If Wishes Were Sailboats

If wishes were sailboats I’d be on the Seine River, moored on the Quai de Conti, as seen in this illustration I did for page 12 of Gardens of Awe and Folly:


Do you see that black house boat, the middle one docked alongside the quai that faces the Pont Neuf, and the fabulous garden in the Square du Vert-Galant(above)? Well, that’s a real boat, really floating on the Seine, and it’s really for sale, having just come on the market, available for immediate move-in:


This is the Marie Jeanne, built in 1913 — she’s 16 meters long (that’s 53 feet, for those of us who think in the picturesque).


The interior is mahogany — the living area is open concept, with sky lights and a working fireplace.


The boat has 2 bedrooms, so its $1.6 million asking price is a bargain, considering that a comparable 2-bedroom apartments in the 6th arrondissement is going for $3 million these days.


It’s got a full sized tub, too . . . but I’d have to get used to having a skylight right above me when I am soaking away the stresses of the day.

WHAT AM I SAYING???? If I had $1.6 million to buy me a houseboat on the Seine I’m pretty sure I’d have nothing in the world to feel stressed about.


Ahhhhhhhh, to spend the next four years in my own little world, bobbing cozy and happy on the gentle river of memory and wonder, painting little moments of joy and thankfulness . . .


Oh, if only wishes were sailboats, I’d christen my bateau The Madame President and sail off into the sunset.

Thank you, my Dear Readers, for all your kind and commiserating Comments these past few weeks. I have been distraught, disbelieving, disgusted, and despondent¬†— and still am — but I’m working on a survival plan that includes not going crazy with fury and loathing which I hope will put me on an even keel for the next four years. I need to paint, and write, and stay here in this space with all you Wonderful Yous, in order to marvel at the small mercies that redeem us, day to day.

And on days when it seems that there is just too much ugliness in the world, there’s always Taffy, doing something appallingly cute:



12 Comments, RSS

  1. Casey

    I needed this today. Can I borrow your houseboat, and Taffy, whenever I need to go to my Happy Place?

    I too enjoyed the comments last week. I invite you all to my houseboat in Paris for a cup of tea.

  2. Just yesterday I was reading from when Wanders Cease to Roam, page 195, “It’s time to row my boat gently down the stream. Snow is falling. Night is calling. Life is but a Winter dream.”

    Sometimes an earlier version of ourselves sends us a message in a bottle for just when we need it. You did that for me yesterday. Thought you might enjoy it as you dream of your new little house boat.

    Take care, sweet pea, we are all going to get through the next four years by holding hands and singing songs….together.

  3. ann

    I loved those pictures.

    I remember sailing near Bar Harbor, Maine, for three days in an old sailboat.

    All the food was cooked on a wood burning stove.

    I would look at the all the mansions as we passed by.

    Its funny, but all the mansions seemed empty.

    What a waste.

    Its fun to dream.

    Thank you.

  4. Barb

    Just thought you would like to know “Gardens of Awe and Folly” particularly the Edinburgh garden was mentioned on our local radio station WCAI. It was a program on FAvorite Books to read in the Winter. Love the book and hearing it mentioned. Thank you.

  5. Marg-o

    Ahhhhhh, indeed. I’m there with you on that boat on the Seine. And it looks to me that Taffy would be a good little sailor.

    Thanks to Felicia for reminding me to go re-re-re-re-read When Wanderers Cease to Roam, the December chapter is my favorite. Any chance of a Volume Two?

  6. Whoopee – what a spot to forget/ignore/recover from our current malady. I had no idea those houseboats were so ohh-la-la inside. I’ve walked along the river, dreaming about living in one, also – now where to find the funds !

    Something else (and far cheaper) to consider – have you read The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George? It’s a wonderful escape – an eccentric man sells books from his boat on the Seine, selecting books for his readers based on their current state of mind. Then follows an epic adventure. SO much more fun that contemplating the coming reign of the Whack-a Doodles.

  7. Megan

    Last night I went to see BIll Bailey the English comedian, we were standing about in the foyer of the beautiful State Theatre in Sydney. There were many advertisements for coming events, suddenly the penny dropped. I think a lot of artists will be starting a very long list of tour dates, four years perhaps? I like the house boat very much, I am not so sure about the cats, they like to move about the garden as the whim takes them sleeping hither and thither, not much scope for wandering on a boat. Still there is a very nice couch for the gorgeous Taffy.

  8. Kirra

    I would buy a houseboat in Paris too if I had 1.6 million. Thanks for the post and sharing the cute Taffy photo. Take care everyone!

  9. I find that grabbing a fur ball and petting it into purring submission is my first antidote to anything. It’s not surprising that I’m worried that Lizzie Cosette will end up with a bald spot on her back from excessive petting these days.

    Yes, a houseboat in Paris — just like Little Paris Bookshop! Up and down the Seine, no landlord (but beware of excessively high or low waters!). Sounds good to me! Love the photos.

    Taffy’s looking mighty content. Ah, there are times when being the cat would be such a plus…

  10. Joanne

    Your blog and books are a part of MY survival guide!

    One of my favorite memories of Paris was taking the boat ride on the Seine in the evening. I know it is a touristy thing to do, but I thought it wonderful.

    Taffy is the sweetest!

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