Moving on board

Moving day was Thursday. I spent most of it in the flat cleaning and scrubbing ready for the net tenant (my friend Bridget) and Emma took carloads of boxes over to the boats. It was a long, hard day but we got there eventually – this included a brilliant trip through town with my sofa hanging out the back of the car, me holding on for dear life, Emma driving as carefully as she could.

Once aboard we gave ourselves time alone to primp and preen our boats, unpacking, arranging things, lighting our fires, creating our homes, I got my rug down, unpacked cups and plates, put cushions on the sofa and watched as the cats explored their new surroundings. I’ve got a 240v hook-up here so I was able to run a line into the boat and plug in a lamp, which instantly cosied things up. Then met up to admire each others’ work. Two new homes at Baltimore Marina.

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Yesterday, the British Waterways dredger/pontoon thing which had been blocking the entrance to my mooring moved off, and I was able to bring my boat to her proper spot – she’d been tied to Emma’s boat for a while, giving Len access from the bank to sort the windows, impossible on the end-on mooring I’m actually renting.

So Emma and I punted her to her spot. It’s beautiful moving a boat without using the engine – she glides through the water silently…with every push of the pole or tug of the rope, you pause and wait to see the boat’s reaction – time slows down and she moves steadily, with a heavy, graceful momentum.

Unfortunately, thick mud-banks beneath the mooring put a stop to that motion, and we got the help of my new neighbours Laura and Paul to tug her, heaving and groaning, into her spot. It took about an hour and for Kevin to come and join us on the ropes before we could get Swallow close enough to the jetty to allow for safely getting off and on. She’s still not in her proper spot, but it’s good enough for anyone who doesn’t mind climbing over her back bars.

Mum and Dad came over today, to bring up the other kitchen units we’d made. They fitted in perfectly – not making the space any smaller at all, but instead somehow making it bigger, by defining the kitchen and living areas more clearly. We toasted the boat and everyone’s hard work with some fizzy wine and went out for a slap up dinner at the Staff of Life – wonderful.

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Now it’s Sunday evening. It’s just me and the cats (and a terrible toothache). I enjoyed an episode of Game of Thrones and made porridge on top of the stove in a cast-iron pan. I snugged on the sofa, fed the fire, put up a couple of coat hooks and a clothes rail. It’s very quiet outside, and very dark.

Swallow rocks occasionally on the water – a sensation I’m getting more and more used to. The cats are getting braver – they haven’t been outside yet (I won’t let them for a few more days) but they prowl around the boat sniffing everything, finding secret corners to hide, peering through the holes in the doors where I’ll fit cat flaps.

I was able to brush my teeth indoors, in my sink…with a bottle of water and a bucket beneath the waste pipe. The stove is glowing hot, Emily is purring on my lap and I’m just about to turn the fire down and turn in for the night. I feel very peaceful, very contented – I have my own tiny little home just for me, and I love it.

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