After continuously cruising the waterways for just over three years aboard Oakfield we now realise why we like this way of life so much. The canal system is just like one big floating village where you can meet up with other boaters to befriend which is great. At least most people speak to you and we will help each other out if anyone happens to have a problem or get into difficulties. Also it is nice to socialise occasionally in the nearest pub over a nice meal with a few drinks, putting the world to rights.
We can moor right in the middle of big cities as we did here in Birmingham for fourteen days, which was brilliant. A couple of live-aboard folk got married while we were there which meant that there was a great gathering of boaters. Many of them we already knew from meeting up on the cut, or at the various ‘Banters’ that we had already been to, which was fun.
Or we can choose a peaceful countryside mooring with footpaths leading off to new places to explore. The only drawback is chugging slowly past the garden gnomes on the towpath on tick-over. This is a bit of a nuisance when there is a fishing match on and there may be loads of fishermen as far as the eye can see. So we usually try and stay put on Sundays when there are fishing matches going on during the summer.
So, we can be as this boat-name suggests ‘the cat who walks by himself’ on the remote country moorings for up to 14 days or in the popular shopping/bus route hotspots for 2 days, or 24 hours depending on what mooring restrictions are in place. Anyway if a place is too noisy, or we don’t like the neighbours we can take out the pins and move along somewhere else. We don’t generally stay in one place for too long before we get the urge to be cruising again.
Anyway whether we are negotiating sharp narrow bends, or avoiding other boats, steering the boat through narrow bridges, locks, and dark tunnels we need to concentrate. This and cruising along in the open air tends to clear our minds and free us from all the worries of life, most of the time, which is a good thing.