A period of time in which Richard worked himself to exhaustion with his every spare moment, in which I started a new job, hit new lows in my course and left my beloved shed, in which life became a never ending “to-do” list in which enjoyment was grabbed in fleeting passes, has come to an end. There may be other variations on April 2013 to come in our journey on Gwen, but I hope to all places holy that there will never be another one quite so deeply stressful. The relief that it is over is tempered only by a newfound incredulity at having to do ANYTHING at all. We’ve been through hell, can’t we just breathe a moment?
Last Saturday I returned on a bus from a glorious trip to London with my dearest Didds and spoke on the phone to Richard who sounded that sort of strange stupid that he sounds when he’s been working too hard on something. The following morning I prepared myself for a day of painting our soon to be finished bedroom. I was unwashed and wearing my roughest clothes, and it was some joy to see Rich so happy when he came to pick me up from my host.
When we got back to the boat I found out why. Not only had he primed the bedroom wardrobes and tongue and groove as planned, he had also finished painting them, helped them dry, made the bed and cleaned and tidied the workshop that is our lounge enough to fit my computer in to the space that would become my office. In short, he had done everything we would have done that day and more, and we were left just to enjoy it, and we did. Richard’s strangeness on the telephone had been his best attempt at duplicity, not the ravings of an exhausted man as I had suspected.
I was grateful, confused and touched. I may have leapt around a bit. By the end of that day I had bid goodbye to my lovely hosts Didds, Chappa and Ben and moved most of the essentials of my wardrobe and work paraphernalia on to the boat. I’ve been living here, on Gwen, ever since.
People say “so how are things on the boat?”. A lot. Probably because I updated my facebook to “I live on a boat now” and hell, everyone needs a conversation starter. So I’ve got stock phrases that I have come to use in response:
“It takes some getting used to”
“It’s a bit like camping”
“I love being rocked to sleep at night”
All of the above are true, and none of the above really sum up what it is. The camping one probably does best. I have to walk to the shower blocks to poo or wash, and I get my fresh water via a big bottle from a tap outside. But the bed is beautifully comfortable (muchas gracias, Trago), the wardrobes just about fit the essentials of my shit and the nifty little storage units that Rich has built into the sides of the bed amply house my make-up and deodrant. The rest of the boat may be very much in progress but the bedroom feels finished and waking up beneath a hatch I can push out to be surrounded in sunshine and sea is a luxury that will never get old.
There are frustrations. The internet is appalling, something we hope to fix either with USB gadgetry or finding some way to a permanent line. I am living with a boy, which is weird because I never know how to ask for my own time (turns out just asking for my own time works, but this itself is going to take a while to get used to). The shower is quite far away and has to be planned in to every day before there’s a chance of being too late to get ready in the morning or too knackered to bother in the evening. But none of this matters as much as that I love my boyfriend, and living on the water, and the swooshing softness of sitting on deck armed with coffee and paper and pens and the safety of knowing that there’s one less thing to do.
It seems I like sailing too! But that’s for another post. I’m tired, the logburner is pumping out comfort and it’s time to watch a movie. Happy bank holiday.