my brain, my energy reserves, my creative capacity….  But not there yet, in transition, of course we’re all always both in transition and there, it’s just that we’re not always aware of it.

It’s been a lot to take in, but it’s sharpened my awareness.  There’s no model for this, other than a few days spent on my husband’s boat early in our relationship.  Certainly no model for leaving my career, leaving my house, buying and moving onto a boat whilst simultaneously preparing to go to India and travelling for a year.

We’re doing okay, doing stuff, being in close quarters, being a team.  Last night in bed I thought, wow, we’ve had nearly ten years together.  If I’d thought we’d have had that at the beginning, would I have made sure that we’d done more, had more adventures?  We didn’t do much until last year, well not much that others could see anyway.  But we’re doing it now, we’re making the most of every minute, every day, every week, month and year….

My 17 year old gypsy caravan dwelling self, and my ten years ago newly in love, newly awakening self would wholeheartedly approve, I’m sure, even if they might have said, what took you so long?

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Yoga, cramped but managed, double futon in living space too big, plan to get two smaller ones.  Every stretch just felt amazing.  New slippers, £2.50 from charity shop, black, fluffy inside, faux suede booties, I love them so much.  Having given up after looking in Next, Fatface etc and not finding any non animal ones, I found these.

Amongst the big stuff, I’m still noticing the small, noticing, loving and appreciating.  Oh, and medium sized things- today I fed a teenage swan out of my hand.  I know we will get woken up early if I start feeding them, they may take to knocking on the sides of the boat at 5am but that’s a price worth paying.  They can be cat substitutes.  Maybe I will learn to tell them apart and give them names.

Btw if anyone reading this knows about birds, what should I feed the swans and ducks?  I understand bread is not that great even though they like it.

Thank you for reading.