It is a dream that does not die with the onset of manhood: the dream is to play endlessly, past the time when you are called home for dinner, past the time of doing chores, past the time when your body betrays you past time itself. —John Thorn

I love to play with boats, but that said, I also like to leave the boat in a state where it’s possible to return to a ‘ship-shape’ craft easily readied for the next journey. The last thing I want to do before turning the engine and untying the ropes is waste time tidying up!

There are practical necessities that have to get done every trip regardless – the mechanical side of boating: engine water and oil checked, stern gland greased, raw water feed shut off, gas shut off, batteries isolated etc.

But then there’s the housekeeping side of boating: the bagging up of rubbish, the sweeping out, the wiping down, the sorting through perishables and non-perishables etc. It was this aspect that we’d not completed when we last left the boat worn out by grumpy, eel-ish, over-tired and generally peevish kids.

We were in a rush too, we should have known better as  rushing and boats like oil and water just don’t mix well and lead to problems.

It’s played on my mind these last few days that we had unfinished business with the boat, there was fettling to be done.

So today, on one of those rare days when I was off work and the children were back at school, Claire and I took a drive up to the boat after school drop-off and gave ‘Eileen’ a general clean-up. We know how to have a good time eh!?

There’s definitely something satisfying about getting things in order, in making the boat secure, a battening down of hatches if you like until we return… It just felt right.

Plus we treated ourselves of a cracking good lunch at the consistently good Great Western Arms at Aynho on the way home – delicious!

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