Is July 2003; mum and dad is movin onto Atlantis. Dey manage to get her into a residential marina in Kent, only problem is dere be no mooring available yet so dey has to tie up just outside the main marina. So what's wrong wiv dat I hear you ask? Gettin on and off board was a bit tricky! Dey ad to walk 1/2 a mile along a pontoon, go down a rickety ladder, cross two concrete lighters covered in seaweed and other slimey doings, then climb over anova empty ship to their boat. They had no power or water to the boat yet so everyfin was runnin on generators.
Mum decided in her infinite widsom to take three weeks off work (she had 9-5 job then) and dad had already given up his job to make the conversion of Atlantis his full time work (he was IT Consultant before). They realised the best fing was to get as much stuff on board as they cud and then stay on board for the whole three weeks til mum had to go back to work.
They decided that the priorities were:
- making sure they had somwhere to sleep
- making sure they could wash themselfs and their clothesies (priority for mum, dad didn't really care!)
- making sure they has loads to eat (priority for dad, mum didn't really care!)
Mum steeled herself and armed wiv air freshener, Febreze and pledge (a rather pointless combo) made her way down into the cabin. She was not prepared for the horrors that awaited her! Oh the innocence! Did she really fink that a couple of spray bottles were up to the manly task of eradicatin 35 years of fishermen stench?
Well let me tell you! They were not! There were five separate bunks in da cabin. Each bunk had its own mattress and duvets. I fink it would not be an exaggeration to say these mattresses and blankets were rotten, mouldy, covered in mildew and soakin wet! Febreze was not man ennuf for dat job! Ok, no problem, don't panic! I'll just get rid of da bedding she finks and we can get new stuff, job's a goodun!
Dad (from the safety of the top of the stairs) - How is it down there?
Mum - Aboslutely disgusting!
Dad - So can we sleep down there tonight?
Mum - Errrrrr .. you must be joking!
Dad - Do you need some more Febreze?
Mum - No I need a flamethrower!
Note the magic tree in the photo! Dat is doin diddly!:
Afte removin all da beddin and other rubbish they found (clothes, letters, diaries, cigarettes, bottles of whisky, needles!) the smell still remained! It was in the wood! The smell was unbearable (wish we ad smell-o-vision in these photos). They decided to abandon the cabin and sleep on the wheelhouse floor on an airbed for the timebeing til they can decide the next move.
The next few weeks were spent in a wonderful dreamlike state. Mum and dad had never been happier (that's coz they hadn't met me yet!) They were enjoying their little unreality pocket because they knew all too soon mum wud be back at work and dad would start the long long journey of transformation.
They didnt see anyone else and hardly left da boat. The galley (landlubbers: kitchen) was so filthy dat mum spent 3 days scrubbin the black floor and walls to discover they woz white! When mum did see da head (landlubbers: toilet) she cried (35 years of fishermens who knows what in there). Bleach and elbow grease wud do the trick (note: toilet is still black - eeeewwww).
The shower cud not be used inside until da leaky floor was fixed with new cement. They decided to shower outside on the deck. No-one cud see them so it was no problem. Dad showered in da noddy but mum was still worried in case a satelllite, helicopter, plane or ship could spot her) so showered in her swimsuit at first. They had plenty of time to sort out hot water later and as it was summer it didn't matter! Dis was their view from da stern (landlubbers: back of boat)
Dad had been busy re-wiring from Dutch 110 DC to 240 AC so they could use the shore power and stop runnin the generators when they got their proper mooring. He'd sorted out the flush on the toilet and a new shower head had been mounted on the deck. He'd also repaired the cooker and managed to get the microwave on board on his own (we dussnt know how he did it!).
By the end of the first few days they worked out sleepin on an airbed was a very bad idea! Mainly coz it deflated in the night. They went off to storage and brought back their mattress, washing machine and a few other essential items (remember each time they got off da boat they had to climb over another ship, cross the concrete lighters of death, climb the rickety ladder of death and walk the 1/2 mile pontoon).
Dad rigged up a pulley system and they managed to get everyfin across to the ship they were moored next to (remember: ship, death ladder, death lighter, 1/2 mile pontoon each time). They had a bit of a lean on as you can see in dis photo (mum sez was like bein in da Crooked House at Southend Funfair):
They woz avin the time of dey lifes! The summer that year was glorious. Mum and dad spent every evenin sittin on deck enjoyin de sunsets wiv a glass of wine and some pasta. They woz avin nice swimmin in da river in da evenin to cool down. In the daytime they woz organisin fings and cleanin up da boat as best they cud to make it bit more habitable. for da long road ahead. Three weeks of no work, no phones, no internet and no tv! What does one do of an evenin? Well I leave that bit to you imaginins!
As the three weeks drew to a close, mum start finkin bout gettin back to work in da office she was at. Dad heard from their landlord that they would be moving to their new mooring which was a few boats further in and they would have electric and water on tap! No more climbin rickety ladder of death etc etc either!
So, off mum went back to work. No washing machine, no shower and twice a day clamber of death. She had a few slips and slides over lighters of death and rickety ladder but made it to the car park each day! She used to have to ring dad to say she got to the car safe and then ring him so he cud come and escort her back again! But they fort it was worf it - each evenin they saw bootiful sunsets and relaxed on da back deck listenin to da birds and drinkin wine (hmmmm seems to be lots of wine drinkin goin on here).
She was goin to da gym to av a wash and washin clothes by and. Dad was workin ard to get everyfin sorted out. He installed a new boiler and tank for hot water, got the washin machine workin and started plannin the next steps of the conversion from Trawler to Expedition Yacht.
What about Lexie I hear you ask? Well I was still jus a twinkle in da eye! Mum used to fink bout Jim (her beloved cat wot did die) a lot in dem early days and tell herself it was for da best that Jim was over rainbow bridge. You couldn't keep a cat or dog on a boat really anyway! Heehee little did she know! The marina was full of cats and dogs!
Mum and dad decided to settle down for da winter and start the real work in 2004 (year of da Lexie)! Dad had got the boiler workin so they had plenty of heatin, hot showers and they used da galley as kitchen/living area. He'd sorted out TV and internet as well! Mum was now workin from ome two days a week as well!
They spent their first Christmas on Atlantis and went to lots of parties on many other boats. Mum says drinkin and climbin over boats dussnt mix tho!
That is da story of how dem spent their first year on da boat (well it was six munfs really I spose). More to come soon! I hope you enjoy dis one as well.
So, as Truman says, in case I don't see ya ... good afternoon, good evening and goodnight!