I know I don’t appreciate things until I don’t have them any more – that’s human nature. But boy have I missed a room of my own since embarking on a boat trip on the Norfolk Broads.
Before departing, I had imagined a serene journey along the river network of Norfolk, gliding past wildlife and other friendly ‘sailors’ with their jaunty hats and jovial waves, and plenty of time and space to think and write.
I was right about the first two, but wrong about the second. Not used to ‘camping’ or managing without wi-fi broadband, hot running water, and the ability to plug in whatever appliance I want without having to switch on a noisy generator, I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts.
Yes, the views are calming: when I get the chance to drive the boat, the experience is mesmerising and hypnotic. There’s something about the evenness of the scenery, and the lack of surprises – apart from a boat doing more than the stipulated 5mph too close to my side of the water! – that makes me feel a humming, quacking, flowing part of nature.
But I can only truly go with the flow and feel relaxed when I have some space to myself. Fully mindful that in the cramped living conditions with two other people – the shower room that bangs my elbows, the gas hob that’s either a feeble whisper or an angry spurt, and the bedrooms that I have to crouch down to enter – it’s not easy to create that precious space for the self.
However, right now, I feel blessed by the pub across the field where my two travelling companions have gone; the generator allowing me to charge my laptop; and the dongle giving me precious internet access.
That’s better. Now I feel at home. And able to enjoy my holiday.