I guess it was a bit mad to spend last night on our narrow boat, with temperatures dipping below freezing, but we love it.
Once we stoke up the wood-burner we’re warm and cosy. And there’s a proper kitchen, comfy chairs and a table. And a three quarters of a double size bed that’s surprisingly comfortable and warm with lots of quilts and blankets.
The worst part is getting out of bed the next morning, when you can see your breath, and steam comes up from the portaloo when you pee out last night’s real ale.
It’s not everyone’s idea of fun.
A new friend in Hawaii, who I met through the coach training, was horrified at my willingness to rough it in a long tube on some stagnant looking water in freezing cold temperatures.
But this is the Grand Union Canal and I’ve lived beside it on and off, since I was 2 years old.
We all like to have a sense of community, whether it’s with family, work colleagues, people with similar interests and values, or in this case, people who I either met or reacquainted with when we moved back to the village where I grew up. The canal where our boat is moored runs through the village.
We’d been living in France for the previous 2 and a half years and had returned to look after my elderly father.
After living somewhere where we were foreigners and to our shame, hardly spoke the language, it was nice to be back among people I have a shared history with.
And I formed a new bond with these people by going to church with my dad, joining the choir and later when we talked dad into allowing a puppy into the house, dog walking. It felt good, especially as we don’t have children and my close family was diminishing.
Travel is great, but it’s nice to come home.
Now mum and dad are dead and my family connection with the village is at an end, it’s lovely to have Nutmeg the narrow boat to give a sense of continuity.
I thought I wanted to be by the sea, I even thought my spiritual home might be California, where I visited last year, but I’m starting to believe that my heart is by the “cut” as the canal is not so romantically known.
After many years of wishing I was anywhere but where I actually was, I’m finally learning to appreciate where I am right now and what’s right under my nose.