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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

"I always say keep a diary and someday it'll keep you." ~Mae West

 DIARY 2014
   I opened up a new 2014 diary today and began by inking in all the places we had been this past year on the days. For example, under January 2nd, 2013 at the very bottom in parentheses it says, (*Buckby top lock). I do this each time we moved to anew place so I know where we were last year on this date. I also add into the parentheses any significant happenings such as January 9th (*Blisworth, Lg. solar panel installed). In my diary I also keep track of all the boat oil changes, engine hours at change, battery top ups, belt replacements, gear oil changes, and any major repairs or replacements. I track our purchase of coal, diesel and Calor: when, from where (or whom), how much purchased and what we paid, month by month. I also do this with groceries.
   On the month at a glance calendar for each month I write in every time we get water, empty the loo, have visitors, get hair cuts, etc. I provide details of weather at the top of each day's entry: January 12th, 2103 says, "52 degrees, balmy light winds and rain!" Each days activities and main meals are noted as are details of books read or telly watched and any other ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) I find pertinent of interesting.

NB HERBIE: Neil and Kath
   I've got so much to write about and not nearly enough time to write it all!
 First of all an introduction is necessary for our readers, to Neil and Kath on NB Herbie. Each year the crew of NBH entertain the rest of us with a count down of the best: best moorings for the year, best pubs you've never heard of, and many other things boat related.
   Beginning in 2010 they decided to create a Herbie Award for Fortitude and choose a fellow boater who exemplified the strength of mind and character that allows someone to bear pain or adversity with courage. The first award went to Sue and Vic on NB No Problem.
   In 2011 the Herbie Award went to Sue and Richard of NB Indigo Dreaming... Then last year it went to Maffi..."So whoever wins this year is in elevated company."
   Well dear readers, this year I was totally gobsmacked to discover I was the honoree of the rare and coveted Herbie Award for Fortitude!! We have posted our award on the upper left of this blog page.
   Click on the award to visit NB Herbie's page and learn more about past recipients and their feats of courage and community which make the waterways a fantastic place on which to live. 
   I remember discovering NB Herbie's blog in late 2009 when I first found canals and narrow boats. I came across one of Neil and Kath's blog posts which featured a picture of their lovely floating home wreathed in early morning fog. Something about that picture touched me viscerally and helped (along with many other boaters' blogs) to light a longing in my heart for life as a continuous cruiser on a narrow boat.
   Back then I had never actually seen a narrow boat in all three dimensions or ever set foot off the North American continent. The life I lead now was all a wished for dream...one that I expected would take many years of planning and saving to accomplish. Love did not feature anywhere in this plan...until Les Biggs came to visit Pullman, Washington USA for one week and the unplanned, unanticipated, unthinkable occurred...we fell in love with one another!! And the rest, as they say...
   so here I am living La Vida Gloriousa aboard NB Valerie with Dear Sir. I am humbled and touched to be accepted into such an amazing, varied, and close knit though far flung society: the British boating community. Les and I offer grateful thanks to all who read our blog, post comments or send off an email in response to something we've written, or wave to us as we pass along the canals; those who stop to say hello--be they readers or other boaters.
   We cannot praise enough the goodness of the boaters who have assisted us this year. Each of you share this Herbie Award with us; your help made a very difficult time possible to survive and move beyond. We didn't come through the darkness alone: you each lit a flame of kindness to help us find our way. The prayers, positive thoughts and good wishes of loved ones and friends all over the world buoyed us up as well and carried us through.

A HOME OFFICE LETTER
  And so onward to New Year's Eve...A letter came from the Home Office dated the 23rd of December, requesting I proceed with registering my biometrics at the Post Office. Without any further delay (we had 15 days from the 23rd to get it done) Les and I left the boat early yesterday morning bundled up as warm as we hoped would be necessary (not nearly enough it turned out!) to catch a bus from Cow Roast to Tring, in order to catch another bus from Tring to Luton near the hospital, to catch yet another bus to our daughter in law Joanne's, where our mail is registered, to pick up the Home Office letter which one had to have in hand when registering one's biometrics, and to drop off a large container of homemade Chicken Soup to help Jojo fight a bad cold.
   By the time we reached Luton the high wind gusts were blowing the rain sideways and Les and I were soaked through and frozen. We peeled off our wet clothes at Jojo's and threw them in the dryer while we warmed up with a cup of tea and caught up with family. It was lovely to see Jo, Kiera and Kiernan who were helping with the post holiday tidying up. 
   After we were all dried out and dressed again we ventured out to the nearest bus stop to discover a bus was missing from the route and we could have stood there for an hour in the bloody freezing, wet and high winds so we walked back towards the Luton hospital (at least while moving one is generating heat!) and caught another bus to The Mall. 
   In the Post Office it took all of less than ten minutes to wait, have our number called, pay the £19.20 fee, take my picture, and take my fingerprints and signature electronically. Now all we can do is wait for a decision as to whether or not my application for Indefinite Leave to Remain is granted. We had a quick bite to eat and were back outside in the elements, waiting for yet another bus--this one back the way we came. 
   In Tring we walked up to the Tesco superstore, picked up four bags of groceries, slogged outside in the gathering dark and continuing rain, and waited for the final bus back to Cow Roast. Whew! A very long day indeed. Les and I were both so knackered we ached all over.
   Today we are mostly recovered. I forgot eggs last night so Les generously offered to catch the bus back into Tring for them while he chased up a prescription refill and I moved the boat, filled up with water, brought down a new bag of coal, and was just mooring up again when my Best Beloved came back from the village. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!!!
   Tonight we will celebrate the passing of 2013 with quiet thankskgiving and deep joy. We are together, Les's health is steadily improving and we have high hopes of getting in some cruising in the next few weeks!!
Portland, Oregon, 2012
   We want to take a moment to offer deep thanks to Canal and River Trust (CaRT) who have been kept abreast of Les' health issues. CaRT has allowed us to overstay for a period of time in order to access doctors appointments, the hospital, groceries, water, rubbish and in general to quietly work on getting Les better so we can get back to what we love most--cruising!! Many thanks for CaRTs unobtrusive support for our situation. 
   Happy New Year Everyone! From our boat to your home--wherever you may be on this round planet, we wish you good health, good will, love, peace, joy, contentment, laughter and the company of family and friends!! Blessed Be...

14 comments:

KevinTOO said...

Hi Les & Jac,

Happy New Year to you both :)

May 2014 bring you all you desire!

Best wishes,
Kevin xx & Harry xx

Janet said...

Wishing you both a Happy New Year. We will keep an eye open for you on the cut from NB More.

Bryce Lee said...

2013 has been an amzing year for both Jaq and Les. Friendships are truly international; may alll your dreams come true in 2014 and may all of us beyond NB Valerie contribute to your well-being.


Bryce Lee
Burlington, Ontario
Canada

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Congratulation on your well deserved award. Couldn't go to two nicer people. Happy New Year and may 2014 be one of the best years yet.

Irene & Ian

Xxxx

Dave,Beryl Bradshaw said...

Happy New Year To you both
May 2014 bring you everything you need and a few extras.The award couldn't have gone to a more deserving recipient.Keep building up that strength Les that was one hell of a diet!!! All our love Beryl & Dave nb Sokai

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year lovely people...and may 2014 be full of joyeux, beaucoup de frohliche y bon sante...love&hugs from Attishoo Sniffle of B....xxA

Anonymous said...

ps.....forgot to say....love the photo.....and do you offer life coaching skills in diary keeping and how not to prevaricate?!! xxA

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Kevin and Harry,
May 2014 bring you good health, contentment, joy in each other's company and in the companionship of friends and family. Here is to meeting up somewhere on the cut in the New Year!!
Jaq and LesXX

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Janet,
Okay! NB More--we will keep pour eyes peeled for you. It would be fantastic to meet up in 2014. Happy New year!!
Jaq

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Bryce, it has been such a pleasure to get to know you--even though we've never physically met. You've been a sounding board for me throughout the past months and words cannot do justice to my gratitude. Les and I are both thrilled you found his blog back when and reached out to us through comments and emails. Happy New Year mate. May it bring us all better health and joy in every breath we take.
Love Jaq and LesXX

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Thank you Irene and Ian,
We hope to catch up with you both somewhere on the cut this next year. Until we do here is to joy in every breath we take, and happiness in all the love we make.
Jaq and LesXX

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Thanks Dave and Beryl! We also hope to catch up with the two of you again in 2014 somewhere along our journeys. Until we do, stay warm, safe and dry and may this new year bless you with an abundance of good health, love and joy.
Jaq and LesXX

Jaqueline Biggs said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Congrats Jaq, you REALLY deserve the award (which you can share with Les...he deserves one too!) And Happy New Year to you both.

Love from Sally and Joe

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs