May 2013

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We’re packing. Downsizing. Decluttering. There may be only 3 of us, but we live in a 4 bedroom house, and we have filled every single room. With stuff. Wonderful stuff, all of it. I LOVE my stuff. I have all the books I have ever read, right back to The Magic Faraway Tree. I have every single record I ever bought. I have boxes of Astra’s artwork, every single piece of it. I have bags of clothes that will fit me again one day. Well, okay, maybe not, but they are so lovely, look at them. I was that thin once! If I give them away I really am throwing in the towel, right?

Andy packs up the LPs, I hold up the cuddly animals one by one. Astra either grabs them and chatters to them, or condemns them. ‘Boat’, ‘Storage’, ‘Charity Shop’. ‘What? Really? You remember who gave this to you?’. Andy joins in. ‘Which one? Red Horn? You’re throwing out Red Horn? But what about when the Now-Food-Teddy goes to the Red Planet and…..’.
‘Pffft’, says Astra. ‘I’ll promote another cuddly animal. It will be fine. For goodness sake!’.

So. Astra is decluttering. Andy and I are running out of boxes.

‘Three new boats at Northampton’, my friend texts me. She’s also looking for a boat, but she has more time, and she’s doing a wondrous job of helping us find our dreamboat. Not the one from the, ‘she’s going down!’ dreams, of course. So, off we go again, Astra and I, for a spot of boat hopping.

Coot. Funny name for a boat, short, staccato. Gives me the sense that the owner couldn’t really be bothered but happened to see a coot go by at that ‘naming’ moment. I like the exotic names, the ones that need explaining, or even translating. Names that conjure images of lazy days drifting along. Coot. It’s just a bit basic really, isn’t it? Never mind, maybe it will have a maroon sofa.

Well, it has some lovely roses and castles on the back doors. That’s a good start. Inside, wood. Lots and lots of wood. There is no sun today, but the sun is lighting up the wood. We make our way through the boat.

Astra gets waylaid by the bed which has to be jumped on. It’s one of her criteria, how jump-on-able the bed is. She is laughing, always a good sign. ‘I LOVE this boat’, she cries, and I am beginning to agree with her. Down to the next room. Wow. The biggest room I have seen so far on a boat. With a side entrance, more painted wooden doors. What we could do with this room….

Onward, to the kitchen, and then the front saloon complete with wood burning stove. By the time I’m at the bow of the boat, my mind is made up. This is it. This is the one. There is no maroon furniture. There is no furniture at all in fact, but this boat is beautiful. All 65 feet of it. (That’s longer than our house, you know!).

Coot. What a fantastic name for a boat!