Regular readers may be a little confused as to my recent posts which appear somewhat erratic.
This past week has been awful for various reasons, yet we have found a new selection of friends and allies we didn’t know we had.
I have mentioned the recent problems we’ve been having with Maggie at night, where she has been alarming up, becoming restless and inconsolable to such an extent that we were both at the end of our tether through lack of sleep, individual pain, stress and anxiety.
Last week saw me making enquiries through the local dog charity shop for the procedure to rehome her. I walked miles that day trying to get things straight in my head, but it was the only viable option open to us as she was a healthy animal and deserved better than what we could offer.
Friday I was phoning animal trusts, and got her booked in for an assessment today. I was told to be prepared to leave her so had to take in her paperwork, blanket and any toys she might have. Sadly, she didn’t have any toys at all, which made me feel even more guilty.
MSM has been an absolute brick by having her at night and us having her during the day. There has been no problem at all, so we conclude it is definitely something either on, in or around the boat that is disturbing her in the early hours, something we can’t hear or trace, though I did hear an intermittent beeping that final night.
MSM has been making her own enquiries, and came up with the idea of fostering her out for a couple of months, getting an army of her friends and acquaintances on our case.
They came up trumps, and a lady some 12 miles away was interested in taking Maggie for us provided she got on with her own dog, which was fair enough.
It was a relief to cancel the assessment as it was not what we wanted at all.
That has now changed again as MSM has been talking to her sister and close friends who have all said maybe Maggie would be better staying with her for a couple of weeks (more on that in a minute). They are prepared to help in an emergency as they all love Maggie and she knows them too.
MSM has been thinking about it, and told us last night that she would have her for us.
We are so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful friends and people.
With the recent hikes in running costs and mooring fees, we have again weighed our options and even though we could cover the increase this year from our meagre savings, another hike next year or the one thereafter would cripple us. With the other issue about a probable reduction in income due to yet another Government revision to disabled policy, it’s a risk we’re not prepared to take so we are selling up on our terms.
We have found a broker that is proficient in selling narrow boats who says he has a list of people looking for Sea Otters. They are aluminium rather than steel, and thus need no regular blacking or exterior maintenance. With our recent varnishing and improvements, the boat is looking her best and he has suggested an acceptable marketing price.
So after Easter, we are off exploring by getting a short licence for the canals and rivers (we only have a licence for the Avon at the moment which went up 44% to £414 from £285) and taking the boat to him.
It will take us about 9 days to get there, a distance of 84 miles with 97 locks, including flights, so it is going to be an adventure which will be documented and photographed for our return.
After that, we will be staying with MSM temporarily, which works out for her too as she wishes to visit distant friends she feels she has neglected, but didn’t like leaving her house empty.
It has been smashing while it lasted, and we are so angry that we have basically been priced out of our home on the water by greed here. I could have covered a 2% increase as with the non-residential moorers, and I had already compensated for the hike in our river licence, but no matter how good I am with money, there is no way we can survive on around a thousand pounds a year after the compulsory boat running costs have been met, and that’s before we heat, do laundry, run a car or eat.
Yes, there are cheaper moorings available, some in very nice marinas with state of the art facilities. However, it is the knock on effect such as a different licence (£1000) and location (need transport) that could do us in.
To be honest, now that we are working to a schedule and getting things sorted, we are looking forward to our trip in an obtuse kind of way.
Our first year was spent learning about ourselves and the boat.
The second we planned to travel but had our gear box problem, though we did get to Stratford Upon Avon again and had several short trips of three or four nights out.
This year we were going to do the canals and enjoy ourselves on the water.
Oh well, at least we shall still be seeing the inner countryside, travel through tunnels and over aqueducts, even if it is a one way trip.
What lies ahead, we have no idea yet.
But we’re not beaten, just bruised, and at least we’ll still be together.