I am aboard das Boot on a spring evening. I came here this afternoon, after a later start than planned, but I had been weeping over the tributes to Victoria Wood, then my nice neighbour Lawrence was helping connect my television to the internet.
I have a strong suspicion that Victoria Wood’s fame never crossed the Atlantic. In my adult life her writing and performances have been a continued pleasure. I believe sometime in the past I posted a link to her singing one of her many compositions, Let’s Do It. Check it on YouTube and you may understand what you have missed if her name is new to you.
Although I came up to das Boot a couple of weeks ago, I came by train, and met Brian who has been doing some work on my neglected vessel at the station before coming here in his car. Today was the first time I have driven East since Aunt’s funeral, and the first time I think I have ever stayed here without calling her. I want to tell her that the Great Crested Grebes are around and I am crossing my fingers they will again nest near das Boot; that there are new born lambs in the field next door, and pairs of ducks swimming about the marina; that I saw bluebells in the roadside woods, and stray tulips posing as wild flowers on the verge.
My visit is brief. I shall go home tomorrow. Last time I was here I realised the while. Brian has making the necessary improvements the boat’s interior has filled with dust. Like every man who has ever worked on das Boot, Brian does not share my philosophy regarding dust sheets. Whenever I leave, I cover the soft furnishings and the mattress, put bedding into zipped bags, with the aim of reducing the amount of spider poo and other unwelcome additions to them. Brian has removed the dust covers, folded them neatly, and not replaced them. What is it about dust covers that men don’t understand?
My intention is to spend the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, which is also my birthday, afloat with MasterB. I should prefer to arrive with MasterB and spend only a little time cleaning before relaxing into the weekend. So today I have had the luxury of cleaning without upsetting Himself, using the vacuum cleaner extensively and leaving the windows open. Although the lambs and the birds beckoned, I was disciplined, and left my little camera in my bag. The battery was low, so I attached the charger with the floor up in the fore cabin. I have a nasty suspicion the battery may be on its way out, so I’ll attach it to the trickle charger before I go.
By evening the boat was clean and I was very dirty. So I have enjoyed a shower and hair wash followed by a long call with J who is cat sitting, then a hot meal. I am planning an early night, but my new bedside light, though attractive, is a disappointment as a reading light it certainly is not. I shall have to confer with Brian again. My guess is that he is not a reader, and so my need for a reading light did not really register with him. It’s much cooler now, and retiring to a warm bed with my book appeals a lot. Hopefully it’ll just be a question of a different bulb.
It’s great to be in the countryside in the spring. When I first went to live in London I would be dismissive of Lndoners who declared it was spring because there were a few flowering daffodils. That’s not spring, I’d think; where are the lambs, the bluebell woods, the hedgerows suddenly changing and budding, the birds building their nests. I would flee and breathe in green air and gaze upon fields full of promise. Then one year, I saw some daffodils, and thought, oh it’s spring. I had become a Londoner.
But there is part of me that remains rooted in rural England, and to be here now to travel through countryside, even to be delayed as I was today behind slow moving farm vehicles along single track roads, is like a gift. I feel a connection to the land, my land, that is beyond words.
If MasterB were here, it’d just be perfect. Even without a bedside reading light.