It’s been a while since I reported from the land of Gwen, for, oh, at least three reasons.

First of all, our internet is terrible. You know that.

The ugly duckling

The ugly duckling

Secondly, moving in together on a boat has not been without complications. Overall it’s been pretty magical – being rocked to sleep, waking together, helping each other in campmate camaraderie, enjoying each other. But until a couple of weeks ago we were plagued by melodramatic rows spat out from perceived inconsiderations, criticisms and snaps. It was a learning curve that wasn’t remotely pleasant to climb, but by now, at least, we seem to have reached a point where the small grumpinesses of day to day life aren’t taken as world ending. It’s understandable, I’m sure. People moving in together have enough to deal with without a new watery way of life to convert to and the absence of a second room in which to sulk.

Lastly, we’ve been ridiculously busy. Our birthdays (Rich got me a banjo – I am still giddy about it), a festival, working for a living, restarting a band, trips away, sailing, increased course workload and social obligations aside, the next elements of Gwenwork have begun.

Rich has been spending long miserable evenings trying to source and find repair possibilities for the engine. I am unable to help except by cooking one of my overimaginative dinners (I am a one-hob domestic goddess – we have no oven or grill), making sympathetic noises and occasionally dragging him from the computer or shed with demands of rest (“Relax!” I scream, as I clobber him round the head with a pillow).

Some of the work has been much more fun. Last Sunday I woke to find myself alone, with the sun streaming through the hatch above my bed and the noise of an engine somewhere in the distance. By the time I managed to crawl out towards the sky Gwen was across the harbour against a new wall. After taking the borrowed dinghy that had pushed us there for a spin I made us a coffee, and we luxuriated in the early morning calm before enlisting the help of some marinafolk to tie her up.

The hole Gwen leaves behind

The hole Gwen leaves behind

This was our first chance to see what lies at the bottom of Gwen, and as soon as the tide was low Rich went down for a peek. There are some skin fittings that need some attention quite soon and one notable hole, and strangenesses like a sheath on the keel and the grim ooze eminating from bubbles in paint (when you popped them, which you have to, obviously), but otherwise she’s pretty sturdy. This scabby paint, a beard of seaweed and a limpet commune all got powerwashed down, leaving her pretty clean, if not pretty.



Her filthy bottom

Her filthy bottom

Rich has also done his first spar work, meaning that our mast has gone from octagonal to… well… oval. Close enough to round, for us. Today we mostly fixed leaks around the edge of the deck. Deathly boring, but essential if I’m ever going to line and decorate the lounge. So deathly boring that we need a pint. Off soon.

Yesterday we watched “Into the Wild”. It has provoked and inspired me in so many ways. Adventure is brewing.


2 thoughts on “Underside

  1. capnrehab says:

    That must be quite a tide swing you have there. I guess that makes it convenient to work on the bottom, huh?

    I haven’t seen “Into the Wild” yet, but I did read the book. Now I guess I have to see the movie. Would like to hear more about how it inspired you.

    • trudelfish says:

      It does, but only if we move up to the wall where we can get through the mud. It’s a bit of a nuisance with no engine, but much cheaper than having her lifted out.

      I haven’t read the book and had no idea what the film was about until I saw it. I admired his lack of adherence to social convention and expectation, enjoyed his adventure, wondered about his poor sister, thought about how I live my own life a lot. It’s very well done, really beautiful (but I know how films can ruin your memory of a good book so I won’t take the responsibility of recommending it!)

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