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Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Visit From Nev!

"A stranger is just a friend I haven't met yet.” ~ Will Rogers 


   I hadn't met Nev Wells in person; we grew to know one another through our blogs. Nev and his wife Rachel own NB Waterlilly.

   I found his blog as I searched the 'Net for single handed boaters back in late 2009. I was immediately captivated by his profile picture: Fradley Junction at sunset. It is beautiful and emotionally evocative--the kind of picture every good photographer wishes to take. As I read Nev's posts I was touched by his honesty and gentleness. I enjoyed his observations on life in general and people in particular. Every now and then I left comments to let Nev know his writing reached out and touched me all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

   Nev knew Les in passing and followed his boat blog. When Les and I fell in love I wrote a blog about our story So this is Love. Nev began following, commenting as he read and our online friendship grew. 

Nev and Les in front of NB Valerie

   We missed meeting up as Les and I cruised North last March, so Dear Sir and I were thrilled to connect with Nev at last, inviting him and Rachel aboard NB Valerie. Nev came for coffee and carrot cake today and we had a great visit.

   We've both been employed in academia and have an understanding of university campus life; his wife is working on a Masters degree in Nursing--a difficult and sometimes grueling undertaking not for the faint of heart. She loves interacting with people and she's very good at what she does which is saving lives and helping people heal. I've several friends and acquaintances in the States who are also nurses and who teach for nursing programs. Nev and Rachel have traveled to the States so we share common ground there as well. 

   We had a lovely chinwag about living aboard and Les and I shared some anecdotes regarding our cultural differences.

   Nev in person is just as he is on his blog--honest, gentle, smart, funny, introspective. And I love his hair cut; I had one like it not too many years ago!

   Rachel couldn't come as she had exams for which to study but we sent Nev home with extra carrot cake to fuel her studying and we look forward to seeing them both some time in the future.

   To quote another boating friend named Mo, "Aren't boaters lovely?" Yes, yes they are; I am thankful for the welcome and acceptance I've received in this floating community along cut.

   It is a unique fellowship with folks across a wide spectrum of employment, personal experience, lifestyles and cultures who all enjoy life with a narrow boat in it somewhere.

   We also share a deep appreciation for British canal engineering and the beauty, thrill, and privilege of traveling this country seeing the best of it in a manner that provides real opportunity to really take it all in and relish the moments, people, and places we experience; to breathe it in and make it a part of who we are--not just a person or place to be collected, categorized, photographed and forgotten in the pursuit of the next event.

   A lifetime of surviving out there in that other world left me stressed and clenched--body and soul--always waiting for the next crisis to strike. A year in England, married to Les and living aboard our boat has unclenched my fists and my spirit.

   I know happiness now in a way I've never experienced it previously. No longer a brief emotional state brought about by external happenstance, true happiness shines inside me like a light. It is the reflection of how I live my life each day, having found the place I belong at last, feeling extremely fortunate to share it with my very best friend. 


Anonymous said...

I love this story and especially now that I have a real picture of what it's like.

So happy you're so happy


John Witts said...


That'll be boating then.....


Les Biggs said...

Hi Sally,
I am so very glad you came to experience a small slice of our life. Glad you made your journey back home safely as well.

Les Biggs said...

Hello John,
It is indeed as you well know, being one of those fabulously friendly boaters yourself.:)

Charmaine said...

I think I have said this before, but as I read your blog, I am continually amazed at the happiness you have found in your new way of life. Learn from Jaq, everyone: your intuitions will lead you to your bliss. Pay attention!

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs