Every time March 5th rolls around I pause to mark an anniversary in my head and what I think of as my own personal ‘sliding doors’ moment. Thirteen years ago today I packed up my home and headed for RAF Brize Norton. I was excited and terrified and my life was about to change…
As regular readers to this blog may know, every year for the past four years my family has taken an annual trip on the French canals. The tradition started the year that Theo was born, when I mentioned at Christmas that I’d always fancied doing a narrow boat holiday, that off the cuff comment lead to us booking a holiday in Wales and a couple of years later, we moved on to holidaying in Europe…
Since 2015 we’ve built up a good relationship with Le Boat who we holiday with and we share our photos with them to use for publicity in return for them throwing in a few extras and doing us a good deal. Last years Thames trip even resulted in Alice appearing in their TV advert, much to everyone’s amusement!
I realised the other day that my two most memorable days this year (so far!) have both been spent on the water. Our first was on the River Thames on my birthday in August and our second only two weeks later off the coast of Sweden.
For us 2017 has been (surprisingly) the year we’ve opened up our home to strangers. As well as having a couple of Air BnB guests, we’ve also had housesitters for the first time and it’s not only saved us money, but enabled us to travel more and stay away for longer.
I was introduced to the website Trustedhousesitters.com last year by a friend (scroll down for 20% discount link). What’s unique about the site is that the majority of their housesitters offer their services for free in return for staying in your house, so we were lured in by the potential massive savings we would make on kennel fees when we went away.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may remember that we take regular holidays with our extended family on river boats in France. This tradition begun a few Christmases ago when I mentioned I’d always fancied a canal boat holiday and the rest of my family (surprisingly) agreed. A couple of glasses of wine later and some googling and we had our first trip booked staying on narrowboats in Wales. Despite the dire predictions everyone made about the weather, the holiday was a surprising success and the next year we decided to try river boats in France.
We’ve now had two summer holidays with Le Boat in France and over the years we’ve also developed a good relationship with them, so they throw in a few extras in exchange for photography and videos. This summer we had hoped to holiday on their new Horizon boats, but for one reason and another it never quite happened.
However Le Boat didn’t forget about us and when one of the new boats became available for a day on the Thames, they offered it to us in return for some digital content. Entirely coincidentally the day also happened to be my birthday and it was (mostly) beautiful weather… we were very lucky.