Thursday, 15 March 2012

Life is Beautiful

It’s 9am. I’ve just walked half an hour to nursery and then cycled back thinking about the things that I’ve got to do today. The engine’s broken down (again) so the marine engineer may be coming, if he can. Because we can’t move the boat to the water point I’ll first fetch a barrel of water for the tank. I’m going to do the laundry, the dishes and take the recycling today, as well as doing a day’s work at home. As I cycle down the towpath thinking of how the day is packed with chores I notice the brilliant blue sky framed through the old canal bridge; the painted boats beyond, showing all the colours of my watery village; the sunlight glinting on the water and the swans gliding by. I remember what my blog was all about in the beginning: that Life is difficult: but beautiful.  That sums it up really.
I put the bike on the front deck and roll the 40 litre aquaroll to the water point. Then I pull the full barrrel back down the muddy towpath and lean it against the side of the boat; still on its side. My neighbour opposite lives on a Dutch barge and works on boats. He is in a small rowing boat heading a few boats down to another boat this morning. He smiles,
“Is that you commuting?” I grin. He laughs.
“I used to have another boat: a work boat. But this does me fine really: I can’t fit a welder in it though.”
As he rows away I turn just in time to see that our boat has shifted out slightly and my water barrel is falling into the Cut!
“Nooo!” I wail, as I leap urgently back onto the towpath and grab the handle. It’s heavy and sinking. I wrestle with the cap and undo it in time to begin pouring the freshly collected drinking water into the Cut. I struggle to hold the weight of it, the boat begins drifting back towards me jamming the barrel between the boat and the bank. The concrete edge of the towpath is digging into my knees. I manage to pour enough water out of it so that it is light enough to heave out.  With relief I lift it onto the front deck and begin to pour the half a barrel that’s left through a funnel into the water tank.
My neighbour is returning, rowing back the other way.
“That’s one way to fill the water tank,” he says. Luckily he did not see my embarrassing incident.
“We’ve broken down,” I explain.
“I know one guy,” he says, as he rows on up the Cut. “When it rains the rain water from his roof goes straight into his water tank!”
When you’ve broken down water is even more precious than it usually is. I’m gutted that my entire water expedition has resulted in a mere 20 litre top-up. I need to start my day now; turn on the geny and washing machine, get a coffee and get to work on my computer.
The sky is impossibly blue and the sunshine glistens on the water. It’s 10am. The geny’s on; the laundry’s on; and I’ve finally written an honest blog post about the real life of a narrowboat wife. Life is difficult, but beautiful!

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