Loo views

Loo views

Thursday 31 March 2016

Dream come true

Today I completed my last shift at Kings Bromley Marina. If my plans work out I shall never have to be a wage slave again! They were very nice and gave me a bottle of the water of life (Malt Whiskey) and many best wishes.
No time to celebrate though as I wanted to get my stern and Swan neck painted and various other jobs done too. I had been planning to start the cruise on Monday, but looking at the weather, Sunday would be better, which means I am going to be very busy for the next two days!

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Song of the open road

It is my last week at work at long last. My worries are starting to shrink and my excitement is growing. I found a poem years ago by Walt Whitman which put into words my desire for freedom and self responsibility. Here is an extract, where it says road, read canal...

"Afoot and light hearted I take to the open road.
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune.
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more,
Need nothing, strong and content, I travel the open road.
From this hour Freedom!
From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines."

Thursday 24 March 2016

Waiting is tiring

We have both been clipped and so at least we will be neat and tidy at the beginning of our cruise!
I am starting to wilt now. There has been so much to do to get ready to go. There is the emotional strain of waiting and also of dealing with the fears and anxieties any major life change brings. My sleep is still disturbed and Bonny has started reacting to my stress by misbehaving on her morning walk.
Still, only a week left at work. Then a couple of days to do the last laundry and super market run and finally the waiting will end!

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Fears coming out in dreams

I rarely remember my dreams but last night I had a humdinger of a nightmare. I was out on my cruise and had tied up at a lock landing. I left the boat to set the lock which took a wee while. When I returned I found my boat had sunk, right under the water. I ran off and found someone with a phone to summon help. When I went back, the boat had disappeared!

I ran up and down the bank asking anyone who would stop, where my boat had gone. A man told me someone had craned it out and driven off with it. I stood on the towpath in shock. My home was gone and with it, everything I owned in the world. Two young men approached and offered me a bed in their squat for the night. My dream ended with me lying on a ripped, stained mattress in a condemned building, wondering what on earth I was going to do come the morning.

Thank goodness Bonny hadn't featured in the dream, that would have made it so much worse! It doesn't take a genius to interpret this dream. I am obviously feeling anxious about this next stage in my life. Not so much the actual cruising but the vulnerable position into which my decisions are putting me. Quitting my job means no regular income, hence the dream of ending up destitute. Single handed cruising can carry it's own risks. And not knowing what my decisions will lead me to is echoed by the end of the dream.

Still, no reason not to carry on regardless. There was an advert a few years ago that carried the tag line 'Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams'. Quite.

Saturday 12 March 2016

Less than 3 weeks and we are ready!

Bonny and I are getting properly excited now about our coming cruise. She is trying out one of her favourite positions...
I have been deciding what to take and what to leave on the mooring. The roof is starting to fill up nicely, but I need to make sure I have a clear path to walk on it. I use the roof all the time in locks, climbing up on the roof and then using the lock ladder to get out of deep locks and vice versa to get back on the boat. 
We are so looking forward to setting off. I say we, Bonny may not know what the plan is, but she knows something is up. For the first time since she was a pup she has been showing anxiety when I leave the boat without her. I have also had to watch for over excitement on walks or on the mooring. Just a few minutes ago she suddenly took off, racing up the mooring and almost out of sight. I had to be very stern with her to get her back!

My sleep pattern hasn't been right for weeks. I have been waking at 2 or 3am either convinced it's time to get up or beset by terrors and imaginings that are always worse in the dark hours. 'What if I injure myself whilst in the middle of nowhere?' What if I drop my phone in the cut?' What if I run out of money?' 'What if I hate cruising and long for the pleasure of cleaning the marina loos?' Once daylight comes the fears recede and the excitement takes over. Just 12 working days left!

Thursday 3 March 2016

4 weeks today till freedom

This is the gateway to my new life! I finish work four weeks today. Then, after a few necessary tasks, I shall leave my mooring and turn on to the Coventry Canal for my longest cruise since I bought the boat just over 7 years ago. You might call it my jubilee year!

My current plan (open to utterly changing of course) is to pootle down to the Ashby Canal and spend some time exploring the Battle of Bosworth fields. Then back to the Coventry and down onto the Oxford Canal. This will take me via Rugby, Braunston and Banbury to Oxford. I have friends living along the route and hope to see them as I mooch past.
Then I will retrace my boat steps as far as Napton, where I shall turn left onto the Grand Union Canal and face my first broad locks! Hopefully I will then meet up with my mega friends Roger and Shirleyann and together we will tackle the miriad of locks between there and Stratford Upon Avon, where we shall visit with The Bard.

If it hasn't rained for the entire trip thus far, we shall then cruise on the River Avon to Tewkesbury and then on the Severn, through Worcester to Stourport. I shall then resume my lone cruising up the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal and that is as far as my plan stretches so far.

I am so excited! I have started stockpiling stuff to avoid a lot of shopping once I'm out. I have serviced the engine and the boat has been blacked, so all ready for cruising. I need to speak to my friendly post master and arrange for my post to be forwarded occasionally to post offices on my route. Both Bonny and I will be clipped before we go so we will be smart boaters. There are various other jobs I need to get done but that all makes this time of waiting go quicker. So roll on April!