Extracts

These are extracts from my journal.  They are in vaguely chronological order although they are not dated.  Calendars lie!  You should not put your faith in them.

 

 

I vaguely know where I am.  I vaguely know where I want to be.  It just joining up the two that appears to be causing some confusion.  Like a shit game of dot to dot.

My bilges are full of water.  But where from? Do I leak? Should I worry? I really hope this is not the start of a slow motion sinking.

I am conducting investigation work.  At night, in the boat yard, there are three boats with internal lights on.  My working hypothesis is that humans are living inside them.  I have not yet seen the humans, only the lights.  Further investigation is therefore imperative.  If my hypothesis is true then I will be one of four and not one of one.  I would like to be one of four.

I don’t like the term Yachties.  Most people I have met to which that phrase could be applied are wankers. Or possibility cunts.  Probably the latter.  In my head I think of them as cunties.  I don’t say this out loud. Out loud I just smile.

This is the best bit of any trip. The excitement and anticipation on the eve of leaving.  Right now only the possibility of outstanding adventures exists.

Everything is assembled. A week of wave based Cornish fun awaits.  I have fewer clothes than camera equipment.  I cannot decide if this is a problem.  A fellow photographer would congratulate me.  A potential date might not.

It is never dark where I live. The lights from the dock bathe everything in their yellow glow and the stars rarely show their faces.

Excitingly – in the world of boating – you are encourages to carry fireworks on your board. In a cruel twist of fate, unlike their land-based counterparts they’re not used for celebrations but rather the reverse.  The upshot of this is that setting them off does not draw a crowd of happy revellers but official assistance givers and altruistic passers-by.  Neither group is generally excited to find that you just wanted some friends and the only distress currently being experiences is loneliness.

Isabella swallowed everything I own deep within her. My fear of eternally climbing over baggage has not come to pass and I even find I have space to spare.  I am beginning to wonder what people fill bigger boats with.

The small bookcase on the boat is packed with the tales of Chichester, Cook, Slochum, Moitessier and Knox-Johnson. A centuries worth of sailing exploration.  And yet I sit here reading about Aquaman.

My mind is turning ever to winter. Daylight recedes at an alarming rate and I find myself rowing more often in the gloom.  It is not the darkness but the cold that accompanies it which concerns me.

I try to befriend cats in the street. If it were permitted I would live in a town of only cats.  Alas they do not like water and my home is surrounded by it.

The world outside is at war with itself. All I can do is hide deep within Isabella.  I hope that when I finally emerge everything will still be as it was.  I fear land and sea will tear themselves apart and by the time a victor rises I will have gone insane.

All I want to eat is spinach, kale, chickpeas and quinoa. All I actually eat is pasta and Malteasers.  I am being seduced by thin lean health bloggers.

I am full of regret. How quickly a little rain can reduce me to a petulant child.  This life’s attractiveness is about being out in the elements so a little rain is just something to be getting on with.  I plan to fortify myself with waterproof equipment and smile through the most extreme weather

I hate this boat. Rain falls from the sky in great soaking waves.  Sitting in the van I watch it run down the windscreen in rivers.  The few hundred meters of open water might as well have been a few hundred miles. Dingy seemed pointless in conditions like this, I might as well swim it.  Maybe I could go naked? Maybe not.  If I had a house I could be inside right now, I could stand up if I wanted, walk around, I could even be watching Voyager.

Confidence in the water has never been a problem. But rowing a dingy containing all my worldly possessions with strong winds and a rough sea state freaked the hell out of me.  Images of trying to fish my clothes from the Solent filled my mind. Nothing untoward came to pass but I can see why tying up to dock is the preferred method.

The engine is broken. It mocks me with its inactivity.  Its petulant refusal to start.  I bought a sailing boat to sail not to burn diesel and pollute.  However it seems impossible to cast it aside.  It’s so heavy for a start.  I must bow to its will and learn its inner workings if our relationship is ever to improve.

If zombies were to attack I feel assured of my survival. Isabella is stocked with food and water.  I could last six months on current food provisions and a month before water became a problem.  Zombies cannot swim, they lack the coordination.  They also sink.  All I would need do is pull up the anchor chain and raise the sails.  I would sit out the worst of civilisations downfall at sea and by the time I return to land the worst dangers will have passed.

Everything is always moving. I wish it would just stay still so I could sleep. Donald stays still.  I miss Donald.

The most furious storms breaking over my house of bricks caused naught but a raised eyebrow. My floating home is different, waves toss the hull and wind tears the mast.  Isabella falls from peak to trough as waves slam into her with startling disregard.  She strains her mooring lines.  Everything is noise and motion.  I wedge myself in the rear cabin and dive deep into a book hoping that when I emerge the world will have calmed.

The world of boating – much like the world of baby making – is highly unregulated. Is neo-liberalism to blame or is it an oversight? Perhaps a bit of both.  The benefit of this is I went out and bought a boat without passing any exams.  I dislike exams in both principle and practise.  The drawback however is every time I take the boat out I feel I might sink and die.  To combat this I am learning how to call for help over the radio.  Oddly, this is not as easy as you think.  Boaters call for help according to their own special language of the sea.  Unfortunately, this language does not also let you call for help from dolphins.  Just other boat based bipeds.  I find this somewhat limiting.

I spent the evening watching Star trek: The Next Generation.  No one will listen to me but regardless, they need to hear this;

  • Data, you will never be happy until you stops aspiring to be human and commit to your true android self.
  • Geordi, find a girlfriend. Or a boyfriend.  Your loneliness is crushing and when the warp coils are fixed what will be left?
  • Riker, misogyny is over, it’s the twenty fourth century! Stop acting like is nineteen seventy five. Forget Kirk! You cannot fuck your way across the galaxy.
  • Jean Luc, bring your crew into line! Start by firing Riker for sex crimes. Also, what’s with the Earl Grey? Decide if you are French or English.
  • Beverly, you need to stop pining for Jean Luc. He will only ever love the Enterprise.
  • Councillor Troy, you need to go back to school. There are many fine institutes across the alpha quadrant teaching counselling.  Sign up for one of their courses before your terrible advice forces one of the crew to transport themselves into deep space.
  • Worf, your one-liners are outstanding. The whole crew would benefit from you doing a weekly stand up night in ten-forward.
  • Guianan, stop being so mysterious, your life sounds amazing, write a memoir! And make sure you don’t leave out the bit about where your race encounters the Borg.
  • Reg Barclay, the holo-deck can be real life, or better, do not let anyone tell you different.
  • Tasha Yar, the enterprise was never the same without you.

The fish don’t believe I am who I say I am. They think I am hiding out.  Why else would I be alone on a boat where no one could find me.  They watch my comings and goings, whispering behind their fins.

This day was summer from core to crust. Long and hot, it dripped in salt and sand.  The call of the sea answered and memories truly made.

Kitchen is so bashful. She likes her new clothes but doesn’t want to flaunt them.  She hates it when I compliment her.

I came home to find a note pinned to Bella. “The cargo ships suffer low self-esteem, don’t point and whisper as they pass by”.  Each day I learn more and more about life on the water.

The laundrette is counter aspirational. It reeks of hard lives and inequality.  I could live here.  Endlessly watching the drums rotate, cycle after cycle after cycle. For eternity.

The land knows itself truly and feels no need to change. Each day I wake to find the sea looking different.  I am not sure I can trust something with such severe identity issues.

I spoke too harshly of the rigging. The halliards are not at fault, the wind excites them.  They should not be so easily led but are too old to change their ways now.

I must protect my eyes.  The sun stings them and they weep in reply.  Without them I will be blind.  No more free sunglasses.  I shall pay for quality protection.

The rigging taunts me.  No matter how much I tight and adjust still it bangs endlessly against the mast.  Perhaps I should strip the mast.  Leave it naked in the wind, the rigging cast aside, helpless on the deck.  That would teach it.

Dingy hates to be tied up, but if I allow him freedom he will run from me never to return. I lament my position as gaoler.

The wind is so violent I fear it will tear the sea apart. I sit huddled in the rear cabin with a book waiting out the storm.  At the end of each chapter I peek from the companion way to check the world is still there.

Who are the people around me? They come out to their boats and sit, looking at the world around them like dazed prizefighters.  ‘You are on a boat’ I should say, but then perhaps they know this.  The switch from land to sea can be disorienting and perhaps they minds were jiggled on the row from shore.  I should keep my eyes on them and check for any other strange behaviour.

Seagulls are misunderstood. They shout loudly and steal often.  But if you take the time, they know secrets worth learning.

Isabella is a boat who thinks she is a house. Isabella is a house who thinks she is a boat.

Frederick comes and visits most days. We converse over tea and he tells me of life on the wing.  Then he shits on Bella and I ask him to leave.  I try not to judge but guests with better etiquette would be nice.

The water wraps around Isabella and I shutting out the shouting world. Sometimes it forgets its place and wraps too tight.  I invite outsiders aboard and remind it to be friendly.

I knocked on the Sky to ask the forecast. Sunshine with light winds.  It’s raining now.  I think the Sky is lying to me.

I hear the land from across the water. Hustling and bustling.  Loud lives being led.  Bright lights, sparkling.  Sometimes I envy the lights and noise.  Sometimes I don’t.

Waves lap against the hull asking to come in. I don’t let them, but still they ask.

On windy nights the rigging sings me songs of waves and salt and distant shores.