Life on the boat

So we’ve been in, and out- of the marina. We were in for a couple of weeks and then I started getting worried that I’d be trapped by fear of the tricky turns to get in and out, so I went out for a night by myself to be meditative. I can’t quite remember when that was, I think it was the week after my dad died, so about a month ago. I was only out for the one night on that occasion, but then Boat Girl and I spent 9 days out the following week, testing the new batteries and, y’know, living the dream!

It was great. We didn’t go far but we enjoyed it immensely. The views just down the canal a way are immense, with big skies, and they really contrast with the prospect in the marina- which is beautiful, but not what you’d call a view. I’ve got pictures but I need to get them from the iPad to the laptop and I’m afraid I haven’t done that yet…

We are having to learn to be much tidier than we’re used to! But we fill the water tank about fortnightly; sometimes we shower in the block, if we’re in the marina, but otherwise we use the water normally but consciously. It’s certainly made me think about how long we run taps for, how much water I need to wash the dishes, that sort of thing.

I’d definitely like an eco toilet. Ours is a SaniMarin, and it’s not great to be honest. It’s really fussy about which paper you use, and it makes the whole boat vibrate while it’s macerating. I pumped the tank out on Whitsun weekend, and I think it’ll do until next weekend- that’s when I’m going to do it, anyway! so about monthly. But an eco/composting loo would be great- no cassette to empty, no chemicals, no pumpout. Apparently they smell better too, which can only be a good thing. I keep a scented candle in our bathroom to light if the outlet is blocked open, which happens when there’s too much paper involved!

The fire service fitted a new smoke alarm for us and had a look round to see if there were any obvious fire hazards. Well, there’s a few. The stove, the polystyrene insulation, the rugs and so on… but they seemed quite happy that I do things responsibly and I have smoke, carbon monoxide and gas detectors around the boat. So touch wood. We’ve been testing it regularly too, as Boat Girl has written a reminder for us to do so and made herself Alarm Test Monitor.

I changed the gas (well, I got Boat Girl’s dad to change it for me) on May Day- another fortunate coincidence making it an easy to remember date to know when the new bottle was started. We cook daily, so I’m pleased with how the gas has lasted. Electric seems to be coming in at about £10-£15 a month. I am thinking though that I need a 12V fridge- I’m told a 240V one will drain your batteries. When we were out, I switched the inverter off most days but we ended up with a lot of lumpy milk, so I need to find a solution or else we’ll only be able to stay out when it’s cold!

Finally for now, the family of six cygnets keep getting bigger and bigger; there’s a new duck with two half-grown ducklings; and the other day I saw a pike swimming about outside my kitchen window. I’ve never seen a pike before. How blessed we are to wake up each morning, whether in or out, in such a beautiful and tranquil environment. The neighbours are lovely, the water is clear, the wildlife is abundant and we can’t even hear the motorway except when the wind’s in an atypical direction. It’s definitely becoming my safe space. There’s even a like-minded friend for Boat Girl (and for me, in her mum). So far, and touch wood, this has been a good decision. In fact the best thing to happen (admittedly in a very limited field of Good Things) in 2016.


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