Part 20

The back cabin had been claimed by me early on in the Misterton story as a potential chill out gin and wine drinking location, a place where I could watch chick flicks and sit and put the world to rights with all my guests. As the name suggests the back cabin is at the back of the boat, and it is located behind the engine room separate to the main cargo area of the original boat. In days gone by the back cabin is where the boatman and his family would live, sleep, eat and cook. It measures approximately 15 feet wide by 6/7 feet deep and in today’s society it would be considered criminal for the whole family to co-habit in such a small area. In the early days of Misterton’s life it would have been a luxury.

The back cabin, similar to the rest of the boat, was full of junk and as it seemed, that for now, there was no more places to scrape rust and paint on the converter, I decided to have a go at cleaning this out so that by the time we moved the boat to wherever our new mooring may be, the junk would all be gone. I slowly went through filling up bags to the point where I could still lift them, and then moving them out of the cabin, I took out a good dozen bags and returned to the dump at  Goole, they looked at me with vague recognition and I attempted a half wave. Part of me was beginning to worry when my face was becoming familiar to the men at the Civic Amenities centre in Goole.

The next thing that needed tackling in the back cabin was looking at the fit out, it was all original, but in most places was completely wet through and at a touch would disintegrate. We decided that it all needed to come out, it was in no condition to even contemplate restoring to its original state, years of rain water and junk had rendered it only fit for the dump. There was a light at the end of the tunnel though, as the original iron fireplace was still in one piece. It would need a good clean up, but would be usable and we would at a later date, make it into a feature of this room.

To remove all the wood I needed Simon’s help and this was followed by a further three trips to the dump, continuing my reacquaitance with the staff there. The cabin was finally cleared, and then I cleaned out buckets of rust and dirt, and realised I had created myself a new job. I could start the rust scraping in the back cabin, I knew there would be more rust scraping to come and felt back on familiar ground.

Simon meanwhile had been clearing away the pipes and wires that had been underneath the floor boards as he began to make a space for us to work on cleaning the bilges. Underneath the floor and up some of the walls was a heap of copper piping that he cut down to sizes that would fit in the back of the car. The boiler was also copper lined, but there was great deal of insulation to be taken off to get to that copper. Under Simons instruction I took the boiler to the dump, and as I pulled up one of the men came straight over to the car, like a bee to a honey pot.

‘Is that a boiler you have there?’ he asked.

‘Yes,’ I replied.

‘That copper in the boiler?’

‘Yes it is, just a lot of work to get to it,’ I said earnestly.

‘I’ll take that off your hands love,’ he replied and hoisted the boiler over his right shoulder with one strong swing and sauntered off whistling to himself. 

I returned to Misterton and Simon loaded the rest of the pipes into the car, but this time he sent me to the scrap metal dealer to sell the copper He estimated we might get about £20 for the lot.

I drove into the yard, and it reminded me of the description of the dump in Stig of the Dump, all sorts of unwanted items piled high into mountains of steel, iron and scrap metals. I asked the owner what he did with it all, and he mumbled something about selling it on to companies to recycle. He passed me onto his son to weigh the copper, and he told me it was worth a grand sum of £79.74. He gave me £80 and I was embarrassed to say I had no cash on me to give him the change. He didn’t seemed bothered and said they always round up or down and not to worry.

I returned to Misterton triumphant, ‘guess how much I got for the copper,’ I shouted joyfully.’£40?’ Simon asked.

‘No,’ I responded, ‘double that we got £80, we are rich.’

‘All these good signs we are getting,’ Simon said, ‘it’s like the butterfly back in the October.’

I remembered and smiled at him. In October 2008 we spent a week working on the boat as a working holiday Simon had been clearing out the front cabin and there was an awful lot of junk to clear. The amount of the junk was no longer as surprising to us as it had been when we first took possession of the boat. After two days and several car trips to the dump Simon appeared through the hatch like a mole in the middle of a molehill. He had a big grin on his face and he was carefully carrying a piece of manky old wood.

‘Look at what was down there,’ he smiled at me.

In the middle of the piece of wood was a beautiful butterfly with rich red and blue colourings. ‘In the middle of all the junk there is a beautiful life surviving, it’s a metaphor for us. Underneath all the rust and dirt of Misterton there is a beautiful home that well provide us with a haven to live the life we want from.’

The boat had given us money and life two very good messages from Misterton. Almost like her way of saying that our life on her was going to be full of happiness and joy.