I write to you this week, not from the Elysian fields of West London, but from a houseboat on The Thames in Chelsea. The tide is coming in as I write, the boat is rocking gently and I have a bottle of Rioja to my right and cigarettes to my left.
While I have left West London to try out different pastures – hence the houseboat for three weeks – I shall continue to write of the social atrocities of West London Man and his wife Caroline. I want to live on or near water. I have three weeks on the boat to see if I find houseboat life to my taste. Brighton, however, continues to interest and I am planning a quick trip to view flats on a short let to see if I like Brighton to live in.
So, here I am – on a Boat on The Thames. It is a fascinating experience. The houseboats are all ex-WWII landing craft with two story wooden houses (with decks) on top of them. There are two tides – and the boat sways and rocks gently, sometimes surprisingly vigorously, when the wind is up or the tide is strong. There is a strong ‘nautical’ and bohemian feel about the whole community of boats. The houses are much wider than canal narrow boats – and surprisingly spacious. The views are stunning, big sky, water and the comings and goings of disco boats, small yachts, the odd rower, police launches, and wildlife provide mesmerising entertainment. Sea legs are needed and after but a short spell on the boat, going the 150 yards up to the Kings Road, I found myself staggering slightly on dry land. It is very different. I shall relate more of my experiences here as the weeks unfold.
Travelling very light – a few clothes, three computers, shaving kit and a corkscrew, I have enjoyed breakfasts at the Chelsea Bun just off the King’s Road. Unbelievably, breakfast with coffee at 4.40p is a quid or more cheaper than Chiswick. Provisions are but 200 yards away.
August continues to roll on. The winds and rain of our summer continue to please me, but annoy others, and there is not a great deal of law to write about. As I do not seem to take holidays, I may use my time on the boat to keep the magazine ticking over each day and blog more. Team GB is doing rather well in Beijing – but, the Olympics doesn’t interest me. The tabloids calling for all Team GB Gold medal winners to be knighted is of interest … as are reports of dastardly deeds and drug taking. Phelps, however, is extraordinary… and as for that guy who bolted from the starting blocks in the 100 metres final… and relaxed when he was ahead – stylish… a degree of brilliance. The Australians have noted that Britain seems to do well in sports where the athletes sit down – cycling, rowing, sailing, equestrian et al. As I write, Team GB are third in the medals table, the country has gone medals table obsessed and Lord Sebastian Bore is hyperventilating… so all is good. Maybe we can get even more medals by giving asylum or nationaility to athletes from other countries? I can’t see Britain spending $40 billion on the olympics – and even if we do through negligence and crap administration, it will, it has to be said, be difficult to follow China. I am all for shunting the olympics over to Athens, and paying the Greeks to run it – even if they increase pressure to get their marbles back. We shall get a foretaste of what is to come in the eight minute closing ceremony ‘extravaganza’ produced by Britain when China hands over to us next Sunday. Apropos of absolutely nothing… I would quite like to see British darts players adopting the laser swimming suits as worn by Phelps et al. Very stylish our darts players would look too.
My apologies for not assuaging your thirst for legal knowledge and news. I have a mild hangover following a visit to the boat last night of two friends – one of whom swam from the very same boat a year ago across to the other side. He was, needless to say, juiced when he did it. It is unlikely that I shall be doing the same. The Thames River Police Force has quite enough to do without me providing additional work.
I may have a quick kip on deck.. it was a late one last night… and report other news and matters later.
A life on the ocean wave to you?
Best regards as always…