Oxford and Cambridge Blues

No, this is nothing to do with winning or losing The Boat Race, though one particular boat does come to mind as Oxford and Cambridge Blue are the ‘official’ colours of ours.

boat raceWhenever anyone says they live on a boat, most people seem to visualise an idyllic lifestyle of lazy days cruising the waterways
canal boat
or sailing across calm seas.
My own view was limited space, lack of the luxuries such as a washing machine and freezer, and basically living in a caravan on water.

layoutOh well, at least there’s no need to worry when looking out of the window and noting that ‘the garden’ is permanently flooded.

I would be lying if I said I am 100% happy with the way we now live.
To quantify that, let’s deal with the important things.
Hubby, me and the dog are fine, great even. Definitely 100% happy.
healthy heartWe are together as a family unit, warm, dry, well fed and living within our means.
We have no worries of house maintenance, wind damage or just waiting in trepidation for the next major repair to come along.
We can enjoy grassy banks, trees, birds and nature whilst watching someone else pushing the mower (well, he sits on one) or pruning branches. The wildlife here looks after itself, and we are encouraged NOT to feed the ducks (though I did see someone sharing a packet of rich tea biscuits with a growing flock of mallards).
We ditched the car that was going to cost a bomb to get through the next MOT, buying a new one with warranties, yet being practical enough to keep the second vehicle which although a year older had done little mileage and would still be a good workhorse.

I was described as ‘methodical, practical and reliable’ by a past employer, plus I am a quick learner, adaptable and resourceful, being able to work as part of a team or on my own, whatever the situation warrants.
Both of us have different ways of looking ‘outside the box’, but the result is we get the job done, usually without it costing the earth, with the minimum of fuss and mess, ONCE we have worked out our solution. It’s what makes us a great team.

We spoke to a lot of people before taking the plunge, so we didn’t enter into this way of life wearing rose-coloured glasses or under any romantic illusions. One thing I note now was  none we spoke to owned dogs. Cats yes, but canines? No.
Saying that, there are a lot of people here who own dogs and it works for them.

What is getting me down is the pissistant weather.
No, that is not a typo. I’m getting really fed up with it raining nearly all the time lately.

rainfallMaggie, bless her, is being so good. It would be so easy for her to whine and whinge first thing every morning to be taken out. Hubby usually gets up first, and on fine days, takes her out as soon as he’s dressed. On wet days, obviously the inevitable is put off as long as possible, and to my shame, I have discovered that if I stay in bed, Maggie will stay with me and go back to sleep.
We had torrential rain all of Thursday night, yet in the morning, it had stopped so we thought we could take her for her morning walk together. We got caught, and subsequently soaked, so she only had a short trip after all. The rain was in for most of the day, but we managed getting out in between showers, even if it was only to the grass and back. She had her final walk at 10.30 last night when at least it was dry.

wind and rainIt started to rain again this morning, getting forever heavier and windy, and eventually we had to don the PVCs and get out in it. I wore the black leggings and yellow coat, Hubby went the whole custard, and Maggie was wearing her little coat with its overjacket.
She performed as soon as we hit the car park, then we put her in the car and went to do our own ablutions.
Hubby decided we deserved a bacon roll, so we drove up the High Street and noticed the Town Hall was open with an arts and crafts fayre. They were serving bacon rolls and a cup of tea for £2.50. We were lucky to find a parking space quite close, so as it wasn’t raining too badly, we took Maggie in with us.
She was made a fuss of by several people, and naturally we shared our bacon rolls with her.

An Old Boy came in, and as there was a shortage of seats, we invited him to join us. He said he had a collie too. We had a very pleasant conversation, and if he hadn’t already ordered a bacon roll to go with his cuppa, I would have bought one for him as we both thought he looked like a lonely guy who came to the Town Hall for company as well as a cup of tea. He asked if he could give Maggie a bit of his roll too, and she of course was looking her most pathetic and appreciative when she got her way.

When we came out, it was bucketing it down. Tipping was long gone.
camping wet dogIt’s not the rain so much, it’s getting everything (and the dog) dry after we’ve had to go out in it. Condensation is already a major problem, and having 2 damp adults and a damp dog does not help.

We’ve put pegs on the flap down windows to allow for air flow to get rid of some of it, then when they are closed, let the dehumidifier do the rest.
Also, when it’s been raining continuously, no sun means the boat can’t dry out on deck, nor can any heat loss inside be replenished.
It’s a balancing act, but we are learning.

Our double glazing panels are working, as are our ‘clingfilm’ secondary fittings.
The kettle is turned off before it starts steaming, and lids are left on saucepans when I’m cooking.
We have vents in the bow doors, and are looking at a way to reduce the draught as we cannot block them. I had a large piece of card that fits across them nicely which is a temporary fix until we can sort out something more permanent. The vent in the ‘front door’ at the hatch end is bigger, but the pram skirt cover has reduced any draught there considerably.

On days when we don’t go out, if I wanted to make some more cards, I can put the table up at one end and Hubby could watch a DVD at the other. Similarly, if he wanted to work at the table, I can watch a film, or simply read.

I am learning what is meant by squalls, squally showers, and understanding the radar picture a little better.
Having no internet at the boat for so long meant that we were relying on looking out of the window and across the fields beyond the river for some indication of what the weather had in store. The radio forecasts were never what was said wherever we lived, and the Marina here is no exception.
squallJust take out the church in this picture and replace it with boats, and that’s practically what we’re looking at.

I have just got back from the quickest avenue walk ever. I hadn’t been back 5 minutes when the wind picked up (squall) but the sun stayed out. Grey skies are now looming again, but Maggie is fast asleep on her bench perfectly content in her world.

We can’t control the weather, and I know there will be worse times ahead when Winter comes. Everyone has been issued with their Winter Warnings about the water supply being shut off from the pontoons and drained in really cold weather.
From what we can gather, this can last for days, if not weeks, which is another reason why we have been calculating how long a full tank of water will last us, and also looking for large water containers (seem to only be popular in camping shops in the summer) that we can trundle up to the shower blocks which won’t be affected on our trolley to fill.

It’s not so much as a learning curve, but a learning arc, and we all know how Noah got on with that.


About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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3 Responses to Oxford and Cambridge Blues

  1. scifihammy says:

    Really interesting learning about life aboard. Does sound like you have to be “ship shape”. Hope the rain eases up! 🙂

  2. Ooh, soggy days for the three of you. Yeah, sounds like a bit of a bummer on the wet weather front. I hope the clouds give way and you can dry out for a spell. The pendulum seems to swing wildly, doesn’t it? Either feast of famine with the water issue.
    As long as you keep your sense of humor afloat …

    • We’ve had a lovely sunny day despite a chilly start, and made the most of it by airing the boat from bow to stern. Maggie has had three longs walks, and we are looking forward to a cosy night in. The custard outfits are dry and so no longer cluttering the helm. Chilly we can handle with aplomb!

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