I spent Sunday morning on my boat with Joseph and Devon, 2 of Sarah’s boys. Devon is going to move aboard the boat, and live on the canal, much as I did all those years ago. I know that Devon will love the boating lifestyle, he’s just the type to make the most of it! Devon has already replaced some of the flooring, taken out and re-fitted the shower tray, and partially re-tiled the bathroom. We have scraped off the flaky paint on the roof and primed it, sealed up the gaps around the windows and done a few other jobs that needed doing. During the two years that I’ve not lived on my boat she had started to deteriorate quite badly, the cabin lining has dried out and shrunk in places, the floor had begun to rot (hence the re-flooring) and the chimney for the multi fuel stove and rusted through and become dislodged. These jobs are all now sorted out, we just need to replace the water filter now and she’s ready to go.
I was so happy living aboard that I thought that I’d never live on land again, however, that all changed when I met Sarah (again!) and I’ve not regretted my decision to move ashore with Sarah and the boys once. Every time I visit the boat I’m left feeling a bit troubled, I feel that I have let my boat down to let her get into the state that she was in. It’s true that she was never like one of those posh narrowboats that you see, all polished woodwork and feeling like a library. Wendy Elizabeth was always a bit of a boys boat, there were few luxuries, half the kitchen has no doors! There is no carpeting, only half the windows have curtains and there are no doors along the boat except for the bathroom. In all other respects Wendy Elizabeth was great and well sorted out, she has never broken down, the electrics have been excellent, and she was always warm, dry and cosy. I always allowed other boats to plug into my electrics when out on trips, as I had complete faith in the system, and my battery bank was large enough to run more than just my boat for a while! I loved the trips that I took with the other boats from the marina they were always great fun, spending all day driving along the canal, then stopping and either visiting a pub, or, having a barbecue on the towpath, and having a beer or two, followed by a whisky or two! Before I give the impression that I was wishing that I was back on my boat, I want to say that now things are just as good, completely different of course, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Our home is always busy, nearly always noisy, and whenever I’m out, all I want to do is get home to Sarah and the boys. I suppose that what I’m trying to say is that although I loved my life on the boat, being single, having a relatively carefree life, when Sarah came along I was ready for a change. I just didn’t realise it, when we decided to set up home together it was such a big upheaval for her and the boys, moving up to High Wycombe, new house, new schools etc, that I didn’t even think about how much of an upheaval it was for me too. At no time did I even doubt that it was the right thing for me, I just knew it was, and I didn’t think twice about leaving my home too. The problem with boats is that they have a soul, and feelings, and for a while my boat was really sad, but seeing her on Sunday, mostly repaired, much cleaner and dry, she seemed to be happier again, and looking forward to her next chapter.
- A New Life Afloat. (fabulousspirit.wordpress.com)