Beer and spirits
Barry took the opportunity for a spot of ‘research’ during our trip to Dublin last week, spending a leisurely few hours at the Guinness Storehouse. By booking online beforehand he saved £3.60 which can’t be bad. Unfortunately that didn’t cover the cost of a pint of the dark nectar in Ireland! Such an expensive place, I’m told there’s a high tax imposed on alcohol, which apparently explains the extortionate cost.
All the more reason to brew your own there too I’d suggest!
It’ll take a while before I get any photos from Barry, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t take any of the Guinness he disposed of, but you never know!
He also sought out the Old Jameson Distillery to see if he could pick up a tip or two – I suspect he gave more than he received. Reluctantly tasting a sample was a part of the tour – and for those who enjoy whisky that could’ve been a highlight. Barry doesn’t, so it wasn’t! Interesting nonetheless.
Dublin at night
We had a fabulous night out together at a pub called The Church, recommended to us by our ‘airbnb’ host. It’s the most amazing venue, complete with organ, and live Irish music each night. We were even entertained by a couple of ‘Riverdancers’.
Last week I posted on our Facebook page for The Home Brew Boat, a photo for a beer brewing starter kit and suggested people may consider buying one for ‘the man in their life’. I got a couple of comments back that women drink beer too – of course they do, how thoughtless of me, I guess I’m just so used to Barry drinking beer and me drinking wine or cider.
This picture made me smile after that …
Wisdom 2.0 Europe conference
The reason we headed to Dublin was for an international conference on ‘Compassion and Mindfulness in the Digital Age’. Quite apt I feel for someone who spends a fair proportion of time on Facebook, Twitter, blogging and emails!
It’s the first time this annual conference has come to Europe, previously it’s been USA based only. There was some fascinating information from inspiring speakers – who included a British MP introducing mindfulness into parliament, a head teacher embracing it wholeheartedly into mainstream schools, the head of learning and development at LinkedIn – and so many more. I shan’t go into more detail, except to say that there’s a body of evidence emerging daily on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, not only in your leisure time, but vitally at work.
The pressure to work more, harder and for longer may be lessening, when big companies like Google employ a ‘Meditation Manager’, and Volkswagen tweak their email system to stop employees gaining access outside of working hours.
This was MY research in Ireland, into ways of supporting people through life coaching, to slow down in this fast-paced world.
Do email me if you want to hear more …
Living in the slow boat lane
Those of you who’ve been reading our blog for a while, will know it’s taken many years to reach the place we’re at.
Slowing down is something I’ve been consciously working on since I first travelled to New Zealand in October 2001 – almost 13 years ago now! The nine months I spent living and working (for four of those months) there, were literally the first time in my adult life I’d been able to gift myself some real time-out to reflect on what I’d done with my life thus far, where I’d been, and where I wanted to go.
Fast forward (excuse the pace change!) to October 2014, and I’ve stepped off the hamster wheel, in partnership with Barry, and we’re making our dream of sustaining this floating idyll a reality.
We feel an enormous sense of freedom and flexibility in how we spend our days. Not bound to the normal conventions of travelling to and from work, or trying to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ (not that we ever did that anyway!), maintaing a car and house (though we do keep the boat in order), or getting stuck in the downward spiral of the barrage of negativity from the media through TV or newspapers, we feel like ‘free spirits’ – pun intended.
When I immigrated to NZ in 2005, I went with the intention of relishing life so much more than I had – and reading a book by the inspirational man below reinforced that desire …
Life is good – now it’s back to ‘work’, and today we’ve been unexpectedly trading at the Tipton Canal Festival. More on that in the next blog …
A lovely lady called Pip Norton contacted us a few months ago, to ask if we’d be interested in being a part of a documentary she’s producing about Roving Canal Traders.
We didn’t hesitate to say “Yes please!” – both to increase our visibility and to promote the possibilities available to people to live and trade on a narrowboat.
Pip has been waiting until she had enough funding to film us, and got in touch again recently to say she’d be coming to film traders at Stoke Bruene and The Black Country 13th/14th September.
She has a FB page set up (you can find it here – click on and ‘like’ the page please and give them some more exposure), and is hoping to be gaining more support through a process known as ‘crowd funding‘ in the near future. If you’ve not heard of this it’s “… the practice of raising funds from two or more people over the internet towards a common Service, Project, Product, Investment, Cause, and Experience or SPPICE.”
We hope she’s successful and look forward to seeing the finished product in the not too distant future.
Pip and her sidekick Anna arrived to film Barry around 10am on Sunday, with a list of questions to ask …
Pip interviewed Barry who was unashamedly nervous. I don’t recall ever seeing him so stuck for words. He’d briefly read through the questions Pip would be asking, five minutes before the interview. One of the last ones asked about canal related anecdotes – Barry was so put on the spot, he couldn’t conjure up a single one!
After Barry’s ten minutes of focus, they then thought it’d be a good idea to interview me as the social media coordinator for The Home Brew Boat. I basically talked about the history of setting up businesses while living aboard a narrowboat and travelling the system, and how I market them on Facebook, Twitter and through blogging.
It’ll be interesting to see which parts of our slots make it through the cutting room floor …
After they’d finished with us, it was time for Wild Side. They got some fabulous footage of Helen and Andy chatting to their customers, and then a fascinating interview with Helen about how she came to be a roving trader (if you don’t know the story, it’s an intriguing and encouraging tale of how changing your perspective on unexpected traumatic events can make a negative into a positive).
Barry had another great day’s trading, while I wandered around the festival site, entertained my eldest daughter and grandson, and enjoyed catching up with another couple of ‘old’ friends …
We had an amazing weekend, and have already booked and given our cheque in to book for 2015.
Yesterday evening Wand’ring Bark and Areandare formed a short convoy and sauntered along to a secure marina to moor the boats.
Barry and I are off to Ireland on Tuesday for a few days. I’m going for a conference called Wisdom 2.0 Europe, structured around the topic of ‘Wisdom and wellness in the Technological Age’, while Barry will be checking out the local landscape – and without a doubt spending as much time as possible in The Guinness Factory all for the purposes of research of course!
So there’ll be no more blogging until at least next weekend. After that we’ll be heading slowly to our last planned festival of the year The Parkhead Boating Festival, at lowers Green Pumphouse, in Dudley.