Grasping an opportunity for a little ‘normality’

I sat at the bow of Areandare on Sunday afternoon, relishing life on the water, knowing I was soon to leave it again.

We often take for granted what we have until it’s gone I find. Last weekend with Barry, was a reminder to me of appreciating ‘normal’ life. Not that I didn’t when it was, but maybe I’d begun to stop being so thankful for the delight and magic of our floating home.

Barry was at Gailey on Friday, on the Staffordshire and Worcester canal. I didn’t hear from him until after 5pm which was a tad worrying! I was starting to wonder if he’d fallen into the canal whilst locking or driving solo, phone and all, as his phone every time I called it went straight to answer phone. It turned out he was travelling furiously. He’d got a bit mixed up and thought our next festival was this weekend and not the one after. So he was moving a good distance knowing I didn’t want to be cruising while there.

Shortly after arriving at the boat, I was talking about Helen from Wandering Bark/Wildside, when she called out of the blue asking where we were. They were heading to their boat at Calf’s Heath, with a couple of friends, and going to collect their new (jam) butty over the weekend (read all about their maiden voyage here). As we were so near to them, we had a spontaneous gathering involving testing of home brew beer and wine (Helen’s friends Mark and Debra were suitably impressed), men-talk and girl-talk, and a round of six-handed rummy of course.

No photos were taken sadly. Actually that’s a lie. Andy took a couple, though only Debra and Mark appear I’m informed. My only picture was one of Barry’s belly. Neither shot is publishable! What a missed opportunity. I guess we were having too good a time.

On Saturday we took the chance to drive up to see Lisa, Rob and our grandsons. What fabulous weather we had! It’s always such a joy to spend time with the boys, and play like children. I love being a grandma, such an unmissable excuse to release your inner child and let your hair down.

You won’t be surprised to hear Barry doesn’t need much of an reason to do this either!

Barry finds his inner child at Deernford Lake

Barry finds his inner child at Deernford Lake

Watching the motorised boats on the lake

Watching the motorised boats on the lake

Sunday was a quiet day on the boat. I’d slept for 12 nourishing hours overnight, mindful of the broken nights to come once I returned to mum and dad. No longer a child there, I’m more like a parent to them now.

We moved a short distance to fill up with water (I had a shower while it was flowing in, and washed my hair, as you do!), then descend the Gailey lock. I remained inside during this time, drying my hair, and wondered why Barry was continuing driving after leaving the lock rather than mooring up as planned. Mum’s car was parked in the CRT car park by the lock, and I had to head back to Ombersley after lunch.

So I walked briskly to the back of the boat to remind Barry – who’d forgotten! He sheepishly slowed down and moored up. I suspected he’d forgotten I was even on board, and was merrily on his way on a sunny cruise. He admitted he was heading to Penkridge …

Untying the ropes ready to move a short way - well that was the plan!

Untying the ropes ready to move a short way – well that was the plan!

I made a large Sunday roast that Barry relished, his last ‘wife-cooked’ meal for a while, and we tasted the strawberry cider that’s been brewing on the boat. Hopefully there’ll still be some left when I return!

Magnum strawberry cider - yum!

Magnum strawberry cider kit from The Home Brew Boat – delightfully refreshing

I left Barry and Areandare, reluctantly I admit, around 2pm., heading back to mum and dad’s. It’s unlikely I’ll return until a 24 hour pass on Wednesday 28th May, when my younger sister is providing some relief for me.

IMG_6163

Off she goes again – Barry unloads the suitcase

Back at mum and dad’s house now, our Social Worker visited yesterday to do her care assessment, and I just need to photocopy a ton of documents to send with the financial assessment so I can get that sent off. From there we’ll begin to structure some sort of plan for the future. It’s just not sustainable for me to live with them indefinitely, and dad’s getting more confused each day. It’s so sad to watch, helplessly, as his mind slips away.

I’m still not sure at this stage whether I’ll be able to join Barry for the Etruria Canal Festival 31st May to 1st June. He’ll be perfectly fine trading on his own, but it won’t be so much fun. Helen and Andy will be there too, so he won’t really be alone.

His recent companion Jim, has written a few blog posts about their journey – ‘Back on the cut with the home brew boat’,  ‘Two for the price of one‘,  and ‘Up the branch and on to Compton’, which you may wish to visit and check out what a couple of days on board the good brewing boat can entail!

Barry’s emailed me some more of his photos from the past few weeks, which I’ll aim to continue scheduling for a post a day – just to confuse everyone into wondering where on earth we are!

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