It’s nice to be back on board. The rhythms of life are slower. The mundane and the ordinary take time. There is no fast food, fast laundry, fast running up and down the stairs. The days are longer and much of our life is lived outdoors – on the beach, on coastal paths, in the cockpit, on the deck. We take our time, and are surprised when we look at the clock and realise another day has gone by. It helps that the sun is smiling down on us.
Moving day – we’ve grown used to moving now. We have it down to a fine art. Julian on hire-van duty, Martina on unpacking duty. The girls and I were alone on the boat for the first three days and nights, while Julian moved our furniture into storage in the midlands and cleaned the Exeter house. We played, we re-acquainted ourselves with our home, the girls showing their teddy bears around and shouting hello to everyone who walked down the pontoon (I suspect we are not the most popular people in the marina!). In between trips to the beach I gradually found space for our clothes and books, toys and food, and got down to the business of settling in.
Exploring – Since moving back on board we’ve been exploring the coastline around Plymouth. We walked the coastal path to Bovisand one day and from Mountbatten round to the Barbican another. Lily is a tremendous walker on her little four year old legs – she can cover five miles in an afternoon without a grumble. Katie walks until she gets tired and then Julian puts her in the back carrier.
We’ve discovered the green meadows at Jennycliff and the great beach at the bottom of the cliff, where the girls explore the rocks like little mountain goats.
Day to day – The little things in life take time – doing the laundry, cooking, baking bread, taking a shower. Things that are speedy in a house – making the bed, flushing the toilet – take longer on board a boat. But we move to those slower rhythms and life is all the better for it. The girls help with the laundry and the baking, and when they’re tucked up in bed at night, it’s finally time for Julian and I to hatch plans, make decisions, or sit quietly and read our books.
Play time – Imaginations run wild – they are doctors and nurses tending their teddies; Katie is trapped in the jaws of a whale shark, in need of rescue; they are mummies and daddies; they are shop-keepers, restauranteurs, pirates, fishermen. They sing endlessly – songs I don’t know, and don’t know how they know. Somehow, they even manage to play hide and seek in our little boat.
Rowing away with Daddy in the dinghy is a joy for them both, the little yellow paddle, assisting him whether he needs assistance or not. Searching for the thick-lipped mullet – those fat silver-bellied fish that swim in such numbers around the marina.
Life is good. We’ll be here in Plymouth for a little while longer, with work to be done and money to be earned. But we continue to hatch those plans. And in the meantime, we learn about life, and we figure out how to live it the best way we can.