But it’s not going fast, and I don’t have a nautical themed pashmina afghan…but if that’s what you’re looking for you can find one here. (who knew Lonely Island were setting fashion trends)
For those of you who have seen the video ‘On a Boat’ by Lonely Island, living onboard is exactly like nothing on that video.
In the Beginning
When I first met Adam the boat was pretty nice. It had a bathroom and a bedroom and a sofa. We ate bbqs on the deck by candle light, watched films under blankets, fed ducklings and enjoyed countless beautiful sunsets. It was hard to understand how you could not love boat life. But after a summer of fun we decided it was time to crack on with the DIY.
With so much damp and rust we wanted to strip the boat back to it’s steel shell, so that we could re-build. To do this we needed to take out the bathroom , and in doing that we destroyed the bedroom. So nights on the boat were now spent on a dirty floor and using the toilet became trips to the nearby station, praying they wouldn’t be closed. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did. Check out how we ended up weeing in a bucket here! The solar panels weren’t providing us with the electricity we had hoped for, so we had to remember to take home batteries to charge the tools we needed. When winter approached much faster than we’d anticipated we had to light countless candles to keep us warm. We ripped out rotting wood from the walls and ceilings, saving what we could. We filled bin bag after bin bag with rubbish which we had to store on the deck. Basically, we had succeeded in turning the boat into a building site, and the more we uncovered the further ‘finished’ seemed.
Spring came, and with it the decision to leave our jobs and travel.
To do this we would have to sell the boat, and to do this we had to get the boat out of the water and see what the damage really was. Adam spent his birthday driving the boat three hours to the marina, in the dark, with no lights. He managed not to crash, just. Then we left the boat, headed to work and came back that evening to this…
When doing our boat restoration we encountered many boat problems. Boat life was hard. The boat restoration took a lot of work. Living on board a boat was tough. I didn’t always enjoy living on board a boat and doing DIY on the boat. The DIY boat restoration was fun at times. Here are the reasons I didn’t enjoy living on a boat restoration project.
High and Dry
Now we had to use a ladder to get onto the boat, but at least we had power. We managed to rig up a temporary kitchen, with a hob and microwave we borrowed from my parents. Being able to make coffee in the morning was a real treat! Climbing up and down a ladder to use the toilet was not. We built a bed and bought a mattress on my birthday, I think it may be the best present I’ve ever had! To wash up we had to carry a bag full down the ladder to use the marina sink, showers were the same. We collected plastic bottles so that we could take a few to fill up at a time, which made drinking easier.
I look back on that time out of the water with mixed emotions, a mixture of hate and extreme hate. I was always dirty, exhausted and (sorry Adam!) pretty grumpy. But there were amazing moments, a beautiful sunset, a positive survey, the feeling that I had grown in strength and capability. We are still living on a building site but it feels so much easier now that we are back on the Thames.
This quote sums up my life over the past few months,
‘Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.’ W.H.Auden
I lived a long time without Adam, he very nearly didn’t live long on a dry boat. So if anyone ever asks you to move onto a boat, make sure it’s where it should be, and that it’s staying there
If you’re still reading after 639 words from the inner workings of my mind, feel free to leave a comment (because I worked out how to install a plugin and no one’s used it yet!)