Monday, July 07, 2014

Bonding with my boat again




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.


21 comments:

  1. Hello Val, sounds as if you are going to be living in chaos for awhile until all of your renovations are complete. Of course it will all be worthwhile for we have to keep our homes up to scratch - so Mrs H tells me!

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  2. No place like home, Val! So very descriptive and the pictures added make me feel as if I was on tour. Seems warm and fuzzy!

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  3. Ah, Mel, I like your last 'aside'. That tells me what your really think…along with that mischievous grin :)

    Lynn, it's a very warm and fuzzy place. I love it very much!

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  4. Ah, you're bringing up the down side to retirement. While I WON'T miss a lot of the guff that goes along with the job, I am going to miss spending time on a living vessel. Going to have to work on that... :-)

    What exactly do you have planned for the redo, Val? Is this going to be extensive? Any upgrades in mind?
    Tom

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  5. I love your barge Val, it is so cosy and welcoming. But I can understand the need for some refurbishment - what do you plan to do - sometimes the fun is in the planning. I am so happy for you that you are in such a good place right now, such a wonderful feeling xxx

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  6. It's a lovely feeling, knowing that this is where you were meant to be!

    Bet you never thought you'd hear me say that! I love going away, but love. My Wiltshire downs when I get home.

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  7. Fran an Tom, there's quite a bit to do, but structurally, it's limited to re-arranging things inside as I cannot alter the exterior of the barge without losing my monument status. I'll blog about my plans, how's that? xx

    Jo, yes. It is a lovely feeling, and I what I love even more is that I can move somewhere else and still have that place with me! xx

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  8. Welcome home! Can't wait to 'see' what changes you're going to bring to it, since I remember the fresh new reno when we stayed with you back in 2006. Can you believe it was so long ago?

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  9. Aah, Anne-Marie, time flies way too fast! I'll post pics when I've done what I want to do, but I'll do a blog about my plans first.

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  10. Sorry I'm always late Val but I read your post from my ipad and it wont let me comment on blogs from facebook. Your boat looks very cosy inside I bet you're glad to have it back and a makeover sounds wonderful. Will look forward to before and after photos.

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  11. The things we do for our kids! Glad you're settled there again. The plans for renovation sound fascinating and I'm guessing we'll be shown the progress as it goes along.

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  12. Thanks Anne and Ros. I've started the process, but I think it's going to take me quite a long time. I'll certainly give progress reports here :)

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  13. What a nice post. And what a nice mum letting your daughter stay indefinitely when being on the boat means so much to you. I'm glad she is happy too!

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  14. Having enjoyed reading Harbour Ways, it is a delight to see the photos of your lovely barge, Val. I am glad you have it back to yourself again, and I'm sure we will all enjoy reading about your renovations as much as you enjoy planning and doing them. Great post!

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  15. Well, this is the first post that doesn't mention damp, crawlies and the down side. So maybe I WILL come and invade. The pics certainly look inviting. Glad you have your home on waves back!! Enjoy.

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  16. Totally love your barge, Val, and it looks far more spacious than my motor home. I love that you can fit a proper table and chair in there, along with the sofa, etc. What fun it will be redecorating; you will fall in love with it all over again. I have Watery Ways on my Kindle. I'm looking forward to having more time to read now I'm laid up for a time.

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  17. Jenny, thank you. Being a mum is a forever thing as you know and you do whatever it takes :)

    Patricia, I'm so glad you like the photos. I was afraid some of them might be too familiar, but in the bookd they are black and white, so this gives you more of an idea, doesn't it? Thank you too!

    CarolStar, I will welcome your invasion…would love to have you on board!

    Jenny, how lovely to see your name here! I can imagine it looks more spacious than your motor home. I have 8 x 3 metres in the main space, so it must look quite luxurious to you!

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  18. I always thought it odd, you out of your barge! Glad you have it back. Love those pictures, looks so cozy.

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  19. Aah, String. You've known me here a long time, so you know more than most what it has meant to me. My equilibrium is back now that I am on board again. Thank you!

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  20. Hi Val - good news for your daughter .. and I guess good news you for you - the studies are away for now ...

    Time to rethink .. but that's good you'll enjoy the summer mulling new interiors within your monument status - what a great 'mark' to have ...

    Lovely to see the photos etc .. cheers and look forward to the post on your ideas .. Hilary

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  21. Hi Val, we where down their today looking for barges to by, and sat down on the bench in front of your boat, and I recognised your barge.
    She looks great, also watch a barge being launch on the lift.great to see.

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