Well here we are, 730 days, or two years if you prefer, since being handed the keys of Fantine. It’s incredible really how much has changed in those two years. Did we ever imagine Fantine would change our lives entirely? Absolutely not. Have there been nightmares, bumps, scrapes, sinkage fears and tantrums, yes by the bucket load.
As I see there has been four main stages of boat ownership we’ve gone through in the last two years.
Oh Shit are we doing this
I can only compare this to the moment you bring home a child, or the day I got a horse. You sort of stand there for a little while, look at it, scratch your head and say to yourself,
“I suppose we’re doing this then!”
Or is that just me? It’s daunting, you’ve invested a lot of time, money and effort into chasing this dream and suddenly it’s happening, the hand holding is gone, it’s yours and you need to crack on with it. It’s a little scary, you can read as much as you like, watch as many Youtube videos as you want, but they don’t prepare you for that moment, when suddenly all the work comes to fruition.
Fear not this phase doesn’t last too long, I’d say for us it all dissipated after our first cut journey with Fantine, get that out of the way and you slowly start to say to yourself,
“Maybe we can do this after all”
The Honeymoon Period
The honeymoon phase is fantastic, everything is fantastic, things are especially fantastic if you move aboard in spring. You’ll be filling up your social media feeds with fantastic pictures of boat life and canals, you’ll be telling everyone how fantastic boat life is and you’ll be writing annoying blogs about your fantastic life.
One word F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C … or eurgh! It’s intense, you can’t help yourself from it, you know you’re doing it, but something just won’t let you stop.
In honesty it’s a lovely time, discovering the canals, doing something different and quirky in the joys of spring and summer is absolutely fantastic. But there comes a point when you realise you still have to get on with life, and life is still life, there’s still laundry, there’s still work, cleaning and a lot of boat specific chores, that fantastic tint starts to fade.
Be prepared though and perhaps warn people you’re going to be a bit annoying for a while, because you will be, and this phase lasts a while. It particularly lasts a while if you move aboard during the spring/summer because everything is even more fantastic.
I still remember my first boat tantrum, it was over the blasted kitchen drawer which made a squeal of astrological proportions when being opened or closed, I snapped. That was the dam bursting really and for a while little annoyances began to flood in. It was also the point when things got a lot more real and something which was just a quirky part of boat life before, became beyond frustrating.
It’s when I also started to worry about boat life, about the decision we had made, whether it was a mistake. Were we doing the right thing!
Unfortunately the storming phase also coincided with the arrival of one of the coldest winters I can remember, that didn’t really help! It lasted a while, of all the phases this was the longest, but it’s also the time when everything became more real.
The life stage has only really hit recently, I would say within the last couple of months. It’s the point where I sat back and thought, well this is it this is home. Gone are the thoughts of houses, replaced with a wonderful realisation that Fantine isn’t just a make do and deal with it for now, she is home and should be treated as such. It’s the phase where we have decided to put our stamp on her with new flooring and a new kitchen.
How long does this stage last? Hopefully for a long time yet.
So there you have it, two years since that oh shit moment we find ourselves firmly in the life camp. Here’s to twelve more wondrous months of navigating life aboard!
James & Kirsty