I am still on the Llangollen Canal but have turned at the top and am now on my way back down. The highlight has, of course, been crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the downside has been having to operate many lift bridges!
Travelling on the Llangollen is particularly interesting because there is a strong flow of water from the top to the bottom, very unusual in a canal. Travelling against the flow is altogether harder. The tiller fought my controlling hand, bridge holes slowed my boat so much that it was hard not to bounce off the sides and as for the tunnels... The flow through the Chirk Tunnel was so strong that I just about ground to a halt! And I hate tunnels at the best of times.
I am now travelling downstream, with the flow, and suddenly everything is simpler and calmer and more enjoyable. My engine doesn't have to work as hard, I slip through the bridge holes with ease and even the tunnels were straightforward. I can cruise at tick over speed and yet be moving as quickly as I was going upstream with full revs on. It is an all together more pleasant experience.
It prompted me to reflect on my life and how I am living it. Am I going with the flow or battling against it? How much do I follow my natural instincts, rather than forcing myself to fit in with the society around me? How much do I listen to my inner voice prompting me to rest, or eat or exercise? Am I living my life in a way that fits with the person I am becoming? Do I battle with the world or smile on it with compassion and humour and forgiveness?
If I had asked myself these questions 20 years ago, the answers would have shown that I was living a profoundly unnatural life for my character and in almost every way I was 'going against the flow'. Now, after ten years of living on my boat, ten years of increasing material poverty, ten years of letting go of all my many 'shoulds and oughts' , ten years of discovering what my natural self is actually like, well, I still have areas to address, but I can honestly say I am now going with the flow. And it feels good!
Now I need to leave off writing and pay some more attention to Bonny. She is ten years old today. We have been celebrating her birthday with walks, sausages and much fun!