I once made myself unpopular with a group of kiwis (people not birds) by announcing that I hate rainbows. Rainbows are up there with kittens, fairies, balloons and babies and you’re supposed to like them. I wasn’t being flippant, I really don't like rainbows very much. Rainbows usually mean the end of rain and I can never get enough rain.
Or so I thought…
Rain in a house is a fabulous thing: cosy, refreshing, soothing…
Rain on a boat just sucks. Everything gets damp (including spirits), everything starts to smell (including people) and everything’s just that little bit harder. Rain is great for filling up the water tanks. It's rotten for getting sheets dry.
If the person you love most insists that once through the industrial marina dryer will definitely get the clothes dry and then when it doesn’t you discover that the marina office has shut and there won’t be anyone to sell you little gold laundry tokens for two days, your salon might end up looking like this:
You will want to wash yourself because like everything else on the boat, you’re beginning to grow mould, but all the towels will be sodden rags hanging on the railings growing their own ecosystems. A spell of sunshine will send you into a pegging out frenzy and the outside of the boat will rapidly disappear under a hopeful, brightly-coloured patchwork tent of damp fabric, but then the skies will darken and you’ll scowl and go into a different kind of frenzy, shaking your fist at the sky as you throw all the still-damp fabric back into a compost heap on the cockpit floor.
All the things you once took for granted - clean clothes, dry linen, a ready supply of fresh food, a car to get from A to B, a bath, white goods, a room of your own - will all seem tinged with a golden, mythical, otherworldly glow.
I would give anything for a boring, easy life on land, you will think. Anything.
But then the sun will come out, really come out, a towel-drying breeze will blow up, and you'll finally get to that varnishing job on deck, watching turtles and sharks cruise around the boat in water so clear it gives you vertigo to look down.