The Big CoronaVirus Boat Picture

Exactly a year ago I only had a few days before I was due to move onto a narrow boat and a while later I wrote my first blog about what led me to this decision (The Big Boat Picture). At the time I wasn’t sure how long I would live like this but I thought there was just a chance of it being some kind of ‘forever home’. A year later and that chance; happily, is becoming more of a reality. And yet, I find myself exactly a year later and in a few days I will be moving off the boat and I don’t know how long for. 

I don’t like to get too bogged down in practicalities but this blog seems to call for it.  So to get you up to speed I will list the main issues and concerns would face by staying on the boat:

  • Supermarket deliveries – which we normally rely on – started becoming difficult to book a few weeks ago. 
  • We were near ‘manned locks’. These largely mean volunteers who, often, are people over 70 years old. We started thinking these kind folk might decide to stay at home (rightly so) and therefore the locks could shut.
  • Concern for the parents we are closest to geographically (and therefore most able to help if needed). Our worry if we stayed on the boat would outweigh any ease of life of doing so. This was probably our biggest driver-to be somewhere we could be helpful.  
  • If we did get the virus with any more than mild symptoms, moving to fill up with water and chopping wood, would be extremely difficult. If we had a full tank maybe we would be ok for three weeks but our fire doesn’t take coal and no one delivers wood to boats. 

We are very lucky that we have a solution in that my mother in law has a summer house we can stay in. We will try to get home deliveries but if not we can use her car to buy hers and our own food shopping, to allow her to isolate. 

Talking to my sister recently she pointed out that while everyone is throwing themselves out of ‘regular life’ I, on the other hand, am throwing myself considerably more back into it. That is saying a lot on how much ‘out’ of it I have been! Which is entirely true. She makes a good point and I am glad of it; it has made me stop and take a breath. I have spent this last year stepping out, putting myself first so painstakingly. This, after a few years of trying to balance chronic migraine with living this ‘regular life’ and simply not succeeding. Today I’m just not not sure I know which way is up. At least I know every single person in the country feels the same way, be it for different reasons.

I realise it’s unlikely this summer house will be my ‘forever home’ and I feel ok for now,  not knowing. I was just so happy, after so many years of moving house, packing, repacking and heartbreak, that things might just settle down. After a year on the boat things had started to settle down with a rhythm of life and I was starting to plan seeing my family more; Tom and I were getting going with a walking stick-making business (he makes them).  At the same time I have been half laughing to myself about how much of a foolish thing that is to think there won’t be glitches; that as certain as there is still blossom on the blackthorn each spring, the next challenge would always be just around the corner. Wasn’t it just?

Oh and 🎵happy birthday to me🎵



  1. My dear Naomi,
    I found this, as I was just about to send you a birthday message. And on Fridays I pray for all our twelve godchildren, so this morning you were top of my list! Yes, indeed, Happy Birthday to you and thank you for your brave and utterly realistic Boat Time piece this morning. You’ll be even more on my heart – you and Tom – as you move (again) onto dry land. All very rational but I feel the ache that goes with it, after this last year of establishing a more liveable pattern of life. I love the image of making walking sticks and hope that can continue……..and can be supportive for you both in more ways than one.
    Please know that I’m thinking of you and will be praying that in these strange days the migraines will go on being kept within bounds and you will at least be able practically to live more easily and to offer a bit of help to others.

    Bless you both and much love, Lou xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are definitely making the right decision for this temporary move. It is marvellous that you have this place of refuge from which you will also be able to help other people. Let me quote from TS Eliot – Here is no continuing city, here is no abiding stay. Nothing in life is permanent: everybody must be realising this at the moment. Mind you, there appear to be rather too many people who think that the current regulations don’t apply to them. Keep well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Birthday, Naomi. I was so sorry to read your entry and to hear that this is what COVID19 has meant for you, but I like your positive outlook. Hopefully all of this is temporary!

    Liked by 1 person

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