Sunday, 10 May 2009

A change of pace or place

We went to visit Dave’s dad today who lives in Penkridge, a much talked about and popular place on the canal system. It amazes me how on a road map Penkridge is just another quiet little Staffordshire village with no claim to being anything special. Yet in the boating “fraternity” it’s well renowned and very popular. I only realised just how much from reading other folks blogs.

We’ve often visited there over the years because of Dave’s family ties, although it’s only been the past two or three years that we’ve come to realise how famous it is!

But there’s more to it than that, when the kids were little and we weren’t exactly “well off.” We used to go and visit Dave’s mum and dad at their modest bungalow that backed onto the canal. (It’s situated near a pub called The Bridge). It was like a holiday for us. Dave his dad would sit in the back garden fishing. Meanwhile me and his mum would just sit and have a good natter.

With boats floating past in summer we had some fine conversations with boaters as they tootled by. Neither of us realised at the time that this was the very beginnings of us being drawn towards the canal boating lifestyle. It’s only when we look back we’ve noticed that it was a subconscious? Instinctive? Thing.

There’s no doubt about the fact that we loved it there, we never wanted to leave, I always hoped the car would break down when we were going home, so we could stay for one more night…!

I remember one time in winter (yes we went there in all weathers) we were reluctantly setting off back, but it had snowed heavily for two days. Turned out to be much worse than expected, not enough gritting had been done. The motorway was like a skating rink. So we were stuck there for another night. (Result!)

Moving on somewhat, when both “kids” had left home to pursue their own careers, we started going for long walks by the canals, and realised it was a different world. It took us away from our hum drum life – but only temporarily, once a week or so.

We started getting the house ready to sell because we’d been so disillusioned with it for quite some time. As far as the future was concerned we needed a change, but we were “in limbo” as to what came next for us…

Then the day we first set eyes on TT almost never happened, we almost stayed at home. I was getting over a cold and still felt a bit rough, Dave asked if I wanted to go for a walk, at first I said “No” because I didn’t feel up to it. Then “something” made me change my mind, I thought it might “do me good” little did we know the events of that day would end up mapping out our future!

I sort of believe in fate (sometimes), it depends on the circumstances. But this was definitely “meant to happen” because it was so against the odds.

Even at the marina we almost walked away without setting eyes on TT at all, or the “For Sale” signs. We only noticed it because Dave looked back as we were walking away. Even when he said “Oh look there’s one for sale” he sounded interested. But “Mrs Grumpy” here was unusually negative (c’mon I was ill). So I just said “What’s the point in looking at something you can’t have?” 

Amazingly a little voice within me said “GO WITH THE FLOW HEATHER and FOLLOW THIS UP.” We both wavered, and almost lost the nerve to bother asking about having a look round. However we did and were “blown away,” the rest is history.

I learned an important lesson the day after that first glimpse of TT: Always listen to your instincts before walking away from something because it’s easier at the time!
Engineer Tom came and replaced the water pump while we were in Penkridge today. Switch a tap on now and water actually comes out of it, what a luxury! Even a couple of days with a “water works” problem feels like two weeks. So while the teabags were stewing round at TT2 we went round our TT trying out every tap on the boat.
Conclusion: Well they all work then, thanks to Engineer Tom, yet another job sorted aboard this boat...

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