Wednesday 1 September 2010

The 4mph Getaway

Friday 9th July

I took Big Sister out to do the recycling, supermarket, laundrette and stopped at the little shop by the station on the way home. I needed to buy tinfoil, but when I picked a packet off the shelf it was empty.
“I keep them back here,” confessed the man behind the counter. I walked to the back of the shop. “They keep getting nicked,” he explained.
“Can I buy one then?”
He produced a packet of tin foil for me and I paid him.
“So, do people nick them for doing drugs?”
“Yeah,” he said, resignedly.
I’ve lived in London ten years but I’ve never had to ask for tinfoil kept behind the counter. Also, in the supermarket in Cheshunt there was a security guard dedicated to the alcohol aisle. Soon after I got home from the shops we united our ropes and thankfully made our escape at 4mph. We began cruising towards a more desirable neighbourhood.

We cruised along in the afternoon as lazy as a clich├ęd simile. We are on the run from double glazed pebble dashed, manicured geometric paved conformity. Running away from prim and trim lawns and roses, porch lights, tidy fencing and neat hedges.

Big trees gently bow to their reflections in the river, willow fingers stroke along our roof, caressing the solar panel and the TV arial. My palm is on the warm metal tiller, I stare ahead at the intense midsummer clear blue sky. Hot hot sun shines down focussed on blanketing life with heat. At the lock The Doctor pushes balance beams painted traditional stark black and white against deep foliage textured greens and blue sky and sparkling, rippling river water. Two swans politely, gracefully drift aside out of my cruising course.

Boat travelling instils in me a great satisfaction. When I travel I’ve got everything with me, I am secure in the knowledge that I have my family, my kitchen, my clothes, my books, everything is here with me, neatly contained and chugging along. I know that I haven’t forgotten anything. I bring this neat bundle of my life, with the engine throbbing quietly through water wakes and geese conferences, past leafy dribbles of dozing trees that drunkenly lean over the cut, and make way for our bow pressing through the water. Here on the Lee the canal debris is just plant life, not beer cans, like in central London. I admire the perfect un-rippled symmetry of a tree reflection.

That night we debated metaphors versus similes. The Doctor said,
“I think similes stick out like a sore thumb.” We were discussing writing on the back deck during one of our wine and geese evenings. We enjoy fromorgies of fine cheese, blind wine tasting in a Pepsi Challenge style, cruising through beautiful Hertfordshire in hot summer sunshine with two perfect children, soft bundles of purity learning about life in little innocent steps. Tonight The Doctor and I drank red wine and sat in deck chairs and watched the stars come out one by one.
“I can see four!”
“That first one must be a planet, it’s so bright!”
The Doctor reads a science book about the possibility of the multiverse being a reality. In one universe I am a boat-wife. It is scientifically probable that in many universes I am many different sorts of wife.

No comments: