Settling Down

The sun was setting as I drove the last miles over what passes for a road over the fens. I stopped to buy half a dozen eggs and the Egg Lady came out and introduced herself. She recognised me as the woman who handed her some twenty egg boxes at the start of the summer. I keep them in the boot of my car for when I come East.

We had a brief chat and I explained I was on my way to das Boot. She was interested in why I had it. I explained – Mother's move to sheltered housing, my need for somewhere to stay. She asked what I would be doing this weekend. I told her the main purpose of my visit was to see my aunt who has terminal cancer. Egg Lady promptly told me if I needed a shoulder to cry on and/or a glass of wine, I should be welcome.

She has a pack of wonderful dogs, so I may take her up on it. I told her I knew someone in Colorado who wants her weather vane.

At the marina I hurried to das Boot to run the engine and get sorted before MasterB came on board. A head poked out of a nearby boat. A boat that is newish here. The owner of the head, Gary, wanted to know if I knew the code to the toilet and shower block. He seemed a bit down. Maybe he has been waiting all day for someone to turn up and give him that information. He made some comment about there being quite a few cars here but no people. They're out on their boats, I said, gesturing to the riverfront which was conspicuously empty of craft. He seemed unimpressed. Maybe I would be too if I had been hoping for use of an onshore shower all day.

The engine started straightaway, and I scuttled between car and boat with groceries, bedding, and goodness knows what. It's always best to make up the bed before MasterB is aboard as he likes to help, though if my memory is correct, Cat was even keener to get enmeshed in the sheet when I was trying to it fit over the mattress.

Fifteen minutes later, the water was hot, and everything was aboard if not in place, and I fetched MasterB. He was not keen to be strapped into his harness, but my nerves wouldn't take the thought of him taking off for exploration in the gloom. We had a nice walk down to das Boot. I had hoped he would dig himself a little hole and have an al fresco pee, but he didn't feel the need.

I could not find the enthusiasm to cook, which is rare with me, so supped on bread cheese and olives which did very well. I got a nice bottle of white wine on the way up, and am ruining it by drinking it with fizzy water, but no one can see, and I like it, so that's ok.

MasterB is settled and relaxed. He too has had his supper, has purred and looked out of the windows, so I don't think he's too traumatised at finding himself afloat. He has just looked up as an owl has hooted some distance away. I am sure he knows far more about the wild life here than I do. He often spends half the night sitting in the fore cabin watching in the dark.

I think Gary must have settled for an onboard shower, either that or he's left a tap running, the sound of water running into the marina on an otherwise very quiet night is almost unseemly.

I'm looking forward to seeing aunt, and to spending some time walking about the roads near here. The seasons are moving on. The leeks have been harvested, and fat rolls of hay sit in the fields. Amazingly there are still poppies. And I have plastic boxes in the car ready for blackberries. The cygnet must have grown; maybe the moorhen has had a second lot of chicks.

I can hardly wait.

20 thoughts on “Settling Down

    • I had one of the eggs, poached, for breakfast. It was perfectly fresh and wonderful. I was trying to persuade her to let you a room if you come east. I may need to work on her some more…

  1. Das Boot & The Twenty Egg Boxes! I adore how fast-friendships can be made by simple kindnesses; such as between you and Egg Lady. I returned to a specific, quite anonymous coffee-bar in Berlin the year before last. I had only been once before, and that was two years prior. I had decided on it, quite at random (though I do recall the street was particularly pretty in the late October afternoon – and there were some colourful pennants snagged in the tree outside…) after a long walk around the city. The bar is very quiet with old rocknroll and post-war posters on the wall and a scruffy hound farting in the corner. The woman behind the bar remembered me from the previous visit as ‘the young man who brought his cup and saucer back in before leaving!’ I recall at the time that this, to me, common courtesy, had caused much mirth and chatter among the few clients at the bar… but, to be remembered for it years later was amazing. I sent them a card from Cullercoats last year … ha! they probably don’t have a clue who it was from! 🙂

    • You’ve jumped back a few years haven’t you?
      Do you miss London? Or has your centre of gravity shifted?
      Celia and my friendship started when we both attended a poetry group at the local library, but really shifted up a gear eight years ago when both our mothers were dying. It was easy to talk to each other about how we felt and what was happening because we were both going through the same thing. It’s the anniversary of my mother’s death this Saturday, which also happens to be my birthday. So while I’ll be celebrating, I’ll also be raising a glass to her memory.
      I like the idea of you sending the cafe a postcard. I only see Jnet eggs when I go to my boat, and not always then. However, I hope to sell the boat this year, so after that I imagine we shan’t really be in touch. That doesn’t negate the pleasure I have had in her company, or the warmth of her welcome when I do see her.

      • I am taking a train to London (and beyond) today. I will stay at mum’s in Whyteleafe and have 30 haircuts in Selsdon – all old clients from the Croydon days – between tomorrow and Sunday. The visit and the money is welcome, but with each passing 6 weeks the journey becomes a (necessary) chore. I won’t have time to visit the Southbank or Camden or even catch up with old friends this time and already I want to be back by the sea again!

        I have woken early today after a long sleep. The sky is pink and the gulls are laughing. I can hear the sea and I think I shall nap again until 7:45.

        Many happy returns for Saturday. Chin-chin x

        • You mean I could have booked a haircut with you? It sounds as though you have moved mentally and emotionally as well as physically away from London, still enjoying it for a visit but it’s no longer home. Does that sound right? What prompted your move? Thanks for the wishes for Saturday. I shall do my best!

  2. Ha! As it happens a slot did become available late Friday afternoon as the two sisters, H & R, cancelled at the last minute – though I was thankful of the space and time and enjoyed something a little more substantial than the usual hairdresser’s lunch of biscuits!

    That sounds spot-on, Isobel. Although the city platforms (Kings X, London Bridge, Blackfriars, etc) seemed quieter than usual I feel ever more like a seasoned tourist. It was good to catch up with all my old clients and with mum and my brother, but exhausting! I rolled back across the Tyne about 11pm on Sunday.

    The move? Well, it was a love story, of course! Once upon a time…

    I hope you had a great birthday whatever you did! x

    • I was shorn this morning. Best haircut in ages, so perhaps the extra length from not having it cut for five months was a bonus.
      It was a great birthday. Thanks.
      Ah, love…

      • I met a chap once in South Shields called Shaun who was wondering what to call his new salon. It struck me as obvious – Shorn. But he went with Shaun’s. Hm, no pizzazz, some folk.

        Very good.

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