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Sunday, October 27, 2013

NB Valerie Moved Today!!

"The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, it is in rising again after you fall." ~Vince Lombardi, American Football player, coach and executive

   When I spoke with Les at hospital last night he warned me a storm was on its way and reminded me to check the water level. With all that has been going on I had lost track of the days, thinking we had only filled up last week. Half way through my second load of laundry this morning the water made an odd choking sound as it came through the washing machine pipes and I realized I was just about to run out of water. 
   I turned off the machine, threw on some shoes, loosened the ropes and off I went, cruising for water. Lest you think this was a long journey I will tell you the water point is only three boat lengths in front of where we are moored, still it is the first time I've moved the boat completely on my own without Les aboard to correct me.
   The wind was blowing up 22 MPH gusts back up the canal behind me and over towards the towpath side. I figured if I gave the engine some Welly to counteract the backward wind direction and eased off as I approached the water point, it would carry me into the side, and thus it did.
   The wind freshened my cheeks and ruffled my hair as the boat cut through the water. It felt MAGNIFICENT to be moving!! I only wished my best beloved was by my side and we were heading up the canal and back into our continuous cruising life. Soon, Goddess willing...
   While the tank was filling, I emptied the trash, straightened up the bow and stern areas, brought in three big, blue Ikea bags of wood off the roof, stacking it to dry near our stove and stacking yet more outside in the bow, under the gunnel. I hoisted another bag of coal off the roof and into the bow, filling the inside coal bucket, and when the water tank was full I rinsed out the cockpit and scrubbed the grunge off the roof where the wood had been drying through the summer. 
   My plan was to use the center line to walk the boat back to our mooring spot where the pins were still deep in the ground. With the wind blowing a hooley by now, I felt unsure of cruising in reverse on my own. Being dyslexic means left and right often become mixed up for me. I would not only be fighting my learning disability but also the ever growing gale, however a boat pulled in behind me shortly before I turned off the water spigot. Time to butch up and cruise backward with an audience. 
   Amazingly I did it! I didn't hit their boat, or anyone else's! I backed NB Val up the center of the canal, put the engine in forward gear and slid her gently right into the towpath side, slowed her down, jumped off with the center line and pulled the boat in!
   Feeling triumphant I tied up the stern to the pin, trod through the mud like a champion to tie up the bow and realized to my consternation I had tied the stern too tightly and the bow was making its way out towards the center of the canal. I ran back with center line in hand and quickly loosened the stern rope retying it loosely; as I turned to run back up to the bow I slipped in the mud and fell flat on my face! Quickly I climbed to my feet, pulled the boat in with the center line and grabbed the bow line, threaded it through the pin and tied it off. 
   With the forecast of hurricane force winds and the worse storm to hit Britain in 25 years headed our way this evening, it was crucial I tie the boat in extra tight and secure. I struggled as the wind tugged NB Val away from me. I am five feet one with vestigial limbs and the boat weighs 18 tons--but I am proud to say did it!!
   I took a moment to revel in my victory, sopping wet with water, gooey mud clinging to me from the tip of my nose to my ankles, but I did not care. I laughed triumphantly, loving the feel of the bracing wind on my face and the use of my muscles. Life is brilliant and I am blessed. I wonder now that I have been christened in good old English towpath mud, does this mean I am a proper boater???


Andy said...

Way to go girl, keep up the enthusiasm.
I underwent the scalpel in March 2012 to remove an ugly tumour from my bowel, it was the emotional and physical support of my Sue that healed me more readily than any doctor. Les has you so has best care possible.

Jacquie said...

Oh Jaq, you muppet, Laugh out Loud I did, at least I haven't succommed to that embarressment of falling over in the mud, I thought bears were nimble on their feet. ? I hope no one saw you, ( titter, titter ). I'm glad I weren't there, cause I'd have had a windlass coming my way, for laughing. Well at least I have an extra 3" on you, and we all know what a difference that can make !!!! ???? Moving swiftly on - thanks for our 1 hour phone call last night, now if we can just get that bed hogger back home, wouldn't life be just peachy for you both. Hugs Jacquie xx

Pip said...

Well done Jaq - as Rudyard Kipling said 'You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din'!!! I have never done anything as brave as move the boat on my own - when Rog had to go into hospital our son came down and helped me! Yes, you are a proper boater, and have been for some time - towpath mud and all!!
Pip xxx

KevinTOO said...

Well at least you're OK and not hurt thankfully... a couple of things to remember for next time though...

Don't run! it's not lady-like and the boat can never get too far away

Arrange for a photograher, if you're going to laugh you might as well share it with the world... LOL

Kevin xx & Harry xx

Tom and Jan said...

Well done!

You can give Jan boat lessons when we meet! :-)

Anonymous said...

Great going, Jaq. I can see you now! Just what you need to make you feel better - you are in command of SOMETHING!


Bryce Lee said...

"I wonder now that I have been christened in good old English towpath mud, does this mean I am a proper boater??? "

Now the next step is to fall into the canal, and walk out again, more or less...

All i can think of is the mother, not the grandmother in the numerous cartoons of the late Giles, and how she was able to manage her somewhat
rebellious family...

Anonymous said...

I laughed like a drain at your joy, fantastic. Best to you both

Amy Willow said...

Good work, Jaq, I know I'd be terrified if I had to reverse Willow at all, let alone in front of an audience! I hope Les is back with you soon but in the meantime, you're doing a great job!


nb.bobcat said...

Hi Jaq

Welcome to the 'proper boaters' club. When solo boating - cardinal rule never ever run. And when tying the boat up be prepared to walk the length of the boat several times until you get both ends just so.

Keep your spirits up I'm sure Les will be home soon.
Kath x

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Oh Andy,
I'll bet you and Sue are both so relieved to have it behind you (no pun intended). Here is to a life aboard our boats filled with health, and laughter. We look forward to meeting you with you both in the future.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Oh Jacquie,
I wish you HAD been there--I love the sound of your laugh. I wouldn't have thrown a windlass--I'd have just pulled you down to roll hysterically in the mud with me!! After all it is only your due as a "tall" person!
Les and I are both counting the days till he comes home and he can hog all the bed he wants!!
Love you gobs and bunches,

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Oh thanks Pip! I really want to be sure we can continue cruising for the rest of our lives. If it means I need to take over the things Les does then I will, although obviously I don't have his grace under pressure yet!! I'm sure it will come with time.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Okay Kevin and Harry,
Next time (and I am sure there will be a next time as I am not yet Grace under pressure) I'll try to be sure Les has camera in hand to record the occasion. Note to self: never mind running with scissors--do not run with the boat either.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Sally! You know me well! I felt so masterful for all of oh...45 seconds!
Love to you and Joe,

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Bryce,
woke VERY hard to cling like a monkey to the boat when the possibility of falling in the canal is present. No doubt though it will happen eventually!

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Anonymous??? I'm glad you caught a hit of my joy. For a witch mud is just one of the five sacred things (earth, air, fire water and spirit) so I really did feel properly christened. It's good to laugh at laugh and one's self especially, no??

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Thanks Amy! It was such a lovely thing to be engaged in something so utterly normal if you know what I mean. Les and I are both very anxious to get him back on board and relaxing in his recliner.

I am in awe of your boat interior remodeling skills. Willow was a grand but shabby gal when you both took her on and every month that passes she looks more and more beautiful. It has been a great treat to read your blog and see what wonderful new things you've accomplished.
Hugs to you and James,

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Kath,
Thanks, and thanks as well for the pointers. I will be sure to remember them. Yesterday lifted my spirit tremendously even though it was just a little toddle to the water point and back.
Take care!

Carol said...

who said boating wasn’t easy!!!? You can feed on that monumental triumph for the next week at keast. Well done Jaq x George

Dave,Beryl Bradshaw said...

Fantastic that you feel able at last to laugh even if it is at yourself
We are up on the Bridgewater at the moment the storm was a bit of an anticlimax here Give our love to Les
He will be home soon. Beryl & Dave Nb Sokai

Ken and Sheena said...

Be grateful it was mud! :).

Unknown said...

Well done to both of you.We are rooting for you both here in Nottingham.

life afloat on nb tickety boo said...

Oh Jaq you make me proud!! Me being a single boater, I know how triumphant that makes you feel, when you manage to steer the boat without mishap!! Well done!!

jercher said...

You go girl!! I am so proud of you!! I do well to back the car out of the garage!! You can take the girl out of Alaska but . . .
Love ya!

Edge-O-Kilauea said...

Grace under pressure isn't all it's cracked up to be! Doing what needs done is what it is about! Well Done!

Unknown said...

You did good girl, but there are only two types of boater 'those that have been in and those that are going in' :)

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi George,
Yep, as we say in the States--I'm full of it!! We have to celebrate our triumphs no matter how small or large.
Love to you and Carol. XX

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hello Dave and Beryl,
Glad to hare you weathered the storm okay up there. NB Val bucked like a rocking horse in that wind but the mooring lines held fast.
We look forward to mooring up next to you again in the future.
Jaq and Les

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Ken and Sheena,
Believe me I AM grateful I didn't fall into dog poo or the canal. I figure I got a free towpath facial. :)

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Stan,
Thanks and its good to know you are up there in Notts sending us support.
Jaq and Les

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Deb!!
It's great to belong to a club of folks who know the importance of celebrating the little things in life, which are often the most savoury.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Bear!!
LOL! I can see you now, backing Newman out of the garage. Girlfriend I miss you and my big bro like a fat kid misses cake!
I love you!!

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Thanks Edge-o-Kilauea!

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Maffi your comment made me belly laugh. We certainly know I belong to the latter group. I'm going to try hard to hang on to my "those that are going in" status for as long as possible.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs