WHEN I was 15 years old, my parents decided that there wasn’t really enough room on a single narrowboat for a growing teenager and a sane adult, and so I moved out on to my own boat, Freedom , which was, as I said at the time, 'frickin’ awesome'.
When we first bought Freedom it was a mere steel shell. My dad and I, over the course of a year or so, fitted it out entirely, putting in the insulation, the floors and walls, plumbing and everything in between.
Admittedly, this was 90 per cent my father’s effort – my main job was spending a summer painting the walls.
As a 15 year old, my first thought was of course: "When can I have a party?"
My parents grudgingly agreed, and so, with the boat almost entirely empty, I planned for the party of the century. Or at least the party of that year ... in the Cowley and Uxbridge area ... within my social group.
Some old mattresses were laid on the floor, a curtain was strung up to provide some basic bathroom privacy, and a campfire was lit outside. It did, to all intents and purposes, look like a scene from Trainspotting .
In the end, it was great. Party of the month, at least.
It was essentially the same as most parties in houses, I guess, with the exception that people could sit on the roof, there wasn’t a proper toilet, hilarious guests kept trying to rock the boat and make waves, and people wrote on the walls with marker pen.
Luckily most people kept to the unfinished walls, which would be covered up. However, there was one exception, and unfortunately this exception contained a word referring to male genitalia.
I spent the next weekend painting over it and avoiding my father’s furious gaze. My father’s furious gaze lasted for quite a while, unfortunately.
Still, I had fun, other people had fun, and it’s all water under the bridge now (pun intended.)
Later parties occurred and, thankfully, went a little smoother, although once a guy threw a saucepan into the canal (still haven’t forgiven him).
Another time a somewhat inebriated friend of mine thought that she was urinating blood and completely freaked out: she wasn’t, it was just the pink flush that is used on chemical toilets.
All in all, boat parties are a great idea.
Just don’t have them round mine anymore, OK?