Driving home we saw one liveaboards stood on his own, 1000 yard stare, looking over where his boat had been sat only a few months ago.
His shoulders were slumped, the head down and he was obviously remembering things gone past. A little old man with none of his usual vitality, missing his ready smile, no witty comments, just stood there. Quietly, alone.
So we stopped for a chat.
His face lit up and we joked for a bit, the usual name calling, the ribbing, what friends do, well some of us anyway. But aside from that was a reticence, a holding back.
As usual it was SWMBO who broke into it and the reminiscing went on for quite a while.
23 years he had lived on the marina. Former groundsman, night watch, dock hand when they were shorthanded. Now he has been dispossessed by greed and soon enough he will be moving up river to a new place. Not too far but, as he said, “They all know me there and will look after me”. Tears in his eyes, a broken spirit.
Enough? Not today.
Walking back to our boat another chat. Only 17 years this one.
Yet the bitterness was palpable. This guy wouldn’t stay here if you paid him.
The trust that took years to build up shattered because of the same greed.
So he’s moving too. Different place, cheaper, a few old friends still alive nearby (he thinks), and he’s trying to enter back into a community, ANY community as soon as he could.
It’s the (not) talked about effects of dispossession.
The loss of identity, familiarity, trust, a fear of being alone, plus a lot of stubbornness i.e.
Illegitimi non carborundum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down!
Two lovely OAP’s obviously on the edge, trying to put a brave face on, while gutted!
Fk’ the marine, send steel.