Let’s dive straight into the analysis of Double Fracture’s second year in novice hands.
The one job I set for the summer was painting the roof. And if you count October as summer (and this year I do), I achieved my objective. I realised I will never defeat the rust, and sometimes the best you can do is to paint over the bit you missed on the angle grinding marathon, and pretend you never saw it. (A good policy until I’m in a world of flaky roof pain next summer.) A word of warning to you all: paint tins lie about the real-world coverage they will provide.
A boat in winter is the best place to live should you, just to pull a hypothetical example out of thin air, burn the palm of your hand when picking up a metal saucepan off the hob. Firstly, you can open the door and stick your hand in the very cold river outside. Secondly, every good boat should be stocked with medicinal bottles of cold beer. Holding the bottle will help reduce the severity of the burn, and I’m pretty sure beer has analgesic properties. Thirdly, when you have finished your medicinal beer and are struggling with afterpains then placing you hand on any boat surface will provide icy relief*. Except the stove. I’d like to say that bit goes without saying, but we all know certain members of the ‘Adventures on Narrowboats’ community need some things spelling out. No names mentioned.
*This doesn’t work in summer. In August the outside of the boat is as likely to take the skin off as the hob is.
Finally, we get to the gossip. Is probably not what you are thinking now. (More like, please, please, please don’t overshare. I’ll do my best). So I have made some forays into the world of internet dating this year. It does come with some stories which I may anonymously serialise one day. And I do have one piece of advice for anyone who is considering judging strangers on a single swipe with a view to a happily ever after. Say you live on a boat. People go mad for that stuff (moderate exaggeration). It doesn’t even have to be true (you lovely lot can then dazzle your date with your wit and personality once you have them hooked). I recently got a message from someone I had a date with in March (background: we had a perfectly fine evening, we hugged goodbye at the bus stop and there was no second date): he had apparently been daydreaming about rocking my boat since then – how about it? The message wasn’t clear if my presence was even required. The moral: my boat is my best feature, and could be yours too.
Thank goodness for cassette toilets and living on a marina with modern plumbing. That is all I have to say about that.
Open water swimming
I have not fallen in the river. I nearly walked off the end of the jetty one evening, but near misses don’t count. If only my phone could say the same. After a brave struggle in rice intensive care, it made a brief recovery only to be frozen on a November camping trip. I am going to invest in a waterproof, dustproof, coldproof replacement.
Year two as been a modest travel year. I am quite scared of sinking the boat when I attempt a lock solo. This is not helped by people on narrowboating facebook groups posting stories about boats sinking in locks. But next year I am going to be brave, I am going to tackle locks single-handed, and what’s more I am going to take a trip to Eastwood and back all by myself. Don’t try to stop me. The Ikea-by-boat dream will be mine. (Though if that happens to be someone else’s dream as well, then crew are always welcome.)
Boat life. It remains flipping awesome.
This blogpost was brought to you by ‘Monster Mash’ by Bobby Pickett.