By now, I’m not sure if it’s still spring of if we’ve already managed to somehow slither straight into summer. It was so hot today that I had to go and buy a summer dress because I didn’t pack for anything above 15 degrees. Whoever started that cliché with rainy London must have visited in October or November because the weather in spring is truly stellar! So far, only two days have been rainy while the other nineteen have been either cloudy or sunny like today. And if it continues to be this nice, I might run out of boroughs to visit.
Today, I’ve finally managed to make my way to the Regent’s Canal in Paddington, one of those parts of town I always wanted to see but somehow never did. On that note, I’d like to propose a toast to my navigation app which thought it was funny to send me on a three miles detour. Really, wandering through strange streets at what felt like 25°C without any refreshing breeze is not something I enjoyed with my dark blue skinny jeans and a rucksack on my back. When I found out that all I would have had to do was walk around the building after exiting Paddington Station instead of walking for forty-five minutes… well, I was quite done with technology for the day.
When I eventually did reach Warwick’s Crescent, the street leading towards Little Venice, my phone was the last thing on my mind. Upon leaving the busy street and entering the canal path, it felt like stepping into a different world that was completely detached from reality. The noise of the cars rushing past faded into the background until the singing of birds was all I could hear and if someone had told me that this wasn’t London anymore, I might have believed them for it felt so very different.
As I was walking alongside the waterside, I couldn’t help but envy those who are lucky enough to live there. Up to then, I never understood why someone would prefer living on a boat to owning a more permanent home, but now I find myself reconsidering. Out here, it is much more quiet than anywhere in the city and it’s strangely intimate compared to the anynoymity of a world metropolis. Of course, there’s the matter with privacy – or the lack thereof – in a populous neighbourhood, but if you can suffer through rush hour everyday, acclimatization shouldn’t be too difficult.
So there I was, strolling past the boats with my camera around my neck and sunglasses on my nose, feeling like an intruder in this happy, blissful world of its own. Couples were placing chairs on deck of their boats, getting ready to absorb some of this early summer sun and I wondered how they manage this life of never settling down. Or do they? Recently, I’ve read in an article that over the past five years, houseboat ownership has increased 60%, especially among young people like me. Apparently, it’s their way of trying to get a foot in the door of the housing market, but if you have to move on every two weeks, don’t you long for some kind of stability in your life?
In the end, it might not be as different as one thinks. After all, this is London, and the shops aren’t that far, the city centre is just a few tube stations away, and if one forgets why they moved on a boat in the first place, a quick glance into one or two real estate offices will erase all doubts if this was truly the right decision.
If I found myself in their position, mabye I’d adjust just as fast as they seem to have done. Maybe it’s an adoptable lifestyle with more merits than someone who’s only ever lived in a permanent home can imagine. And come to think about it – watching the sun set behind the trees on deck, birds singing a lullaby in the background, the quiet mumbling of the water as it ripples against the bow of the boat – yes, I can definitely see it now.