Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Aftermath (II)

I've got a new job. That's why I'm no longer living on a boat in Huddersfield. The new job is in London, and I have a shiny new season ticket (£3,544, thank you very much) and a daily rather than weekly commute. The positive aspects to this are many - first the job: it's permanent, after years of temporary contracts, and it's at a respected, even prestigious, university. Secondly, I get to go home and eat dinner with Jim and Lockboy every night.

But what I didn't think about until yesterday evening was this: I will now go for weeks, maybe even months, at a time without setting foot on a boat. And I will really, really miss it.

Even though I knew that last week was Andante's farewell journey, I was so focussed on the trip (and the new job) that I hadn't really thought much beyond that. For the past eighteen months I've not spent more than a week away from one boat or another, and that never struck me, at the time, as strange.

I suppose that in the time I lived on Andante in Huddersfield I could have decided that it wasn't the life for me after all, but that hasn't happened. Instead, over that period I've become hopelessly hooked; on boat life, on the waterways, on the history, but above all, on boats themselves. The visceral excitement when you feel the engine start up and you know you're going somewhere. The feel of a rope taughtening in your hands, knowing that there's ten, fifteen tons of steel on the other end. The shape of a working boat. The sound of a Bolinder. The smell of a hot engine.

I think I'd better go and lie down for a bit.

Normal service will be resumed shortly.


flatplane8 said...

Plenty of boats around London to see! What is happening to Warrior? Where will it live now?

S said...

Hi! How's the bed going? Yes, I am already planning my London boat spotting - but I won't be able to *touch* them! Warrior is still at Stretton Wharf awaiting engine. Once that's back in we'll probably take Warrior back to its original mooring further up the Shroppie at the notorious Golden Nook for at least a couple of years, try to do Llangollen; then maybe over to the Fens where it was built and we've been told will always be welcome - so hopefully will always have Warrior (Jim is now making noises about working boats ...)just no longer parrt of day to day life. Are you London based?

flatplane8 said...

Is Warrior out of action awaiting the engine? I know you mentioned putting in a Lister in the interim. I'm based near Reading, boat is coming along ok, some more pictures here...


S said...

Ah yes, the Lister. That was meant to happen when we were there at the end of August. It didn't. As the National seems to be making visible progress now it's looking less worthwhile putting an interim engine in (quite a hassle when all's said and done), if we can't get it done really soon, which looks unlikely. Like your blog!