As many of you know, I have only had partial occupancy of my lovely barge for some time. My daughter needed a place to live two years ago, so I made space for her to move in. I spent more of my time in Zeeland where I have my little house on the dyke and only came back to Rotterdam when I needed to be there for teaching. As I do a lot of teaching online, I haven't needed to be in the city more than three days a week, and sometimes less.
Anyhow, my daughter fell in love (as daughters do) and has now moved out while she and her beloved look for their own barge. The Vereeniging was home to them both for a while, but even they realised that it is far too small for two people with such space consuming hobbies (both in rock bands with a number of guitars and other musical instruments to boot).
|Even I had trouble with space now and then|
|One of its many phases|
I am now delighting and revelling in having my lovely home to myself again and I am busily exploring the possibilities of quite a re-furbishment. My book, Harbour Ways, describes how I converted the barge for living when I first bought it, but that was largely completed ten years ago. Time has made its usual mark on the interior and it is now well overdue for some serious renovation. To put it mildly, it's all a bit shabby and the photos here show it at its better past.
|At a different phase and time|
All the same, I am happier than I've been for a very long time. To be on board and feel its benign presence; to smell the faint, but distinctive scent of 'barge'; to lie in bed and listen to coots pecking at the weed on the waterline; or to listen to the plopping of fish rising and the air bubbles that break the surface, these are just the best ever smells and sounds and they do more to give me contentment than any possessions or luxuries ever could.
|The Vereeniging's intereior in freshly painted state|
In the past months, I've written a number of posts about the hardships of barge life - mostly tongue in cheek - but in truth, I wouldn't have it any other way. The fun side is always there and let's face it, I've managed to wring two books out of the experiences!
My barge is a bit empty now with nothing but a bed, a sofa and a rug, but that's a good thing. I can see everything for real, the good and the decrepit, and I can work out what needs to be done. I have big plans and I can't wait to begin.
I know I haven't really been away, but I do feel as if I've come home.