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coming out for air

The boaters realized after looking for new moorings to move to, that they have a pretty good deal at Three Mills, because they are tucked away from sight by other people, they are allowed to do as they please with the mooring. Many people grow plants and store extra belongings that don’t fit, in their 7ft wide by 70 ft long, boats on the mooring or on the roof. One of the reasons Luke Fraiser and his family asked to stay, because with two young children, they have a lot more stuff than most boaters and moving would be hard. They have almost out-grown their boat as it is. Luke, who is in-charge of his two boys while his wife Laura works, is often found taking a break through his port-hole.

boat boredom

A cold and cloudy Saturday on the Fraiser boat has Albie, 6, restless. There are no other children on the mooring or anywhere close by so he and his younger brother Josh, 4, have to be creative in order to entertain themselves. Luke and Laura have loved living on their narrow boat at Three Mills for the past 6 years but they are out-growing their home and with the inflated housing market in London, they cannot afford to live anywhere else.

learn to swim

Dick Vincent watches from his boat as Luke comforts his son Josh, 4, after a mid-mooring racing collision with older brother Albie, 6. For Albie and Josh’s entire lives, the mooring has been lined with other boats, leaving little opportunity for the boys to fall into the water or the mud. Soon all of the boats but three will be gone, there will be fewer eyes to help watch during future mooring races and the mud will be gone. Luckily the boys are older now and are learning how to swim.

for the birds

Fred and Ester, the swans, live under the bridge at the end of the Three Mills mooring. They visit whenever they see people around, in hopes there might be some free handouts. They nest under the bridge each year and introduce their babies to the community. Brian, the worm man, helped Ester when she had her leg stuck in trash underwater and the tide was rising up around her. Their bridge is included in the plans for construction.

last call

Another perk to living at Three Mills is the extra outdoor space they have acquired over the years. At one end of the mooring, there is a patch of land that a few community memebers turned into a garden and a picnic area for barbeques. During the summer nights, it is rare to find the outdoor communal space without people sitting, talking and eventually dancing by a fire. This is the last night they are all together before the big move.

on hold

“Coal Liz” Striker, 32, took over the business in September and has been traveling up and down London’s canals selling coal for seven days a week ever since. She looks forward to the canal improvements so her customers at Three Mills can call her when they need coal and she can deliver what they need to their boats instead of having to wait around for them to drive to a near-by location.

peace and quiet

Rachel and John Fitzgerald drive their boat, Jesse, to their new mooring at Canary Wharf, in the heart of London’s business district. They are excited about being closer to their work and having access to the good grocery stores that service the busy business district but they are sad to loose their privacy and silence, as two more high-rise buildings are being built very close to their new home.

home sweet

Dick Vincent at his very tidy and regulated new mooring in Canary Wharf. Dick and four other narrow boats from Three Mills feel small at their new mooring next to the Dutch barges and high-rises. But the new community has warmly welcomed the little boat people. Although they have to keep their belongings clean around their boats at all times, because of all the potential eyes that could be watching, day or night, they are starting to feel at home.

gone

Plants and other random belongings sit left-behind at Three Mills mooring, until eventually the construction will start and someone will throw them away. In 18 months the boats will come back to a new and improved, continuously floating, mooring.

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