Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The New Boat

It’s our first weekend of new owner-ship. We’re  on board The New Boat, for a visit, although we still live on The Old Boat. Big Sister wants to be helpful so I ask her to put the soap powder back near the washing machine.
“Mummy, where is the washing machine?”
“The utility room is between your bedroom and my bedroom!” I reply with glee.

It feels like we’ve gone on holiday to a lovely holiday home where everything is tasteful, lovely and stylish, but tomorrow and the next day we can come back again and again. The new boat is so big that one can take a stroll down along inside it. We wake up and know that we don’t have to fold our futon bed away. There is instant hot water when I do the dishes. After doing the dishes the sink empties with gravity! There’s no need to hold in the button to pump out the dishwater (that was a very silly arrangement on The Old Boat.) In the bathroom I tell Big Sister,
“Check this out – electric flushing toilet!” Whirr!
The girls’ room is the boatman’s cabin.
“Do you know that round window with the swan painted on the glass?” I ask my little one. “Do you know what a round window on a boat is called? A port hole!”
A curious mix of excitement and astonishment crosses her face. She pauses to think.
“And when I wake up I can look out my swan hole and see that it is morning time!”
Photo by Phil Bassett www.boatshed.com

A new imaginary friend has rocked up: Loudon Wainwright III; American comedy folk songwriter. He’s more cheerful than some of my other imaginary friends and he’s strumming away; a half remembered tune about how he can tell by the look on my face, that I just love this new bad ass place.  Then I remember that I don’t believe in imaginary friends anymore, and hope to make shiny new Real Friends, in The Countryside.  He obligingly disappears in a puff of smoke. I left the old boat, haunted with imaginary friends.  William Blake, Ye Olde Boat Wife, Tiny Tim Cratchett, Charles Lamb, Mick Jagger, RonnieWood,  John, Paul, Ringo and George, do not have permission to stow away on board The New Boat.

When I’m with Big Sister in her bedroom we cannot even hear Baby Sister and The Doctor in the living room! Our bedroom is the biggest bedroom I’ve ever seen on a narrowboat. There is a wardrobe, and room for a desk or writing bureaux and a chest of drawers. There is a real free standing bed, not a fitted cabin bed. It’s the first time in ten years that I’ve had a Real Bed, with a headboard and a footboard. I could poke my feet over the end of the bed if I wanted to – without hitting the bulkhead! 

Baby Sister enjoyed toddling from one end of the boat to the other. Until now she has got around with a mix of crawling and tentative toddling. But this weekend she just walked the whole time, arms slightly bent, hands excitedly held in the air. From that weekend onwards she hardly ever crawled again. Space, on this boat, was one small step for baby, and one giant leap for babykind.  

I strolled the lengthy stroll down to the utility room (also the engine room), with a manual in my hand. I read out the instructions. I loaded in the laundry and noticed a stray squatter had been caught up in the laundry bundle. He scuttled across the pillow cases.
“Quick!” I alerted The Doctor. “There’s a massive spider! I don’t want him to get - what a horrible way to drown...”
“...in an incy-wincident!” finished The Doctor.
The Doctor gently removed Incy and put him out of the kitchen window. Then we trekked back to the other end of the boat.
The Doctor pressed the buttons. Green lights came on and we heard the sound of running water and whirring electric. We’ve got a washing machine! I squealed. We hugged. Out came the sunshine. And Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again.

(Written on 12thMarch - my blog lags behind my Real Life.)

Laundry day

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