Showing posts with label Letting go. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Letting go. Show all posts

Monday, 28 January 2019

Work Site

Hello everyone,

It's been a while again. Sitting down and just writing seems a luxury at the moment. My (our) life has been so stressful recently that I feel we need another holiday.

Don't know where to start, so I will just start with the heating. It's still not working. We've had an engineer out twice and an electrician too. They came to the conclusion that it's the original wiring, and that we need to have it re-wired. Apparently Viking boats are made in Poland, with Polish standards, not English. God knows what that means. Anyway, a new loom has been ordered, and the engineer will come back this Thursday to start the job. Fingers crossed, we'll finally have a warm boat this coming weekend. It is getting to me that we have to have electric heaters plugged in, which draw a lot of electricity, which has been costing us £10 a day. The wood burner is going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we're still not warm in places. The floor is ice cold, and the 2 bathrooms are not exactly warm either. This particular job will have cost us an unexpected ca £1500, we think.

We had ordered 5 smart lithium batteries and the necessary kit to wire them in. Early January the electrician came with 4 only, as the 5th had tested faulty. During 4 very long days of putting the wiring in while it was very cold out there was also a test to my poor nerves. I'm not really complaining, as the kind soul didn't charge us a penny for the work, only for the batteries, the gadgets, the wiring and the accommodation. That came to over £10,000 (! - Yes, it's true. But these batteries are supposed to be good for about 20 years). So, we're very grateful indeed that this wonderful chap never charged for his workmanship. Still, it was stressful for both of us, as Ewan had to shadow him all the time in order to help when necessary, and I had to put up with the space looking as if a bomb had exploded. We're still waiting for the 5th battery; and some more wiring needs doing, which - he thinks - will take another 2 days work. This will hopefully be finished by mid/end February.


The boys sorting the batteries and me keeping the bellies filled


Six solar panels have been installed, tilting ones, and there seemed to be no problem at all. Took the young man a full day's work into the night, but it's working. We can't use solar energy yet, as we're still plugged in at the Hotel due to the electric heaters drawing so much. But it will be so fantastic to know we're using solar power for most of our electricity in future.




The canopy has been measured up, finally, 2 weeks ago, and apparently it's being fitted tomorrow (29th January). We're very excited about that, as the forecast is snow, and it will add to the boat's warmth and to our comfort.

This is just the frame for measuring the canvas which will cover it.

It'll look soooo lovely and will give us more room, especially for our dirty shoes.

Kinver seem to be doing a splendid job. It took them ages, though.

Poor lad, he had some difficulty in doing this job, as it was quite windy that day.


Last, but not least, we've had a kitchen fitter round since 21st January, and there's now light at the end of that particular tunnel, too. As you might have seen, the kitchen was black and white. We're changing it to ash wood with sparkling-red worktops. We've taken the electric oven out and replace the half-gas-half-induction hob to a full gas hob, so we don't use electricity when cooking/baking; we've replaced the dishwasher with a free-standing freezer, and we've replaced the built-in fridge with a free-standing one, as it gives us more fridge space. We hope it's finished by the end of this week. It already looks just like I had envisaged it, and - again - I can't wait for it to be done. The new LPG gas cooker and hob need plumbing in professionally. We've been let down this morning, but it will be done this week. In the meantime, we're using our new microwave for heating up food. I'll post the piccies when the kitchen is finished.

My health is not so good. My body is aching all the time, and I find it hard to get up and out of bed in the mornings. I feel stressed by everything, especially the cold, and I wonder if that is contributing to my achy bones. Ewan is not feeling much better either, unfortunately, and I'm beginning to worry about him. We do have good times on Coddiwomple, especially when we've got friends over. But we also have a good go at each other for nothing at times. The stress of the past 4 months is taking its toll. I know we'll get through it. But in the meantime we're just surviving, it seems.

Just a reminder, what our boat name actually means. We're looking forward to travelling purposefully.

My business is picking up. I'm a Life Coach and Family Systems Therapist, and for the first time since I've gone full-time self-employed, over 3 years ago, I'm feeling it coming on. That is a huge shift, and it feels fabulous. Having to deal with work, though, as well as everything else, adds of course to the load we're dealing with at the moment.

I can hear your "aaaaw"s LOL. Yes, it's not been easy.

My new flyer - A bit of shameless self promotion.

I do hope I've done a good enough job, so people understand what I'm offering, professionally.

Ewan is constantly making sure that we've got enough wood and water, he's also been amazing at shifting stuff around, so we have been able to use the boat as a living space. He is and remains my rock and my hero.

Our boating community, The Shillies, as we call ourselves, is just so lovely. One of them, Tim, is a homeopath, and we're helping each other with our issues. I'm totally into homeopathy, as it does help me and has always helped my young children, when they still believed in what mummy believed in.

Finally, I'm posting a few lovely pictures I've been taking during walks. Not only when the sun is out, nature is such a source of inspiration and strength.

Our amazing view in the sunlight onto Shillingford Bridge

Light and shade along the Thames Path between Shillingford and Benson

Jack's view

Reminds me that reflection is good practice, and mindful walks help

A beautiful berry dress, a welcome colourful spot in the wintry scene

A stranded narrowboat. Nature is conquering it back. Wondering what the story is behind this scene.

Beautiful reflection in the sunlight

I love willow trees; they're like fun curtains ;)

Life and Death next to each other, as it should be. Both beautiful and natural.

Grass is so resilient

Who doesn't love the look of snow drops

Is that a sign of Spring coming soon?

A bed of snow drops in a garden in Warborough - Stunning!


A very windy day on 27/01/19. Lucky it flew no further than the owner's garden.

Thanks a lot for reading and please always feel free to comment below. Oh, and remember to click "follow" on the right (if you're reading this on your phone, I have no idea if you can, actually).

Till soon,
Silvia

PS:
This is a Facebook group that I host: http://www.facebook.com/groups/OxonRiverAndCanalLife

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

PS:
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.