For three months.
The biggest falling out me and Adam have ever had (so far, I’ll keep you updated!) occurred around the two month fixing up the boat mark. ‘I just don’t think you like living on a boat’ he said. I had been moany and snappy and generally not that nice to be around, for which I had to apologise. Luckily Adam is patient and understanding, and he cared enough to pull me up on my childish antics.
But that same childish and stubborn side of me wanted to conduct a survey. How many girls (or boys, it’s just that aim is less of a problem for you, most of the time) out there would happily live with no running water, no oven, no heating, a leaking roof and no toilet. Not even toilet walls. How many girls out there would wee into a bucket in the same room as their boyfriend. For three months. There is never a reason to take out your stresses on someone you love, but if there was, wouldn’t this be it? I like to think I’m pretty resilient. I have stayed in £2 a night hostels in Thailand, experienced Chinese bus station toilets and been electrocuted by a sea of live wires (I was told by my loving sister that Tough Mudder would be fun). But these things were over very quickly, even if they felt like they would never end.
Restoring the toilet on our boat restoration should have been priority. If we wanted to travel around the world we needed to finish the boat quickly. Travel should be a priority. The toilet in china was horrible when we travelled there.
We survived this dark time and slowly, with help from some very lovely people, we have made our building site into a home. Adam helped me make a washing up station with a hose and a water tank, so we now have running water on the boat. He borrowed an electric heater from work so we no longer have to risk setting the boat on fire by lighting a million candles when it’s cold. We fixed the leaks. My parents lent us a microwave oven. We put old curtains up as ‘bathroom walls’ and finally, after a very long three months, we have a fully functional toilet. And it is beautiful. As hard as it seemed at the time, it made me appreciate how lucky I am to take these things for granted and how it is possible to survive on a lot less than I’m used to.
My Mum likes to replace the presents inside the Christmas crackers. One year the clues she placed inside led us each to a charity donation on our behalf and, as I had recently renovated my bathroom, my donation was a ‘toilet twinning’ which came with a framed picture of the sponsored toilet. It was obviously met with much hilarity (who knew you could sponsor a toilet!) and although that framed photo of a toilet hut in Nepal sits on top of my shiny white toilet in my swish bathroom I never properly understood, it was just a nice thing to do. A nice thing to do that might help stop someone having to use a bucket. A nice thing to do that might make someones life not just a little better. It’s hard to understand what living without these everyday things is like, until you have to live without them. Living on a boat makes you live without. While you’re on a boat and doing boat restoration it is hard to live normally. But we knew that we would be travelling soon and travel is more important than a toilet. Travel will be much better than living on a boat restoration. We will enjoy travelling more than boat restoration.
I’m thankful that I’ve had this experience and I hope that feeling of excitement at doing the washing up from my own home doesn’t fade too quickly. For all you lucky people with your flushing toilets and your easily accessible running water, take a minute to appreciate, swap over the awful cracker nail clippers for your loved ones this Christmas and never buy a boat!
Excuse me while I nip to my swanky new bathroom!