We’re into the second week of lock down due to Corona virus (Visit the NHS website to learn more) and I suspect we’re all beginning to realise this could be a long haul and we’ll have to become adept at finding new ways to fill our days, there’s only so much time one can spend staring at screens awaiting the next news update; and I do have to wonder if we’re all going to emerge from this isolation like moles with terrible eyesight!

But it isn’t all bad news: Humour is helping us to get through these dark times, check out some of the posts we’re loading onto the Swanley Bridge Marina Instagram page to cheer you up.

And isn’t the 8pm Thursday evening hand clapping doing us all good? A morale boosting show of appreciation for the NHS, community carers and all key workers dedicating their time and lives to helping the rest of us. It  provides a rare opportunity to come together in our small communities and say hello to people we ordinarily wouldn’t meet – observing the 2 metre distance, of course.

So how are those confined to a narrowboat whiling away the hours? Looking at the Twitter and Instagram posts it would seem a lot of you are spending the time creatively making ‘crafty’ things; knitting, painting, writing, photographing and posting photos and videos of canals you cruised and places you’ve visited in previous years. The Llangollen canal is proving very popular as a canal to ‘virtually’ visit, there are some beautiful photographs that people are sharing of ‘our’ canal on social media. As we’re located at the very start of the Llangollen canal, we can’t help but feel proprietorial and embrace it as ‘our own’.

The more practical of you are using the time to fettle your boat and get it ready for when you can cruise freely again. Brasses will be buffed, paintwork will be polished and engines will be ecstatically purring and raring to go at the end of all this…well, that’s the plan!

The narrow boating community has always been a thriving hub, even before the Corona virus outbreak. People who own and cruise narrowboats are, in the main, a cheerful, friendly lot, ready and willing to lend a hand and share information and stories across the system. It’s heartening to read their posts and blogs and comments, especially during these times of social isolation, when people can feel disconnected from their friends and families and their normal routines. Being unable to meet up and relax in pubs, or restaurants, or round the family table, to talk through the current worries, means it’s even more important to find other ways to communicate with those we care for and love.

In order to stay up-to-date with information around and about the inland waterways system you can visit the following
Canal River Trust
Water Ways
Towpath Talk
Water Ways World

A new normality will return, great changes always shake up the status quo, but it’s to be hoped that the very best qualities and actions that have come to the fore as a result of the awful virus, will become the new and better norm in the future.

So, here’s an acrostic summary of what Corona virus means to us…so far

C – is for Clapping and Caring about our NHS and Community key workers

O – is for Only essential shopping

R – is for Regular handwashing

O – is for Observing the 2 metre distance

N – is for No to meeting and socialising

A – is for Adapting to change

V – is for Virtual communication with each other

I –  is for  Ingenuity and finding new ways to do things

R – is for Resilience in the face of adversity

U – is for Uniting people in the time of Uncertainty

S – is for Staying at home to Save lives

Continue to check the website for any updates from the marina. In the meantime, stay well, stay safe and hopefully we’ll meet up again in the not so distant future.