Time for another adventure

Time for another
adventure. We’re off for another six months of meandering lazily
around the waterways and I won’t be sorry to get away. We love the
marina we live in during the winter and it’s been great to have the
time to do work on the boat but the swallows are here and it’s time
to follow their example and get moving once more.

OK, elephant in the
room, no blogs all winter I know. No excuses I just haven’t felt
inspired to write for some reason so with the full intention of
making up for it over the next few months I’ll start with a quick run
down of our second winter on the boat and the first of our retirement
proper.

I say proper because
after retiring in April last year it felt like I was on holiday until
we came back to Rufford in October. I got no real sense of what
retirement felt like and to be honest I was a little bit apprehensive
going into the winter months. Newly retired folks seem to fall into
two categories, those that get bored really quickly and either go
back to employment or throw themselves into voluntary work and those
who say, “I don’t know how I ever had time to go to work”. I
appear to fall into a third category, that of enjoying doing lots of
things whilst revelling in not having to do any of them. Choice has
never felt so good. I’ve always liked choosing. Choosing a book in a
library, a meal in a restaurant or a route for a walk or a bike ride,
but being able to choose just about everything I do is totally
liberating. But there’s a catch. It didn’t take long to work out that
whilst I could choose to be idle all day every day, or spend every
day busy as a bee it turns out it’s all about balance. Isn’t it
always? I’m getting the hang of it but maybe it will take a little
longer to fine tune things and who knows, I may even choose to write
more.

Nice to be home

Coming back to
Rufford was a joy. Like a real home coming. We were enthusiastically
welcomed by old friends and warmly accepted by all the new floating
residents that had moved here in our absence. The marina is full now
and it’s such a lovely community to live in. Totally relaxed,
peaceful, stress free and friendly. We are surrounded by nature and
in tune with the ticking of the seasonal clock. I have loved being
immersed in the transitions from autumn to winter and eventually
spring. To really have the time to notice the falling leaves, first
frosts, frozen water, snow drops, catkins and daffodils and now, our
first fledgling mallard ducklings have marked that passage with a
reassuring sense of inevitability. Our regular walks along the tow
path have rewarded us with so many sightings of kingfishers we have
reached the point that it’s disappointing not to see them. Barn owls,
roe deer and hare have all surprised and delighted us whilst the
sight and sound of thousands of pink footed geese passing overhead
are as much a part of winter as frosted window panes and frozen hose
pipes. I have loved it all.

Piggy backing: an early sign of Spring

Converting the spare
bedroom on the boat into a sitting and eating area with storage has
kept me busy while Gill has been honing her skills as an artist. She
seems to have uncovered a treasure chest of hidden talent whilst I
have become a dab hand with a tin of emulsion and four inch roller.
It’s been great to ‘put our mark’ on the Golden Girl and she now
feels well and truly like home. We are now frantically finishing a
long list of final preparations before departure and wondering why we
didn’t start the list sooner or at least make it shorter. It can feel
a bit pressured until I remind myself that since we are actually
going away in our home with everything in it there isn’t really a
departure day at all. Like the seasons, it’s much more of a
transition from our stationary winter mode to what we hope will be
another wondrous wandering summer.

Gill’s painting is really coming along

Our route this year
is no more precise that ‘vaguely heading south’ but we will be
passing through some glorious countryside. I don’t like to promise
but I’ll try to blog a little more than last year and if anybody
fancies meeting up at a waterside hostelry or two it would be lovely
to see you.

Teenagers in the making