Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Slowing down to the speed of the Canals

Life has been a bit of an adventure of late and the blog has definitely fallen through the cracks. I have written a few but connecting to the internet has been the biggest challenge. This started when we decided to have a bit of a break in France after I had some work to do in the UK. Seemed like a great idea and it was a good idea and a grand adventure.

The challenge comes with fitting our lifestyle into a French lifestyle; being wired to the internet is not a priority in France. So moving into the way of life in France meant adjusting as best we could to an hour a day to cover off essential emails (client communications and coaching) and the more fun and frivolous stuff – Facebook and blogging – went by the wayside.

Our time in France prepared us perfectly for a week on the canals in England. In previous blogs I have written about the whole idea of 'slowing down' as perhaps a direction that would be worthwhile for me to pursue. Ambling through the waterways around the Trent and Mersey Canal system has been amazingly instructive around getting into a slower pace. The river winds and bends, the ducks seek out food from the many canal boaters and we converse at night over a glass of wine in the pubs that spot this incredible system of waterways.

The system is over two hundred years old and originates with the Industrial revolution as a way to transport goods throughout the UK. We travel no more than a few miles a day; stopping along the way to open and close the locks and meet our fellow boaters who are unerringly helpful at showing us newbies how it all works. It is a pleasant and most enjoyable lifestyle; one that I could get used to.

We had friends with us over the weekend assisting with the locks and generally helping us to adjust to our life on the canals. Outgoing and greeting everyone on the canals, they helped us to understand that this is a very different way of life. Completely off the grid, no one is a stranger and everyone is pursuing their own personal adventure. By the look of the people we have met, they are a pretty darned happy bunch. Free of the cares and worries of owning a home or a car, they cruise the rivers and make each new mooring their home for the night. Peripitatic to the extreme and yet the joy and sense of freedom these people experience is visible on their faces.

Today would have been my Mother's 90th birthday. She passed away 6 years ago and I think about her every day and wish that I could share this adventure with her. I also know that she would be pretty pleased that I am finally learning how to relax and slow down. My Mom was a bit of a master at the art of relaxing; she didn't pass that particular gene onto me.

Happy Birthday Mom; slowing down and learning to relax is my gift to you today.


  1. Thoroughly enjoyed this post Ellen!
    Thanks for sharing your experiences and the important message of slowing it down and appreciating nature.
    I feel more relaxed just reading it!

  2. Slowing Down! now that is something worth contemplating coming from the frantic finishing world of tv i live in - I am enjoying that energy from the other side of the globe! and thinking about your mom with love and know what a good life she enjoyed.