Living on Coot (part one)

What a brief adventure it has turned out to be. No sooner had I finished unpacking, than Andy got himself a job in Australia. Nooo, I cried, I LOVE this boating life. I want to live like this forever!! But….okay. A job is a job is a job, and you know what, why not. It will be sunny, every day. And everybody tells me it’s ‘a great opportunity’. Nobody has an answer when I ask them what it’s actually an opportunity for, but that’s okay, the idea is growing on me. And then Astra starts a month long obsession with Huntsman spiders (they are very big) and other Australian delights, and I wonder if Australia for an arachnaphobe might be even crazier than boat life for a hoarder. Hmm.

Our few short months on the boat have been wonderful. It has been difficult at times, but I recommmend boating as a way of life. It’s a way of living in England that means you are slightly removed from the bureaucracy and the societal pressures that living in a street can bring. Don’t get me wrong, there are societal pressures on boats too, such as, don’t have your engine running after 8pm (thank you fellow boater for hammering on our boat one night to enlighten us about that rule)….but they are a tad more *real* than the pressures of living in a house. Well, this is how it has felt to me.

It’s a more down to earth way of living. It isn’t self sufficiency, or living as a hunter gatherer, but it is a lot closer than I have experienced before. Except for those childhood holidays in our ramshackle caravan in a cow field, where the toilet was a tin can and the lights were fuelled by gas. And you washed from a bowl of icy cold water. On a boat you need to deal with your own toilet waste, haul your own gas canisters, light your fire when it gets cold, get your own water. You have to go somewhere to collect your mail, you have to dispose of your own rubbish. You have to use the launderette to get your clothes clean. And you have to pay attention in a way I never did in a house.

In our first month aboard, everything broke down. It became our morning greeeting, ‘wonder what will go wrong today?’. The water ran brown, the water pump failed. The *other* water pump failed. The fixed water pump wouldn’t stop pumping. The boiler stopped working. The toilet leaked. The toilet clogged up. The windows leaked when we were out. The engine bilge filled with water. The power ran out. The power ran out again. And again. The kitchen sink leaked. There were other things too. I was keeping notes, but I got bored. ‘Something goes wrong every day’, I thought, I can just say that. But after a month, the boat ran out of things to go wrong, it had all been fixed/replaced/got used to. And we had more or less stopped banging our heads, stubbing our toes and feeling seasick in the shower.