On Monday we went to Southampton to view a bigger boat. She’s beautiful. She feels like a real home, small but with everything you need. Russ, who sold her to us, is in his 80s and has a frozen shoulder. He was quite wistful about parting with her but just wasn’t taking her out anymore. He’d just come down for a cup of tea in the cabin and watch the other boats coming in and out.
Lexia is a lovely boat, she sails and moves beautifully. While it’s warm outside you couldn’t ask for a sweeter moonlit shelter. What she isn’t is a comfortable winter home for two tall people. Maybe for two very small, very intrepid people. A pair of ninja pixies. (And if you know any, direct them here: http://www.apolloduck.co.uk/display.phtml?aid=271866)
Doing this voyage with Joker (still not sure if we’re keeping the name- suggestions welcome!) will mean having a toilet (as opposed to a bucket), large water tank (as opposed to three 5l plastic bottles) and separate bathroom and kitchen sink areas. It will mean that one of us can get up and get stuff done while the other lies or sits in bed. It means we only have to get up and face the day after we’ve got clean and properly dressed. (No more half-asleep, half-dressed urgent wee missions encountering surprised joggers on the towpath. Result.) It means getting up or going to bed can be achieved without disrupting our entire living space. It will mean things get lost less easily as there can be separate cupboards for our clothes, camera kit, food, utensils. It will mean things get less dirty less quickly, and eating will be safer as the place where we cook won’t be next to where our feet climb down into the boat. In general, storage and work surfaces for objects that need to be clean will be further from the floor. It will mean having a much more powerful engine to keep us well out of the way of huge ships and get us out of danger more easily if we run into rough weather.
It’s basically a great idea. It was a good decision to shake on buying her, especially as we got a good price.
But can I get Sam to smile this morning?
He’s been working on Lexia on and off for 2 years, and for 6 months she has been his main focus outside of work. He’s painted, scrubbed, sanded, fibreglassed, learned grinding and welding, bid for depth sounders, GPS, radios, waterproof tubs of all sizes. And now, whether we get her towed back to Bristol or sell her- the preferred option- all that work has reached a dead end. He keeps thinking of new reasons to be sad. The hassle of moving and getting rid of her, the waste of effort, love and care. Most heartbreakingly,
“I could have spent all that time sailing her”.
In contrast, my focus during that time has been moving out of our house, working on video edits and developing this project. Although it’s not as fully formed or funded as I’d hoped at this point, the site and videos are still happening and are portable from one boat to the other. Sam tried hard to get me down to work on the boat with him all that time, but I was usually too busy. As our departure loomed I was more involved, and now she’s been my home for a month, but the relative levels of our emotional investment are clear from Sam’s face.
I know he’ll get over her. Once we’re living on Joker, the apparent self sufficiency of her setup will prove to be illusory and he’ll have plenty to fix up and scheme over. That’s the nature of boats. In the meantime though, I spent a few hours last night showing Lexia some love and making her a comfier home for this last stretch. It’ll be sad to see her go.