It's just over a month since we moved onto the boat – and we've never looked back.
Although it's been a dream of mine for years, I was still anxious about moving our little family to a boat.
Would DS, 5, cope without a huge (communal) garden to run around anymore?
Would we be cold with just a gas fire in the living room and no heaters in the bedrooms?
Would the cat cope without a cat flap? And would the gorgeous furball fall in?
Would it seem dark & menacing at night?
Would we discover that we suffer from seasickness?
But in just one morning -eating breakfast outside, curious geese, ducks & swans stopping by to say hello; the sun glinting on the river; the mesmeric journey of the tide drawing the water in and out, changing the landscape minute by minute – we fell in love with this new way of life.
As the days unfolded it became transparent that the love affair wasn't just a case of rise tinted glasses at something new.
With each day that's passed we've found something new to love about living here.
We've been cooking outside as much as possible…steaks, chicken and sausages are the favourites, accompanied sometimes by a paella done in the slow cooker in the morning. And followed up by marshmallows toasted on the fire of course! Hint – whatever you make, always take the opportunity to bung a few potatoes in the embers on foil. You can retrieve them late on in the evening just as the hunger pangs set in again.
We've been adoring the fact that we're just five minutes walk across the bridge to Kew Gardens. We've been members for a couple of years and visit almost every week. There's always something new to discover. Just like the river it's constantly changing with the seasons. In two years we still haven't discovered everything it has to offer.
But by far the best thing we've discovered to do on the river is exploring. Beach combing in fact. We get excited when the tide goes out and we're left with an amazing strand full of possibilities and lost treasures. For DS this is the closest thing to living in the countryside or by the beach that you will get in this part of the world. We feel so blessed and lucky.
Plus – walking up the beach at low tide yields one other treasure: you end up at our favourite pub and local. The Bell & Crown. Equally welcoming whether you're splashing out on one of their gorgeous meals, or just dropping in for half a shandy and a couple of packets of crisps with a mud strewn child, this is a wonderful place to have on our doorstep.
Thank you Kew, Bell & Crown and our lovely father Thames.
What do you think? Do you live near a river? Would you like to? Do you recognise anywhere I've mentioned?