Deck the Walls

Happy new year, you. 2014 is terribly exciting for all sorts of reasons, but for now, I’ll go back to the end of last year.

Richard returned to our merry riverside home (where the mud lays round about, deep and crisp and even) after just two weeks away to find his home almost tidy and his girlfriend ecstatic to have him back. I had a couple of days of work left before the Christmas holidays, and returning home in the evenings found that after a very short recuperation Rich used this time to make walls. Walls! Even he was surprised by how delighted this made me but you’ll understand I’m sure. Not half-walls beneath panels of tinfoil insulation, but actual tongue and groove walls with hitherto obscured portholes being fitted with their original scabby old plastic linings.

Coming home to something good

Coming home to something good

Three layers, from top: New walling by Rich, last year's walling by me, Rich, original wall, skanky sofabed.

Three layers, from top: New walling by Rich, last year’s walling by me, Rich, original wall, skanky sofabed.

This was my greatest Christmas present (handy, as we couldn’t afford presents for each other this year) even though Rich was more satisfied with having the plug sockets in place – “Seriously, Rich? Who cares, look at the walls!”.

We enjoyed several nights out for festive cheer and far too much of our home-sloed gin, during which my stress levels began to raise anew (organising carol singing, seeing people, finishing the presents, sorting out where we were going and when, help, help) and a habit of panic/tiredness/dutiful revelry that I’m sure is familiar to many Chritmassers kicked off. While the terrible storms came and the pontoon across from us half-sank, leaving us vulnerable to the possibility of who knows what smashing in to us, I paced around our swaying home concerned only with trying to match lids with pots with cards with people.

Boat supplies put to new use: Epoxy/fibreglass/fabric pots. Be warned, if you befriend penniless creative friends, this is the sort of tat you get for Christmas.

Boat supplies put to new use: Epoxy/fibreglass/fabric pots. Be warned, if you befriend penniless creative friends, this is the sort of tat you get for Christmas.

I did, however, venture out into the streaming sideways rain on the morning of Christmas eve eve, when the marina folk decided to move a huge white motor cruiser from the ailing pontoon across to our side. Rich was already long up helping a small crowd of waterproofed men to steady boats and tie things off, and I tried to help, throwing spare ropes, but I felt useless in my ignorance of knots and procedure. When the great white beast eventually reached our end and its arse came veering towards lovely Gwen, only a big orange spacehopper of a fender held by Rich kept it from bashing us rotten. Dressed head-to-toe in waterproofs, watching him heroically defend our home and caught in a buzz of earnest and essential activity, I found myself having a great time. But don’t tell the poor sods who were doing the actual work that.

When Rich returned from his eighth or ninth Christmas in a herculean visiting spree we attended one more party before giving up. Instead of venturing out on a traditional Cawsand new year fancy dress pub crawl we conspired with Harry, a dear friend and the fag for whom I hag, to have a night on Gwen with home-made food and a movie. At midnight, filled with laughs and port and curry, we put a dodgy trance version of Auld Lang Syne on the megaspeaker and danced on deck, necking champagne and watching the fireworks over Plymouth, and all was right again. The storm was silent, the crowds were elsewhere and we were giggling with people we love on the boat of dreams.

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