Hi I'm new here. My name's Pete.
My plan for a number of years has been to sell up and sail off, on my modest and quite old catamaran
. The boat
is a 1972 30ft Aristocat (predecessor to the Gemini). Beyond that I don't have a destination
but, as a design engineer
(early retired), I hoped to find a purpose in life, or at least one for my senior years, in using my profession skills, talent and hands-on experience to help others (possibly third world communities). Before I go though Iíd like to go around Britain and to see the country ..because very likely Iíll not be coming back.
The reality in taking the plan into reality proves to be somewhat different to the ideal. In the first instance I, like a lot of us here, donít have a partner, let alone one who shares the grand vision. And that means motivation always has to come from within. Self motivation is one thing, which may be sustained for a month, a year or two, or perhaps 5 years according to the scale and interest of the project
, but here weíre talking about maintaining perpetual motion ..in the same direction, when things get held up or delayed for months (like injury or annual weather) or years at a time (everyday life circumstances like finances or virus). Then the mind gets distracted and thereís no-one to help you get back on track, and the quality-of-life reasoning for wanting to drop out and live the dream become almost void ..because even great experiences soon become hollow when you are alone.
In my own case, I have just one friend, Steve, who was trying to do much the same, but he was (relatively) wealthy and had a bigger boat
, so many of the things he had to deal with were in the first instance resolved by spending another couple of thousand pounds. Oddly his greatest frustrations seem to be in the job done or the product bought was really not as good as he had expected, so they then had to be reworked or sent back. Unfortunately his long term girlfriend realized that she was fine with being a school
teacher and being there for her family
..and that the prospect of living with Steve in a cramped, damp and often cold boat, going places where she would always be out of her comfort zone, was not for her. She gracefully declined but retained the close friendship ..so he doesnít feel free to date other ladies who might want to sail off into the blue yonder. Heís now in limbo, doesnít want to do it on his own, nor does he want to go back to a Ďnormalí dull on-shore lifestyle with no prospect but to get old and bored &/or drunk and disgruntled.
Over the years, Iíve enjoyed friendships through other keen interests such as a vintage motorcycles (a number of mine were also assets / a form of savings account) and classic
cars. I would love to live on a boat and to have an old but interesting car to use as a daily driver and for touring across country ..inland of wherever the boat is moored. Iíve tried to work
towards this but in the first instance I bought a beautiful classic Jaguar
that was really beyond my means. I then tried a couple of other interesting classic cars (a Scimitar and then a Citroen) but found those to be less useful than I had anticipated. Most recently I tried to buy an old Triumph sports car, which I had plans to convert to a shooting-brake (estate sports car). I am a design engineer
with a lot of hands-on experience - so such a conversion is not particularly difficult for me. However the car I was trying to buy never came to fruition after the seller inadvertently mucked me about for a year.
Whatís this got to do with selling up and sailing away, well a lot really. In the first instance I recognized that I want and am working to refit
my a boat as a sailing cottage, rather than as a deep water
ocean rolling survival cocoon. Secondly I have other interests and friends that I really donít want to discard and walk away from. And thirdly because my home is full of other stuff, books
, lifestyle and nostalgia that I equally donít want to just discard and walk away from.
For the past 16 years Iíve been living in an old and rather run down but beautifully located farmhouse. With old cars and motorcycles I have a garage and a shed full of tools ní bits and a home full of books
and other things which make this my home. Over those past sixteen years my parents have passed on as has a very close aunt, so much of what I have inherited is a comfortable memory of a loving family
However.., and in my life there always seems to be a however, Two weeks ago my landlady gave me the legal-minimum notice to vacate. It was totally unexpected, and the gravity of it strikes home when you look around every room in the house and into every drawer, cupboard, or shelf. And then again those places on top of and underneath that still more Ďstuffí is tucked away in. That was bad enough, but the reality sets in though when youíre being told to leave during something like the coronavirus pandemic.
To be honest I donít even want to go into the grocery store, so to go collecting cardboard boxes, and to be pushed into viewing other peopleís homes ..with the possibility of my moving into a house share ..well how does that work
? I know the charity shops are closed at the moment and even the council recycling tip is on an scheduled appointment slot basis only, so do I have to burn clothes, magazines and a pile of furniture that I canít take with me.?
Social distancing essentially means that I really ought not to ask a friend or two to come around and help me move. And hang on Pete ..youíre also on the waiting list for a hernia operation. Lifting heavy boxes and furniture might be considered pretty foolhardy if not dangerous.
OK now Iím getting concerned. Itís not helped by the fact that they want me and my neighbour out so the brother can knock our two homes (yes, after 16 and 32 years respectively these are Ďhomesí and not just rental properties) into one for himself. So why the urgency when he already lives in the beautiful barn conversion just a mile down the lane ? Clearly itís not a matter of a financial need ? Ah ha, the accompanying letter (to the correct & legal
notice to vacate) tells us he has a Ďyearningí to live here. OK. whatever.
I loathe the selfishness of the human race
My response was to write a letter to say OK I accept that I must leave, but also how disappointed I was, and how I considered it unfair to give jus 90 days notice. I tried explain some of the ramifications of telling an old guy to go rental-house hunting and move out during a pandemic, that itís not a good time to sell stuff or even to give it away, and of course I mentioned the medical
predicament. I appealed to the family farm owners to let me wait until after the state of emergency
The appeal was received and considered with expressed empathy but the notice remains in place, along with its legal
footing. However, depending on circumstance ..and the effort Iím seen to be making - I might expect some flexibility on the final get-out-by date.
Jeez thanks.., I now have a date together with a touch of uncertainty.
Anyway Iím drifting off the topic.. Iím here to write about Stage 2. I have a boat but itís work-in-progress ..a year of focused and often hard work ought to see her ready to go. Unfortunately, no I canít go an live on it now because the marina wonít allow that during the corona crisis ..and anyway the boat has to be in the marina and not on the hard
..and presently they have no berths available.
So., Stage 1. was to get the boat ready
And., Stage 2. is to Sell up ready Sail off
So faced with : If you canít take it with you, and yet itís yours, you paid good money
for it ..and itís too good to throw awayÖ
Most of this homeís furniture along with piles of other stuff I have will have to be discarded or given away. And whatever I can needs to be sold
because thatís just part of financial reality. But I have garage full of tools and I still hope to keep one bike. So, Iíll need to pay for storage
. My, perhaps naÔve, viewpoint is - just because I live on a boat doesnít mean all other interests have to stop, which it seems to be the case with many who choose a liveaboard
life (..and perhaps why so many end up living alone).
facilities really work out expensive and so Iíll need to balance whatís the value of what I want to keep, versus what itíll cost to store it for perhaps five years.? A less expensive option (in the long term), if I can find somewhere secure to park it cheaply, is to buy a container. A generally waterproof (by not condensation
proof) 20ft storage container is anywhere between £1000 (for a rough one) to £1500. + letís say £200 for delivery
. However a one-trip 20ft comes with a 4 or 5 year plate starts of around about £2400.
Btw., a containerís plate is like a vehicle inspection
, to say to the shipping
company that it is structurally safe to lift
& to secure onto a ship (none of us want our containerís doors to burst open or a craneís attachment point to break and hurt someone). The advantage is that if I sail off and find some other country Iíd like to settle in then (within 4 or 5 years) I can have the container picked up and shipped there. If it is not plated then it can still be transported by lorry, but if the distance is great or the continent is another then the options are limited.
Again, sentiment aside, the value of what one wants to keep might be considered against this purchase
costs, even modest costs from where it is kept, and the thereafter handling costs to a port & its shipping
to another country or continent. Over 5 years and 3000 miles this is likely to cost £5 -10,000 ! So then the decision comes back around to getting rid of stuff, and not keeping anything but necessary tools & materials, and whatever one can whittle personal and household stuff down to.
What other options do I have ?
The obvious is to put some stuff in someone elseís loft or garage loft. This is worthwhile option especially for smaller generally stuff that might be susceptible to moisture from condensation
damage ..like some fabrics, rare books, important papers, or a stamp collection ..but donít forget mice nest in lofts. And getting stuff up into a loft is via a small hatch
, and the boxes cannot be that heavy.
I no longer have a family to be able to put stuff in their loft, and of my best friends ; Steve already lives on his boat ..although heís now not planning to go anywhere, and the other tells me he has no space ..thanks Chris ! I do have the prospect of another loft space (to a very small house) that I might put some stuff in - but thatís an 8-hour round trip away, and I wouldnít wish to impose upon that family during the corona-virus.
I still haven't yet got my head
around getting rid of all the stuff Iíve had for years or have inherited. Iíve made a start though.. Iíve just sold
a collection of 4-500 VHS tapes + two players, on ebay for just £40. Still thatís better than dragging those off to a landfill. I also have one of my vintage motorcycles for sale
(..although its not a good time to sell) and Iím now sorting other stuff to try and sell it. I have a couple of months to get what I can. Some things will take too long to list individually, and the value of it versus the amount of time in listing, wrapping and taking it for postage isnít worth it, so for example a collection of 500 postage first-day-covers (..collected over 30 years !) might be offered as lots or perhaps more likely will go to charity.
It does bring home just how bewildering our buying
pattern has been during this past lifetime, for example yesterday I was sorting out and photographing (for valuation) inherited jewellery, watches, coins. I know what prices were paid for certain items and might only guess they are worth next to nothing now. As someone who wears no jewellery or watch at all, I wonder how for generations did we all become so suckered into buying
stuff that glitters ? ..and why is that I value 11/6d in old pennies more than all of that jewellery ? Sentiment is a weird thing.
I have a thought to explore ..regarding the vintage motorcycle I want to keep & possibly a recently restored Triumph TR4 engine
, might go on loan to a museum. That ought to keep them safe, while for the next five to ten years I go off-grid and live on the boat, and so now I struggle with having to dump my old boat, old motorcycle and old car magazines and books.? What is this turmoil in my mind ? or is it my soul ?? What will I regret most in a few years time, particularly if things donít work out with my living Ďaloneí on a small boat
Whatever it is I now have just ten weeks to sort it out and make it happen. I had a good day yesterday with recycling plastics and magazines, and then also a big bonfire. I did this as much as anything for its psychological statement ďface it Pete ..itís got to happen and see that blank wall, the empty spaces on those shelves.. well thatís just the startĒ.
Itís a long and difficult journey, and that's just from house to the boat.
Stay safe, Pete.