Upstaged by Chaos



I’m always excited before a boaty photo session, but this one’s huge.  A family I adore, on a boat I used to live on. I loved Pathfinder, mostly, but she wasn’t mine and in the end, we both moved on.

From the outside It’s like I’m arriving home. Same short plank and scary deep deck. The familiar heavy door. When I poke my head inside though, I instantly forget where I am. The boat I’m peering into is a friendly family home. Warm, airy and full of sounds and smells. Ted and Jassy sit on the sofa sorting through a massive pile of socks.

I’ve never been a sock sorter myself but then mine are all the same size. I don’t risk stretching baby ones over my feet in the morning. Alba, the owner of the tiniest socks, sits at Jassy’s feet, grinning. She seems to cheer up even more when she sees me, although I’m sure she doesn’t know who I am.

Jem shows me his drawing, and tells me to guess. I see an electrical circuit with solar panels and mobile phone. I’m close, It’s a helicopter.

I’m dying to nose around the rest of the boat, and I make plans to photograph all the changes they’ve made. They’ve cut out the bulkhead that stopped heat from circulating and filled the gap with laughter and musical instruments. The old bedroom is a cosy sitting room and they sleep in the back cabin.

“That’s our favourite space” says Ted. “Go In – I’ve got a museum there.”

A museum of what?

“Oh, you know…. Its not catalogued yet,…….”

I climb in to what used to be my giant toolbox, and it’s colourful and lived in. Its a bed – museum. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer room.

Jem is excited to show me the collection. He opens the old cupboard where I used to keep windlasses to reveal ships in bottles, ancient racks of pipes, a telescope and, alarmingly, a hand grenade. The left hand side is devoted entirely to animal skulls. Alba reaches in and grabs the grenade to chew on. I missed a perfect shot, but it reminds me why I came, and I can see the evening will be full of those moments. The family have been given another box of bones recently, so they start to sort them into the skull department.

Back in the sitting room I joke that I’d imagined them posing around with instruments, and they need no more encouragement. Jem plays his fiddle and Alba gets to hold a tiny banjo. As a baby instrument it’s a lot more gentle than the recorder.

After the sea shanties, Jassy announces bed. There’s time for just one more song though, while Jem cleans his teeth and dances. Then at last we are settling in on the sofa for a Greek myth

Looking through the photos later I realise the boat doesn’t feature at all. It’s all about this colourful, musical, chaotic family. I love Pathfinder, mostly, but she was completely upstaged today.



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This post was written by Vik

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