Thursday 15 August 2013

A new direction

I’ve needed to write this post for a while but there’s been a bit of an argument going on in my head, where a part of me argues that I have no right to write it here. How can I have no right to write on my own blog? It’s what I call a ‘Blog Crisis’. When you write a personal blog you occasionally ask yourself, what is this blog all about anyway? Why am I writing it?

I started this blog to write about the real life of a narrowboat wife. Everybody was always asking me “What is it like, bringing up children on a narrowboat?”
Over the last three years I’ve really enjoyed blogging to answer that question and a lot more besides; blogging about live-aboard life, and following my dreams. But the short answer is that living on a narrowboat with kids is sometimes breathtakingly beautiful, and sometimes soul-crushingly difficult.

A number of factors have now come together to take our family in a completely different direction. After thirteen years of living aboard, four boats, two boat-baby home births and one launch of a boat-basedbusiness we have left the Cut. Our beautiful 70ft narrowboat is for sale and we have moved to a cottage in Devon to be nearer family.

In January 2013 I blogged this:

“While my family slept I used a mallet to free the gas spanner from the frozen front deck. I tried and failed to change the gas bottle and crouched in the soft, silent snow on the front deck in the deep, icy, darkness crying real hot tears. I just wanted my family to be warm when they woke up, and for my husband to be able to easily make a cup of tea. I was not sure that boat life is still for me.

I moved onto a boat in my late twenties when life was an adventure lived mostly in pubs, and no children depended on me.”

The Blog Crisis is simply the point at which I ask myself, what will I write now? I’ll write about how it feels to relocate and change your lifestyle, about what I notice as I begin to venture into 21st century living after such a simple way of life afloat. I still have so many narrowboat memories to share and I am still very much involved with the waterways through my writing work and my friends. I’m also working on a book about our life afloat.

But this blog has also been about following dreams. Like Cathy from Wuthering Heights,

“I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.”

These English waterways, the chipped and painted roses and castles, the treasured ancient locks and bridges, the cheeky swans, ducks and geese, the chugging engines, the smell of diesel and burning coal, the ripples of sunshine reflecting on the inside of a cabin, and most of all those crazy, adventurous, kind and wonderful people that live on the boats; they have all gone through me like wine through water and altered the colours of my mind, my life and my soul. I may be living in a house for now, but somehow I suspect that if you snapped me like a stick of seaside rock to read the words that run through my boiled-sugar core, it would say Narrowboat Wife through and through. 

It’s become a part of who I am.

Image: Slices of Rock by Bolcheriet (R) made available under a Creative Commons licence. 

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