I write to you from the front deck of Spirited Away.  The sun’s shining, the birds are chirping in the treetops and a perfectly white duck is gliding around  a few metres from where I sit.When I worked in an office, I always wanted to rip the roof off on sunny days to avoid missing the beautiful weather.  Somehow, it’s become possible.

This bout of sunshine just highlights how much boating comes into its element when the weather’s gorgeous.  The slower pace makes it so much easier to notice the beauty all around, which normally whizzes past.  And swapping jolly banter with other people along the canals rekindles the idea that we are genuinely one big human community.

This last week has been incredibly social on Spirited Away; I’ve had the most visitors since buying the boat.  Welcoming folks aboard always reminds me that I didn’t swap to this lifestyle to indulge in it alone, but to share it. When I am here without guests, the dorm cabin and the double cabin becomes just a walk way to pass through or store clean washing waiting to be put away.  My recipe books sit on the window sill unused.  The meditation cushions and blankets lie piled underneath the sofa undisturbed.  It doesn’t seem right.  Having bought this boat specifically for running Float by Boat trips, it feels like it is absolutely meant to be shared.

However, and at the same time, I’m realising that business planning might just be an exercise in thoroughly thinking things through, as opposed to a realistic estimation of what is likely to happen.  We’ve had to cancel the last few weekends due to a lack of bookings.  They’re starting to trickle through now, but it’s taking much longer to get the word out than hoped.  While there’s lots of support, enthusiasm and interest in the idea, it’s not translating into people being able to find the time, money or inclination to come along.  It makes sense and I feel like the project has it’s own momentum that cannot be pushed or forced along.  All in good time.  My confidence in what we do and offer has not dwindled.

All this does mean that we could benefit from all the help we can get.  Have you checked out our finished website yet (www.floatbyboat.co.uk)?  Do you know anyone who would particularly love to come along?  Or a place where you could hang posters or distribute flyers?  Do you write a blog?  Or have any contacts that might be able to help us on our journey?  I’m sure we can repay any favours in cake, or other delicious bit of veggie nosh, or a pootle along the waterways.

Signing off now as another lovely big German Shepherd stops by for a fuss and a delicate small spider drops off my slipper.