I moved on board in January 2001 and moved off in late August 2002. When I bought the Vereeniging in December 2001, it was in no state to live on (being an empty hull), and so I stayed on the Hoop until I had at least a floor and a bed on my own barge. I adored the Hoop, and really wanted to make my own home as close in style to it as possible. The pictures below are of the interior of the roef, the space in which I lived. I've also added a photo of the exterior of the wheelhouse and the whole barge. The ruim or the hold, as we call it in English, was unconverted on the Hoop when I lived on it. These days it has been fully restored, converted and, in some ways, improved beyond repair. The new owners wanted to replace rather than restore the old fittings - their barge, their choice, but it wouldn't have been mine.
My photos are very bad, but I hope you can get at least some impression of my living space as it was then. They are scanned from old analogue prints, and something went wrong with my flash, so I've had to crop out the bottom of each one. I've put descriptions below them just incase you can't really see it! If I find any more photos, I'll add them. I know I've got some others somewhere, but haven't been able to find them as yet.
The entrance to the roef is immediately to the right of this image and the bedroom is right on the left. As you can see, the space is pretty small. I loved these old cupboards which were built to the shape of the barge. Nothing was straight!
On the left of the fireplace here, you can just see the stairs up to the wheelhouse (the entrance). At the bottom of the stairs, there was a tiny cupboard sized space where I had my portapotti, but it had its own beautifully panelled sliding door. Note the screwed on tiles behind the old oil stove and the kettle on the stove itself. I remember Philip bringing the mirror and telling me every barge had to have its own mirror. He gave me one for the Vereeniging too. On the right is the kitchen.
Okay, everything was a squeeze! This was the kitchen. There's a bit you can't see that went behind the mantel piece of the stove and that was where I had the famous fridge with a two plate cooker on top.
Back to the bedroom. A photo of Sindy in her proper place on the floor, but you can also see that below the beds there were cupboards and drawers. Very useful! No space was wasted at all and there was a remarkable amount of storage room for such a tiny area.
And here is the wheelhouse that I loved so much and spent hours sitting in. It was also where the real toilet lived upside down on the bench. You can't see the roef so well from this angle, but it sits behind the wheelhouse. What you can see is the windows of the roef on the barge next to the Hoop, which had a very similar accommodation area.
And finally a photo of the Hoop from the quayside. You can see my loopplank perched on the bows. This was the one I had to use to get the two big dogs (Polly and Daisy) up and down to the quay, come rain or shine. I have photos of them too and also of Sisha, but I'm still a bit sensitive about them, so will not post them here. Maybe I'll do a post of my doggy paintings one day instead.
I had forgotten how cramped it all was and how basic. I had things crammed on every surface and I see the tiles behind the stove were quite stained. I spent hours cleaning them and in my memory everything is much brighter and shinier than it looks in these photos, but time tends to put a rosy tint on memories, and it fades the colours in the photos (or makes everything yellow), so the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Anyway, it was a heap better than when I found it as I painted everything.
As I said, I adored it and will always remember it with love. Everyone should have their Hoop at some time. If not a boat, somewhere else they cherish as a special place in their lives.