We met Jilly and her OH (other half) and her lovely Rumanian rescue dog at Great Haywood and they were lovely!
The next day we cruised off, heading for my favourite canal, the Shropshire Union. We reached it 5 days later and moored in the exceptionally beautiful Chillington Woods.
This photo is of those woods but the observant amongst you will notice there are too many leaves on the trees for this time of year! I cheated; this is a photo taken from the last time we were here.
We stayed for a couple of days and saw Jilly and family again so just had to spend some time together in the Bridge Inn in Brewood. I had another reason for being there. This enlightened pub has set up a laundry on site. Boaters can wash and dry their large items for a mere £4.50 and it is right beside the canal. I took full advantage! I also did some shopping in Brewood before cruising to Wheaton Aston for water filling and rubbish removal. Then cruised again for another two hours before giving up the ghost!
I decided to stop at a beautiful spot on an embankment. I had to use mooring pins and the wind was lively! It played the game of pushing my boat away from the bank every time I pulled it in. There are not many times I miss having crew, but trying to hammer a mooring pin in whilst holding a rope that is attached to a boat, determined to pull you off the bank and into the water, is a real challenge for a single handed lass.
It took just a little more than the strength I thought I had, not to mention a good 20 minutes, but I finally secured my frisky boat and collapsed in relief...for about ten minutes before Bonny reminded me that, having missed her lunchtime walk, it was really time for a wee and a poo!
I am now relaxing and reflecting on the day. I realise that I am not as tired as I expected to be. Yes, physically it has been full on, but the reason I feel ok is because I didn't waste any mental or emotional energy by stressing about it.
Normally I would have worried about whether there will be somewhere to moor near the laundry. I would worry whether the machines will be already in use when I arrive. Then I would stress about whether I would find all I needed in the small shops in Brewood. Once I had shopped, I would normally get impatient, waiting for the washing to be done. Then, once we set off I would worry about Bonny not getting a walk at her usual time. Finally I would worry about getting moored up in the spot I had chosen.
The physical exertions are nothing compared to the energy drained by all that anxiety. But I have made a pledge that on this cruise I will do my best not to fret, but instead to limit my attention to the present moment and try not to imagine what might happen next.
Today it worked. I focused on each task as it arrived and in between just enjoyed being alive and breathing. If a worry started to gnaw at the edge of my consciousness, I acknowledged it, smiled at it and then let it go. What a relief! Physically I feel like a wreck but otherwise I feel as fresh as a daisy! Long may I practice this successfully!