I feel so lucky to be pootling along the watery highways and byways of this amazing canal and river system of ours. To do what I do is a privilege, I do not take the waterways for granted because a lot of people, put in a lot of work to bring the canals to life. Many many moons ago, many have given their lives so that I may have my way of life and I thank them all. My hope is that I can continue to live this life for the rest of my days, but I often say to people you never know what's around the corner and so I make the most of everyday.
When we had our boat built, we had it built with old age in mind, we both considered the fact that we both want to see our days out on the boat and so had a washing machine and a fridge freezer fitted as well as the extra saloon room, we also have the option to move into the hold if we want to, but as we are both more than happy with the room we have now, I doubt that will ever happen, after all it does hold all our coal. There will come a day, when we can no longer physically move the boat, or I can no longer do the heavy lock gates, either because of old age or ill health we will then have to find a mooring somewhere. Both of us have said we will not go back into bricks and mortar, but one should never say never. We know a lot of mature people who have lived on their boats for a lot of years and will continue to do so for as long as they can.
Whilst writing this posting it got me thinking. Yeah I know that is not a good thing to be doing, but it did nevertheless.
As a woman on your boat, do you know how many gallons your water tank holds???
No asking the old man, be honest do you know?
Not only that do you know approximately how long a full water tank lasts on your boat, what with washing up, showers and doing the laundry, if you have a washing machine?
See I know that our water tank holds 150 gallons and we can make it last as long as 3 weeks if we have to, but we usually fill up every 2 weeks and sooner if we see a water tap.
It was just something that crossed my mind, as my fingers wandered over the keys of my keyboard. Mind you with so many of the letters missing on my keyboard, I am amazed I actually know which letters I am typing half the time.
Also another question for you as a woman on a boat. If your partner, husband etc falls ill whilst your cruising, would you be able to take over the tiller, in order to get you on to a mooring and seek help?
More and more I am hearing from women that they do not know how to steer their boat, they say it is their partner or husbands thing, so they let him do it. This is not the way to go ladies, we need to know how to steer the boat and how to moor it up, because the worst could happen. If your at all worried about being taught by the other half, then go on a helmsman's course. The instructor will show you everything you need to know and it may just save a life. Keith has taught me all I need to know, but then he is a patient man and is a great teacher. I do realise that not all men are the same, after all they say it is never a good thing to let your partner teach you to drive a car, as it is to stressful for the both of you, so maybe it is the same with a boat. You must decide on that one LOL. Just something to think about though.
Since I have lived aboard and continuously cruised, I have found that it pays to be an engineer, plumber, electrician and carpenter, if you have a small amount of knowledge on all of these things it will save you a small fortune. I even went on the course to learn how to change the packing in the stern gland, one day it may come in handy, well that is if I am still agile enough to get down there to do the job.
Being a woman on a boat means getting stuck in, especially if you live aboard, but even if you do not, it is worth learning about your boat, after all it took two of you to save for it and two of you to buy it, so why not make it two of you that steers it, and does all the maintenance. Know your boat from one end to the other I say.
Ok so back to my rambling about my life afloat. I never in a million years could have imagined that I would be living this life. I had never seen a canal or even been on a narrowboat until I met Keith, but for me it has always felt like coming home. I love getting my hands dirty. I don't mind getting wet, as long as I am not cold. I am happy to cruise in the Winter when the canals and the towpaths are frozen, that is baring in mind that we are not frozen in, in the first place. I put all of this down to the fact that I was born and bought up in farming, so was used to getting up early, getting wet, cold and had to do a lot of hard work. All that has meant I am as happy as a boater can possibly be and feels so lucky ;0)