Monday, 17 December 2012

12 Days of Waterways #Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love said to me,
“The generator won’t start.”
On the second day of Christmas my true love said to me,
“The engine has broken down.”
On the third day of Christmas the marine engineer said to me,
“I’ve got a bloke who can rebuild that injector pump but it will take him a few days.”
On the fourth day of Christmas we borrowed the neighbour’s generator to top up the batteries. On the fifth day I worked on my computer at my friend’s house because we didn’t have much electric left. Did I mention the invertor had broken again too?

On the sixth day I said to my two loves, my children,
“You cannot watch TV because there is not enough electric, but we can light candles.”
They are loving the candles and find them very exciting – like a birthday cake.
By the seventh day of Christmas we were very low on water and the engine was fixed. But we could not move the boat to the water point because the canal had frozen. The marine engineer dropped round with his invoice and we had a chat about living in houses and what you may or may not miss about living on the Cut. He and his family lived on a boat for about 12 years but they live in a house now.

On the eighth day of Christmas I pulled the aquaroll down the towpath to the tap to fill with water. There was frost on the ground and a gentle mist on the canal; it looked like a beautiful Christmas card. Beside the old arched bridge while the ducks walked on ice I found that the tap and pipes at the water point were frozen. We will have no running water today. I took the empty aquaroll back home.

On the ninth day of Christmas I went to my eldest daughter’s nativity play in the local church. On the way to church she asked me,
“Mummy, have you ever lived in a house?”
“Yes darling, when I was younger. And when I was a little girl I lived in a house with Grandma and Grandad.”
The play was called The Very Hopeless Camel. It’s her very first nativity and my daughter looked cute. She sang very well and was dressed as a sheep. My husband went to the supermarket while I moved the boat a few hundred metres to the water point. This is usually not difficult but I have never tried ice-breaking backwards before. Cruising through a partly frozen canal is sometimes necessary if you are out of water, and the ice can be broken with the bow. But without a nearby turning point the best way for us to get to the water point is to reverse there. Even though it is difficult to steer a narrowboat backwards, I must try not to hit any of my neighbour’s boats. Breaking large sheets of ice really slowed me down. But I was relieved that when I finally moored up the tap has defrosted and water ran freely!

I filled the tank and my husband came back from the supermarket and emptied the sewage out of the toilet tank with a hand pump: It’s not all roses and castles – as they say.
We then forged forwards through the ice, moored up, had a sandwich and were out again in time to get to our youngest daughter’s Pre-School Christmas concert. She didn’t want to wear her angel costume and was too shy to sing but at least we made it there on time.

Tomorrow is the tenth day of Christmas and I will be writing my Christmas list:
One new invertor, one back-up generator, a larger water tank and plenty of cash to spend on the marine engineer.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my best friend shared with me:
Hot running water, 240 volt electric, several rooms with carpets, prosecco and dinner, and a house to spend the weekend in. We’re celebrating her birthday and my birthday in her new house.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love said to me;
“Do you think you would like to live in a house instead of a boat?”
And I said, to the glittering canal that was my first true love, to the waterways of England that have carried me for years, and to the swans at the side hatch and the ducks at the door;
“My darling English waterways, I have loved you all these years, but sometimes I do have my doubts about us living together.”
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