Boat Perfect

A week ago I was at the airport, learning that my flight had been delayed and starting the slow return to London after a break in the country where I had been surrounded by fields with cows and fat lambs; wild flowers in the hedgerow; skies that changed from grey to blue and back again; farm buildings and farm machinery a part of the landscape; and greens of all the shades they say make up Ireland.

But hold on a minute, for I am again surrounded by fields, by sheep and cows and hens; there are farm buildings and farm machinery; this morning’s pale skies have become a radiant blue; the hedgerows buzz with bees enjoying the wild flowers; the countryside is swathed in her summer greens. The internet connection is just as erratic as at Cousin’s.

At home, I often think of the responsibilities that come with boat ownership; the cost; my lack of nautical and engineering expertise; the long drive to get here. Then I think that I should give up das Boot, sell her to someone who would give her more time, more knowledgeable attention, take her out more. But when I come, unpack the car, run the engine, fill the water tank and make the bed, turn on the gas and put MasterB’s food and water on the floor, arrange my food in the fridge and evict the spiders it feels such a perfect place to be, such a sanctuary from the hurly burly of normal life, that I decide to keep her for at least one more season.
Since Mother and Aunt have died, there is no practical reason for me to keep das Boot. Does Time Out have a price? Because that’s what I am doing this minute; typing a post with MasterB curled against my hip; the sun warming the boat even as strong winds rock and buffet her; enjoying the sounds of rustling leaves, the engines of passing boats, the creak of the ropes, the calls of birds. At dusk there will be birds with forked tails of all sizes flying above and beside us, hunting and catching winged insects.
While I breakfasted on the freshest of eggs bought at the farm shop last night, there was a mighty splash as a large fish leaped in the water.
I had hoped to see Older Nephew, but he is away watching the Test Match at Edgbaston.
I should be washing das Boot properly, but I have stopped after some desultory mopping. The bed’s unmade, my shoes litter the floor. It’s far from shipshape and Bristol fashion, but it feels jolly good nonetheless. Tomorrow we’ll head back to the smoke after an early lunch as I’ve work over the weekend and most of next week.


I’m sure Philip Green somewhere in the Med on his million pound yacht, firing off threats to Frank Field, would think this poor sport. Somehow I can’t see him happy with a second hand twenty-five foot inland cruiser that was built in 1980, and he probably has never seen as simple a marina as this one. But I wouldn’t swap my boat for his for all the coffee in Brazil, or this marina for any upmarket mooring on the Côte d’Azur. I may be wrong, but his boat and where he sails it seems to be a message about status and power, showing how he belongs to an exclusive club, the club of the very rich who don’t live by the same rules as the rest of us.

Although when I first came here I expected people with cut glass accents drinking gin on the poop deck when the sun had passed the yard arm, that is very far indeed to how it is. MasterB and I had a short perambulation when we first arrived. He stopped by the place where the abandoned boat used to be. I looked at the ground where I saw what looked just like a cow pat. But the cows were in the field beside the marina, and there’s a fence that stops them coming in. Odd. Later I saw Jax and Ian who came over to continue working on their boat. Did you see the new wire? asked Jax. I looked blank. The cows had trampled down the fence and come to enjoy the greener grass on the other side. Hence the newly fertilised marina and improved fortifications.

I bet that doesn’t happen at Cannes.



5 thoughts on “Boat Perfect

  1. Enjoy the moment Isobel it sounds great and a good way to unwind after all those hectic London tours…and I am sure Master B enjoys his occasional visit for a change of scene too!!

  2. There is nothing like spending time on a boat. I always enjoyed reading and taking an afternoon snooze on our boat while it was in the slip and I enjoyed being anchored out in a quiet cove much more than buzzing about the lake. I am glad you find so much comfort on das Boot. I remember back in 1995 I was going through a bad time and I really believe it was our boat that kept me sane. Your visits to das Boot have made CH and I think about boating again. Maybe renting a slip at the lake where we used to live… it’s only 20 minutes away. I think the peace of it all would be good for us and I see by reading this it is a joy for you too! Beautiful pictures Isobel… love the country.

    • Go for it! Living so close you would be able to enjoy it as often as you’d like. Maybe a little dog to accompany you would complete the picture.

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