A narrow escape?

First of all, apologies for the complete lack of blogging over the last few weeks and thank you to those of you who noticed my absence. (Both of you) I’m very flattered.

The plain truth is, I haven’t had much to write about and even less motivation to try. I think that despite having found work and a nice place to live, we are both still a bit down in the dumps, wondering where the next adventure will come from and when. Life has become too routine in precisely the way that I promised myself it wouldn’t following our big trip last year. You know that feeling when you leave the house and you just know that something isn’t quite right but you don’t know what. Then half an hour later you get to work and find that you’ve left your phone at home. Well it’s a bit like that but on a bigger scale. Like we are getting things sorted but there is some undefined element that is missing. Yesterday however, I think we may have made some progress in finding that missing link. If was a funny sort of day all round really. We only had plans to go for a gentle walk but all the best plans end up in tatters don’t they?

We started by making an offer on a static home on a residential park close to where we live. Five hours later the offer was rejected but what happened in between was amazing. We sailed somebody else’s narrow boat down a canal, made two new friends, viewed another boat that was for sale and considered living on it and finally drove home with our heads whirling and the possibility of a whole new life ahead of us. Let me explain.

Lovely day for a stroll

Lovely day for a stroll

One of the consequences of having so much freedom last year is that we are both finding it rather difficult to settle back down. We don’t want to go off and do the same or similar type of trip again, at least not at the moment, but at the same time we find ourselves doing a lot of foot scratching. (No it’s not a fungal infection, just a bit of wanderlust.) My job working for The Canal and River Trust as a fund raiser has brought me into contact with a lot of people who live on board narrow boats and I think I may have infected Gill with my enthusiasm for the lifestyle. We have been doing a lot of walking on the tow paths and narrow boat envy doesn’t take long to take hold. Some of them are just beautiful. At about the same time we have been considering our financial future, retirement and what we want from the remainder of whatever allotted time we have left. With this in mind when a cheap property came up for sale on a local residential park we started to consider the possibility of getting out of rented accommodation and taking a big step towards making work optional rather than essential. Ok, it wasn’t a boat and nor was it on a canal but it was cheap and it was narrow, so it kind of fitted the bill.

After putting in a cheeky offer on the property we went off to take a stroll along the Leeds Liverpool canal on what turned out to be a glorious sunny day but not quite as forecast. A couple of miles down the tow path we came across Carol, sitting in the sun, alongside a narrow boat and looking more chilled than a frozen chilli. It turned out that Carol and her partner Roy had sold their house last year, bought the boat and moved onto it and had been in a state of euphoric relaxation ever since. We found ourselves pouring out our life stories, desires and dreams to each other and before we knew it we were sailing down the canal towards Parbold, our original walking destination. We had a good look around the boat, had a go at sailing it without going aground or destroying any other boats, spotted a kingfisher and generally fell in love with the whole business. After saying goodbye to our new found friends we began the walk back to Burscough unexpectedly discussing chemical toilets and boat licences. A phone call from the estate agent shattered the park home dream for now but by then it was only one option and we were already moving on to other possibilities.

Saying goodbye to our new friends Carol and Roy

Saying goodbye to our new friends Carol and Roy

Earlier in the walk we had passed a boat that was for sale and after our brief but wildly successful careers as skippers we now looked on it in a completely different light. The owner kindly showed us round and in our imaginations we were already managing locks, fishing for our supper and toasting the moon reflected in the perfect mirror of a midnight canal.

Seems like we might be at a cross roads

Seems like we might be at a cross roads

All of a sudden it feels like the rut we were in danger of getting stuck in is full of opening doors. Over the last forty eight hours we have discussed other park homes, motor homes and narrow boats. Maybe we are trying to find a compromise somewhere between the tent and a house, I don’t know. Whatever the motivation it’s exciting to experience all these potential options opening up before us like a glorious flower blooming. I do believe that we are heading for our next adventure. We might not know what it will be yet but there is a tangible feeling of it’s inevitability. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. It might be the daylight at the end of rather dull period or it may be the light of a narrow boat coming towards us. It’s the not knowing that makes it exciting.


8 thoughts on “A narrow escape?

  1. Sounds just the right thing four you two adventurers, NOT a mobile home, its far too static for folk who want to explore. You should read “Narrow boat to Carcassonne” a gem. But you’ll nee a whippet! xx

    • The mobile home features as part of a longer plan. The narrow boat is currently favourite but might not be feasible for a while. Unless you fancy buying a nice house in Cemmaes for an inflated price of course 😉 It’s an exciting melting pot at the moment.

    • Thanks for the comment Alastair. Sorry but it went into spam and I have only just seen it. (100+ spam comments a day to wade through!). Look forward to your opinions in more detail. All the best. Tony

  2. Hi you two, come and visit us in Scotland on a weekend, we can pick you up en route on a Friday and deposit you back on a Sunday. Visiting may show you other possibilities too in a less expensive area.

    • That’s a kind offer Alison but I work every weekend at the moment. Weekends for us are Monday/Tuesday if we get one together at all. Looks like you are making great progress on the house up there. We seem to be on opposing journeys. As you upsize, we downsize. Lol. 🙂

  3. A while in the doldrums, and then hoopla! energy and excitement start to grow again like little flowers…I’m a bit of a canal fan actually, having had a boyfriend who was actively engaged in the restoration of the Midlands canals in the 70s, and an uncle, Alan Smith, who headed the Midlands Canal Trust for many years. I’ve also cycled alongside a fair few of them, in Britain and France, and I think cycling and canals go together very well indeed, and could be even better with some systematic tow path tarmacing. The thing about narrow boats is that, like bikes, they seem to generate a sense of community, which isn’t available everywhere on land, and which becomes more important as you grow older…

    • Thanks for the encouragement Jan. We have calmed down a bit since I wrote that blog. The narrow boat is still part of the longer term plan but we may have to wait until we can do it without having to work. Still very exciting though. Watch this space.

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