Monthly Archives: August 2015

Ruth’s Boat Adventure: Episode Two

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It’s been an eventful couple of weeks since I wrote my last/first blog post. I finally moved out of my house after lots of packing, cleaning, and a few arguments with letting agents, and am now getting to grips with life on the water full time. I’ve also been on holiday to Malta, which was lovely – a story for another time.

I was initially quite anxious about moving on full-time, as it seemed like there was a lot to learn about the practicalities of living on a boat which I didn’t yet know. My first night didn’t do much to allay my fears! Having successfully made myself a cup of tea earlier in the day, I ventured into the kitchen to make dinner only to discover that none of the electrics were working (except the lights, which baffled me even further). I panicked. How could I possibly have broken the boat already?! I checked the fuse box, I checked the battery percentage (87%), and anxiously sent out “Help!” text messages to my house(boat)mates. Thankfully one was on her way home anyway and was able to work out very quickly what was wrong. It transpired that the battery gauge was broken – a problem now fixed, thankfully – and had been cutting out all electrics except the lights below 90% rather than the 60% I’d been warned about. All I had to do was turn the generator on, and I could have fixed the problem within seconds.

The view from our boat :)

The view from our boat 🙂

I’ve been living here now for about a week full-time, and I’m finally starting to feel like I know how most of the systems on the boat work. I’ve got to grips with the generator, the water pump, the heating, the toilets, and have even become adept at removing very large spiders without screaming.  I’ve still got a few things to figure out – like making a fire when the weather gets a bit colder – but I’m definitely much less intimidated by the whole situation than I was before.

I also think it’s been really valuable for me to have to think about how much electricity and water I use on a daily basis. The water on the boat is pumped in directly from the river and then filtered so that it’s clean enough to drink and it takes a really long time to pump and filter enough to fill the whole tank. When I first moved in, the pump hadn’t been running much due to people being on holiday, so we were having to be extremely careful with water usage, and even now that the tank is fairly full, knowing how long it takes to pump water on to the boat stops you taking it for granted and makes you really conscious of how much water you’re using – how long you spend in the shower, how wasteful you are when doing the washing up, and how much water you really need to cook your broccoli 🙂

…And I still havent fallen in!

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Ruth’s Boat Adventure: Episode One

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Hello! It’s been a long time, but I’m finally resurrecting my blog. Hopefully this will be the first post of many to come 🙂

The “Big News” in my life at the moment is that i’m moving house… which, as it’s the 8th time in 8 years wouldn’t be that interesting, except that this time i’m moving on to a houseboat on the river Thames. And as people I mention this to seem either baffled or fascinated by my decision, I thought I’d try writing about it. Here goes!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and to some extent I’m still not. Some context: It’s a Dutch Barge, which means it’s pretty big – 75ft long by 12 wide, approximately. There are three bedrooms, and it has most of the same stuff you’d find in a flat – wifi, washing machine, central heating, TV etc – with the added bonus that you can open the window straight on to the water and feed the ducks in your pyjamas.  I’ve had the keys for almost a week now, but I’m still in the process of moving in whilst we clear out our current house, and the main things i’ve learnt this week are these:

1. It’s really hard to move all your stuff in when the local council decides to dig up the tow path outside your new floating abode.

2. It’s even harder when you can’t park your car nearer than 250 metres away and across a busy main road and it’s pouring down with rain.

3. No matter how often I remind myself that there’s a low door frame on the boat’s main entrance, I will smack my head into it each and every time I leave the boat, probably until the day I move out. Ouch.

4. There’s a surprising amount of storage in my seemingly small room. The classic ‘cabin’ design means that i’ve got loads of extra storage underneath the bed, as well as around the room. Not only does it fit all of my precious books, but my ridiculous amount of clothes (according to my boyfriend, that is…) too. Bonus!

5. My landlord (owner of the tea barge on the opposite bank) does a great cooked breakfast and I already suspect this might become a weekend tradition.

Now that I’m mostly moved in, I’m looking forward to finally getting settled properly next week, and I’m sure I will have lots to learn about how everything works (water filters, anyone?). For now, though, I’m just pleased that I’ve not fallen in the river yet. Those of you that know me and my complete lack of co-ordination, balance and spatial awareness, I’m sure you’ll all agree that this is an impressive achievement!

I’m sure it’s only a matter of time…