Learning to slow down

I hadn’t realised how manically busy the last few months of my life have been until we spent two nights at anchor in Channel Creek in the shadow of Trelissick House. Since March I’ve lived a very disjointed life, three or four days in the company of my family followed by times when Julian and the girls have been away and I’ve packed a week’s worth of work into three or four days. It’s been a schizophrenic existence, and I’ve found calming down and relaxing almost impossible. In those moments when I’ve done nothing I’ve had this uneasy guilt hanging over me, feeling that I should always be busy doing something.

I finished work, we prepared to depart Plymouth, and when we got to Falmouth we spent a day doing laundry and shopping. I could feel myself slowing down – the boat forcing me to do things at a more leisurely pace, the lack of decent cabin light forcing me to not work late into the night, and the children forcing me to move at their pace.

Moody evening skies

Moody evening skies

On Tuesday evening we motored four miles out of Falmouth to an anchorage in Channel Creek. Once we had the anchor down and turned the engine off, the silence was heavenly. Only the birds on the tree-lined river bank punctured the silence. The estuary was still as a mill pond, and even the rain was calming when it came. We were only at anchor a few minutes when two swans joined us, moving silently through the water, hoping for a free meal!

Our swan visitors

Lily taking a photo of our swan visitors

We stayed on board all day Wednesday. Julian sat in the cockpit for most of the day, sewing new jackstays and making repairs to the mizen sail cover. The girls and I baked bread and flapjacks, read and drew, ate and talked. We had no desire to go ashore or to do anything ‘productive’. That physical slowing down helped my mind to slow down too. I need a lot more of that, I think!

Trelissick House

Trelissick House

The bucolic scenery was calming too. I expected Elizabeth Bennett to come running down to the riverside from Trelissick House, and throughout the day I watched the leisurely progress of the cows in the green fields. The only excitement came on Wednesday morning when we were treated to the spectacle of a massive refrigerated ship turning (with the help of three tug boats) in the river, and we were asked by the harbour master to put our engine on, in case we needed to get out of the way in a hurry! It was quite a contrast to the otherwise rural scene.

The Summer Bay turning beside Carina

The Summer Bay turning beside Carina

We returned to Falmouth yesterday morning and the girls and I have spent two whole days in the National Maritime Museum. It was thrilling for me to see the Ednamair, to see Ellen Macarthur’s start and finish point of her world-record solo circumnavigation (what a great role model for my girls!), among so many other great things at the museum. The girls loved all the interactive exhibits, which kept them busy for hours (and they insisted on going back for more today). The volunteer staff at the museum were the kindest people imaginable, and they spoiled the girls rotten and made them feel like the most important two little girls in the world!

We’re heading back up river this evening, closer to Truro. Now that the dinghy and outboard are in full working order, we’re looking forward to exploring Truro. It looks like we’ll be doing quite a bit of exploring Cornwall over the next few days. With persistent southerly winds forecast, it doesn’t look like we’ll be sailing south any time soon.

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