I enjoyed a marvellous Christmas holiday in spite of the weather. In fact the latter enhanced it; in an aesthetic way certainly. Though it didn’t actually snow on the day where I was, it was lovely to experience a white Christmas for, as far as I can remember, the first time in seventy years! At Stratford-upon-Avon on Christmas Eve it actually did snow a little, adding to the build up of four or five inches already pristinely spread across Bancroft Gardens, by the theatre, by the river; thus creating very topically its own ‘Winter’s Tale’.
However I was well looked after by my brother David and ‘Futurest’ in the meantime was kept beautifully warm by Bobby, who had returned on board just before I left and wished to spend Christmas there with her two girls, who had returned from France to be home with their mum. I had worried about the ship getting very cold after I left, when the fires went out, with the possibility of burst pipes at the very least, so Bobby’s need for a roof over her head at this time and my ability to provide it, was most beneficial for us both and I was very grateful.
When I returned to the ship on the Tuesday after Christmas, I even had somewhere to sleep as the two girls by then had returned to France and to work. Now Bobby is looking for somewhere permanent to live but until she does, I have said she is most welcome to stay here until the end of February, when my cruising season begins again.
What I have discovered is that though it is lovely to have her company on board and I shall miss her very much when she goes, the ship isn’t large enough for the two of us. Though it is roomy enough for me and my bits and pieces, and I know where everything is, in its unique tidy place on the boat, when it comes to finding space for another person and their set of bits and pieces, as well as their ideas, life can turn chaotic. Also I have grown used to living on my own and making my own decisions in life; what to do; where to go; what and when to eat; what to buy.... What not to buy.... With somebody else living in such close proximity, one always has that same person to take into consideration before inevitably having to compromise, sometimes a lot.
On Wednesday last Matt returned from Tooley’s with his friend Pete, a local Lister ‘JP’ expert, who I had also met before and whose masterly reputation was well known by all. Pete in a very short time, without seemingly doing very much at all, asked Matt to swing the handle and after a cough and a splutter ‘JP2’ fired into life straightaway!
It was as if she had been having a laugh at Matt and I on the previous occasions that we had both tried, nearly busting our guts, in a way that must have appeared very comical, to get her to start. But when Pete the expert arrived, ‘Futurest’ seemed to know that the game was up and decided she had better come clean... She is running perfectly now.
From certain things that have happened during my association with ‘Futurest’, like ‘JP2’ not running this winter, it is as if the ship has a consciousness all of her own.
You know if I didn’t know differently, I might almost believe that she had human characteristics sometimes...... It is most strange!