Showing posts with label float on. Show all posts
Showing posts with label float on. Show all posts

Monday, 17 February 2020

Life's Ups And Downs

Hi Peeps!

I'm resting today, as I've got a cold. No worries, I'm on the up, just taking my time to look after myself. I've heard from so many that their cold has come back several times. I wonder if it's down to them trying to get back to work or back into action too soon. I'm lucky that I can rest and take it easy, thanks to my full-time working man, who makes it all possible for me to go slowly. Oh, I do love my hubby so, so much for being such a super star; I appreciate how he's soldiering on while I'm building up my life coaching business. It's growing organically, as I'm not one of those who wants to be in everybody's face with online posts and webinars all the time. I love it when my name gets passed on by happy clients. Oh, have I even told you what my work is all about? Well - I support people in finding ways out of the metaphorical fog into more clarity. I also do healing work, which involves a systemic approach called "Family Constellations". Has nothing to do with the stars. It's a bit like role play, only, it's not role play; it just looks like it is. Basically, once a client presents their issue, I help them set up their family of origin (family system) or current family (partner, kids) by using floor markers. Like this:

The floor markers have an inward triangle cut out to indicate the direction in which the family member is looking.

Each marker represents a different member of the family. Then I ask the client to step onto those different markers and feel into the representations (mother, father, partner, children ...). It's a felt, phenomenological experience.

The client feels into the representation of their family members.

We all kind of intuitively know how the others in our family are feeling towards ourselves and each other, especially when we step into their 'shoes'. In doing this, the client gets a much clearer picture of the dynamics within their family, their place and role in it, but also an insight into the entanglements that hold them back. There's a lot more to it, of course, but I don't want to bore you about that here. Just, some bragging: Clients come away with a sense of healing and deeper understanding, but also knowing their next step. Yep - that's me as a Life Coach.

A new car

We treated ourselves to a nice new (used) SUV, a silver Honda CR-V. We had it just about 10 days, ...


... when a pub customer bashed into it at about 11pm. That was the end of it - a write-off.


That was over a month ago, and we still haven't got our money from the third party insurance. They offered us £255 less than we paid. We're not amused. We're fighting our corner. Wish us luck!

So, how's life on Coddiwomple?

We're actually finally at a point where we have sorted all issues (I hope I'm not jinxing it), bar the bow thruster, which will hopefully be fixed in March. The solar panels work, the heating works, the composting toilet was a brilliant idea, and the water filtering system works too (although we're not too happy about already having to replace the filters as the water went yellow - probably down to the fast river flow). We have the furniture that we want, the kitchen looks lovely, and our guest room is being used by friends and family quite regularly.

It's great to have more day light again, which means we don't have to run the engine for so long anymore. On a sunny day, we're actually totally fine. Probably, because we had decided to switch off the freezer during winter. I shall be glad to have that one back on soon'ish, which means that I won't have to shop so often.

We have some very lovely friends who help us out with freezer space and laundry now and then. I'm volunteering at the local 'Talking Shop', a community shop and cafe in a village hall, baking my German style cakes, which are well received, and helping out at the till sometimes. I love it.

Ours is the white-dark-blue one in the middle.
We're on our Winter mooring, at a Lock south of Oxford after we had stayed on the free meadow mooring a little further up since late March. Just as we thought we could stay there another Summer, we've been told that mooring is now forbidden there, because the opposite house owners felt annoyed by the view of our boats. Yeah, bummer. But hey - we live on a boat, so we might as well roam the river from 1st April. Just - with us both using motorised vehicles, it's going to be a challenge to park them nearby. But I'm sure we'll figure it all out. We'll certainly be back on the Lock for the next winter, as we really feel safe and supported here. Those house owners clearly seem to feel the free view onto the meadow across the river is a given and included in the ownership of their million dollar houses, and, unfortunately, the owner of the meadow doesn't want to upset them. So, our little community will be dissolved from April to October, but we'll most certainly all be back next winter.

I'm - just like you - so, so much looking forward to Spring. The first signs are clearly visible, and I'm having a lovely time taking pictures while walking my Jack. Of course, I love the sunrises and sunsets most, as the light is magical then.

View out of our kitchen window in the early morning light.

At sunset, beyond the Lock, on a wind still evening.

The wildlife is certainly fully waking up and making a lot of noise with the sun rising. I guess they're starting the mating process as well as sorting out territories. It's amazing to witness it all, and I now really am relaxing into this life style.

 When it was cold and the heating didn't work (several times), I dreamed about a house in a warm place during Winter - six months there and six months on the boat. But actually, when the heating is working, it's really quite nice in our floating tin. Maybe one day, we might be able to have a little house somewhere down south.Coddiwomple withstood the two major storms, Ciara and Dennis, very well indeed, and despite floods on the main river, the mooring at the Lock has been well managed and flood-free. We can park close by on either side of the Lock, which is very handy indeed.I am nervous about us having to move away from 1st April, but nervousness is my default setting, - I know it's irrational - and I'm managing it with positive thoughts and remembering that I have my captain Ewan look after me, and friends coming to help if needed. All is good, all will be good.Aho!

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

So, boatlife...

I know, I know. I really am crap at writing posts. It's because I get distracted so easily, and then I don't find the time and peace I need to write. Scattered mind and procrastination - not a very successful combination. I don't recommend it.

Anyways - Here I am. We're still living on our river boat; it's been over a year now since we first set foot on it. How's it going? The short answer is, 'Well. Thank you 😊'.

And here's the long answer, if you're at all interested:

We've had quite a beautiful summer: Open windows, bird song, waterfowl noise, wildlife gazing, sitting outside in the sun, barbecues, warmth, even heat. When it was really hot outside, it was still amazingly comfortable inside.

Our six solar panels produced more than enough electricity during the long days. We were able to run the washing machine without having to fear running down the batteries. During the short days we have to add to the electricity by running the engine every other day for an hour'ish, depending on sunshine or clouds or a mix of the two.
Ewan has been keeping the water tank topped up by carrying about 220 litres on board every week. That is when we had no visitors staying over. I always felt so sorry for my dear hubby watching him carry 25 litre canisters through the boat. Remember, it's 70 ft long 🙈 Bless him. But that is about to change: We're getting a filter system this week. We'll be able to source water from the Thames. Yes. Don't ask me about the details, but it will be perfectly fine for washing and cleaning. For drinking it will go through another filter under the kitchen sink, which is being fitted today, by the way.
So, that covers electricity and water supply. The only bills we will have in the future are for gas, diesel and coal.
In terms of independence we've taken another big step by getting a composting toilet. This was a very good decision, we believe. No pumping out anymore. We're actually getting rid of the original toilets and will have the floor sealed.
The next step will be to make one bathroom out of two. We feel we don't need 2 sinks and 2 showers. The remaining shower will be changed into a combined shower/bath (now that we'll have infinite water supply 😉). This will cost us quite a lot of money, so, it might take another year until we actually go through with it. But it's good to have dreams.

We hadn't taken Coddiwomple out since we moored in our current spot. This is partly because we love this place so much and partly because I was still freaking out at the idea of moving her. But recently we had a befriended couple over, so we decided to take her to the pump-out, ca. 1.5 hours away. As we had the help, it felt less scary to me. Still, because of our bow thruster not working, strong winds and a boat blocking our way into the lock, we managed to bump her sideways into ballards (yes, some things fell off the shelves); land in the brambles with the stern canopy (phew, it didn't get damaged); and added to the collection of bow dimples by hitting the side of a lock, while going in. All in all this experience didn't quite reassure me that moving her is a good idea - well, that is when the weather is a bit rough. Ewan would tell you a different story; I believe he enjoyed the day very, very much. He's not a quarter as worried as I am. I'm glad we're back in our beautiful spot, and we won't go anywhere with her until .... don't know. Poor hubby!

I've got used to static boat life, though, and consider it now "The Life". How else can I have so much peace and quiet, beautiful views, nature walks on your door step, lots of wild life, lovely neighbours, and at the same time close to no bills? I know right? I am grateful.

Winter has arrived (at least temperature-wise). I always find the short, cold days and nights difficult anyway. But on a boat I find it even harder. The stove keeps us roasting, and the central heating keeps the other half .... well, not really warm warm. More like just about tolerable warm. I'm dreading the real cold days and nights. Squirrel (the stove) is running pretty much 24/7 now. By the time the warm air reaches the bed room, though, it has cooled down considerably and doesn't really heat the space efficiently. The central heating (diesel-driven) is only on partly during the night and early morning hours. The bath rooms don't get heated at all. I would call this situation .... improvable; we just don't quite know how. I'm sure we'll figure it out somehow. In the meantime, I have ordered another set of sexy long-sleeve thermal underwear. And my super warm Lang Tall Sally dressing gown works a treat.

So much for now. You will hear from me again. I promise. I just don't promise you when 😜

and Ahoi!

Saturday, 9 March 2019

We've Gone Off Grid

This post was meant to go out a while ago, when the headline was "We're Getting There". I had to change it to what it is now, because we got there (work wise): The kitchen is done, the canopy is on, the batteries are fixed and the wiring finished. The heating is working, and the solar panels are drawing in most of the energy we need. 😅

It wasn't a very nice time. It was Winter, and we had lots of work done and therefore little privacy and lots of DDS (dust, dirt and stress). Our start into boat life certainly didn't go as well as we had imagined it. Ewan has chest pains (no, it's not the heart) and suffers exhaustion and is therefore written off sick for 2 weeks; and my neck has played up again, nearly as bad as it was 1.5 years ago, when it all started to go downhill with my spine; and my lower back is constantly in pain. Yes, it's another moany post, I'm afraid. And it goes on, I'm afraid, because now we're back in Abingdon, off grid, moored near Abingdon Bridge, and, despite the place being amazing, the weather is really not so good to us, rocking us about like nothing else. I'm constantly in a state of 'emergency', which can't be healthy. Ewan is much more relaxed, feels safe, and he's really enjoying some time off. He needed that so much.

I think, if we now were physically fit, we would actually start enjoying ourselves. When the sun is out, it's glorious here, and when the stars are out, the sky looks just magical. It just has to get a bit warmer, still.

So, really, we haven't quite got there. I'm sure we will, though. Once the winds ease and the sun comes out more, we'll feel so much better. I hope we're not delusional. The few things that still need to be organised, are
- getting the name onto the boat,
- getting the bow thruster repaired,
- getting the hull inspected.

Here are some impressions of the work site and new kitchen:

I know, it's natural that chaos comes before order, but it was annoying anyway.
The gas pipe and regulator had to be replaced, so, for about 4 weeks we could only use a camping cooker.
New fridge, new freezer, new gas hob, new LPG gas oven, new microwave and new fronts.
Oh joy!
But then.... looked pretty much as we had imagined it.
The worktops have been covered with a special sparkling laminate.
And - just so you remember, this is what it looked like before:

Some people would have preferred this style. But we love it in Ash wood with red worktops.
I just didn't like the cold, black and white, male look to the space. Now it's looking and feeling warm. The new red rugs help, too. We also decided to get rid of the big 3-seater sofa, as I just couldn't get comfortable on that. We replaced it with a two-seater sofa bed, which we are very happy about. Sitting is much more comfy now. 

So much more us.
Now we're moored in this very beautiful spot in Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. On the photos below you can see the end of the garden of the Nag's Head pub. Normally we're only allowed there for 3 days, but we intend to stay until we're being moved on, because of the very windy weather. We're pretty much in the heart of Abingdon right now, which is very convenient and still so lovely. I'm so glad that Ewan's brother Duncan was available and happy to help us move the boat from Shillingford. I was still a bit nervous from the last experience. But now I'm feeling much more confident again.

Two confident males and a scared dog.
Moored opposite Abbey Gardens.

It's such a beautiful spot.
We'll enjoy another week of Ewan being off now, and the whole coming weekend we'll be celebrating Ewan's 60th birthday by having an Open Boat. We're both looking forward to that. Although, where the heck shall we store all the food and drink?? And where will they all sit? What if it rains? Saturday will be party night. We have no clue at all how we're going to make this work. But I do want to stop worrying all the time. Therefore, I shall be prepared as best as I can and leave everything else to fate.

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: