Sunday, 1 January 2012

Afloat ...

A while ago someone said I should write a blog and like a fool I have succumbed to whatever kind of vanity it is that makes anyone think they have something to say.  Weird that writing the word "blog" alerts the Blogger spellcheck, as does "Blogger" and "spellcheck".  I'd have been perfectly happy writing a diary - something I have been willing to do many times for at least thirty of my fifty-ahem years.  That's a perfectly sensible and usable word and does not frighten the sub-routines.

Afloat.  I live afloat, on water, on a narrowboat.  I haven't always lived on a boat although for the past twenty years I have often felt that I wanted to.  I never imagined that either one day I would be on water or that it would be circumstances rather than choice that pushed me into it.

Until last year I lived with my father.  I went to stay with him for a few days (a couple of weeks at most while I "sorted myself out") and I stayed for eight years.  It was the usual story of marriage break-up and offspring  crawling home with tail between legs.  Dad had every right to start saying, "I told you so", but he never did.  In fact he never told me so either even though I was very aware that he thought I should not have got married and specially not while still in my teens.  Being gay and so deeply in the closet that Mr Tumnus was a personal friend, I guess the odds of till-death-us-do-part in the traditional sense were probably not good.  To be honest the likelihood became that it would indeed be until death.  I was dipping back into suicidal depression.  In mitigation I did try and make it work for nearly thirty years, but sadly my reserves of personal coping resources finally emptied and I moved out one Thursday. 

Dad and me, we'd always had a rather difficult father/son relationship.  I wasn't proud of not being able to have affectionate feelings towards him.  As children, we take it as a right to find inconsequential stuff for which to blame our parents, but over the course of those eight years together Dad and I enjoyed a second chance to get to know each other and to build a relationship.  Not many families get that kind of a chance.  He was a good man and I got to realise that , but he became ill and died.  That was the worst thing he ever did.  I had grown to love him and a day hasn't yet gone by when I haven't thought about him and missed him painfully.   Of course, the house had to go on the market and the money divided as per Dad's wishes.  2011 was a terrible year.

My portion left me with a problem.  It wasn't enough to buy somewhere outright.  I didn't earn enough to take on a loan or a mortgage.  Renting was an option, but the reason I lived with Dad for eight years was initially because I could not afford rent.  As he became more frail and unwell, leaving ceased being an option altogether.  All an inheritance would do is give me some money for a few years until it ran out and I would still have nowhere to live.