Wednesday 3 April 2024

We have some big news.

We have some big news.

For quite a while now we’ve been aware that boat life can’t go on forever. We’re both getting older, our lives are becoming full of adorable grandchildren in foreign countries and our priorities are shifting. Boating - although we love it - has become something we fit in between trips away. We’re often asked “What will you do next?” and so far our answer has been “We don’t know, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Something will turn up.”

Well, Dear Reader, the bridge is just round the next bend, and with the perfect serendipitousness that seems to constantly run through our lives, something has turned up. Chloe and Shandy have invited us to live with them in their new house in Randalstown, Co Antrim. When we were over there in February we had lots of discussions about pros and cons and about how it could work, and we have finally come up with a plan.

When we started this Voyage of Adventure, our aim was to explore all the navigable Inland Waterways of England and Wales, with a focus on taking Legend to the limits of navigation whenever we can. We can happily report a resounding success in that department. There are still bits we haven’t got to, notably Godalming at the end of the river Wey (despite trying to get there six years ago), and Anglesey Basin at the end of the Wyrley and Essington canal in Birmingham. Both of these are planned for this year, marking the completion of our mission.

When that’s done we are going to put Legend up for sale and move to Ireland.

Make no mistake, this is a huge decision and one we are not taking lightly. We love this boat; it’s been our home for thirteen years, longer than anywhere else we’ve lived. We’ve had the absolute bestest times of our lives on board and we’re going to miss it like mad. It also means we will be further away from the rest of our family and friends, and that is going to be the hardest thing in the world. Everyone keeps telling us it only takes an hour to fly back, and while that’s true, once you add in all the airport shenanigans it’s really a whole day. Then again, when we were up on the northern canals, it was a day’s travelling to get down to Mum and Dad anyway. You can imagine, Dear Reader, how much discussion has been going on.

So, our plan is this: We’re going to have Chloe and Shandy’s static caravan (which we’re going to radically refurbish with lots of extra insulation and cladding), as a dormitory and hide-away. We’re also going to get a van to move all our stuff and after the move we’ll convert it into a camper, giving us the ability to have weekends away exploring Ireland, longer trips down through Europe, and back over here to visit our friends, family and all the bits of England, Scotland and Wales that a narrowboat can’t get to.

Day to day, we see ourselves doing lots of lovely child care and school runs, plus, when the static and the camper are finished, helping out with gardening and odd-jobs. There's a gymnasium and swimming pool in Antrim that we can go to between school runs, and Randalstown regularly wins Britain in Bloom awards so it would be good to get involved with that too.

So, we have not Become Listless and it doesn’t look like we ever will which, we have come to learn, is a good thing. Having things to do, dreams to fulfil, and distant horizons yet unexplored is what we live for.

The beginning of this blog was all about our transition from one life to another, and as we re-invent ourselves yet again, we’ll keep you - Dear, Faithful Reader - fully informed.

In the meantime, there’s a trip into London, Brentford to Weybridge on the Thames, up the Wey to Godalming, summer on the Thames and the Oxford, and Autumn on the BCN.

Oh, and next week we’re off to Tűrkiye for ten days, we’ll send you a post card.

 

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