Part 3

Now that Misterton was truly going to be ours we visited for a second time as her new owners, partly to be given any information her current owners felt we needed, but mainly to see what we might like to alter and/or decorate in the interior and decide work for the boat builder. We took notepads and the camera that Simon had got for me as a present that he could also benefit from (his family claim this to be a gift giving trait although I’ve not found this to be totally true).

The weather was windy although warm enough to walk around the outside of a boat and not complain about the cold. In my world that is warm and in Simons world nearly tropical! Misterton was still at Knottingley as she had developed a gear box problem that the current owners were fixing at their expense before returning her to Stainforth. We went to the boat yard in Goole and followed the boat broker, now to be our boat builder, to make sure we did not get lost. Incidentally he had the keys to let us in so I was certain my map reading skills were not in question.

When we got to the yard we had to climb over lots of other boats, around a hole in the fence and along a slippery bank side to gain sight of our boat. To get to the edge of our boat we had to climb across another one as we were moored outside of a boat and not on the bank. This was all a bit tricky to negotiate and I was pleased I was wearing shoes with a grip and not the boots with a slippery sole that had been my first choice of footwear.

The current owners were to join us in awhile, although one was not in good health and this would prevent her from completing the assault course onto the boat. We were secretly pleased to have the opportunity for a good look around without the owners looking over our shoulder and pointing out all of their favourite features. The phrase I remember hearing them use a lot was ‘if only we could have finished one room off before we sold her’. I was not so secretly pleased to Simon that this hadn’t happened as it would have left us with more décor to undo.

Let me explain what it looked like to me boat novice, bare wood with no paint, dim corners that smelt damp (not because we were on a boat but because the interior was damp), filthy dirty and in need of a thorough clean, reminiscent of a badly maintained old peoples home. There were spaces that prevented light from travelling through and a corridor that had a kink in it for no reason that made any sense to me. Then there was the clutter, no surface clean and clear just mountains and mountains of stuff. Simon had told them we expected it cleared before we took possession and I was glad he had as this looked likes years of hoarding taking over the boat. It would be an extremely big and dirty job to clear the junk. They say that one persons junk is another mans gold; their gold was definitely our junk and best for them to keep it as they had so lovingly hoarded it all.

Then the unbelievable occurred, both owners had completed the assault course and made it onboard the boat, carrying fresh milk and coal. I could read Simons face and knew he wanted more time to have a look at the engine and talk with the boat builder without them. Don’t get me wrong they are lovely folk and mean well, but they had been telling us how proud they were to keep Misterton true to her 1920’s roots. We smiled and nodded a lot around this conversation, but Simon wanted to talk to the boat builder about updating the wheel house and moving Misterton into the 21st century. We thought it was better not to upset them with the realisation that we would keep true to the contours and levels of Misterton, but there was no way we were living on a boat with a chemical toilet, mini bath and wheelhouse ridden with so many holes there was no security.

I did the only thing a good wife-to-be can do, I went below deck with the couple and left Simon and boat builder to discuss (play) to their hearts content. I refused the tea as by this stage the hygiene levels were dubious and sat and listened to tales of woe. No need to go into details but there are some things you should not share with relative strangers, and the reasons why I would never make a good nurse all came flooding back to me.

I managed to feign interest, make sympathetic sounding noises and keep the contents of my stomach inside for the best part of an hour, when I finally broke free and made my excuses looking for Simon and muttering under my breath about motorways and traffic. Funny how when all you want to do is get as far away from people you may never see again you always feel compelled to be ultra polite, I was even concerned that they did not feel spurned by my movement. Strange as I suspect it never crossed their minds that their conversation was making me nauseous through the graphic personal pictures they were painting in my head. This movie was a very bad Doctors and Nurses and needed to be deleted.

I found the men by the engine talking in some technical code and both looking quite content. ‘I can’t take anymore I’m afraid, you guys need to face the current owners they’re making me feel ill’ I cried out in anguish, Simon is used to my dramatics but the boat builder looked slightly shocked. Then Simon laughed and he felt able to join in and they both said they had seen all that was necessary. We said our goodbyes and drove back to the boat yard.

Simon explained we would probably want their help putting in some water tanks and fixing up the decks outside. The biggest job that needed doing was altering the wheelhouse so that it became a space both of us could be in and not feel claustrophobic. The boat builder said he would give us a quote for the work by e mail and we departed happy owners-to-be and even managed to discuss wedding plans on the drive home as well as boat plans. We were feeling confident.