While I was writing Practically Perfect we were having our house remodelled. (I still thank my neighbour for instigating it – the improvements were vast.) We rented a house for most of the time but towards the end, we moved onto our Dutch barge in London. Being there for longer than usual of course, made me want to set a book on it. Someone we met at a party suggested the title. Titles are always tricky and so I was delighted to have one before I started.
This is one of those books with two points of view. If the story is right, I enjoy doing this but I find it quite impossible if the story doesn’t work. But I had a story and a lot of recent barge experience. The barge in this book is exactly as it was before it too was done up.
I had a deadline to reach while we were there and at the same time there was a rally which meant everyone could ask to inspect each other’s barges.
Ours was by far the tattiest – and possibly the oldest. She is a real antique having been built in 1897.s. She also fought in the war, on the German side we think, and has a porthole with a bullet hole in it. So lots of history but not a lot of glamour.
While people were periodically coming onto the barge I was finishing my book and had had to keep jumping off my stool to offer sweeties (to soften the blow of the tattiness) and show people round, hoping they’d forgive us. The barge was primarily student digs at that time to family and friends.
We went round all the smarter barges too, of course. And I still liked ours the best.