It’s an old story. Girl meets Boy. They fall in love and have a beautiful daughter. The End. (Right?)
Well, that story actually lasted a bit longer; in fact, it’s ongoing but in more of a co-parenting way than a Great Romance. I’m trying to write it up but it’s a work in progress. Maybe I’ll share some chapters on here, later.
So then. Girl With Daughter meets Boy With Son. Perfect, no? They fall in love. They decide to move in together, to create a little blended family together. Girl Sells House. Moves In With Boy. A month before House Sale Completes, a month after Girl Moves In, Boy decides that actually, the relationship Girl has with her Daughter is getting in the way of the relationship he thinks he should have with Girl. Terrible things are said. There is Shouting, and Towering Over, followed later on by some Emotional Manipulation and Rewriting of History. There is No Way Back. It’s like an awful dream, except this is no dream.
Long and short of it is, with five months left on the tenancy I found myself living in a house with someone I now looked on as a stranger, and I’ve sold my house and I need to find somewhere for me and Daughter to live. There’s no denying it, we’re in an expensive area; and as a single mother who works part time, I can’t afford any place I’d like to live in. But then, I don’t know where from, the idea pops into my head which could be the answer. Why don’t I use the money I get from my house sale- and buy a boat? I’d own our home so there’d be no rent, no mortgage to pay. The costs of living would be lower- utilities are much cheaper, there’s mooring fees and saving for maintenance and so on, but I would (I calculate) be able to afford all that.
I visited our local marina and asked about the possibility of getting a permanent mooring. No problem, they said. Come in at Easter, that’s when people start leaving to cruise the canals for the summer and probably moor up somewhere else for the next winter.
I joined a couple of canal boaters’ forums. I started looking almost constantly on Apollo Duck. And I spent several days driving around to Worcester, Oxford, Stafford and Warwick, looking at boats. Most of them ruled themselves out straight away. The first one I felt I could live on was a tug-style narrowboat like these, in Worcester. It had a lovely living area and in the bow, the owner had made an actual shed (as someone who values storage space, I found this very exciting). However, the bedroom was a boatman’s cabin with a fold-out bed. And the engine had its own room. I didn’t feel it was a practical setup, so rather wistfully I had to pass on it.
The next boat I saw, I fell in love with. She was wonderful, she had a great ‘feel’ to her and the living space was immense. She came with everything and I really, really wanted to buy her and live on her. I saw her twice and loved her even more the second day, but then I did the sums. I couldn’t afford her. Even at the reduced price this lovely boat’s lovely owner offered me, I couldn’t afford her. So, with the nagging feeling that I might regret it, I bid her goodbye.
Now, the nice boats I was seeing advertised were selling almost immediately. Is there a boating craze? Is it a question of massively overpriced housing, and people (like me) seeking a more affordable option? Who knows. Anyway, when I had word of a potential boat going on sale I took the first opportunity to visit her and whizzed up the M42 once again. I was her first viewer. I put in an offer then and there, and paid a deposit to take her off the market. She is light, bright and airy. She has an enormous bedroom, with a fixed double bed and space to put a single in, and a chest of drawers, and hang up curtains from the ceiling (I already have the fabric) to provide privacy when needed.
I can start getting excited about moving onto a boat. I can start Decluttering. I can start Panicking About Where Am I Going To Put The Books!?
I love it.