Mrs. Jaypher’s Wisdom Boat


“Mrs Jaypher said it’s safer, 
If you’ve lemons in your head, 
first to eat a pound of meat and then to go at once to bed.”

Lu is quoting from Edward Lear as an explanation for her new boat name.

“It reminds me of crazy parties when I was younger. We used to call ourselves lemons and go and hand limoncello out to people at festivals. In the poem she buys a boat and calls it ‘the wisdom boat’.  If people start expecting wisdom from me I’ll just get some fortune cookies to hand out”

She can’t rename it yet though, there are a few protocols to get through. (“I’ve got to take her out of the water, sell the old name to someone for a penny, petition the Goddess Bellissima to ask for her blessing……”)

On the outside, ‘Revive’ (or ‘the Jaypher wisdom boat’) looks like a Lego brick. That’s one of the things Lu liked about it in the first place. Inside it’s lush and feminine, covered in swathes of blue and purple fabric. A neat row of oranges accents it from the draining board.

She tells me about the boy that brought her here 8 years ago. The story starts off well, with fun and festivals, (“We fell in love at Shambala and I moved into his boat within two weeks. He used to joke with his friends that he’d kidnapped me.”)

…….and ends with a punch line that has me reeling. “He fell off a balcony at a work party and died, while wearing a t-shirt that said ‘Elvis has left the building.”

How do you get over something like that?

“It’s just time,” she tells me,” and friends, and the community here.”

These are permanent moorings on the Avon. The boats are mostly stationary, although “it’s also a toy – I can take it to the pub if I like.”

It can be scary in the winter when it floods, but on stifling days like this it’s paradise. It’s cool, wide and flowing. We’re not on the cut now.

The river is calling us so I pack up my camera and borrow a t-shirt and shorts. We jump in and stand, chatting, on the roof of a sunken boat.

“I’ve always wanted to live on the water,” Lu tells me. “My Grandfather was a sailor so it’s in my blood. My parents have got loads of pictures I drew when I was little and all of them seem to be of boats.

The decision to move onto this particular river though – that was just because of a boy.”



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This post was written by Vik

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