I would love to say that the last couple of weeks of lopsided living have been as humorously quirky as the first few days, but novelties by their very nature wear off. Not being able to move around with ease or put the damn laptop on the damn table top or put coal in the fire without it rolling down into the saloon, endlessly traipsing uphill to spill water from an oversized container on to your own feet, these are tolls that grate and make young(ish) slobs like ourselves give up on the niceties of tidying and cleaning. So I write to you from quite a state of a room in which we have a sofa each, piled up with crap that we clear on to the floor or side at the end of the day, to fall asleep in a skanky sleeping bag and wake crumpled at the foot, ever in a fat hurry to get out.
Fortunately to counteract the gloom of our domestic situation life has thrown some joy in our direction. Rich has been very productive and has completed an amazing amount of jobs on the boat, including removing the horrible old poo pipe that had to trail into our lounge and sealing up its skin fitting. He’s cleaned and painted the aft cabin bilge (he’s also thrown up in this bilge while dressed as a very drunk George Michael, and then cleaned it again) and prepared all sorts of gubbins for the arrival of the engine.
Yesterday was a big day as Rich hired a big old drill and with some trepidation made a bloody great (and very deep) hole through the concrete he’d just jammed up to house the stern tube, into which the prop shaft will sit (I don’t remember this engine stuff by the way, I’m getting him to tell me and typing as he speaks). He had to get it in a very exact angle so when it didn’t go horribly wrong he was a giddy kipper, and today I suggested he make full use of the drill, so he put another hole through our bedroom roof.
Also on our side these past few days has been the weather. It would appear that spring has finally sprung so I too have been making boat progress, not with Gwen but with my own little craft. Dressed in my jogging clothes (I have been jogging – best not to ask), picking my angle to get a little sunshine on winter-grey skin and listening to a spectacular selection of music, I have given Serenity a bloody good sanding. She looks naked, so I have covered her back up with tarp and hope to fill and paint her soon.
As though the sunshine (under which I’ve strolled and smiled today) were not enough incentive to take our beautiful home across the big blue for more sustained baking, last night we were lucky enough to be among those invited by Nick Skeets for a truly inspirational slideshow. Daz, an old friend who makes spaceshippy catamarans round the corner from us, hosted us in the mill he’s just renovated and we enjoyed some curry and wine while watching scenes from one of Nick’s round world trips.
I wish I had some of the pictures to show you. There were a range from around the time I was born to the mid 80s, all sun-drenched and scenic. Some showed his boat moored by beautiful islands or bays, or just the sides of islands he passed, their layers of tropical trees reaching up into rock outcrops. Others showed beautiful women near naked in the gorgeous blaze on his deck, or groups of people from all over crammed onto boats that don’t look big enough to take them, grinning and brown and lithe. Oh, to be among those sunny, carefree souls. Some were just sea, and some were just land, but all of them were not here and so plenty exciting enough.
For me, the photos were some sort of validation that the dream Rich has told me about is actually real and possible, and I have thought about little else all day. Sometimes Rich’s insistence on working on the boat annoys me because I wish he could enjoy here and now a little more, but seeing things like that make me more sympathetic to his desperate quest to move us. When it stops being all engine-focused I hope I’ll be able to play my part a bit better. Until then I’ll get Serenity ready. Maybe she can be our tender, but even if not she can at least take us on trips this summer and keep my sailing buzz growing ever more real and alive.