Rich and I have never, since the moment we first saw Gwen, stopped scheming. We scheme about design ideas in the aft cabin while having a wee or a fag, we scheme about what needs doing between games of chess, reading and movies of a lazy evening, about what we’ll make next while making something, what we need to get ready when not, and about where we’ll go when we’re falling asleep. But it is always with a caution, a well-learned acceptance that things do not go to plan, even when you don’t really have one.
Since new year, Rich and I have planned some changes to the lounge (the saloon, the saloon, I must learn – I’m saying “galley” a lot more now, you’ll be pleased to hear) and when I went back to work this week he got to preparation work on the sofa and table which are to be spruced up on his next return. But our schemes have also touched much larger hopes and last week after we enjoyed a soggy 6am mission to help Big Joe (a big brother by another mother) and pals to push his old, dead boat along a wall on the big tide, Joe took Rich to a nearby forest to look at trees.
Some of our local woodland is to be felled because of the larch disease menace, a pattern which has already claimed some of Big Joe’s own woodland. Between the larch are a few scots pines, one of which, we hoped, could maybe replace the rotten telegraph pole that couldn’t be our mast. It’s been on our minds for a while – how lovely it would be to take a big wooden chunk of beautiful Rame on our travels. A day or two later Rich took me to see the one they favoured, and he and I marked it to claim it when the area is cleared. But as always, let’s not get our hopes up too much.
There have been teeny tiny boat joys too. In autumn Rich and I sought the help of Hugh Fearnley-W's book and eventually the assistance of my more foragesome facebook friends to identify a crop of fungi that had flourished on the plywood hatch directly above where I sleep. Eventually we concluded that, while nobody wanted to say for absolute certain, they were probably oyster mushrooms and probably edible so we feasted on the buggers. And to our surprise, by the end of December they were back! A second bumper crop fed us for two nights. Hopefully enough spores have shed to keep this going as they are absolutely delicious. Whilst we have not yet schemed a way to have a garden on Gwen this close to mighty winds and the salty sea, she has still found a way to feed us. Cheers, maid.
Rich left this morning for his next three week stint, and I am a bit sad but with plenty to be getting on with (oh, hello tax return). I have a bucket of primer, a paintbrush and walls aplenty. If the weather turns nice at any point (hahahaha) then I have my own little boat project to uncover – Joe recently delivered an old mirror dinghy that I bought from him as a side-project. The plan is to glass up what needs fixing, strip and revarnish her and carry on my sailing lessons from a separate vessel to Rich. When we go out in his dinghy he always tells me what to do, which is wonderful as I’m pretty fucking clueless, but I don’t get to make mistakes and learn the hard way. The hard way, “Serenity”*, is my boat away from boat, my chance to better grasp the relationship between me, a big bit of fabric and the wind and tide, which I can only imagine is going to be useful at some point.
*Yes, I named my boat after the spaceship from Firefly. When in doubt, geek out.