Boatlife..

29 Jan

Greetings on this joyful January day.

You might be wondering how I am getting on in my new home on the River Lark where I have a super and secluded home mooring…

So I thought I’d tell you a story – bit of a day in the life type of thing.

Every now and again, I do a physical Tesco shop, which serves to remind me why I normally do a click and collect and end up vowing never again! Today was one of those days; I was feeling quite spritely and it was bright and sunny when I set off to Newmarket. But when it came to loading up the car (with 50% more stuff than when I shop online) it was bucketing down. No covered area like there is at the click and collect. I got wet.

Lucky for me, it had stopped by the time I got home to do the long trek to the boat, and for long enough for me to get the coal in. Just. I’ve a system now for transporting stuff from car to boat, boat to car and rubbish to the bins, having bought a cheapo plastic “rollacart”… wp-1580312155484.jpgwhich miraculously can be hauled over the bridge with contents inside. My more beefy garden trolley, more suited to grass and mud… wp-1580312134404.jpgthat I’ve left the other side is then filled and dragged to Hobo, complete with lightweight cart. Seems to work well.

There is a long way round, which avoids the bridge, taking you through the lodges and reed beds, over which starlings do that fabulous murmuration thing. When I witness this for myself, I will share it with you here. When it’s not boggy, one of the chaps here runs a buggy (sort of golf cart on steroids) round this way, so heavy stuff like coal and gas can be more easily delivered to your boat. Brilliant. Or, the local coal merchant will deliver to the nearby lock and load the bags onto the roof of your boat, but also only when conditions favourable.

As for physical shopping, despite spending more and taking more time and effort, it does give the opportunity to browse the clothing and electrical sections, as well as other delights on offer. F’rinstance, my dietician has urged me to buy those individual dessert pots in order to gain weight –  I’m struggling with this due to an auto-immune condition I have, which, after a lifetime of battling weight gain, I am now a real skinny Minnie and borderline mal-nourished. Bizarre.

They do one called little pots of joy, which is crème egg that you can eat with a spoon and not get covered in chocolate. It’s good but not even close to the ice cream version. So Hobo’s fridge is well-stocked with that one, as well as various mousses and trifles! If I could get to my scales, I’m sure I will have gained more weight. In fact, I’ve been advised to eat all sorts of rubbish that I’ve previously avoided like the plague and give anything vaguely healthy the big swerve. Bit of a win-win really.

So why can’t I get to my scales? Well, Hobo went wonky and, one morning as I got out of bed, found the floor was wet. Water underneath in the bilge. A lot of it. Bugger. Apart from wet feet, I struggled to walk with the boat at such an angle and kept bumping into the walls. And that’s before I had a drink!

I put out the distress call, which my old mate Steve swiftly answered. We checked the usual suspects – stern gland and weed hatch, both ok. He soon had the boat level again (stuck on a ledge after water levels had dropped) and re-tied with the back end further out to avoid getting hung up again. Looks untidy but she is floating free, which is preferable to looking like  I know how to moor a boat properly, but leaning over.

Not sure where the water came from but Steve thinks it’s rain water – we have had a lot and my back doors are anything but watertight. I’ll have her hauled out for blacking come Spring so can get the hull checked at the same time, though fairly sure that’s not the problem.

Anyway, Steve’s pump chucked out most of the water, leaving me to aqua-vac daily as the water slowly trickles to the back – takes a week or so to get it all. Then it’s a case of stuffing newspaper into the inspection hatch (which was cut into the bottom of my wardrobe when I inadvertently filled the bilge by overflowing the water tank – a breather tube issue) to absorb any further moisture. As it’s raining again I’ll soon see if any more gets in.

All of this meant I had to empty the floor of said wardrobe and engine room (a useful space for storage when not cruising), deposit stuff in the bedroom and bathroom – hence blocking the way to my scales, plus all sorts of other items I need to access daily). Not to mention making moving around somewhat tricky and upsetting any order I normally enjoy. Feng shui is all to pot!

Don’t know about you but, the minute I let the tiniest bit of disorder into my world, everything deteriorates into chaos, quick quick. Obviously, this is a whole lot more noticeable, with space at such a premium, in a 47×7 foot-ish area. It’s not that I’m a neat freak or anything, but it’s purely practical to be tidy, unless you enjoy falling over things/moving half of your possessions to get to the other half.

But that’s boatlife and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

In other news: my trusty stove is burning 24/7, keeping me snug and warm and my new neighbours are great. Not that I’ve met all of them yet, but I suspect my semi-hibernation has a lot to do with that.  Looking forward to spring when, no doubt, we’ll all be outdoors a lot more, making us more visible and sociable. Seems like a great community.

Looking a little spring-like on board…wp-1580150044331.jpg

wp-1580150063509.jpgThe hyacinths fill the boat with a delightful sweet scent.

I’m gradually finding my way around, now not totally reliant on Google maps and confident to navigate my own way to at least a couple of destinations. Hobo is moored in Cambridgeshire, across the river is Suffolk and Norfolk is fairly close too. There’s some lovely towns nearby: Ely, Cambridge, Newmarket, Downham Market, King’s Lynn, Bury St. Edmunds to name but a few. Still much exploring to be done. I imagine there’s some good walking hereabouts too – I’ll let you know come the spring and warmer weather.

I have a postbox…wp-1577369542603..jpgAnd a birdbox…wp-1577369593776..jpgAnd a butcher within walking distance where all produce is reared right here on the farm. Adjacent is a stall where fresh, local veg is available for sale, by way of an honesty box.

The marina here is on an island where Muntjac roam and swans, ducks and geese abound. There’s nothing quite like being aboard listening to swans smack along their river runway in order to take off , hear the geese chattering or the mad quacking of the duck barmy army.

I’m impressed with the manager here and have found her most helpful and accommodating. So thank you for that, much appreciated.

RAF Mildenhall is close and, as a bit of a plane spotter, is home to some interesting aircraft, such as the Osprey…

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Google image

Also big bombers, fighter jets and so on. So, unlike being under Stansted’s flightpath (as I was before) at least there’s something good to look at. And it’s nowhere near as busy; little night or weekend flying.

Foxy has settled really well and loves his new home. He’s a true boatcat, happy to walk the gunwales…IMG_20190817_125923.jpgAnd plank…

wp-1577369811787.jpgThough this now superseded by something safer, sturdier and more fitting…wp-1577369656369.jpgwp-1577369631417..jpgCourtesy of the on site maintenance man. Well pleased with this and sure it’s saved me a dunking.

Foxy helps me get the coal in, fill up the water tank and other boatie chores, as well as charging around, jumping on the roof, climbing trees…

And decimating the local vermin population…wp-1580223048577.jpg

He’s currently taking an interest in what I’m up to right now…wp-1580153613709.jpgOh, and he’s been in the river a couple of times already…wp-1580222913572.jpg

He’s also starting his own blog…

 

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boatcat.blog.

As soon as he can get his head around setting it up, the cat lovers among you will be able to see boatlife from his point of view…

wp-1580222943687.jpgI’m guessing that will be riveting.

6 Responses to “Boatlife..”

  1. sharonelaine1 January 29, 2020 at 6:34 pm #

    For the third time!!!! Fascinating, absolutely fascinating! You even make the work so interesting and the photos are brilliant, I feel I know the place. Wishing you every happiness and only good things to come. I do hope you are staying well?

    • Boatbird January 29, 2020 at 6:52 pm #

      Thanks Sharon, I’m flattered but glad you like!
      More good days than bad so happy-ish with that. All the best to you and Roy and glad to see you being creative again too xx

  2. val January 29, 2020 at 6:41 pm #

    Hi Annie,Love reading about your life style on Hobo.I do hope you start picking up weight and feeling better.Keep writing my friend and look forward to seeing you soon in SA.xx

    • Boatbird January 29, 2020 at 6:55 pm #

      Hi Val, glad you enjoy my ramblings. I certainly love the lifestyle – 14 years now!
      Think I’m slowly getting there, health-wise – more good days than bad so…
      Lovely to hear from you Val and much love to you and John xx

  3. Reena February 1, 2020 at 8:30 am #

    Hi Ann, love the blog. Hope you’re health improves soon. I’m Reena (Moreena Hart) from CHSW. I loved seeing all the photos of your reunions with the “gells” from our year. if there is another get together, I would like to come too. I think we were a great year. Like a good wine! Take care. Xxxxx

    • Boatbird February 1, 2020 at 11:19 am #

      Thanks Reena, and will do. We were the best!

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