Tuesday, 4 December 2018

A Not So Happy Post

It's Winter. And I'm feeling all those familiar lows that come with short, dark, rainy and cold days. I don't think I suffer from SAD, but I certainly feel a huge lift when the sun is out. But there's much more to the lows than the weather, which - of course - confronts us with heating issues. By the way - as I'm writing on my laptop, whenever I'm pondering, I look up and I see the river flowing past my round window and the river bank on the opposite side. It's always such a lovely view, whatever the weather. It has probably become one of my favourite places to be on the boat. Anyway - where was I? Ah, the lows. Yes, recently I've been up and down a lot, probably more down in the valleys of emotions. This new life of ours - yes - I wanted it. And I still do. Now comes the 'but'. But I also feel constantly challenged by so many little things. The biggest challenge is when Ewan says: "Let's take the boat out." My body goes into complete shock before I feel the fear creeping up in me. What if we bump into a bridge, another boat or the river bank? What if Ewan panics - I have no clue how to maneuver this monstrosity, nor would I be at his end fast enough to help avoid a collision. Usually, as soon as we set off I start feeling more at ease, knowing that my man is feeling confident and happy with moving and mooring her. We have walkie-talkies, so we can communicate, as he's at the stern end and I'm at the bow end. That helps enormously. Yesterday we moved Coddiwomple just from Shillingford to Benson, a journey, which takes just under half an hour one way. We needed to pump out. Ewan was amazing, but there was one moment when I thought we were heading straight into a boat by the river bank; we were going sideways instead following the stream. We would have crushed it, if Ewan hadn't last minute re-gained control over our 37 ton vessel. As always, he managed it well. When we were back home, I was completely exhausted from the stresses of stressing. I am trying to stay calm and focused, and I think I kind of am, but man do I worry. There are moments while moving, when I just feel totally amazing and happy, and I am then looking forward to summer, when we'll be moving about much more. But in windy, rainy weather conditions, I feel our boat is becoming more like a weapon when we move. I am so incredibly proud of Ewan and his confidence. Without him being my rock (as ever) I would have already run away screaming (not sure where, but honestly I would have). I just also want to mention that our dog Jack is always completely freaked out when the engine starts, until it turns off again. He shivers the whole way, bless him.

The constant awareness of limited water, power, limited sewerage tank space, gas supply and wood/coal - I'd never been confronted with that before. Water was always available, so was heating, electricity and sewerage. I never thought about it much. Now I do. I pee into a bucket, I poo at the hotel, and I ask our guests not to flush and use a bin for used paper; I shower rarely (don't worry, I do wash properly), I use washing up water twice or top up with hot water from a kettle; I have to get drinking water from the hotel every 5 to 6 days; I have to think about when and which way to heat, so that I'll be warm going to bed and getting up .... It goes on and on.

Recently I went to a women's meeting, and one of them had lived on a narrow boat for 6 years, so we got chatting. She warned me that Shillingford Bridge Hotel's garden floods from time to time, and that we then would need poles between river bank and boat, so that the boat wouldn't drift into the garden, and that we needed a dinghy to get from boat to land. That set me off into fight and flight mode, and I couldn't sleep that night. Just imagining myself floating meters away from the land and having to get into an unstable inflatable boat with my dog, just when he needs to do his business..... Oh God Almighty!

Yes. I'm finding this hard. I admit it. Now you can have the last laugh.

But I'm not defeated. I'll soldier on with my knight in shining armour. Because Spring and Summer will make it all worth it. I see that going into this venture at the end of September wasn't the best move, as dealing with Winter as newbies really is hard. We still have no canopy, and Kinver are so bloody slow, I think they might actually have forgotten about us or can't be bothered. We still have no working batteries and have to be plugged in all the time, which costs us about £100 per month. And no solar panels either, yet. All ordered. All happening in January, we hope.

So, now is the time for some good news and another 'but':

But, we have an amazing community here at Shillingford Bridge. It really is so lovely to know these special people and feeling the support and friendship. We are not alone. The hotel staff are also very welcoming and nice.

This place is absolutely beautiful; our views stunning. The swan (we call her/him Lesley) comes on a fairly regular basis, and we feed him/her duck food. We enjoy the wildlife, the sounds/noises, and seeing it. Often at night we hear an owl - magic. It's quiet; no noisy, horrible neighbours. The walks round here are gorgeous. Ewan and I are going strong. I have time to heal my body and do the occasional coaching with clients. We have no mortgage no more, no money worries. I enjoy the slow life. I love it when friends and family are with us on Coddiwomple. We have wonderful times together and so much laughter. The Wi-Fi works, slow, but working. By the way - we have a Mi-Fi box from TP Link with a Sim card from Three.com - "All you can eat", which means unlimited data for £25 monthly. The best deal on the market here. The TV is working. Glad we kept it LOL. Winter nights can be quite long.

So here goes. I'll get through my struggles, I'm sure. It's probably mainly my physical issues that bring me down. So much pain all the time.

Lots of love to you all,

Monday, 22 October 2018

A Dream Has Come True

So, let me introduce you to .... Coddiwomple.

Yes, you've read that right. To coddiwomple = to travel in a purposeful manner to a vague destination. We love that word, we did from the first time we heard someone use it ("....coddiwomplin' around...."). It's kind of unbelievable that no-one had yet registered it with the Environment Agency. We secured it nearly a year ago, and now she's ours.

This is where she was delivered  by her former owner and his crew; Abingdon-on-Thames, by Abingdon Bridge, opposite Annie's Boathouse Cafe. The previous owner, John, took pleasure in a last cruise with her and offered to deliver her to us (just asked for expenses), while we were on holiday in Croatia. So, when we came back, we found her like this on a beautiful Monday morning:

Our hearts were pounding, as we approached and stepped onto her for the first time with our own keys, as the owners. Very exciting indeed. I had asked Ewan to play "Millenium" (by Robbie Williams) and carry me down the steps, inside. He played Millenium, but he didn't carry me down the steps (boooh). I forgave him instantly; I am a very heavy girl. Instead, we hugged and danced inside our new home and were just totally overjoyed. Our dream had come true. We did it!

That was on the 21st of September 2018. It will go into history as one of our biggest mile stones, and we're proud as Harry.

Here are a few pics from the inside:

Yes, you're looking at an en-suite bathroom. And - guess what, ... we have another bathroom. Yes. Two showers, two toilets. That's what I call luxury.

Reality kicked in quite quickly, when we had to realise that Coddiwomple was not made to be off-grid. At all. We discovered 5 starter batteries, instead of 1 starter and 4 leisure batteries. Apart from the starter battery for the engine, the rest of them were knackered, didn't hold any power. We had to plug in somewhere. The closest, affordable and available spot we found was here:

Shillingford Bridge Hotel, near Wallingford, Oxfordshire. How lucky are we???!!!

But we couldn't go before we welcomed my oldest daughter and her husband, who came for a week's holiday from Germany. On Friday morning (28. Sept), with the help of 2 wonderful friends, Martin & Janet, we emptied and filled the boat up at Abingdon Lock (filling up took 1 hour!!!) and then set off to Shillingford. A beautiful 3-hour journey in the sunshine - that was just glorious, and again, very exciting. I felt so happy, and Coddiwomple moved so easily through the river. My daughter and her hubby shared the happiness with us, that was very special indeed.

Once we paid our dues and charged the power station, we were finally able to use our appliances. Up until then I toasted my bread like this 😂:

Fortunately she has 2 gas hobs and a wood burner, so we could cook and be warm, before we plugged in.

After my daughter +1 had left, we smelled the fumes coming out of the sewage tank very strongly - urgh - very horrible. So, not long after we had moored up, we needed to go and pump out again. That made us realise how careful we need to be with 'businesses'. Luckily, there was a space at Benson's "Le Boat" rental. They were ever so sweet and helpful. And we had our first ever cruise on our own, even though it was only half an hour 😉. I had been so nervous, but Ewan is a natural. He moved, turned and moored her so smoothly - I was well impressed. Me at the bow, giving hand signs. We're a good team.

This is the view onto the Hotel garden:

Our lovely neighbour, Tim, has since moved to the other side of the bridge, as he got a space with free electricity, lucky him. We won't get a space there this year, unless we're very lucky. Seems like we're paying about £100 per month for power. But that's okay, given the rent at this mooring is very affordable.

The vinyl signs are in the making, the stern canopy as well (might take 3 months though). Talking to the boaters community on Facebook, we found an absolute earth angel, Graham Mills, who is helping us sort out our batteries, power and solar power needs. He's already been for one morning, and he'll come back on Friday for a full audit, as we're totally dumb-arses when it comes to electricity. He's not charging any more than his expenses, as he's retired, wants to be impartial and unbiased, wants to help dummies like us and has "enough money - don't need more".  We can't believe our luck. What a great community the boaters are. Totally wonderful.

Look at Captain Ewan - he's smiling like a HoneyCakeHorse (Honigkuchenpferd - German expression for someone who's smile couldn't be broader). Last Friday, we took her back to Abingdon for another pump-out and Diesel fill-up. In the meantime we've discovered that we can fill up with water for free at the hotel (yippeeh). The weather was  f a b u l o u s. We stayed a night and went back on Saturday - another warm, sunny day. And this is what the Missus did:

Well - not all the time 😄 But it seems that I get a lot more relaxation while Ewan is doing all the hard work. Yes, I am very grateful indeed. But I seem to always prepare meals and constantly keep her clean, which is not to be underestimated, given that a lot of grass and dirt comes in with paws and shoes all the time; and the wood burner makes the space very dusty indeed.

This is what happiness looks (and feels) like to me:

We've been on Coddiwomple for almost a month now. And we both honestly haven't looked back, not one millionth of a second. This is what we wanted, with all it's discomfort, challenges, stresses, worries ... and ... wonderfulness. Life has indeed slowed down big time. We love the convenience of having the hotel here and that we can park both the private car and the work van. The Hotel staff are so accommodating, friendly and welcoming - it's fantastic. Wallingford is delightful with its Cafes and independent stores. My life couldn't be richer. So many friends and family have already paid us a visit and compliments, and many more to come. Sharing Coddiwomple with others is what makes our life even more amazing.

And the walks around here .... Have a look yourself:


And the views from the barge on sunny days/nights:

Speaks for itself, right?

Jack is a very happy boy:

We also love our new pets:

Not to forget the ducks, who also come to be fed. I've seen my first Kingfisher - Oh my God - I was so excited, I screamed. Ewan thought I had hurt myself LOL. And so many herons and other river birds.

I'm sorry I didn't post earlier. I had to settle in a little bit first, and we had to deal with so many things, like Wi-Fi, accessories, wood, lots of visitors, getting stuff to work etc etc. I went through several worries, mainly at night, having thoughts of her sinking or leaking, the water pump stopping to work, the toilets stopping to work, the heating stopping to work ..... LOL. But that has all calmed down. It was just new. And I call it growing pains. I've been expanding, and I have no intention to stop here.

I intend to post more frequently from now. Looking forward to your comments and getting to know more of the boating community. In the meantime:


Monday, 10 September 2018

Day Five of River Cruiser Life

I feel so tired. I haven't slept enough or properly for 4 nights now in a row. It's taking its toll. The bed is hard, and I don't have space to move around, and my back and neck are killing me. Concentration is still okay, yet, my eyes feel like wanting to close. I might just have to take a nap, like Jack, but can't yet. It must be fab to be a dog, especially mine.

Today we're moored at the Abingdon Outdoor Swimming Pool, which I wanted to do for ages (well, since we've had Nirvana II). It's very windy, and the boat is rocking. I like that.

Last night was peaceful, again, and we were on our own, apart from pheasants, songbirds, crows, herons and other wildlife creatures. It was heavenly.

The inverter has given up its ghost again. I think it started going pear-shaped when our neighbour, Carl (a boater originally from Chicago) explained how to deal with electricity (batteries) on Nirvana II. I didn't understand much, but he spoke about 'Both' (which it was set to), '1' and '2'. He told me we needed to start the engine on '1' or 'Both' and give the engine a quick 1 or 2 roars in order to activate the .... Oh what was that word again?? Anyway, he did that and showed me the 'Amp' reader, and I kind of saw what he was talking about. He then set the battery thing to '2', which seems to feed the appliances (leisure). '1' is the starter battery. I hope he was right. But since he went, the inverter showed a red light, and he's gone now, so I need to wait for hubby to sort it. The new fuse might already be gone again. A lot to learn.

The engine is running all day, while I'm on the boat, so that the fridge is running. In the night, from 8 pm latest, we need to turn the engine off, and the fridge needs to be turned off as well. So far, we've been managing. But I'd rather not have the sound of the engine all the time and enjoy some silence.

Ewan is at work today, and from tomorrow he'll be on his well deserved 2-week annual leave. On Thursday we're off to Croatia for 10 days - We are so looking forward to that. And afterwards .... Hopefully the wide-beam barge will be delivered to us on 24th September, so that we can fill it with the contents of the storage. On 27th my eldest daughter Lisa will come with her husband to visit for a week. They are so excited; how sweet.

I'll better get ready to pick hubby up from work, as I've got the car, and he'll leave the work van at work.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

A New Life Begins

This post will be in diary style:

7th September, 8am

After a very busy day yesterday, cleaning up the house and getting all remaining things out, we moved into Nirvana II (Birchwood, 25 feet long) around 18.30. My youngest daughter came round,  and we had a Chinese takeaway, a drink, and we played Rummy. Was lovely. The night was quiet at Wilsham Road mooring in Abingdon,  but it was pretty chilly during the night. I kept thinking that I needed to organise a woolly hat,  but I was warm under the duvet and with my Ewan next to me and my Jack cuddled up to my feet. I was awake often but didn't worry about it.  It feels amazing to have started our floating life,  and I'm so, so proud of what we have achieved in under a year. Today, we get what's left from paying back the remaining mortgage and buying the big barge (yes, we bought one). We'll feel very financially rich, for once 😉. Actually, we've been feeling abundant for a while,  just having each other and our wonderful children, parents, siblings, friends ..... and the love in our hearts. This morning the sun rose around 6, and it was a beautiful sight. It's now shining into my face, while I'm taking my time to wake up and get going. It's still a bit cool in the floating caravan,  but I'll soon get up. Have my first physio appointment at 10.30, finally, after 11 months waiting. I am so much better, though, only achy at times, especially my shoulders. The IMS (intramuscular stimulation, or deep needling) worked a treat. Ewan is already working away,  the good man.

8th September, 9am

This early morning was so tranquil, I couldn't sleep from around sunrise, even though it was quite dark due to a very cloudy sky. I just enjoyed the peace and watched the raindrops running down the windows and listened to the dribbly noise.  Bliss.
Then,  a louder noise outside the 'front door',  water was coming in.  We had left the roof open 🤔
Wasn't bad, but sounded like a little waterfall.
Heived Jack outside,  he had his wees,  he took his time, marking all sorts of plants. I got him back in, and with his muddy paws he tippled through the boat straight back to bed,  leaving a different kind of marks 😉 No problem. What's going on with me - I'm chilled??
I've never felt so carefree and light in my life. 
Loving every second,  even the little challenges.
Yesterday we fixed the inverter (converts 12 V energy to 240 V.) with our good friend Martin's help.  He's just the man for these kinds of things. Martin and Janet invited us for dinner, the good people, also a hot tub and a shower, that was soooooo lovely of them. Ewan excitedly found out that Martin owns several rivet guns (what the heck is THAT??) - He can now (when?) fix Nirvana's hand rail 😆.
We're still sitting in bed,  had our first cuppa and are catching up with our social network,  as well as the news of the world, while listening to music.
Later, after breakfast,  we'll go to Annie's Cafe for a coffee. Haven't planned any further, yet. 
Lovin it so far,  even though it's raining right now. Wellies out,  Darling-Ewan!

9th September, 9.30am

I'm writing this blog post - this is what I was looking forward to for nearly a year - writing posts about our life on the Thames. Ewan is chatting to two nice women who were walking past. Everyone on the river and on the path are so friendly, often chatty, but certainly so far always helpful. It's amazing.
So, yesterday morning was a bit of a stressful time, as we had to realise that the engine didn't start. At all. Just a rattling noise - horrible! Next thing we find out is that Jack has eaten the raw bacon from the open pack I had left in his reach while cracking an egg into the pan. And, if that wasn't enough disaster (but all good [and bad] things seem to always be three, and we should know this by now), I dropped the engine hatch lid on Ewan's head, while he was trying to find the fault. I'm sure all of the area round Abingdon Bridge heard his primal scream. Embarrassing! That was Ewan's day ruined (don't worry, he was okay, really), and I was not able to cheer him up. God, he can be such a grumbling bear LOL. I kept my calm all the way (this is new!), and we sorted a membership with the RCR (River & Canal Rescue) - cost us a bloody £250 for the emergency call out and the yearly fee. Bastards!! This was another reason for Ewan to feel peed off. I left him alone for most of the morning and afternoon and went about errands and visited my Bestie, Linda, which was a very good idea. Ewan was able to cool down, I was able to find my toiletry bag, hidden in a suitcase in storage (yey!), got my washing done at Linda's and bought a lovely pink rug for Nirvana II (love it).
When I returned home (haha - home is now somewhere else every day, it seems), Ewan was bored, doodling away on a sheet of paper and slowly cheering up. The engine was running, charging up the totally emptied batteries, so, he hadn't been able to leave the boat until I was back. Turns out the mini fridge is draining the batteries big time, and we can only use it while the engine is on. The rescue man was impressed with the motor, which is slightly too big for this kind of vessel. It's also in a good condition, and the batteries should be fine. All sorted.

After all the moving stress and that day, Ewan decided he wanted to get away from the crowds and sail into peaceful territories, so we moved Nirvana II and ourselves to a beautiful field between Abingdon Lock and Sandford Lock, near the racing track. Thank God there was, and is, no racing going on. We had hoped to be by ourselves and enjoy the tranquillity, but soon after a narrowboat arrived and moored right behind us. That was a strange experience, and the first of this kind we had. My first reaction was disappointment, but I told myself, be sociable and allow others to enjoy this place. And soon I felt totally okay with it, and Ewan was chatting away with 4 very friendly people. They kept to themselves, as did we, and we never felt disturbed at all.

Our lovely dinner consisted of quinoa (cooked in veggie stock) and finely chopped German style salad (that means there was oil, vinegar and spices in it). Hmmmmm - that was soooo yummy. Must do it again.

We then had a glass of wine and played Draughts until we could hardly sit.

This morning I woke up with the sun rising - as the last 2 mornings - and enjoyed the silence. It really is so silent here - beautiful. I couldn't see anything through the windows, as we had (for the first time) covered most of them up with black bin liners (Heavens, that was a job, putting them  up). I was disappointed I couldn't see the field and the sky. I tried to sleep some more, but my bladder didn't let me, and the thirst was too bad. Eventually I got up and just sat by the window that I could see through and watched the river, the trees and the fish jumping.

Now we're off to Sandford Lock to meet our friend Paddy. Everytime we get visitors, I'm excited, as sharing this life with others is just making it all more beautiful.

I'll keep you posted more frequently, I'm sure.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

The move is on

Last Friday we finally exchanged contracts, and this coming Friday we complete. We are happy, excited, exhausted and so looking forward to everything to come. Right now we're still in a bit of moving chaos, although we've pretty much emptied the house of all furniture and most appliances, and we've put most of what goes onto the River Barge, into storage.

Our belongings in a box
We're moving into our smaller boat Nirvana II tomorrow, and we'll live in there until we go on holiday, so, just over a week.

Nirvana II

In the meantime we've put an offer in for our future floating home and paid a deposit to secure it. Full payment will be made on completion date.

The current owner of our new home has offered to take her up to Abingdon - for free!!!! Isn't that amazing? This is a journey of easily 6 days. The heating needs repairing first, but then he'll sail off. Maybe he'll make it in time before we go on holiday. If not, we'll be able to move in directly after coming home. Amazing!

So, everything is falling nicely into place for us, which - I think - is a good sign. We'll reveal our River Barge when she's ours, so, hang in there, folks.

Dear Heavens, please give us another week of this fantastic weather, so we won't have to freeze on Nirvana II (there's no heating, and currently no 240V electricity either), and we don't have to step out into the rain.

I'll update you All further once we've moved onto the Thames.

Lots of love to you All xxx

Some impressions from recent cruises on Nirvana II (we looooove it!)

Monday, 30 July 2018

In Limbo

Hello fellow boating enthusiasts and followers of this humble li'l blog.

The sale of our house is still seemingly going through (our buyer has started filling our shed and garden with stuff), yet, it's the not knowing that is causing some stress, in me anyway. Our buyer is looking at exchanging contracts on 8th August. But we haven't heard a peep from our lawyer or our estate agent. It's really quite a challenge for me not being involved in the selling of our house at all. They leave you all out of it, and no one knows where things are. So, so, so strange. We do get the same type remark every time we speak about our house sale, which is, "yeah, house sales are very stressful". Why does it have to be like that? And why does it have to be all behind doors and us being kept out of the loop??? I don't get it. But here we are, waiting more or less patiently until someone lets us know about dates. Well, we're not only waiting. We are also being very active, not losing sight of having joy and happiness in our lives. More about that later ...

2 shelves are gone from our dining room cum workshop space, plus a bureau. All things are now packed.
The office desk has come down into the lounge. It will go last with some other furniture we give to charity.
The lounge has become storage for the stuff that goes onto the big barge, eventually.
Family collecting furniture. Niece and nephew are moving into their own first homes and were grateful for the wardrobes and other furniture.
Wardrobe gone in one corner of the bedroom.
Another wardrobe gone from another corner of the bedroom.
The ex-office is now a storage room for boxes and suitcases.
A mess in kitchen & lounge while moving stuff around.
Yet another lot of clothes and bedding to go to charity.
Looks a bit wild, doesn't it. But does no longer look like this anymore in every corner ;) We've tidied up, as we're still living here and want to feel comfortable. Our living space is looking like this now and giving us an idea of how it could be on a barge:

And the lounge is now the storage for the stuff we still need to access from time to time, as well as some things that go to friends:

The bedroom is now really spacey, and we brought the hanging rail in:

...and on my side (the corner bedside table is empty). All clothes I need right now in this weather are in those 6 containers plus on the clothes rail:

The ex-office is now holding all winter clothes, mattresses, bedding, washing, ...

...the vacuum cleaner and some small things:

The guest room, which we rent out via AirBnB, has only got empty furniture and some bedding. This will be emptied in no time, and all things in there go to charity:

Do you think we're ready? I think so. Upstairs is pretty much packed, downstairs it's the kitchen, the utility room and under the stairs. All of this could be done in one day.

So, here comes the news, which is not news to our closer social networks, as we've posted pics on FB. We've borrowed some money and bought a Birchwood 25 River Cruiser - apparently a much loved old timer on the English waters. And here she is:

A beauty, we think. We decided that it would be best to have a small boat before we buy the big barge, as we'll be cash buyers, and we won't have to fret about where to go when we complete and haven't got the barge to go to. It will be a huge adventure, as there are several challenges: I can't fully stand upright in there, I don't think I'll use the shower, the fridge is super tiny, and when it's stormy like now, we'll have to learn how to handle a floating home like this. Last night I had this horrible vision of us being on the river, enjoying ourselves and suddenly the engine stopping to work. What the heck are we supposed to do if this happens?? Okay - there's an anchor. Phew! Then call some emergency number and get rescued, I guess.

We bought this boat on 20th July, my birthday. We decided to take her out with some friends straight away. This was our first ever journey on her, and the winds picked up and the rain came down just as we moored back in Abingdon. It took Ewan 4 attempts. Not bad for a beginner. I was well chuffed. But I was also wrecked and reality kicked in for me. This is what we'll have to deal with when it comes to 'weather'. After a night of stomach ache and fear, we took her out again the next day with some of our children. It was sunny, it was fun, I was much more confident that we would tackle this. Ewan has been a beacon of steadiness and self confidence. Amazing.

On that day we also met George and Carol from "Still rockin'" again. What a joy. They had been the first, kind all-time boaters to introduce their beauty to us and tell us everything they thought we might need to know on this journey. Such wonderful people. We found ourselves again in their living space, catching up on all the news. It already starts to feel like becoming part of a new community, that is warm, welcoming, kind and helpful. We're so grateful.

Some impressions of that Saturday:

My friend's daughter made this b'day cake for me: A boat in my favourite colours, and even Jack is on it. So very special :)

We jumped into the Thames and played Frisbee with a plastic plate.

So handy, that little step outside on the back, but also a nice jump from the roof possible.

Ewan's oldest found us a muscle.

Ewan's youngest and her oldest bro. Unfortunately Ewan's middle son couldn't make it. Neither could my oldest daughter and her husband, as they live in Germany.

A peaceful journey back to the mooring.
It was such a fabulous, beautiful day, which we ended with pizzas, marshmellows and drinks in our garden. My youngest daughter and her partner had catered for all of us for the whole day. I was truly chuffed about everyone's efforts to keep me put (as my neck was still quite bad that day).

This post must come to an end, I think. I could waffle on forever at the moment - haha. 

Please wish us well for a smooth transition from house to boat and then to barge within the next four weeks. Thank you.