Oct 19 2007, 01:53 PM
to set the scene, I've been on very "flexible hours" working as I do in Croydon and currently residing in Harlow, tied up to some trees and having the boarding plank set to maximum reach.
working late at the office and working from home this week has given me time for reflection. Sitting in the boat slaving over a hot laptop in front of a glowing fire, I glanced out of the window to see some steam rising off the water and hearing the hum of a local boats generator.
for a moment I thought, this must be what everyone imagines living on a canal boat is like and is perhaps quite a few people's ideal way of living. But for some reason, I don't know why, it's not hitting my "happy" spot.
I'm not new to boating, I've been on and around boats for boating holidays and some of them quite extended since I was 5, they have all varied between canals, rivers, estuaries and coastal hopping. I've always loved it, ever since I discovered the joys of hiding inside a cupboard on an old wooden broads cruiser to cruising around the coast and arriving at a strangely familiar port or harbour. Mooring up in a nice marina where you have space to breath, nice clean walkways and security can make a difference. I am not talking about a narrowboat style inland waterways marina, Im talking about coastal marinas and anchorages. All of this I love, a canal certainly can't compete with the smell of being near to the sea or out on wider stretches of water.
The thing I am new to, is Narrowboats. and therein lies my problem.
I think I am coming to a realisation that I don't actually like narrowboats. They dont feel like boats at all.
I feel most of the time that I am not on the water but in some sort of long thin caravan with bad suspension. I really don't feel at one with my man made surroundings. Looking out to see a watery drainage ditch that is the canal or narrow river is quite depressing and makes me feel claustrophobic and hemmed in. Cruising is a chore and not particularly enjoyable, operating locks and moving at 3 or 4 mph is incredibly boring. Knowing that this is pretty much the limit of the boat is quite frustrating.
If I had the kind of boat that could leave Limehouse and turn left and not stop until I reached France or Holland would make me a happy person indeed. I'm not saying thats what I would do, but to have the capability is what Im talking about.
this morning for example, I chose to be a few minutes later to work so that I could take the woolwich ferry. really its just a few minutes ride across the river but the chance to see and smell the docks area and the wilder side of the thames river makes me feel all toasty inside. I dont need a log fire for that.
Im not sure what the answer is, after speaking to the Man we really seem to want VERY different things from living on a boat. He prefers yachts too, but doesnt want to stay near a harbour.
I on the other hand am feeling really unsettled by moving around so much recently. my home doesn't feel like my home so much as a place where I live and don't particularly care about.
Perhaps a chance to sit still for a couple of weeks instead of constantly moving might help my troubled mind. A chance to sit and be creative might be just the tonic I need.
in the mean time Im going to continue to dream about being here again.