Orginally Written by Polly Kay - https://pollykay.com/?fbclid=IwAR11SIrtKXx945PQW_sbu0oS8rhz1YTOWPLa3ajSZNTPl3CxTzf5hiWay_o
I thought I'd pop it here cause I'll never find it again if it ends up in my filing system.
1. All of your clothes will smell faintly of ‘real fire’ or coal, regardless of how recently you washed them. Initially this is an inconvenience but eventually you come to rather like it.
2. If you own any white, cream, or pastel coloured clothes, they will soon take on odd black smudges, regardless of how careful you are about keeping them away from the stove, hod, or anything else coal related. This remains as an inconvenience and does not fade.
3. When visiting another boater, it is uncouth to ask to their toilet, unless you are at least a fifteen minute walk from another toilet facility (for women) or a wooded area/ bush (for men.)
4. If you have boater visitors over for more than four hours at a time, you will find yourself spending the latter half of their visit thinking that surely they must need to pee soon/ is your bathroom so nasty that they are too scared to want to use it/ how much more tea can you ply them with as a kind of pseudo-scientific experiment, just to see what they’ll do in an emergency.
5. Visits from other boaters will seldom exceed four hours without them either departing/ needing to go back to their boat for a minute/ having to ‘pop back to the car for something,’ see point four.
6. ‘Townies’ fill gaps in conversation by talking about the weather. ‘Boaties’ fill gaps in conversation by talking about water levels.
7. Pump out or cassette? Oh hells no. Don’t even go there.
8. It’s okay to insult a man’s wife, children, career choice, hair, or dress sense. But engines must always be coo’d over and spoken of in hushed approving tones, regardless of their size, condition, or maker. Shhhh! She’ll HEAR YOU!
9. If you are expected to go to work in anything approaching smart casual, you have likely got a pair of boots ‘for the journey’ that are generally covered in orange clay- like towpath mud, and also a pair of ‘smart shoes’ that are clean, patent leather, and walk less than ten steps a day. Plus a bag to keep each pair in, separately.
10. You become obsessed with what you can convince your stove to burn... Large, unwieldy or inflammable objects of rubbish will all be graded highly, according to your success in convincing the stove to eat them.
11. Ecofans. Having an opinion is mandatory. Having ever tried one is not.
12. If you have a posh new shiny boat, you are probably king of the marina. Conversely, that may also make you ‘king shit’ and/ or a N00b/ ‘more money than sense joker’ out on the cut.
13. ‘Online’ no longer just means that you have internet access, and committing the faux- pas of confusing the two meanings in conversation is verboten.
14. Portholes or windows? See point seven.
15. It seems perfectly normal to you to have both the stove/ heating going full pelt, and all of the windows open.
16. If you can’t manage to have a thorough shower, including shaving your legs, washing and conditioning your hair, and brushing your teeth in under four minutes/ four litres of water, you have failed as a boater and should probably consider moving back onto land.
17. Whenever you go to work in an office, visit a friend in a house, or have cause to use a hotel, you need an extra bag to haul along all of the things you want to charge up from their mains while you’re there.
18. Irons, microwaves, hairdryers and hoovers are all for posh people.
19. You used to own ten big thick jumpers for use in winter. Now you own two big thick jumpers, and a bottle of Febreeze.
20. And... You can make ten cubic feet of stuff fit into four cubic feet of space.
21. You keep a mop on your roof because everybody else does, but you’re not quite sure why...
22. When everyone else on the train home standing up is swaying about and clinging to railings, you are in the middle of it all freestanding, swaying with the flow and not falling down (until you do!)
23. Your mailing address is the same as your parents, for the first time since you were 16 years old.
24. Rosie and Jim are Bad People.
25. You probably started life on your boat with a novelty neckerchief, captain’s hat, pirate bandana, or
“I’m on a boat, Mother F***er!” t shirt. By your third week therein, you have experimented with how that burns on the stove (see point 10) and roll your eyes and snort derisively at the fresh faced wannabe’s who have taken your place in committing aforementioned fashion faux-pas.
26. You have a beard. This is neither negotiable, nor gender- specific.
27. You can answer the question “is it cold on a boat in winter?” sensibly, only a finite number of times,
before deciding to mess with people and saying “yes, it’s terrible, I have nearly died of hypothermia twice this year already, and I don’t know how I’m still alive...”
28. You thought you’d save money in winter by using the open bow as a fridge/ freezer for your food...
Until you realised just how much alcohol you could actually store there if you stacked it all up right.
29. Upon hearing ‘man overboard!’ you reach for the camera first, and the life ring second.
30. When other people fall in, you are never there to see it/ photograph it. But you know damn well that when YOU fall in, there’ll be a group of Japanese tourists there, immortalising it on film and upping it to YouTube within the hour.
31. You can cook and serve a full Sunday roast for four, with less than two square feet of counter space to work on.
32. You stop thinking to yourself, “there’s some funny people on the cut” around the same time you realise that you are just like them, actually.
33. The 8pm engine/ generator off collective: You’re either with them, or against them.
34. You know that you have to disown any of your former friends who are apt to order “a pint of lager, please” in the pub, and you’re okay with that, actually.
35. Your hands and nails are NEVER clean, no matter how much you wash them.
36. You WILL have some kind of nasty toilet emptying related incident within your first few weeks away from mains plumbing. No one can teach you how to avoid your own personal initiation into boat toilet hell, you’re just going to have to grit your teeth and wait for it to happen.
37. When you started out with the boat, you had a little list of about five things that you needed to do/ buy/ sort out. However, due to a phenomenon I like to think of as ‘boat mathematics’ you learn that for every one item you cross off of said list, another two appear.
Three months down the line, your list has about 30 essential and time sensitive things you need on it, and your earnings for the next two to four years are already committed to it. Oh well, spaghetti hoops for dinner again..
38. If it moves and it’s not supposed to- Duct tape. If it is supposed to move and it does not- WD40. For everything else, there’s MarineFlex.
39. The first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is look out of the window and make sure that the land is still at the same level to you as it was the prior evening, and that that recurring ‘sinking’ dream was in fact, still just a dream.
40. For your first two weeks of living aboard, it feels like the ground is swaying, even on land. It’s a little bit like the first stage of getting tipsy, before the bad head and bad judgement kick in. Enjoy it while it lasts... You’ll miss it when it passes!
41. And on that note, it's also worth mentioning that an impressive number of boaters seem to produce their own elderflower (or similar) wines. This is very refreshing, tastes delicious, and doesn’t seem particularly alcoholic. Do not fall for this! I promise, you only need one all day hangover, complete with associated ‘vomiting over the side’ incident, to learn your lesson on home brews, boats and moderation!
42. You become obsessed with list and trim, beyond any approximation of what is reasonable. “Does my boat look wonky to you? Are you sure? I can feel it, I know I can. Look again! See?”
43. You start a ‘first cat to fall into the cut’ sweepstake, but realise that there really are no winners in that game, when said cat comes bolting in drenched in grimy death water, and proceeds to burrow her vile smelling and soaking wet self under the duvet with you. At 4am.
44. Your internet search history includes terms such as ‘shooting ducks legally’ ‘Eating wildlife UK law’ and ‘Mallards edible or not.’ Purely for the theoretical knowledge, you understand.
45. Good things about living on a boat? The food cupboard is within reach of the sofa.
46. Bad things about living on a boat? The food cupboard is within reach of the sofa.
47. The first time that you steer your own boat yourself, however slowly or poorly, you just know that you’re the coolest dude in the world. I wouldn’t say that the feeling is better than chocolate, but it’s certainly better than sex. (Did I go too far with this one? I went too far, didn’t I. )
48. You start to wonder why the hell everyone owns a key float, when they don’t actually float after you’ve attached your bunch of keys to them. Take my word for this one, and plan accordingly!
49. You can do the washing up every third day, and then only if you have a full bowl, and feel virtuous about it as opposed to slovenly.
50. You used to hate having pictures of yourself shown around, because you always look so gormless in them. But with boating pictures, you don’t even really mind that you look like a cross eyed imbecile, because you’re just so obviously happy in all of them.
There are a few I could add to this and might do when I'm in a better mood - MEANWHILE I need to go sweep the chimney as refueling is becoming a bit smokey... it's about 2 months since I last did it whilst on route up to Skipton .
Until next time...