Friday, 21 December 2007

Jonno's work party

Last night, Jonno, Helen, the barmen from their wedding, Anne, Toby and myself went out for a wild night in Wetherspoons, eating microwaved curry in the name of Jonno's work Christmas 'do (he's self-employed, and going out for a curry alone wouldn't have been much fun...) The boys and Anne were drinking, but Helen and I had to drive so enjoyed the non-alcoholic beers and cocktails. Rebels! As Jonno only has one Christmas party a year, he decided to push the boat out and had not one but TWO curries - extravagance!

Amongst such thrilling conversation topics as barge nuts, nativity plays, drained canals, ice, cars and topless boat-waitresses we managed to enjoy a nice evening in the pub to catch up before Christmas.

Upon returning to my boat, Anne and I wrapped my entire family's Christmas presents.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Ducks on ice

The canal was all frozen over this morning, so the ducks took to ice skating!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Legal at last

It's taken almost 5 months, but Muddy Waters is now completely legal - obtaining the boat safety certificate last week allowed me to trek to the BW office in Braunston (open 10am - 4pm, Fridays only) today and hand over my £630 annual licence fee! There's still a few jobs to be done, but I'm now technically free to cruise wherever the hell I like, and it feels GOOD! The weekend is here, I have a party to go to, the Christmas shopping is pretty much finished - life is sweet. :)

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Hillmorton Ice

Another chilly morning today - my thermometer read -3.8 degrees outside when I woke up! Fortunately, it was much warmer than that indoors, as the trusty Squirrel stove kept me snuggly all night.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007


Saw the canal at Hillmorton frozen this morning for the first time since I've been living aboard - the photo isn't great, sadly...

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Loving the simple life

The last few days have reminded me exactly why I love living aboard. It's icy outside, but I'm wandering around the boat in a vest top, cooking risotto for dinner on the stove top, listening to chilled out tunes on the boat and remembering that I own this place - no longer do I pay rent or have any responsibility to anyone. Life's sweet, really. There's something so homely about cooking on the stove too, stews simmered on top and jacket spuds cooked in the fire taste just magical.

Boat safety certificate now in hand and licence application form completed, it feels like the end is in sight. There are still a few more jobs for the boat yard to finish off (new bilge pump, new steel doors) but I can't see it taking longer than a few more weeks now. I'm thinking of crusing down to Northampton to visit my old housemates when I depart from Hillmorton - it would be nice to visit the old house by boat, maybe even stay around there for a couple of weeks and check out the area from the water.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Another lesson learnt the hard way:

Boats that are not tied up properly in 24mph winds have a tendency to bang loudly against the bank and wake you up repeatedly in the night.

Monday, 3 December 2007


Tonight is the very first time since I bought my boat that it has been genuinely cold on board. I mean, there have been occasions where it has been a bit on the chilly side before, but not like tonight. I was away visiting friends and partying all weekend, which means that my fire was unlit from Friday until I returned this (Monday) evening. The thermometer was reading 6.4 degrees, and I could see my own breath in the air. Inside. I built a big fire, and tucked into my dinner in the hope that the place would start to warm up...but that was an hour ago now, the fire is doing well, but it's still only 8.5 degrees. It takes longer than I remember to warm this place up! Common sense tells me that hot chocolate would be a good idea, but the duvet is warm and I'm lazy. Common sense also tells me that next time I'm away for the weekend, I should stop by the boat to build the fire before work. Hmm...hindsight... 20/20 vision. Oh well, live and learn.

Guess I will probably be asleep before it gets warm now - the weekend's mayhem is taking it's toll.

On the positive side, the boat passed the safety certificate last week, so I'm just waiting for the paperwork now at last. Looks like I may be able to set sail this side of Christmas afterall.

This week's shopping list: Hot water bottle

Friday, 23 November 2007

Quick update

Engine still runs.... just need to figure out what's going on. And fill the diesel, as it's really low now.

Failed Safety Cert again though, on a gas leak. Should hopefully all be sorted by Monday though, so the end is still in sight!

Murphy's law

According to Wikipedia...

Murphy's law is an adage in Western culture that broadly states that things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance. "If there's more than one possible outcome of a job or task, and one of those outcomes will result in disaster or an undesirable consequence, then somebody will do it that way." It is most often cited as "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong" (or, alternately, "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way" or, "Anything that can go wrong, will," or even, "If anything can go wrong, it will, and usually at the most inopportune moment").

Girl not on the water yet :(

Hmmm maybe I should rename my blog "Girl in the boat yard"?

All the work was complete for my Boat Safety certificate yesterday, I went to run my engine so that I could dry my hair before popping out for a curry with J+H, and it overheated! Typical. I waited 4 months for all the work to be finished, and then as soon as the open water was finally in sight it was stolen from under my nose. Even worse, I couldn't dry my hair before going out. Looks like more time in the boat yard for me - hopefully not too much longer. I just want to get out onto the towpath like a "real" boater now.

I am annoyed, as I was looking forward to cruising the boat to Newbold this weekend and enjoying finally meeting up with J+H, the change of scenery, pubs within walking distance, and superior T-mobile reception for my internet connection.

On the bright side, it's only 32 days 'til Christmas :) Hopefully I will have at least made it out of Rugby by then...

Friday, 16 November 2007

The Beginning

Hmmm...the beginning...always a good place to start, right?

I decided (well, was encouraged) to write this blog to pick up the tradition started by Xav documenting his adventures onboard his narrowboat Black Bottom Girl last winter. Have never been much of a writer myself, and am going to struggle to match his male sense of humour but I'll give it a shot and see how things turn out.

I bought my boat, Muddy Waters, in July this year and have lived on board since August. Things got off to a bit of a turbulent start, as I had to move out of my previous (rented) accomodation earlier than initially planned and the boat was far from ready. I spent a couple of weeks sorting through the mountain of boxes, throwing away things I didn't even realise that I owned and dispatching the rest to my parents' garage and making the place feel like home.

Between then and now there has been a lot of work done on the boat to bring her up to BSS standard and I have gradually relieved her of the flowery curtains and other decor which wasn't to my taste so she is finally starting to feel like home. Pretty candles, cushions and girly stuff have now taken over! I will get some before and after photos posted soon.

There have been dramas along the way including a slight electrical hitch that occupied the majority of a weekend, and a rope round the propeller as a result of my stupidity, but everything is coming together nicely now and I am almost ready to set off cruising properly. Just a couple of vents to install and a bank of batteries to secure and we'll be there I think!

I've spent most of the past week without gas / electric whilst the welding work was completed in the engine bay and have really started to appreciate the simple things in life - there's something almost magical about spending an evening or three reading by candle light in front of a burning stove, boiling the kettle on the fire to make hot chocolate. Long term I don't doubt I would hate it, but for a week it was quite cosy and made me think of families living like that permanently on their boats in years gone by. They probably didn't have an mp3 player for company though!

On a boat, there's definitely a fine balance to be found between things you want and actually need in life. It's taken a while, but I am genuinely surprised how little I need in order to live comfortably. Gone are the days of electric kettles, 2000w hairdryers, big tellys and lava lamps but I'm happier than I have ever been. Fingers crossed I'll still be saying the same once we get into the depths of winter!