Part 14

The summer was finally here, and school was over for the next six weeks we had a big occasion looming – our nuptials. We also wanted to go on honeymoon leaving plenty of instructions with the boat builder so that work could progress in our absence. Our first guests were arriving – Simon’s brother Nick and his girlfriend Sally – Nick was going to be Simon’s best man and the couple had flown from New Zealand to be an essential part of our celebrations. They were off for a short tour of Europe before the big day, and Simon and I wanted to spend some time with them as after the wedding we would be off and be like two ships passing in the night. Nick is very important to Simon and the person he misses the most from all his wonderful friends in NZ, I knew it would be good if we could all spend some quality time together. Luckily Nick loves working on projects and enjoys taking things apart; he is also incidentally very good at it which must be a family trait. For Sally it was only her second time in the UK, and a few months previously Simon had surprised me with two nights at the Fishlake Windmill as a treat. The windmill has been converted by Graham, the owner, into a luxury retreat. There is a hot tub in the garden, with lights and music, a picnic and barbeque area and Jemima puddleduck ducks. Peacocks wake you up with the sunrise, beds you sink into sumptuous, soft and supportive surrounds, and a bar with an open fire place. It is a haven of relaxation and every comfort has been thought of. I was sure Sally would enjoy a break here and we could all work on the boat together and then relax in the evenings with nice wine and good conversation. The two brothers could have hours of male time breaking up things, we girls could have some proper girl indulging time and we could get some objective views on our new home.

I had come to the realisation that we would not be coming back from honeymoon and moving onto the boat as I had first believed, but accepted that I would rather have the boat done properly than rush it just to move on at a symbolic time. Plenty of time for Simon to carry me over our threshold when it was really ready. We had decided that we would get the front third finished with our bedroom and a bathroom and then move onto her while we worked on the rest, this news we shared with Nick and Sally on the drive up to Yorkshire.

We arrived late in the evening and went straight to the windmill, which it is safe to say was liked by all as hoped, and after much wine and conversation we all retired for a really good nights sleep.

The next morning we drove the guests to our boat, and I felt quite anxious, I hoped they liked her and did not think we were completely mad. I realised I had turned into a proud co-owner of the boat and felt quite protective towards her in her current vulnerable state. I need not have worried Nick and Sally had plenty of compliments and could see the potential in her, they are both great DIY enthusiasts, although compared to myself really I should call them DIY professionals.

We worked away throughout the day, Nick was a handy hurricane ripping apart chipboard fixings with ease, making it look like it was as easy as ripping a piece of paper in two. I was impressed as I knew from personal experience how hard it really was. Nick told me how he worked out in NZ and at a garage where he spent some of his time there was a gym bar that he and his friend Ken would hang upside down on wearing weights. This I was to see for myself at the end of our honeymoon which went some way to explaining the strength he demonstrated, although this was also another similarity between the two brothers.

Sally and I painted rust converter onto the third of the hull that had been stripped back and when this was dry we painted some heavy duty very smelly paint that was often used on skips. As we carried on I realised I had some bruises appearing where I had knocked into the wall, and part of the ceiling had fallen on me, and I began to worry whether they would be gone in time for the wedding in a week. The last thing I wanted was to look like a battered bride and give rise to all sorts of speculation when I replied with innocence –‘the ceiling fell on me,’ I was in danger of sounding like a modern chicken little.

As the day carried on and more of the hideous chipboard disappeared, I suggested to Sally that maybe we should think about just gutting the whole boat and do it all in one, this may be easier in the long run. Sally agreed with me and I wondered how to broach the topic with Simon. I need not have worried as Simon had independently come to the same conclusion, and he asked me what I thought of it as a concept. I laughed and told him I had been having a similar conversation with Sally. Just goes to show what a great match we are, as they say great minds think alike, and in our own differing ways we were obviously both genii.

Nick ;looked delighted as he was able to carry on ripping things apart, and he proceeded to take down the horrendous dividing wall that I was extremely keen to see the back off, although Simon insisted on keeping the doors as they may come in useful. I could see a pattern creeping in here, the fibreglass and now the doors, but I’d read in Cosmopolitan that a man needs to believe he’s right so I quietly smiled and internally made a mental note to find a way to help Simon see how hideous these doors really were.

Later on in the afternoon Simon’ and Nick’s parents arrived (with their dog in tow) and were given their first grand tour of Misterton, Simon and I had thought it might be nice to have them visit whilst Nick and Sally were here as it gave everyone a chance to catch up. Unfortunately (or fortunately Christopher might think) the Windmill could not sleep all of us, so the parents stayed in the Travel lodge which allows you to have dogs in the room so Murphy the dog was content.

We all had dinner together at the Windmill in the good ole Kiwi tradition we had a bbq in the garden, surrounded by ducks and peacocks. Whilst the meal was cooking Sally and I were able to entertain everyone by drinking a glass of bubbly in the hot tub, it was truly relaxing after a day painting the internal hull. The boys were able to catch up with the folks and it felt like a perfect weekend – sans hot tub. I hoped that Misterton would one day be a very sociable boat, allowing us to entertain our nearest and dearest in pleasant and relaxing surroundings.

The parents’ verdict on the boat was positive, they could see the potential in her and they hoped we would be able to get her done as quickly as possible so that we could live on her. Christopher certainly seemed to prefer the keel to the narrow boat, its definitely more stable and not such an obvious rocking sensation.

The next morning when I woke up I realised I had a rash on my arm, so now I had bruises and a rash.

‘Simon what am I going to do?’ I asked in an extremely dramatic Oscar winning manner’

‘About what?’ he asked showing genuine concern.

‘We’re getting married in six days and I’ve got bruises and rashes all over me, its going to be a disaster.’

‘So long as we get married that’s all I care about, how you look doesn’t matter to me.’

I was stopped in my dramatic tracks, what answer could I give that, after all he had no idea what the dress looked like, so he did not realise why one bruise in particular was such a disaster. I looked at him and realised that he was right all that mattered was that we did get married and that was the thing to focus on. I hugged him and left the room.

Sally, I needed to find Sally, she was girl she would get it, and whilst I discussed lotions and potions with Sally, Nick and his parents made amazing pancakes for breakfast and the future was looking extremely cosy, if slightly battered around the edges for now.