Sunday, 7 January 2018

Hanging in there

I know, I know - we haven't been exactly good at keeping you all updated. Well - it was Christmas. But I admit, I also couldn't get myself to write a post, as there is not much news, still. We're waiting for the house to sell. Had 2 viewings this week - no luck. We're basically getting on with more research, talking to people who've done it, finding websites where boats are sold or hired out and thinking about having our barge made from scratch. Lots of brain-storming going on; also thinking of boat names. It's a bit like being pregnant - we know it's going to happen - and we have kind of a time frame - but we just don't know exactly when.

Every day we walk along the Thames in Abingdon,
and every day we ask ourselves,
when is it going to happen, that we see this kind of
scenery every day for the rest of our lives.

I (Silvia) have been suffering from a trapped nerve in my neck since the beginning of October, which has now affected my left shoulder as well. I'm managing, but it's truly affecting my energy levels. By about 3pm I'm done, and all I want to do is lay down and rest my body. Can't do that, of course, as I've got to go to work in the mornings and build my business in the afternoons (and whenever I get time). So, basically, some things are very low on my agenda, and this blog is one of those.

In my mind, some of my/our our habits are going to change, when it happens (I mean when we've moved to our new floating home):

  • We'll eat much, much healthier, and mostly vegan. Being aware of what's going on in the world in order to keep and feed animals, and what's happening to pigs, cows/calves/male chickens/chickens etc is making me sick whenever I see clips on my FB timeline. I don't look away anymore, and my conscience is weighing quite heavy on that topic. We still eat cheap Tesco or Aldi meat, and my excuse is that we can't afford the organic stuff. Rubbish, of course. Less is more - we both know that. It's our habits and cravings that make us do this, and there is no good excuse. Making step-by-step changes seems to be the way forward for us.
  • We won't have a big TV screen. We'll both have laptops, as we do need them for our jobs and hobbies. So, watching stuff together will still be on the cards, but we won't allow space for a big TV screen, we'll sit side by side on a sofa and watch stuff on a laptop together, and only things that we agree on together. We kind of do that already, to be frank.
  • I will read more. I used to be a "Leseratte" (a reading rat - sounds so wrong) when I was young. Where's this gone?! I will read the books that are still in my possession and go with us onto the barge, and I will read all the books I've bought and downloaded to my Kindle.
  • I will be more creative. That journey started a little while ago by attending classes like "Art Journelling" or "Creating A Soulbook" etc. I enjoy creativity in a group setting with a facilitator. But will I enjoy it doing it on my own? Not sure, but the intention is set.
  • I will be better at keeping those piles of paper down. I have a two piles that don't seem to ever get any smaller. They're things I want or need to attend to, and then I forget about them. Some of them don't go away, though. Procrastination is the word that comes to my mind. I'm good at that. I want to change and attend to things much more immediately.
That's enough change, isn't it. 

Did you know that Ewan is a Radio DJ?
Tune in every Tuesday from 19:00 (GMT),
live, either online on
on Radio 105.1 FM (Destiny) in Oxford area.
He plays an amazing range of more or less known
Rock and Blues tracks till 22:00
(and on FlashFM the Rock & Blues playlist goes on until the morning hours)
Show is being repeated every Sunday morning from 9am.

Meanwhile we're now emptying the attic and getting rid of more stuff. We have been very lazy the last 2 months. Shame on us. The shed is next.

It's nearly 3pm, and I can feel the strain on my neck. So, I'll give myself a break, feeling satisfied that I've written another post.

Bless you for reading and following. We do appreciate it.

Lots of love to all our readers.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Caterpillar Is Very Hungry

I know you don't see much of us here (even less of Ewan than me), but we're just having such a busy time. I'm building up my business as a life coach and group facilitator, and Ewan is in a full-time job, being a radio DJ and a very committed member of "A Band of Brothers" in Oxford (they're looking for men to volunteer, by the way). But we also have been meeting 4 Estate Agents within 1.5 weeks and are constantly letting go of stuff. We also look after a 'supported lodger' (a young person in leaving care, being housed with us) and have a dog. Well, and there's of course all those unimportant things like shopping, cleaning, tidying, cooking and keeping friendships up, going to the pub ..... You get the picture.

Ready to go to the charity shop

Most importantly, we are not yet living on a barge. So, there's not a huge deal to report from that position. Yet, we have contracted an estate agent to try and sell our house, it's going on the market (hopefully) this Saturday. Tomorrow we'll have taken pics of the house (God - I still need to hoover, dust, tidy, clear the garden from all those bl...dy leaves...), so, we're well on our way. We're hoping that we're going to sell real soon (within 4 weeks, please, dear Universe!!!), as we absolutely can't wait to live our dream. Yet, there is still just soooo much  S T U F F.  Absolutely unbelievable, what we thought we 'needed' to keep. It was only 4 years ago that we moved to Abingdon-on-Thames. We had let go of so many things then, as we downsized. I remember promising myself that I'd never accumulate so many things again. And here we are. I'm at the stage of "do-i-really-need-to-let-go-of-this?", so, at least I've rid myself from everything I didn't have any attachment to. Now I'm starting to feel the pain of letting go beloved and more meaningful things. Ewan has yet to deal with his man-shed (I think I'll take a holiday when he's attacking that one). But at least we've mostly emptied the garage. I won't be able to run away from emptying the attic, though. This will be my absolute biggest challenge, as I've got memories stored there, and old VHS cassettes with German films on them, CD collections .... Urgh! But we'll do it - I know we will. We're so focused and determined - if I was our friends I'd be admiring us. I believe we're doing an amazing job. We've done good research, we've spoken to people who've done it, we've spoken to friends and family, we've been following related blogs, we're blogging ourselves, we've started letting go before we even decided to go on a barge, and we're being very disciplined with the getting-rid-of-stuff. Once we've sold, we can move on without huge 'baggage', we'll be totally ready to find our dream boat and move in.

Why did I give this post such a strange headline? Some of you might have already guessed. I feel Ewan and I are in metamorphosis, stage 1 of 3, and we'll come out of the cocoon as beautiful shiny butterflies 😋

I would like to share with you the collage I made recently in a little workshop:

I love my creation, as it reflects my vision of the near future. I didn't find a barge, unfortunately, but even so, these pics reflect my longings. Sorry for the German words, I used German magazines. But I will translate them for you (in no particular order):
- Departure
- Beautiful Life
- I look forward to new pathways
- Onlookers welcome (that is snales, birds ....)
- Finding an oasis
- In time I recognised that I don't need to be perfect in order to be loved
- Seeking stillness and finding freedom
- Oozing love
- Coming home
- Together strong
Those words say it all. The snowdrops symbolise my wish to have moved by the end of winter 2017/18.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Summer Break Is Over

Hello devoted Followers,

We've been quiet. I know. I do apologise! It has been a roller coaster Summer for us. We were far too busy to write blogs; and also enjoying any available sunshine.

Our dream had been on hold for a bit, as we had to get a wedding, two holidays and a crisis out of the way. But it's alive, and we're still on track.

If we can get any chance at all to live on a wide-beam barge for just a few days or weeks, that would be so amazing. So, if you read this and can give us this experience (of course against payment), please do get in touch.

Just a few impressions from the wedding:

Isn't she the most beautiful thing? I'm not allowed to publish photos of her husband, but I can tell you they looked gorgeous together, and the day was perfect. We were in Germany for 10 days and enjoyed every minute.

But back to the dream. This week I'll pop in to the estate agents and find the right one for us. So, very soon, the house is going on the market. We're still letting go of things. And you might want to know that we've been trying to sell a dark brown 2-seater leather recliner sofa (electric), that is in very good condition, but we just haven't found the buyer, yet. If you're interested, do get in touch, we'll find the right price for sure, and you'll be so happy to own it. Here are some pics:

It's looking good. Right?

So, just let me get on with things, so that I have more to say next time. I'm also busy building up my coaching practice (which will obviously move with me to the barge) and setting up workshops. So, lots to do.

If you can help us in any possible way, please be in touch. But we're equally grateful to just hear from you and get to know you if you're passing by (Abingdon-on-Thames).

Till soon.....

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Half a day out with Paul and Carol

Last Saturday we were warmly welcomed on Paul & Carol's barge "La Finisterre" at Abingdon Lock. First we were greeted by their super sweet dog who gave us a huge smile (honestly! - she does show her teeth when she greets you!). I wish I could show you a picture of that. 😁

What a lovely couple! We had a beautiful time with them, chugging up the Thames to Sandford Lock and back. We were kindly offered cheese & biscuits and I brought my German cheesecake for pudding.

Up the Thames it was Ewan steering ....

..., which he did confidently - I was impressed. And backwards I had a go. Gosh was I nervous. But I got the gist of it after a few hundred yards (or was it miles?). Still - I'm finding the steering into the mooring very challenging and we both left it to Paul. 

Our Jack seemed to be relaxed most of the time. But once we found him off the boat when we were in a lock. He must have thought "walkies 😀".

I loved watching Paul & Carol's dog Milly (I hope I got this right). She always sat on the edge checking out the river, and mostly wagging her tail.

Obviously, we loved seeing the wildlife. We saw at least 3 herons. It still gets me all excited when I see one heading off. Not a very good pic. Forgive me! The weather was rather wet and windy.

So, do we feel any clearer about moving onto a houseboat? Yes. And we're being given a fantastic opportunity by Paul and Carol to try it out for a week in September. They say they've never looked back, having done it for about 20 years. All they say is very inspiring and it's motivating us to go ahead. We might even rent their boat for a while when they go travelling for a year. We'll see how the house sale goes. We haven't even put the house on the market yet. That will happen in September.

So far, it's all going well - so many nice connections already, and still lots of support from all our friends and family. When we speak about our dream-come-true project, we always find ourselves smiling. Ewan asked if we were still going ahead with it if we won the lottery big time. We agreed that we would; possibly on an even bigger scale, though 😉 - And Ewan would retire immediately.

Life's exciting.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Parents, Clothes and Lodger

We've done it. We've told Ewan's parents. What a big relief! The first response wasn't too uplifting. But after explanations and expressing our dedication, as well as showing mum some of the amazing wide-beam houseboats online, she softened into it. We've got their blessing. That's what we needed.
It feels even more real now.
My parents ... to come .... but not yet. I expect mine to try and talk me out of it, and I'm such an obedient daughter. Well, this time I won't be, but I am aware that I - again - don't want to get them to worry about me. Maybe I'm totally overthinking this. It's all in my head so far. But I can't yet pluck up the courage.

Today I went through my two 3-door wardrobes (yes, 2!), and I think I could now start making it one, slowly. There are some pieces I just am not ready to let go off. But 2 black bags full (I could hardly carry them) was a brilliant start.

And I sold a camera - Yippeeh!

Another topic:

My prescription has changed, and I'm having trouble to read stuff on the laptop or my phone. Believe it or not, but right now we can't afford to buy me new glasses. They will cost me nearly £400 because my eyes are so complicated. So, I'm trying to sell stuff and get that money in. But that bl...dy recliner sofa won't sell. Ebay was unsuccessful. I've now put it on Gumtree. Wish me luck, please!

And an issue I'd like to share:

We have a lodger. He is a minor (17) and from Albania - a refugee, seeking asylum here. We got him through Social Services and have had him live here and cared for since June 2016. In all these months, my every attempt to teach him some basics, like how to eat socially acceptable (not with your fingers or the knife only), how to cut meat (not pull it apart), and like how to leave the bathroom behind, so others won't feel disgusted when they want to use it. But also basics like locking up behind him when we're away and he leaves the house. I'm sure you know where this is going. Yes - he seems unteachable, and my levels of anger have been rising for over 12 months. Yesterday I got myself in such a state that I wanted to explode. I talked to him when he came back home, and I hope I made myself very clear this time.

I've been suffering from exhaustion, lately. Couldn't put my finger on the cause of it. But having a young person live with us that is 99% ignorant (or otherwise engaged - .... I only say phone!!!!) might just be a reason. Yesterday, speaking about it with a good friend, I felt so tearful and done with this job, and I understood that a big part of my fatigue might come from this care job (which we need as it gives me an income). I'm not the youngest anymore, and for the last 13 years together (Ewan and me I mean) we've always found our financial situation hard, and we've mostly had strange people living with us to pay the mortgage. So, yes, downsizing is definitely an answer.

I used to be an admin person, before I became a full-time self-employed life coach. Admin is not for me anymore; it's soooooooooooo boring. Also, I see through bad organisational structures, power abuse and how one person has to do more and more because of downsizing staff and taking on more work. I've had it HERE (if you know what I mean). So this is not an option - I can't go back. As a life coach I'm only in my second year of building up, so, I have practically no income, yet. Anyway - this has been quite a struggle, too, as I'm not very good at using marketing tools to advertise my services. It's all so overwhelming.

Sorry for being a bit whiny today, but letting it out is quite a relief, and I'm certainly not looking for sympathy.

Yesterday I also spoke to my old friend in Germany. She told me the boat thing could be a symbol for floating more with our soul's purpose and being carried. She said the solution to our issues might not necessarily be living on a houseboat, but the houseboat could be a metaphor for the solution. She also said, letting go was a great thing and will be rewarded, and that we might have to keep open-minded about what is the right thing for us after the house is sold. We'll see where we float then ;)

See you later,
and thanks for listening.