It’s been a little while since I posted anything here. That’s because I was flat out with packing up the house and preparing for the move. So much has happened in the past few weeks; the headline being, we’ve now moved onto our narrowboat.
As you can see from this photo, it’s been a challenging start to our new life on the water. I can’t say living off grid feels too idyllic when it’s -5 outside and snowing. It’s ground me down a couple of times, especially when I’ve needed to go outside for coal or to take the dog out.
Currently, we’ve got some major technical issues. Our hot water system isn’t working. And the inverter that converts our battery power into 240v (for phone and laptop chargers etc.) died. Plus, all the standpipes have been frozen for a few days, so we have struggled for drinking water. I eventually managed yesterday to make a slightly scary journey to Tesco in the car to get bottled water. It wasn’t ideal, but there are no shops locally and it’s fairly difficult to manage without water.
Aside from having no running water, no hot water, and no electricity, I am actually feeling pretty upbeat (probably helps that I’m in a warm coffee shop right now). I was initially exhausted and stressed from the move, and that made me feel very low. All the usual thoughts kicked in; I’m worthless, I’m pathetic, I’m not capable, etc. I had a huge panic the first night we were on the boat, regretting leaving the house and feeling massively scared I had made a very bad decision. It didn’t help that the boat looked like this…
After some rest and a major effort at unpacking and tidying, I did start to feel better and more settled. I’ve got our 4G router working, so once we’ve got power I can work and write. Yesterday, I managed to do some catching up on bills and admin. Getting on with these normal, menial tasks, I suddenly started to feel really at home.
The past few days have been physically tough and we’ve been facing constant problems. But it feels like there is something really satisfying in having these real, tangible, challenges – because they’re all problems we can solve. I can fix them or pay someone more expert to fix them for me.
That is so refreshing, when I’ve felt like my life in the past few years has been a constant battle to fix the unfixable. My trauma is still there, my illness is still there, but right now my focus has shifted. I know that’s likely to only be temporary. It’s happened before when big changes have occurred or I’ve been away from home. But I’m appreciating the break for now.
And this life is such a stark change from how I was living before, maybe some of these changes will stick. Despite the issues we’ve been having with the boat, there are so many things to love about this life so far. Waking up with the sun, feeling the calm sensation of the water under me as I sleep, the friendliness of the boating community and their unfailing willingness to help one another, having swans and ducks for neighbours, it goes on.
I especially love the evenings. We don’t have a TV anymore, and our laptops have got limited power. So we’ve been lighting candles, snuggling up by the fire and reading our books or playing guitar. It feels so much more relaxing than watching endless Netflix like we did before.
It’s also been great to be outdoors so much, to feel close to the elements. The dog is absolutely loving this new life; the log burner, having her humans close by and running about on the towpath.
So that’s where I’m at. Tired and unsettled, but feeling just a little bit hopeful.