Last night I finally went to visit Kezia on her boat Demetrius, moored on Lisson Wide. When Kezia first started, and we were all in the same department, I was her mentor - chosen by the head of department on the basis that Kezia lived on a boat. Since then we have all been reorganised, and scattered to the four corners of Bloomsbury, and there are lots of nice people I no longer get to see as much as I'd like. So when I found myself sat next to Kezia at the Recruitment Working Party last week I lost no time in inviting myself over.
I love seeing other boats, especially when they're lived on. It's paradoxical, but although I can't help being very tidy (I blame my mother) I envy and love visiting people who, along with their boat/house, are more relaxed and laid back, whose places aren't all neatly aligned and sharp edges. Not that Demetrius was untidy, far from it, but it was lovely, warm and lived in, alive with books and velvets and rugs and a rather marvellous chaise longue.
Kezia cooked a lovely meal and the evening flew by so fast that suddenly I realised that I had to dash to get the last train home. We'd arrived via a rather long walk and a bus ride, so I was a bit worried, but in fact it turned out I was only ten minutes from Marylebone tube station and I got to Victoria with twenty minutes to spare. Kezia lent me a book I hadn't come across before - although it won the Booker prize in 1979: Offshore, by Penelope Fitzgerald, which appears to be about people living on houseboats on the tidal Thames. In return I have promised to lend her John Seymour's Voyage into England. Being an environmental geographer Kezia was already aware of his work on self sufficiency and sustainability, but not that he'd written a book about boating.
And, being the perfect well mannered boater that I am, I got through the whole evening without using the toilet.