First up, today I used some epoxy and discovered that the label said “Epoxy” rather than “a-poxy” which is what everyone calls it. Yes, this boat feeds a constant learning experience, most of which is useful, a lot of which is dull as shite (I’m so sorry if you actually read this blog). I now warn Rich when those topics of conversation arise that compel me to push him to the periphery of my consciousness. At the moment they include dinghies (he wants a dinghy, he’s looked at a lot of dinghies in real life and online, he’s had his eye on a dinghy but he doesn’t know who it belon…zzz…..) and the cooker (there’s a bit missing but it’s okay because we can get hold of a cheap sort of replacement which would have cost £40 from the shop, can you believe it cost that much, why it’s only a littl…zzz…zzz), both of which induce internal mumbling of my latest earworm, trying to remember the week’s plans or having imaginary conversations with musical heroes. This may sound cruel to you, but it’s essential. Do you have to listen to this stuff every single day in addition to discussing at length the bits of boat life in which you actually have an input? No, you don’t. So shut up.
Pronunciation and boyfriend ignoring aside, some big things have happened since I last wrote here. There was much talk earlier in the year of me moving on to the boat for the summer and we decided that this is, indeed, the thing to do. While I was quite keen to get myself on to Gwen I have to admit to a great deal of apprehension, largely due to my continuing nasal misery at the paws of Ferryn the unwashed. It hit crisis when a car journey to and from the lovely lovely Eden project turned me into a silent sniffing sadsack, incapable of talking lest I moan myself single. I called Rich that night, intending to tell him I didn’t want to move on the boat, but first he told me that he’d been planning something, and he’d put it into action that evening, and he hadn’t wanted to tell me yet – he’d found another home for the dog. Within a week Ferryn, her toys, her bed and most of her hair, were gone. Rich cleaned the boat through and got me to stay on there to check that it didn’t make me ill. There was not one sneeze.
This still amazes me. I don’t think anyone but my parents has ever behaved so selflessly in my favour. Not just in Rich getting rid of his beloved companion (with nights of hugs and tears to follow – his missing her, my guilty empathy, our realisations and re-adjustments) but also in having made sure it was his choice and his action. He did it because he wanted me on the boat, not because I asked him (I didn’t), and not as something we had discussed together like we do everything else. He let me off a particular strand of guilt that would have placed me in a position of unbelievable pressure, and he actioned it just in time, before I had called. I know it was me and my stupid face that caused all this, and that hurt for a while, but Rich’s hurt was much greater so I kept schtum and hoped he’d be okay. Soon enough it seemed like he was.
It’s still a little strange for him without her around, but I think, I hope, it’s worth it. My allergies have abated, and plans are being made, and I should be on the boat by mid-April. Rich is making our bed (or he will be once we’ve confirmed the village elders’ opinions on where to put the anchor chain) and I’m plotting where to give away/store/demand a cupboard for my stuff. On top of this Rich has been preparing for our engine, which will soon be retrieved from another boat, and figuring out which bits of the old one to flog. As you can see from the picture, some of them have crystallised and look like a nice curry. I’m doing the TESOL course and loving it, and though the homework is plentiful and keeps me from boat fun a lot of the time I still get to come and hang out on Gwen when I can, and even pass a hoover or an angle grinder over a surface here and there. I am genuinely excited about moving on to the boat until term begins again in September, or beyond. Still terrified, of course, of abandoning my lovely shed for a watery unknown, of commitment and crowding and mutual loss of sanity, but really I feel that my leap is a small one after Rich’s.
The sun has come out this weekend, which brings with it enormous motivation. After repairing a crack in the concrete (which will allow us to do a lot more jobs in the near future) and measuring chains and mocking up chain boxes we returned to my place to drink coffee and look through an atlas I found this week in a second hand shop. Oh, the places we’ll go! There is fun to be done! And we both sleep happy a village apart knowing that with every day it gets more possible – that maybe one day we’ll be on our way together, to everywhere we fancy going, for as long as we fancy doing it or until the work runs out.