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.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The rain, our parents and stuff

We have a date with Paul and Carole - Yey! They will welcome us on their boat and we'll have a good chat about moving from the land to the river. We're excited 😀

Right now, there is not much more to report. Only that we have got rid of some stuff, have put things on Ebay and have contacted a friend to help us with the repair of the kitchen tap.

But we haven't spoken to our parents, yet. Coming Monday we're invited to my in-laws for supper. We'll have to pluck up some courage .... Don't get me wrong - they are the most wonderful people I've ever known; they are tolerant, open-minded, open-hearted and so very loving and lovable. But we believe that one of their great values is to own a house - on the land. We simply expect them to feel rocked by this news of ours. And we hate the idea that my mother-in-law is going to have even less sleep in the near future, worrying about us.

It's been raining all day here in Abingdon. That made us both think the same thought: What would it be like on the barge now? What would we do on a day like this? We both came to the conclusion that we would do exactly the same as we do now - we'd be on our computers, avoiding to go outside. I must admit, I haven't been out with my dog (shame on me, I know), but my darling Ewan has already had a long bike ride this morning (bless him), so he's off the hook.

We've been telling more friends and acquaintances about our mission, and we've had nothing but applause. Weird! But good 😊

I would like to use this blog to write about other things that move me, so, be prepared that not everything will be about the boat dream-come-true thing.

Here's a peaceful image of me gazing into nature. I can't wait doing that every day ...

And here's a pic of my sweet dog Jack running through the grass:

Tonight we're going to a big Sophos Party. Shame that the weather is not with us on this one. I need to become more English and not be so bothered by rain.

Cheerio, and talk to you soon x

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Good Omen

Last Saturday we went to a birthday bash at the Brewery Tap in Abingdon and it took no more than 2 minutes before Ewan was introduced to Paul and Carole, houseboat owners for 14 years on the river Thames in the Abingdon area. Ewan was chuffed when he realised that Paul was the brother of one of his mates who had just recently told him to have a chat with them. The world is such a tiny place, isn't it. Paul and Carole offered very kindly to come visit them and have a good chat about living in a boat, but also spoke about the possibility of renting theirs when they are travelling, so we can get a good idea of what it is like. This certainly is a good omen, right?

A day later, at the 3Bs fundraiser event, one of Ewan's "brothers" (from A Band of Brothers), who had read about our venture, offered us their narrowboat for a holiday this summer. Another omen.


I'm a spiritual person (grounded as well - so, no 'nananunu') and take this as a further sign of the Universe that our dream is blessed and meant to come true. All will be well and falling into place.

So far, we only get full support from everyone. We still haven't told our parents, though. Just so worried they won't sleep. We'll do it Friday lunch time.

Next step: Asking a friend to help us repair the kitchen tap and find out how to clear the utility room's ceiling from mould.

I was a good girl today and have done some weeding in the garden - ooooh my poor back. Must rest now :)

Yes, you are seeing a pack of meat defrosting in the sun LOL

Till soon xxx

Friday, 7 July 2017

Snap decision

During those beautiful warm summer days it is especially difficult to be patient with regard to realising our dream. I've been walking my dog Jack every day along the river in Abingdon, and I look at the barges with even more yearning now. I envy everyone who is already living this lifestyle close to nature.

The day before yesterday I took a snap decision and signed up with House Simple, in order to get the house sold as soon as possible (don't like mainstream estate agents, would rather sell the house privately). My thinking was, we don't have to commit to anything, but we will get an idea of what our property is worth. When Ewan came home he looked unhappy, though, so I sat down with him and we had a chat. The decision whether or not he'll have a job has been postponed another 2 weeks, and it's becoming hardly bearable for him. Poor Darling. Other stuff is also going on at work, e.g. one of his colleagues has got the sack. It's so bloody sad. What's going on at the County Council right now - I have only one word for it: Disgusting.
Anyway - to get back to the point - Ewan didn't have his head free for selling houses, so, he asked me to wait with getting Estate Agents here. Also, he feels we need to do some cosmetics first. He has a point, I gather. When I want something I want it NOW 😁 So, I'll have to cancel with House Simple again and be patient and do the step-by-step thing. Glad I have my Steadfast - he's so good for me.

It's not raining, so, the earth is really dry and hard; and it's hot. Therefore, I decided that garden work (de-weeding etc) is not on at the moment. I will sell stuff on Ebay now. Get some money in and rid of stuff as an added bonus. Anyone want a beautiful, fully functional dark brown double leather recliner sofa? We're finally selling it. It won't come with us - too big and bulky. Very comfy though 😆

Please, Weather God, let it rain cats and dogs all night tonight and then let us have more of this wonderful summer warmth at the weekend. Thank you!

Oh - P.S. -
If you'd like to support a wonderful Charity called "A Band of Brothers", please come along to 3Bs Fundraiser event at Sunningwell this Sunday (9th July). We'll put on a barbecue (even vegan and veggy options available), bands, offerings like Reiki etc., and Ewan will play his Rock & Blues in between, cause he's The DJ. This will be a real nice, fun family event.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

So much to do

So, now that we're going to do this, there is just so much we need to do - it feels overwhelming to me. I guess, listing a few things might help?

  • Get rid of stuff - Am I going to sell things or take them to the Charity Shop? Both, I guess. But it's so much work 😖 And where do I start? I'll start with the stuff that goes to the Charity Shop - things that I don't expect people will spend money on Ebay. It's so hard for me to let go of things. They somehow seem to be part of me - memories, collections... What if I miss them when they're gone? Can they possibly go with me onto the boat? No. I don't want stuff anymore. It's time to let go. Carol and George said it's so liberating, and recently Ewan and I watched The Minimalists on Netflix and found it liberating to just watch others free themselves from possessions. So, I can do this. I will do this.

  • Put the house on the market - Yeah, I'd like to do that today. Nevertheless, the garden needs attention, the super expensive hob has a diagonal crack from top left to bottom right, the bath tub has a crack (the coat won't last forever), the kitchen tap is loose, drips and leaks. The kitchen walls need a new coat of colour, so does the living room. Carpets need cleaning; the front lawn needs new grass, the patio needs weeding. Ewan has cut the hedge, bless him; that's something. Okay - before we've done the house and garden up we can't get the estate agent here. At least the cosmetics need doing.

  • Do houseboat research - Carol and George have given us some helpful tips where to find boats. But does it make sense to look now? It's like when we last sold and bought a house, first get some interest, then start looking for a new home. At least that's how I see it at the moment. But there's other research to be done. We need to understand how to maintain a boat, how to even get it here if it comes from another part of the world. Mooring costs, taxes - Will we even find a mooring? They're not easily available. I need to go to Rosie's Cafe and Boat Hire and get a boaters' magazine. I can do that. I'll have a lovely walk along the canal with Jack and then a coffee and a read.
  • Tell our parents - Right now this seems to be the hardest bit. Most of our family and friends know, but we haven't told our parents. We expect resistance. They'll talk us out of it. They'll infect us with their fears and doubts. Again - speaking to Carol and George helped us a little, as afterwards we felt we could tell them. But today is another day, and my fear of their reaction is back. Well - we have time, haven't we.

Ewan might find out today if he still has a job. I better get busy and not think about it. Just hoping for the best. Somehow, I feel the Universe is with us all the way. I feel a green light.

Let's get do stuff now.

See you later,
Silvia 🙋

Monday, 3 July 2017

Meeting others who've done it

Yesterday, we walked along the Thames in Abingdon, and it didn't take long that we noticed this beautiful wide-beam boat - one of those that we're looking to get if it all works out. We looked at each other and knew we'd knock on their door to ask lot of questions.

Carol and George were instantly warmly welcoming us in. After introductions and telling them about our dream, George took us on a guided tour of "Still Rockin" ( What a beautiful interior, and so much space!! We got a lot of very valuable information on best width, length, height, horse power and so much more. How lovely was THAT???! Stepping out of the boat, we were even more convinced that this is not just a dream, but one that will come true for us.

Soon, we'll be able to have this kind of view every day...

More than ever, we feel very excited. Boaters, next year we'll be one of you 😀

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Seed of an Idea

I guess like for lots of people life has been a struggle for us, constantly working hard to make ends meet. Well, we’ve had enough of the millstone that’s called a mortgage, enough of having to share our space with a lodger, with not having the freedom to do as we want when we want. And on top of that, government cut backs are threatening my earnings.
I’ve spent all my life living in proximity to the River Thames and the Oxford Canal, seeing the many various crafts and lifestyles, while walking dogs along the towpath. I've been wondering if one day I too could take on such a way of life.
I’m married for the second time, and Silvia has similar thoughts. But at 6’2″ tall we kind of assumed that the boats would mean a life of stooping for her. Then, about a month ago, we had the opportunity to see inside a wide beam barge, and to our surprise there was a clear 6 to 8 inches above her head.
From that point our dream was starting to become reality ... at least in our minds.
The Plan is to sell the house and buy a wide beam barge (or Dutch barge). It's July 2017 now, so, if we started today we could be moving onto the river mid winter, assuming it would take about six months to sell, find and buy the right boat, move it to Oxfordshire if necessary, and get settled in. Oh, and there is the contents of the house to think about, we have so much ‘stuff’ - we’ll need to down-size our belongings, find a home for the hens. Jack the dog will come with us.
So, the idea behind this blog is to publish the progress of our move from Land to River.
We’re definitely in the research stage at the moment, so, are looking for help, advice, information anything really that makes this dream come true. Please, if you’ve done this journey yourself and have some wisdom to offer, do get in touch.
Just writing this to the world - feels like a start.