We’ve done it! We’re officially live-aboards. It was a hectic few days, and stressful to boot. I managed to de-stress prior to the move by going to beautiful Dartmoor with my fellow human geographers from Exeter University for a two-day ‘research retreat’. We had one sunny day followed by a wet and windy day. Went for a gorgeous walk the first evening, hopping across stepping stones to get across the river and at one point startling two red deer who turned and bounded across the moor. I got less work done than I had intended and came home feeling relaxed but knowing I had far too much work to do and a house move on top of it.
Thursday dawned wet and miserable. Julian’s dad was down to help us out and he drove Julian to Newton Abbot at 7.30am to collect a van. Back at the flat I continued packing and when Julian got back we loaded the van while his dad kept the girls entertained. I then took them to playgroup and by the time we got back Julian was already on his way to the midlands with a van full of furniture to put into temporary storage at his parents’ houses (wow…that makes them sound posh…I mean two parents, one house each). My father-in-law hung around long enough for me to finish packing the car then he rushed off to meet Julian, and the girls and I drove the 12 miles from Dawlish to Torquay.
It rained and rained. There wasn’t much I could do in the rain, except tranfer essentials – food mainly – from the car to the boat and then snuggle up for the afternoon and evening with hearty food and a Noddy DVD! Not my choice, obviously! Meanwhile, Julian offloaded everything, turned around and drove back to Torquay, arriving shortly before 1am. Then up the next morning to return the van to the hire company. Now it was his turn to take care of the girls for the day, while I returned to Dawlish to clean the house.
Kim and Aggie would be proud. I vacuumed and cleaned the carpet, scrubbed the kitchen from top to bottom, cleaned and cleared and polished and dusted til you could eat your dinner off any surface. And I did it in Melanie Griffith in ‘Working Girl’ style – too hot to do it any other way!! I hope the neighbours weren’t looking in the windows.
So we’re here and you know what? It’s lovely. Partly it’s the sense of accomplishment that we’ve got this far, and partly because we’ve been having such a nice time since we moved aboard. Julian and the girls have been fishing each evening – just for fun – and catching the tiniest fish imaginable. The girls gaze at them in the bucket and demand that he catch more more more. Yesterday morning I tried baking on board for the first time. I decided to do something easy, and made gingerbread men, but only made half the amount I usually make. They worked out alright, although I need to get used to the temperatures and cooking times of this particular oven. Later the girls decorated them, and Katie bit the heads off half of them in the process!
Yesterday morning Julian was once again up at the crack of dawn to take a car load of excess stuff to a car boot sale in Newton Abbot. He came home with £130 profit! Meanwhile, once we’d finished baking, the girls and I took a picnic to the beach and Julian met us there with pockets of cash!! We built sand castles and got soaking wet and just had some good old seaside fun!
I’ve had the stress of so much work hanging over my head and I lay awake last night wondering what I should do. Somewhere in the middle of the night I decided to drop that chapter I’ve been writing. I haven’t had time to get much writing done, with so much essay and exam marking to do, and I was panicking and getting annoyed with myself and everyone else. I feel bad about dropping it, but the relief and the weight lifted off my shoulders has transformed me today. I’ve never done something like this before and I think you should stick to things, but for just this once it feels gooood!!
Time I got to bed. I’ll sleep better tonight.