It's been a quiet past couple of weeks, having friends to visit has been the highlights of my weekends.
This coming weekend Im off to the Beaulieu boat jumble to help my folks shift their last load of old chandlery stock. There's some amazing bargains to be had, it's well worth a visit if you need anything for your fit out or indeed if you don't need anything but quite like the push n shove of a good old free-for-all boat jumble. I just hope the sun shines otherwise it could be a mud bath.
I've been having a serious de-clutter again. if it's not nailed down or currently in use then chances are it will be sold if it hasn't been already.
The plan to down-size to a 10-11m yacht from a 17m narrowboat is seriously testing my ability to pare down from already minimalist belongings. Finding creative and more compact ways of storing all my shite is almost an art-form in itself. However difficult it is getting, perversely I actually enjoy it. The less I have around me the happier I seem to feel. But at this rate I will never manage to reduce my storage unit size. Anything Im not sure about goes in there like a holding pen. If I can live without it for long enough then it goes, no matter how attached I am to it.
A friend asked me this weekend, what do I miss the most about living on a boat compared with living in a house? After a few moments of deep thought my answers were, instant hot running water( ie spontaneous showers), a heater that doesn't give me asthma and the time to do all the other stuff I love so much (such as velodrome coaching and racing, cycling out for a swift 50 miles on a saturday or sunday morning, riding my motorbike around country roads or taking it to track days, roller blading for hours on end) because I have to constantly think about moving the boat, filling the water tank, emptying the toilet, charging the batteries since I dont have a mooring and refuse to pay to keep it in a narrowboat pack'em in style marina. it's a general feeling of being unsettled but stuck in the same 50 mile radius due to work commitments. The chance to hang around an area for three months at a time is actually quite appealing. The chance to be able to leave the boat safe in the knowledge it will probably be where we left it when we get back is also very appealing.
I think it's fair to say that living on a boat in my current situation has been very bad for my health, I have worse asthma due to the coal fire and sheer amount of dust it produces and I've put weight on due to being unable to exersise properly or be able to breath to exersise very much at all. I have eaten terrible food because I'm too tired after long commutes to eat properly.
You could argue if I really wanted to, I could find a way around each of these problems, but the fact is I haven't. Despite the best of intentions.
The easy answer is, go and live in a marina.
It's also starting to get my goat in a gruff each time I see people debating the big "continuous cruiser/moorer" argument.
Im sick of the idle snake-tongued talk of ruling the waterways with an iron clad fist of vigilante-ism. Stop wasting your breath on the same tired subject. Constant cruisers or not, who the fuck cares?
perhaps my dog should be licenced or have some sort of paddling permit? He decided he would take a dip in the river at the weekend.
I just arrived home and was in the living room when I heard a rather ominous Ploof ploof ploof ploof ploof ploof noise. That was the sound a chihuahua makes when doing the doggy paddle in the 5" gap between the boat and the bank. Somehow my unbelievably stupid dog managed to slip down the gap and proceed to snort and panic in the cold water. I dashed out to see his eyes on stalks and immediately stooped to my knees to scoop the little fella out but he was having none of it, as I held the boat away from the bank to avoid him being crushed he saw daylight and made a dash for it. Paddling around the back of the boat he put himself out of arms reach and continued to swerve around the rudder and aimed for the side of the boat away from the bank. By this time I'm getting worried he's been in the water a long time for such a small animal, so I jumped into the dinghy, which caused a ripple that nearly sent him under. All he had on was his collar, which thankfully didn't snap his neck as I pulled him out and plonked him unceremoniously on the back of the boat. Dripping wet from neck to tail but still with a fluffy head as he managed to keep that airside.