Monday, May 08, 2017

A state of flux

When I look back on what I wrote in my first harbour memoir, Watery Ways, I realise how much our community has changed since those days. From my perspective, it is less cohesive than it was, but maybe that's because so many of those I started life in the harbour with have gone; such is the nature of a restoration harbour.

There were many more barges in the harbour in 2002

Trees and cars on the quay...unheard of now!
This is Koos next to our old renault

Sadly, some have gone with more permanence too. This last week we buried the second of our liggers this year: the first was a mere 52 when his heart just stopped while at work in Kazakhstan of all places; the second was a close neighbour of mine who has been struggling with cancer these past four years. At 74, he'd had his three score years and ten, but it still felt too early. George and I had been neighbours in the line-up of barges many times and even when separated by other boats, ours were never far apart. He'd done a beautiful job of restoration and it is sad that he will never get to go faring in it. I liked him very much.



Other things have changed recently too. The helling (slipway) and working yard where I have spent so many hours closed on April the 30th. Its future is uncertain, but the Maritime Museum say they cannot afford to keep funding it as it doesn't make enough money to cover the costs. The keys were handed to the council on May the 1st and we now await negotiations to see if it will be kept going, perhaps on a more commercial basis. I have a lift-out booked for October, so I hope there will be a workable plan.


My first liveaboard, the Hoop, on the helling (slipway)

I think this event, more than any other, defines how things are changing. For the younger generation of liggers, it is probably less dramatic as they have formed their own core community and will arrange things their own way, but for those of us who are older, it feels like the end of an era.

Sorry for the poignant post today, folks. I'm feeling a bit sad, but I hope you all have a great week.

28 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you're sad - even though these changes are all part of our lives today. I think most of us (of a certain age!) can look back on people or ways of life with something deeper than nostalgia. I just hope we leave something equally wonderful for our children to look back on.

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  2. Sadly, dramatic change is an inevitability these days. So many places are being stripped of their original verdant plumage, which is such a shame because that has the negative knock on effect of removing a lot of wildlife.
    Sorry to hear you've lost some companions along the way ... I guess the most we can do is be thankful these wonderful people shared a part of our lives, enriching them in their own special way. X

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Derval. I am very glad I have known these wonderful people, both those who have gone and those who are still with us.

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  3. I think when organisations such as a Maritime Museum put Profit before Preservation it indicates one of two things that either: The Constitution on which the museum is founded is badly worded or that the wrong people are in charge. Perhaps the you need to organise yourselves to make the necessary changes ?

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    1. Mel, thank you. Yes, we barge owners are taking part in the discussions, so I just hope we can be heard.

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  4. Sorry for the loss of your friends Val. I hope funding can be found to keep the slipway going as it is sad to see things getting closed.

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    1. The crazy part is that it is a big tourist attraction, Anne. I also hope the council will see how valuable it is. Since it belongs to them, we can only hope to be heard in the decision-making.

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  5. Ah, you know I love those yellow cubist houses :)
    So many changes in only 15 years, and as we get older the time goes in a flash, and we feel the tug of things how they were. So sorry to hear you have lost some friends too. We came to our address 13 years ago, made new friends quickly and found new community activities. Similarly, things have changed, new directions etc. and some have passed on. I remember my father saying he wished things would just stay the same, and now I know what he meant!

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    1. Thank you, Patricia! I know what your father meant too. I wish things would stay the same too, but life moves on and I guess we have to move with it!

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  6. Very sorry to hear of these losses, very poignant post Val, I can understand it feels like the end of an era, sending lots of love and good wishes for the next chapter and hoping it will be wonderful

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    1. Thank you, dear Angela! I hope so too.

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  7. Sorry to hear you have lost some of your friends and things have been changing. I hope things get better soon.

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    1. Thanks, Stu. That's kind. Hopefully an agreement will be reached and we can continue as normal.

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  8. The sad thing things in life are hard to take, but without them, where would the happy time come from.
    At our age we see change as a bad thing, because we have lived with the old, but to the youngsters it's just a new way, and will become their old ways with age.

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    1. You're right, Gary, and I am aware that for the younger ones, it's not such an issue although the closing of the slipway will be very inconvenient for all of us. We'll have to travel a long way before we get to another one. There's one in Hellevoetsluis and another in Vreeswijk, but both are more than fifty kms away. Not so handy when you have to keep going to work as well as paint your barge :)

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    2. I hope that someone sees sense, and funds the helling, it and others should always be saved, there is obviously a need for it.
      If it's not broke, leave it alone.

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  9. Life never stays the same. Several of our friends are fleeing back to UK due to tax and Brexit. :(

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I'm wondering how all that's going to affect me and mine too!

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  10. Oh, Val! I am so sorry for your loss. Death tends to force us to look around and re-evaluate... everything. Looking back through my journals will do that to me, as well, and not to mention, open the floodgates of tears; happy and sad. I feel your bittersweet nostalgia ��xx

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    1. Bless you, Dale. It's always hard, isn't it?

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  12. So sorry Val!! Hard to lose friends that have always been there and times change. Feeling for you. Love Julie xx

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  13. It is always hard when we lose people close to us and things start changing or coming to an end, it doesn't always feel like the future is brighter. I also find that as we start losing more friends and family around us, I am beginning to question my own mortality more. 'Carpe Diem' (the saying not our yacht) is definitely the way forward. Take care xxxx

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  14. A sad post, Val. That's the damn thing about life... nothing stays the same. The changes seem to get more frequent, and harder to bear as we get older.

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  15. Oh, Val, I share your sadness. Reading this left me with a deep sense of loss. I'm so sorry.

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