Loo views

Loo views

Monday 6 May 2019

Going with the flow?

This is my current view from my loo.

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!

Sunday 14 April 2019

A new attitude

Not strictly a view from the loo, but more a portal into a different existence; the world of cruising.

I have spent a very happy winter on my not so new mooring at Shebdon. I arrived there at the end of August and the time since has just flown by. So now we are in April and I have left my lovely mooring (and my wee car) and have cast myself onto the waters.

Bonny is still with me and although approaching ten years old, she is as lively as ever. The good news is that, since we have been at Shebdon she has been much less inclined to run away. She did it once and I had to rugby tackle her in the back garden of a nearby house. Since then she seems content to stay with me. So much so that we can now tramp across fields and through woods without using a lead. Her secret is that she has finally lost her fear and anxiety and trusts me now.

We have been cruising since 31st March. Bonny's new attitude has made me reappraise my own bad habits when it comes to new adventures. I have always struggled with anxiety and moving my boat from place to place sometimes causes me illogical stress. I have a phobia about queuing and so will start cruising at silly o'clock just to try and get to a lock flight first. If another boat comes off their mooring in front of me, or I find a queue when I get there, I can feel aggressively anxious. Mooring up too can get me going. I prefer to moor in out of the way places and can get very aggravated when, what I term, a 'snuggler' comes and moors right by me. It can leave me wound up for the whole evening. This spoils what is otherwise an idyllic existence.

This season I have made a 'new cruise' resolution. Each morning I say to myself "Today, I choose not to be anxious." I then carry on my day as I would if I were the only person alive in the world. I don't hurry to start in the morning (this is taking a lot of will power when I have a big lock flight to do). If I am following another boat I breathe deeply and give them (and myself) loads of space. I have started to moor on visitors moorings because I expect other boats to come and moor up next to me, so it causes less stress when they do. And if they don't it's a bonus.

So far I have been doing surprisingly well and only had one day where I slipped and rushed off in an anxious hurry. I noticed how that coloured my whole day and how it affected Bonny's mood. I also notice how much better my days are when I choose to relax and go with the flow.

Perhaps I am finally growing into my boat's name: 'Don't Panic'!

We are currently on the ridiculously beautiful Llangollen Canal, making our way very slowly towards Wales. I will endeavour to make regular entries in this blog as we travel.