“I’m on a boat, bitch”

So.  The epic weekend.  Five people journeyed to the Midlands from Down South to experience some boat hospitality, and I like to think they were not disappointed.  Well, it was mentioned a few times that there were no photos of any of them on walls anywhere (much less the life-size, ceiling-to-floor portraits a couple of them were hoping for).  And the lack of running water and the frequent trips to the laundry to get water was probably not part of their boat vision.  And, if I’m honest, I know I can’t expect anyone to be happy about a kettle boiling time of 30 minutes in order to get a cup of tea.  But these are all minor bumps on the road to boat bliss, and did not make a significant dent into the overall epicness (epictitude? epicosity?) of the weekend.

There were laughs, beers, steak burritos, games of bones, suspicious pink spirits and a sleeping body in almost every available space (I pulled the short straw and got the kitchen).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There were fry-ups, bubbles, boat-shopping trips (which confirmed to me that I probably have the best boat ever), boat excursions (which the associated crashes into the banks) and hangovers. There were multiple attempts to unblock the sink, which came with the discovery of greyish lumps that may once have been chopped onions.

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We addressed some of the big questions of our time, the answers to which are already lost.  And we identified a puzzling and somewhat worrying question; why, after more then two months of living on a boat, do I not have a dedicated boat soundtrack?  This needs to be rectified, and fast.  Tracks on the list so far include:

  • The Riverboat Song by Ocean Colour Scene
  • Rock the Boat by Hues Corporation
  • I’m on a boat by The Lonely Island ft. T Pain (the discovery of which lead me to let myself down on facebook.  I don’t want to talk about it.)

Three songs does not make a playlist – I need your help.  All suggestions earn you an invite to the prestigious boat party I will one day hold.

This blog post was brought to you by ‘I’m on a boat‘ by The Lonely Island ft. T Pain.

And by the finest crew south of Watford Junction.

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If it’s not flatpacked, I’m not interested

It’s been a busy week in boat land.  In no particular order, I have constructed a flatpack sofabed with the help of my Dad and brother-in-law-to-be, half-discovered a problem with the plumbing less than 48 hours after getting running water back and had five people to stay in what can only be described as an epic weekend. (Actually that list was in strict chronological order.)

Faithful readers of the blog will know I had a sofa dilemma a couple of weeks ago, and the betting folk amongst you would likely have given very short odds on the outcome.  As you know, the bookies rarely get it wrong, and I went for the beautiful, more expensive option (which had the added bonus of actually fitting the space for which it was intended).  The menfolk of the family volunteered to help me put it together, with successful results.

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As brother-in-law-to-be brought his box of tools with him, which happened to include a drill, we took the opportunity to drill an inspection hole in the flooring of the boat.

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Dipping the handle of a wooden spoon into the hole showed there to be a small amount of water under the floorboards.  I was unconcerned.  However, after turning on the new water pump, which continued to run long after the sink tap had been turned off, there was considerably more water under the floorboards.  Cue switching off the water pump, switching off the water again and spending the rest of the evening using my new favourite toy to remove the water from the bottom of the boat.

Early readers of the blog may remember some mystery items I found when I first moved onto the boat.  One of these turned out to be a hand pump, which has been invaluable this week.  It siphoned off 20 litres of water from below the floorboards, and has also proved a useful tool in unblocking the sink.  But more of that next time.

Based on my previous cry for help on the forums of canalworld.net, I suspect I have a leaking pipe somewhere.  That’s going to be fun (and expensive?) to track down.

This blog post was brought to you by ‘Push‘ by Matchbox Twenty.

It was a dark and stormy night….part 3

It was a dark and stormy night, and the boat was rocking. Usually she got seasick, but boat parties were a different kettle of fish, and she found her sealegs after a couple of glasses of wine. One of her colleagues was not so fortunate, and was vomiting into the canal. A makeshift dancefloor was full of workmates making poor decisions, both in terms of dance moves and amorous advances, but she didn’t have the inclination to join them. Outside, two of the boys from accounts were surfing on the roof of the boat; her money was on the blonde to topple into the water first. She finally found him at the stern of the boat, lighting a cigarette. “Mind if I join you?” He raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t think you smoked.” She giggled nervously. “Oh, just socially, you know.” He opened the packet and she took one. She tried not to notice him looking her up and down, judging whether he could do better that evening. One day he would regret that.

This blog post was brought to you by ‘Use somebody‘ by Kings of Leon.

‘Let there be light’ (said the boat electrician)

A big change happened this week on the boat – I stopped living in semi-darkness and made a massive stride in getting radiator heat.  The fitting of a battery charger, meaning the 12 volt system on the boat (which includes the ceiling spot lights, starting the diesel heater and the water pump) can now be charged from the mains electricity as well as by running the engine, may have revolutionised life on Double Fracture.  For instance I can now see my back door from my front door in the evening, and can also see the inadequacies of doing the washing up by candle-light.

The radiators are also coming along (though maybe not at the same rate as the lighting).  I can get the radiators on now, though two of them appear to be only half full of water.  How do you fill a radiator with water? (My current solution is to get a funnel and kettle, which is probably not manufacturer-recommended.)  However, this weekend I am going on a boat maintenance course in the Venice of the north, so maybe further progress will be made in the next 48 hours.  The thermostat has also thrown up a few questions – I thought I had set it up to come on in the evening before I go to bed and in the morning before I wake up to try and overcome the dragon-breath issue in the bedroom.  It did come on at these times, but also every hour during the night, and I discovered that diesel heaters do not like to go to work without making a song and dance about it.  I was warm that night though.

The water pump has still not been fixed.  I haven’t got a new one yet.  One day, I will stop talking about a problem I have made so little effort to rectify.

This blog post was brought to you by ‘Talkin’ bout a revolution‘ by Tracy Chapman.

It was a dark and stormy night…

There has been some rough and windy weather during the last week, and the good ship Double Fracture has endured some sizeable waves (or at least ripples to be reckoned with).  Which lead me to set myself a writing challenge – to come up with different stories all starting with the following sentence:#]OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(This was the closest the fridge magnet poetry could get – I can understand it not having ‘boat’ in its repertoire, but no ‘night’? What is poetry without a dark night, a summer night or a silent night?)  So here, for your entertainment blogees, is my first effort.  Share your own on a digital postcard?

It was a dark and stormy night, and the boat was rocking. The candles flickered in an odd rhythm which sometimes chimed with the erratic motion of the boat, and sometimes appeared to come from another climate altogether. She knew she should be accustomed to the noises of the storm, but she felt on edge that evening. Every clang against the jetty, every screech of the wind over the vents made her hairs stand on end. She longed for brighter lights, but the batteries had given out half an hour ago, and tea-lights were not an adequate substitute for lamps and spotlights. Even the neon in the toilet block appeared to have succumbed to the elements – an intermittent flashing was the most they could manage as she brushed her teeth. “I should sleep,” she told herself. “The morning will bring better weather.” She closed her boat door behind her. “It’s just a storm,” she thought, as fingers closed tightly around her throat.

This blog post was brought to you by ‘In the ghetto‘ by Elvis Presley.