The spiders will eat well tonight. There’s an ants’ nest near this mooring and tonight the exterior of das Boot and the neighbours’ boat is covered with winged ants expelled from the family home. I have closed the windows, cancelled all shore leave and am preparing to sweat it out. It is warm and muggy after a day of intermittent cloud and hot sunshine. Apart from a brief excursion to Reach to get onions and to check on the progress of the blackberries, I have been at the marina all day.
When I came here yesterday I was thinking of peace and quiet, rest and relaxation. This morning I realised I had a tight knot of anxiety in my chest. I poked at it, was it the unplanned but necessary expenditure for the boat? A mild reaction. Not that then. Was I worried about a possible workless future? A stronger reaction. Moving? Stronger still. So I spent much of the day trying to untangle my feelings. Not moving also brought a feeling of anxiety, so it was good that I had arranged to speak to my friend Nicola this evening. We have known each other for twenty-six years, we’ve witnessed each other go through difficult times, make difficult decisions. She has a few of her own to make right now too and one of them involves the possibility of moving.
I can’t say when we finished talking, she to attend her online meditation class, I to cook my supper, that my feelings of anxiety were wholly resolved but I did feel better, and my thoughts were clearer. I hope she felt the same way. It is astounding how much energy anxiety uses up. I imagine these flying ants aren’t feeling too zen either.
Last night I noticed some new boats at the marina, and some old ones at different moorings. Today I took a walk around and realised some boats that have been here for years have gone. Several of the new boats are new, as in of fairly recent construction, and look very smart. When I first came here I imagined men in white flannels and blue blazers with gold wristwatches who said things like “The sun is past the yard arm, time for a pink gin”, but there weren’t any. Could the champagne set have finally arrived? I was disappointed to find that a boat I thought was called Avocado is actually called Anchored. Lots of the boats are named after women. My neighbours’ boat doesn’t seem to have a name at all, but just, in a way which seems slightly Orwellian, a number.
Nicola and I talked about lockdown, about walking our areas, about enjoying exploring our neighbourhoods. She found she made new friends, people she knew slightly have become people she will walk with. I admitted to finding that I had enjoyed the simplicity of life in lockdown, the lack of choices became a positive. Nicola had similar feelings about the experience, though she hadn’t got into jigsaws.
When I left the teaching job at the school where I worked with Nicola it was to take a risk on a new career. I didn’t want to reach the end of my working life and look back wondering if I could have done something else. I also felt that given the demands of teaching I might die of exhaustion before getting my pension. So leaving was a leap of faith, a jump in the dark, and I can say hand on heart I am very glad I took it. It may be time to start thinking of moving home in the same spirit. Thanks Nicola. Our chat did me the world of good.
Stay safe. Keep well. Be kind.