Loo views

Loo views

Thursday 26 April 2018

Effort versus non-effort.

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!

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Hurrah, the sun is back

We had a windy little cruise yesterday and having to pull the boat into the side, in what felt like a gale, has left me dragging my knuckles on the ground.

Today the sun finally came back from wherever it has been since about September. We tootled to the water point and had a lovely chat with two hire boaters from London. They were pleased I appeared as they couldn't work the tap!! They hadn't figured out that if you turn the handle one way, the water comes out of one side but then if you turn it the other way... they had their hose attached to the side the water wasn't appearing from, bless.

After sorting them out and watering up myself, I cruised the very short distance to Tixall Wide where my above view from the loo is pretty spectacular. We are just having a ten minute pause before walking back to Haywood to meet up with a friend in the Clifford. I say friend although I've never actually met Jilly. She is on the same Facebook group as me for woman on the canals. I very much like how she writes so I'm sure we will be friends in the flesh as well as virtually! Watch this space...

Monday 16 April 2018

Is idleness evil?

Today's view from my loo shows this Spring's lambs gambolling in the field opposite my boat. We too are beginning to gambol after a slightly delayed departure.

I left my mooring on Saturday but stopped near Kings Bromley in order to finish the de-rusting of my roof and so I could let Bonny run off her stress. Afterwards, I was sitting contemplating my roof when I realised it was emptier than it should have been. I had forgotten my hugely useful, small, whirley gig washing line. I spent the evening trying to decide whether it was worth the two hour round walk to return and collect it from my mooring, or whether I cope without it.

The next morning Bonny and I spent our morning walk collecting the washing line. By the time I returned, my foot was starting to object so I stayed put for the rest of the day. This is one of the many advantages of being out for months, I can spare the odd day!

Today we cruised through Handsacre, Armitage and Rugeley, before emerging into the green and pleasant Trent  Valley, bordered by Cannock Chase. I moored up near Taft Bridge on a single boat length stretch of Armco which ensures no close neighbours! This afternoon I sat in the sun, whilst Bonny hunted mice in the reeds. I watched as hundreds of trucks, cars and vans snaking past, on the main road that disturbs the peace of this happy valley.

I wondered, not for the first time, whether what those workers were doing was more worthwhile or morally better than what I was doing, or not doing, on that sunny afternoon. Does the devil really find work for idle hands? Does employment confer some sort of righteousness? Am I a less valuable person because I am sacrificing money and employment in order to cruise my boat and contemplate the universe?

If people didn't work then things would not get done, taxes would not be paid and public services would not be funded. Clearly some work is definitely needed. But does it have to be so much and by everyone of working age? Do people like me also contribute something to the world by modelling a different lifestyle and another view? Would all of us be healthier, both physically and mentally if we had more time to merely be? We work more hours in this country than most of the rest of the world, developed or not. If others get by with more days off, shorter working hours and longer holidays, why can't we? Is it worth being one of the richest economies in the world if we are sacrificing our health and wellbeing on the altar of economic growth?

Are these reasonable questions or am I just trying to quieten the residue of my puritan guilt, that says unless you are suffering, unless you are working your fingers to the bone, you are NOT A GOOD PERSON!

Saturday 14 April 2018

The Big Cruise 2018

After yet another week of wall to wall rain and mist, the sun has finally made an appearance. It couldn't have timed it's reappearance better, as Bonny and I set forth on our big cruise this morning.

We will be travelling for the next four months. I was originally planning to start by cruising around the Four Counties Ring, but thanks to the canal collapsing into the river on the Middlewich stretch, that's not going to happen. Instead we are travelling up my favourite canal, the Shropshire Union. Then I am braving the Llangollen for the second time. I say braving as there are some tricky lift bridges on this canal and last time I had a nasty accident
when I fell off one.

I suspect I cracked a bone on that occasion as a few months later I broke my leg and the two bones broke in opposite directions, which is very unusual. 

After retracing our steps we plan to meet our lovely friends, Roger and Shirleyann Andrews at Great Haywood, probably around the end of June. None of us have cruised the Caldon Canal and it is apparently very beautiful, so that's where we will go. After I have returned them to their car I will decide in which direction to go next.

Today's view from the loo is only a couple of hours from my home mooring. I stopped partly because Bonny was a bit stressed and needed to run off her excitement. Also because I needed to treat some rust on my roof and this is the first dry day to get the treatment on.

I travel with two welcome additions: a new mattress for my bed, replacing a 21 year old one. This is courtesy of my aforementioned friends as a reward for cat and house sitting in January. The second addition is a lower partial denture which gives me chewing teeth for the first time since November!

I will update this blog regularly with news and pictures and the odd musing. Mind you, it is harder to write this than Facebook posts. There I get loads of feedback but for some reason I get no comments at all posted on this blog. I have checked my settings and it seems to be set so that anyone can contribute, so maybe it's just not that interesting! Nemmind, I will write it for myself.