Harefield Marina, where it all began and Brexit becomes a reality…

It’s End of June, Quintessence is back where we bought her. This time she’s in the wet dock, ready to be painted. Time is now for a new color, battle ship grey, as Ian the man in charge said.

The roof had to be cleared of all the stuff we had on top, but also the engine room as Adnan had a major to do list for the engine room too. Most of the stuff from the living room area, inside the boat, went to the back as all the windows will be taken out as well. We were told that the windows will be sealed with plastic and there is no need to worry for the new solid wooden floor… Anyway, we did as told and we moved back in with Lennaart in Finsbury Park for another three weeks.

23 June 2016 belongs to the past and the Brexit vote result is out. Britain voted for it. The morning of the 23 June was a bleak one, waking up has seldom felt so distorted. The seemingly impossible has become real. Driving up to Uxbridge felt like a betrayal, Natascha didn’t wanted to set foot on Boris Johnson’s constituency. What on earth has crossed their minds? The Empire is long gone, it will not be resurrected, ever, and the UK can’t sail on it’s own in the murky waters of global economy and politics. The UK of 2016 is part of Europe. Period. Yes, many things within the EU are not right but jumping off the cliff seems significantly more pointless than staying part of it and trying to bring change about it in a meaningful way. All that talk of ‘red tape’ and restrictions. What about all the EU regional funds that flowed in to UK communities to make people’s lives better? Will the money now come from Westminster? We often have the impression the cash stays within the M25, will it change with exiting the EU? We particularly felt sorry for the younger generation of the UK, the prospects of being able to study in Europe or live there have been significantly reduced. And there will be a mountain of admin work to be processed, taking away the focus on other pertinent issues in the country. Like housing?!

So many we know, who are from the European mainland, who also couldn’t vote, felt the same. We all felt betrayed.

But now back to Quintessence, some unsettling news from that end too. Ian started sanding the steel and it turned out that the roof was full of rust. One of the previous owner must have just painted over it, to disguise the rust, used some cheap paint that let the water through. Ian said that this means it isn’t a paint job, as initially agreed, but a restoration job. He needs an extra helper, meaning more money for us to pay.

It also meant more work for us helping Ian. For two days Natascha was hammering off rust of Quintessence with a chisel. It occurred to her that she was also quite often hammering on her thumb, seemingly not being very good at it. Then came the revelation, she wasn’t that bad a it, but when people work on a boat sitting in water, it moves, which is a rather natural thing. Hitting the chisel can be a challenge, all of a sudden.

There was absolutely no time to make a single photo during the restoration, sadly. We were so stressed with the workload and panicked occasionally that we won’t finish on time. On top Natascha still had to work on the pay job too, three days a week. It wasn’t an easy time physically and mentally. We had some serious arguments, but maybe that is part of the process. Furthermore we have this rather long cruising trip ahead of us. We had to get to Coventry, climbing over the Chiltren Hills and back down again. Hundreds of locks to work…