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Boaty things and engagement rings 16th May – 18th June

The moment when Martin piped the engagement ring on to my finger.

It’s been a long time since the last blog, and much has happened since we arrived at our mooring in Lechlade. But first, I did promise that I would give the final statistics about the journey. It took us 24 days to get Skûtsje back to Lechlade from Terherne (excluding the days we spent in Terherne getting the rudder repairs done). We travelled 600 miles, and used 600 litres of fuel.

We were later getting back home from our trip than expected, so our day jobs took precedence over sorting the boat out, and in addition we had to pack up and move out of our flat. But Summer was on its way, and the nights weren’t too cold, so we lived mainly on the barge through the Summer using a small oil filled radiator for some heat for the chilly Spring nights, and canisters of water for domestic purposes. The barge is tied alongside our narrow boat, Lark Rise that has a shower and an oven (of sorts!!), so we continued to live between the two boats as best as we could.

The barge was tied alongside the narrow boat when we got home, and e continue at present to live between the two boats

My biggest disappointment was discovering that the small water boiler on Lark Rise could not cope with a shower any longer than approximately 6-8 minutes. This is fine if you want to have a quick shower, but not fine if you want to wash and condition long hair, have a shower and shave your legs! By the time you are lathered up with the second shampoo, the water turns cold, very cold!

At the moment I have to shower on the narrowboat. Then I have to go back to the barge, boil the kettle and then wash my hair using the good old fashioned head over the basin with a bowl of water and a jug method. 

The second problem was ‘where do we put everything from the flat?’ We did have a serious clear out of stuff when we packed up, but still ended up with items that needed a home on the barge, and we still had many things that were left on the barge by the previous owners, it was clear that we still had a lot of culling to do.

This is the day we moved from the flat into the barge 
with many items still needing a home

On the upside, despite picking our way around our belongings inside, when the weather was good there was nothing to beat sitting on the top deck in the evenings with food and a nice glass of wine. Or catching crayfish for dinner. Amongst our busy schedules we snatched time out in our canoe and made plans for our renovations on the barge, and on one such trip on a sunny day in June, we moored our canoe upstream for a picnic, and Martin asked me whether I would consider being a Gyptian* boat wife, and I accepted.

  • Gyptians are the boat dwelling people in Phillip Pullman’s His dark Materials Trilogy
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