Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Excuse#8 Living on a boat

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There are many reasons why living on a boat can present challenges to the writer. One is lack of power. I know this shouldn’t count as I do have a pair of hands to write with but, as keyboard gives way to paper and pen, I am able only to create a scrawl that I’m not guaranteed to be able to read later. My handwriting always left something to be desired but lack of use has made it largely illegible. It becomes a test of the mind and imagination trying to work out what I have written, but does provide the opportunity for a good first edit.

The lack of power problem this week derived from spending a while moored under a hedgerow. The tangle of hazel, hawthorn and alder prevented the sun reaching the solar panels and, as we weren’t to move for a few days, hubby was super-cautious about power consumption. Everything on the boat (fridge, freezer, radio, TV, computer etc.) is powered by the 12-volt batteries that are charged by the engine when we move. Usually the sun, and very occasionally the wind, top up the batteries through solar panels and a wind turbine. The hedge blocked out both light and wind so, once the laptop was flat it stayed flat, and by the end of Sunday it was dead. Monday we were stalling out at an art fair and the rest of the week was taken up getting round to those little jobs we always plan to.

In a week of sparse-writing: the hull above the waterline was washed and painted; the steering wheel was rubbed down and varnished five times; the struts supporting the engine room ceiling were coated in bitumen; a step for the back deck was built; scrumped apples were peeled and pureed; guests came for dinner; a Dutch friend came to view an English barge; and friends of friends came to see what it’s like to live on a boat. They were given the rose-tinted tour as, later in the week, we were reminded what it’s really like. Halfway through showering, lathered up and ready to rinse, the water stopped flowing. Our shower is in the bows of the boat; the water tanks and pump are at the rear. The wooden floor in between saw two sets of damp footprints dripped across it before a hefty thump got the pump going and the water flowing again. It’s carried on being one of those intermittent faults but seems to have settled down for now. In the meantime we’re ordering a spare pressure switch.


Written by Sarah Ann

September 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

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