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#LegsEllis for more leg action ;-)
Ok - so I should come up with something clever and philosophical for here but that isn't really my style... in short, the whole point of a life on the canals is to get away from all the rubbish that bogs us down, day to day... mission statements, blue sky thinking and all that tosh. Why? we're here is quite simple - life is too short to waste stuck in a rut doing something that drains your soul. In my case, that was "work" or rather, working to earn money doing stuff of little value/pleasure. Don't get me wrong, in society everyone has a duty (imho) to "work" doing their part and paying their way but for far too long, I was stressed out trying to achieve rather than LIVE....some folk work this out at a young age - I didn't work it out until my early 40's but now are happy to be on the way down, rather than an aspirational climber like so many.
Call it an epiphany if you will, but to wake up one morning and realise so long as you have food, shelter, friendship and love in your life - you've made it... the order of importance may vary at times :-)
My long term plan was to rent out the house and have a year (or so) chugging around the county exploring all the wonderful things the UK has to offer. After that, I hoped to be in a position to offer some kind of holiday experience to people who might otherwise be unable to have a trip on narrowboat... NOT a full -blown hotel but more of a 'come and spend a while sharing my life on the canals' kind of affair. The kind where a guest feels at home enough to help with washing the dishes or cooking dinner. THIS way, it won't feel like I'm "working" but having the luxury of meeting new and (hopefully) interesting people to share my continued adventure with... AND doing it this way, it'll mean we won't have to charge folk as much as commercially operated Hotel Boats have to. I've never had much intention of marketing the boat publically (other than the website and blog) so to anyone seeing us, we’ll be “just another boat” with happy people on board…
Sometimes things don't go quite to plan and just before I was about to have an operation on both hands (only carpal tunnel) I was made redundant. To some folk this would be a problem - to me, all it meant was that I could bring my life afloat forward... as such, I had to change the boat's safety scheme certificate from private to none-private status, sort out commercial insurance and apply for a business licence. I also recently completed (and passed) the RYA Helmsman course and have been putting the things I learned into practice. Once that was all done, we began our inaugural cruising season in April 2018. – We had a wonderful fist year with a few lovely guests along the way. The "dry summer" did cause a few problems with canal closures and emergency stoppages due lock failures and the like but we made the best of things and NOW after a practically full 2019 season, have 2020 to look forward to AND and are also working on routes for 2021. .