January and February lived up to expectations of being damp and dreary. I’d been suffering from an increasingly painful foot, plantar fasciitis. And with so much to explore I’d been ignoring common sense and had continued pounding the pavements. Luckily I’d stumbled, quite literally, across a company selling innersoles claiming to cure everything. The very clever salesman insisted I tried a pair, and told me there were only 2 cures, complete bed rest for 2 weeks or 6 weeks of minimal floor contact wearing his soles. (I don’t like to advertise and I still can’t be sure if it was the rest or the innersoles that helped but they were called SoleMates if you’re interested) So instead of me exploring the beautiful buildings and museums I sat still resting. But it wasn’t time wasted. Aunty lives about 10 miles up the coast and I was able to hop on a train to visit her. And while I was enjoying her company she taught me how to make bobbin lace.

My sampler bookmark complete with added character

In January we hired a car and spent a week down in Suffolk celebrating a belated family Christmas and someone’s significant birthday….. we’ve all had birthdays during lockdown so I foresee another excuse for a big party later in the year.

Liverpool is a city of entertainment, with so many magnificent venues to choose from. We really did have to limit our ticket purchases so we didn’t bankrupt ourselves. But you can’t beat the atmosphere of a live performance. We went to piano recitals and orchestral concerts at the Liverpool Philamonic, Matthew Bourne’s ballet, The Red Shoes at the Empire, the Japanese Kodo drummers, and the Horse of the Year show at the M&S arena. And several live bands at the smaller venues, I couldn’t afford the available seats to see Rod Stewart.

The Liverpool phil

Under normal circumstances the 4 month winter mooring period would run until end of February but we had already been advised that this year CRT was giving us an extra month free of charge because of on going winter maintenance . Our departure date was to be 29th March. The good life had taken it’s toll, and with my reduced walking we feeling decidedly unfit. What better cure than to take advantage of the local museums. The Museum of Liverpool on the Pierhead is a modern building overlooking the canal.

View from the top floor of the Museum of Liverpool

To reach the top floor there is a magnificent central spiral staircase. To Eric and I, this became known as “the gym”. At the begining of March, we started to take advantage and go for a daily workout, running up and down until our breathlessness drew too much attention.

These stairs were made to run up

In mid March, it didnt come as much of a surprise when CRT phoned us up to say they weren’t going to unlock the locks and we would have to remain here for the next 12 weeks. We don’t mind admitting we were quite actually relieved. We’ve had water and electricity on our pontoon, the rubbish is emptied daily. There are three Tescos and a Home Bargains all within 10 minutes walk. Our daily outdoor exercise was along a grade I listed heritage site, and not a muddy towpath in sight. We transferred our membership from the indoor gym to the outdoor steps of the museum. And I must admit running up and down stairs is an effective way of getting fitter.

Modern buildings can be amazing

Whilst we’ve been in lockdown it’s been frustrating not to be able to go inside all the museums and venues, but we’ve enjoyed some lovely summer sunshine, sitting on the pontoon. I even created my own garden, which has now gone to live at Lynnes as Firecrest can’t accommodate pots like this.

3 pots of geraniums

And I spent some quality time being creative, sitting on the pontoon with my spinning wheel, and even managed to knit shawls with my handspun.

Spinning on the pontoon

We suffered some wild wild weather as storms and gales lashed the coast.

Glad we don’t have to cruise on the Mersey

We’ve made good friends with our neighbours supporting each other with little acts of kindness. We were even given our very own engraved padlock to add to the chain around Salthouse.

Good friends making the most of not such a good time

And my cousin Lynne and I got into the habit of socially distant pontoon coffees, even in the rain.

Good family making the most of our circumstances

We’ve learnt how to use zoom and reignited friendships with people across the globe. And we thank God that non of our immediate family have knowingly become poorly with Covid. Several have suffered indirectly but we’re still here to get used to a new normal. This manhole cover was created in March 2019, for an exhibition at the Tate museum, I wonder if they had any idea it would be so appropriate.

Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho’s drain cover.

There’s a part three on its way.