Sunday, January 06, 2008

Becky’s Back for More.

I have been aware for sometime that my promise to air my views on the undertaking that is Wendy Ann 2 has, for many become a long forgotten memory. In fact, I made that promise way back in April ’06 (even I had to look it up!) I think now that too much has happened to dredge the details back up and what would be the point? Don’t look back they say, don’t regret. Well I don’t, but there are a few things I would have done differently that’s for sure, hindsight is always 20/20 isn’t it? Reading back over the archives I was surprised to find I am already able to see the funny side of some really trying times, maybe it’s just Seb’s writing. I was also made acutely aware of just how much we have changed both in terms of what we do but also how we work together. Looking back on the entries from the start I can still remember the first time I spotted Wendy Ann- on an idle internet search and not believing what I was seeing. She seemed too good to be true, Oh how I wish this pessimism had lasted! Because as you know if you have read this blog from the outset, she was. I remember driving down to Plymouth in the snow on pitch-black roads to stay in a deserted Travelodge, where we sat in the bath together dreaming of what we would find the next day when we were due to view the boat. We were so full of optimism and excitement.

I still love the boat as much if not more than that first day we saw her and she feels more like home every time I visit. I certainly have dispelled the weird feeling I experienced after the sale was completed- we were sat in the bridge drinking cheap Cava and I thought ‘I will never get to know all of this boat, she is someone else’s, she’s too big’. Strangely the idea that she was too big never reached into my rational mind and certainly never evolved as far as comprehending what we had taken on.

New Year 2006 saw us sober, skint and very nervous of the coming year, but we were filled with a blind faith, a prevailing sense that has kept us going even through the darkest hours. We met a couple before we bought Wendy Ann that had done a similar scale project and I felt envious of the journey they had taken in converting their home, despite their assurance that they had dark times. I know now how they must of felt but I am still glad to be doing it. It continues to push me, my personal levels of endurance, tolerance and perseverance but also has demonstrated to me a depth and strength of relationship that I always hoped I had with Seb, but now I know for sure that it is all that and more. I have along the way had cause to reflect on just how lucky I am with my friends. Not only have some gone out of their way to actively help us on the boat, often dragging our morale (and at times us) up from the floor but also those who are just there for me, that understand the lack of decent contact and instead listen to the tales of woe and celebrate the triumphs. I cannot thank you guys enough, from the bottom of my heart.

Somewhere around July ’06 the bubble burst and the reality of the situation hit me, hard. Anxiety fuelled sleep deprivation, sums with zeroes that I had never dreamt of now filled my nightmares and a growing sense of OH SHIT! If someone had told me when we first started looking to buy a boat that in a few years time I would have undertaken a complete career change from fashion PR to working with horses and would spend every weekend covered in filth and wielding and angle grinder I would have laughed them out of the office (shortly after asking what an angle grinder was!) but here I was Sept ’06 and an old hand at being filthy and handling numerous power tools.

Then, just when I thought life couldn’t get any harder the money ran out, as in no options, no bank would touch us, the credit cards were all maxed and we owed money- a lot of money. The bottom fell out of my world, I couldn’t believe that after giving my all to this venture over the last 18 months or so that it seemed doomed to fail, or more to the point I was. My dreams were shattered, I was broken and felt defeated; I had worked so hard, sacrificed so much and it still wasn’t enough. I am naturally an optimistic person but we had just spent the last 2 months living on risotto (made with the stock from free chicken bones from a local butcher) we were both working 3 jobs, were mentally and physically exhausted, broke and simply didn’t have the strength left to fight anymore. We resigned ourselves to the fact that it was over. But just like our friends had stepped in when we needed a hand in the past, the family stepped in and scraped us out of the bilges, scrubbed us down and gave us a financial shove forward. Thank you! Thank fuck! Thank everyone! Not all families would do that, especially considering the insanity that had evidently overcome us and possessed us with the notion of buying a floating wreck, but there we go! So we started the new year of ’07 in much better style than ’06 and despite the all consuming nature of the boat we did manage a bit of time for ‘getting out more’ (on the advice of many) and last April saw the first coat of paint. That galley was nearly our nemesis but there it was- finished, gleaming and beautiful. Relief, satisfaction and elation brought fresh tears, hope and a will, no, blood stubbornness to see this through. We had to.

The installation of the temporary floor in the galley really showed the boat as it would be, you didn’t even have to squint that hard! However by July new challenges were battering us. With our respective jobs, my teaching and trying to fit time in to work on the boat we saw less and less of each other. A situation that had never entered my head when we set out to do this project; it was something for our future, our first home. The idea that in order to move it forward and make a dream a reality that we would have to play to our strengths and make the most of opportunities as they presented themselves, even if that meant separation from each other was a bitter pill to swallow.

That is really the point I wanted to reach with this blog entry. We have started this year with another huge leap forward in the form of another session of painting, this time the engine room and superstructure. Now it seems like the end really is within our grasp. Sometimes two people have to divide forces in order that they can be most effective; one doing the physical work and the other use their opportunities to help finances (loans do the rest) both partners are equally important and prepared to exchange places should the need or opportunity arise. Neither could make it work without the other. The dynamics of everyone’s relationships are different and far be it for other people to analyse, least of all judge them. Not everything has to be written and broadcast to be known and understood between those to whom it matters.


Blogger Andrew Tognola said...

I must say this one of the the most moving accounts I have read,It uplifts the soul to read about your deepest feelings as you have battled on against the odd's.
Sometimes a bit of extreme adversity is in a funny sort of way good for us in the way we veiw life and the true value of relationships and friendships.(I have been there as well ).
I hope that 2008 is your year ,you deserve it !!!
So happy new year to you both and may you soon be enjoying a bit of comfort on board the "Wendy Ann"


1:56 pm  
Blogger IsmilebecauseIdo said...

Thank you so much Andrew, it is good to know we are not alone and as as you know we love getting feedback. It is also reassuring to know that someone is prepared to read my epic entry! Becky from Wendy Ann. PS where abouts in Oxford are you based- I originate from that area as well

3:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It IS a big boat!!!... and you two persons have developed inner strengths to challenge her and in doing so have indeed challenged your relationship with each other. You have combined your strengths and talents as well as made use of current opportunities and although you have been through difficult times I was so glad you could holiday together in Morocco and send me a photo of snakes around your necks, a couple, looking so happy together. May you both fulfil your dream and live on Wendy Ann 2. With the help of many friends and family you have achieved the IMPOSSIBLE and you appear to be WINNING. Well done Becky for this prose that permeates personal feelings and the realities of life. I am so pleased to read your writings. Seb's Mumsie xxxxx

9:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS Actually .... words fail me in expressing how I really feel about the stamina and determination and endurance etc that Seb and Becky Bee have...and all that they have achieved with their bare hands ... and with a lot of help from their friends...and people who love them ...and about my son and his lady. I suppose it is called Motherhood and it never dies... well not for me!! Silly me!! Mumsie

9:40 pm  
Blogger Andrew Tognola said...

Hi Becky,

We live in Long Hanborough near Witney ,nice and close to Oxford and the wonderfull "Jericho cafe" and "Pheonix Cinema". Although I would like to live near the sea and spend more time on it.So maybe when the Strath can head south or we go up to Scotland !!

10:07 pm  
Blogger bowiechick said...

Oh Becky! I certainly can identify and with every single word you said. Well done. I know EXACTLY where you are coming from in ALL of it and you articulated it so very well.

Keep goin' you two! I'm rooty-toot-tooting for you from o'er here!

5:57 pm  
Blogger IsmilebecauseIhavenoideawhatsgoingon said...


7:34 pm  
Anonymous boatgeek said...

i stumbled across this blog looking for ispiration for my own future but i discovered so much more. the more i read, the less the technical details became important and the more i was gripped by your story and both your's and seb's heartfelt writing. You've got an amazing story, it entertains, uplifts and breaks my heart as i read it. Thanks for sharing it with the world and i wish you all the best fortune in the future.

7:36 pm  

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