We have been berthed at a marina this week. Rather a good idea because we have mains electricity while our solar panels have been removed. Also good because it has been peeing with rain for most of the week. I have scraped and sanded the old paint and rust from underneath the solar panels, and it is ready for priming and painting as soon as the weather improves. My brother in law, Stephen, commented that a year ago I would have been making high powered decisions about UK banking, and now my hardest decision is whether I think the rain will hold off long enough to get on a coat of red oxide.
He is right of course and I am fine with that. Perhaps my world view has shrunk, as I have retired and started living on a narrowboat. But there is something very satisfying about learning to do things with my hands and learning to live life in the slow lane. Because we have been in a marina, we have been able to spend more time with friends and family, including a few car journeys. And after a month at less than 3mph, cars feel so very fast. Hunks of steel hurtling at each other, inches apart. Very scary.
I am not sure this change in my attitude is a good one. I am very much enjoying my new life, but if I am finding cars too scary, perhaps I have gone too far. What do you think?
I have been told that I will not truly understand retirement till I have been retired for over a year. Until then it feels too much like just a very long holiday. That may be true, but boy am I enjoying this very long holiday. We are now nearly a month into our summer narrowboat trip, and while every day something goes wrong, also every day we get to enjoy the wonderful countryside and slow pace of canal life.
This week we have had the excitement of Bingley five rise, the biggest staircase of locks in the world. We have found ourselves stuck in one of the widest locks in the world at Castleford (we called an engineer). We have spent Saturday night with our eldest son on the boat right in the centre of Leeds. I have wandered the streets of Saltaire and Shipley looking for a barber. We had a wonderful evening in a brew pub with two of our friends we have not seen for six years. And every afternoon we have sweltered in the heat. Even though we have insulation, a narrowboat is basically a steel can, and gets so very hot in the sunshine.
I think my favourite day of all this week was moored up in the middle of nowhere, overlooking the Aire valley, and just chilling, reading a book, watching a film, painting my poles.
It may feel like a long holiday rather than “proper” retirement, but it is so much more relaxing than any holiday I have had before. I love it.