Jane Green
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Pontoon Party Boat

August 22nd, 2016

Jane Green Pontoon

Hours spent shopping for picnic hamper items for pontoon: 4

Hours spent on pontoon: 9

Hours spent dreaming of pontoon when not actually on it: 6

Hours spent writing: 15

When I met Beloved all those years ago, my children were very tiny, and we spent that first summer having glorious picnics at the beach, and going out on his boat. His boat is old. It is not very big, and not the slightest bit luxurious, although it wins points for being a classic Boston Whaler. If a somewhat basic one. One day he decided to take me to Long Island on his boat, and it was so bumpy, I think I may have dislocated my bottom.

I tried very hard to love the boat, and he tried very hard to make it semi-luxurious by buying folding chairs so that there was somewhere to sit, and hauling a giant cooler on so we could dull its, erm, basic charm, with chilled rosé, but I never quite got it.

Friends occasionally invited us on to their boat for drinks (this is what happens when you live by the beach in a coastal town in Connecticut. It’s a long way from Hampstead, I can tell you that). We would sit on cushy sofas and have chips and dip off a table whilst pouring cocktails. I eyed my husband. “This is what we need,” I said. “A cocktail cruiser.”

We do not fish. Other than Twin A, and he is perfectly happy fishing off the end of the jetty. We do not race. We do not take the boat anywhere other than to the little island off the coastline, or sometimes up to a neighboring town for ice-cream or dinner.

We do, however, gather friends, and none would fit on our little old Boston Whaler. A year ago I spied the perfect boat for us. It’s not actually a boat, it’s a Pontoon, which is more of a floating living room. It’s completely flat, with built-in seating areas, and a built-in bar! It has an upper deck and a water slide! It is, according to those who know, the perfect lake boat, and just a little bit – okay a lot –  Redneck. Apparently. Which means, darling, it’s not quite the done thing in Westport, Connecticut.

You know where this story is going, don’t you…

Our pontoon boat arrived last week. It is even more fabulous than I expected. We gathered friends, and various children, and spent the day floating around eating chips and dip off the table, and drinking chilled rosé, not to dull the discomfort this time around, but because it was so damned fabulous.

Everyone who passed us hooted, gave us a thumbs up, and a big smile. We steered the pontoon to Southport Harbor, where the young employees of the Pequot Yacht Club lined up on the dock to take our picture, because…well…that might be the first time in history a pontoon boat has ever had the temerity to show its face in the rather smart old monied Southport Harbor.

It is the perfect boat for us. And because it’s just a little bit Redneck, we have somewhat ridiculously named it No Ragrets. Spelling mistake intentional. Watch the movie We’re The Millers if you’re still confused.

Every year Beloved asks me if I want to go out on the boat, and every year I have miraculously thought of a myriad of excuses. I’m too busy cooking; too busy gardening; too busy stroking the cats. This summer, every time he asked, I said yes. Every time.

(This article was first published in The Lady Magazine.)


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