With the starboard side of Peggaotty finished and my Christmas bonus safely in my pocket I’ve decided to treat myself this year. No more sleeping in damp mouldy beds (there was actually a puddle in my bed and I’m pretty certain I stopped pissing the bed a long time ago), blowing up extension leads and paying horrendous electric bills for crappy fan heater warmth which dry’s ya skin out worse than the spray of tar off a boat and disappears as soon ya turn the dam thing off.
This year I’m gunna be comfortable and warm and oh by fuck its gunna luxury living here in pikey paradise!
With this in my mind I spent last weekend running around the shops buying everything I could find. After six months of spending my money on nothing but the restoration of my boat this was a very novel feeling. I left with a memory foam mattress, an electric blanket, some waterproof socks, a new duck down coat and an electric bicycle. As any good boater knows, nothing is ever easy and there is a funny story behind all the above purchases so enjoy the read.
After wasting Saturday getting angry with indecisive land lovers in shop ques I spent Sunday desperately trying to cut and fit my new-fangled memory foam mattress. The forecast was good so I figured I’d be laughing but the rain gods saw me coming and they laughed and laughed and laughed. With a brand new mattress balanced on two wobbly trestles I desperately marked all my lines and set to work with my bread knife and managed to cut my oddly shaped triangle just before the biggest down pour of the day. I hadn’t quite figured out how I was going to get it up the 20ft ladder and through the goblin sized door but if you picture a beautiful assistant in a magician’s box contorting herself to avoid the jabs of his sword…it was a bit like that. Once I’d managed to squeeze the dam thing into the fore cabin it was safe to say there was no longer an item left on any of my shelves, a perfect chance to do the dusting some might say, I say fuck that. Now for the electric blanket. The lady in the shop didn’t tell me you had to tie them to the mattress to prevent yourself dying in your sleep and someone discovering your decomposed hot smelly body a week later! I watched a YouTube video…it was a bad idea. If the horror of changing duvet covers in a boat scares you then I recommend you never buy one of these. I had a stroke of genius though and pierced holes in the new mattress in an effort to trick the electric blanket into thinking that my bed is in fact a rectangle and not a triangle. Success! Problem number one on the list has been solved! No more sleeping in a puddle, falling between the gaps in my cushions I’d stolen off an old boat and roughly cut to size, no more second fan heater to try to dry the mattress out and hopefully no more exploding extension leads! Ten birds with one stone, this should not only do all the above but also halve my electric bill although I’ll still get a cold nose when it hits freezing but us boat folks is hardy and it’s a dam sight more than I ever had last year. I also treated myself to a blanket that is also electric, that you just wrap round you like a snuggly god of loveliness while your chilling with Netflix, I’m yet to see whether it’s good enough to lose another fan heater but as soon as my smelly lodger is gone its coming out the closet, one can’t share ones blanket with stinky boys, it’s just not acceptable so it shall remain a well-kept secret till he goes.
Since living on a boat I’ve discovered that it doesn’t matter what “cheap” warm clothing you buy, if its cheap, its shit. But I have never been able to bring myself to spend more than a tenner on a coat, I just cant do it. My neighbour however struck gold in the charity shop and found me a £200 designer duck down jacket, perfect fit. The things like a radiator, I didn’t know coats like this existed, if I had I probably maybe possibly would have bought one a long time ago! He did have to part with a fiver for it though so in exchange I swapped him for my spare pair of waterproof socks I’d just nabbed at the local “nautical tat” shop. I wish I hadn’t. Anyone who reads this and either works outside, cycles through puddles or just generally isn’t very civilised…go and buy yourself some waterproof socks! They are the best invention since down jackets! Because of my job I have to wear comfy flexible shoes so I can crawl in tight spaces and neatly tuck my leg behind my head if required, unfortunately safety boots nor waterproof boots fit the bill so I work in Primark’s cheapest UGG f slipper boot things. They are so comfy and so warm but they see a puddle and that’s it, wet feet for ever, I don’t even have to walk through it for them to know there is water there. BUT with my new amazing waterproof socks there is no stopping me! I might just give up on shoes all together!
So things are going well and life is looking up. The thought of another winter as hard as the last one fills me with dread. All that was left to test was my electric bicycle which at great expense I was hoping would be the best purchase yet. I’ve never owned anything new that wasn’t less than £50 and I have certainly never owned a new bicycle so this was a pretty big thing for me. Almost like entering another portal of grown up hood. In the end I bought a boys one coz all the ladies ones had wicker baskets and I didn’t like my chances of turning up at the yard with a wicker basket and coming out alive. I didn’t think I’d have any issues with it but oh how wrong I was! It’s got these nifty little lights that run off the battery but are they powerful enough to light up the root protruding from the tow path…course their fucking not! I’ve never had lights at all so I figured one would be better than none but when ya powering along at 15MPH with skinny ass wheels hitting a tree root is pretty fucking terrifying. Next on the list of problems was a race down the lane with my boss just to prove how cool my new toy was, bad idea. I swerved to miss a speed bump and hit the mud. On a motorbike ya can ride through mud no problems but 15MPH on a dam bicycle with its skinny little wheels will throw you flying, which it did and I nearly got run over by the boss. That would have been an interesting insurance claim, especially considering he owns the road.
I’m sure it will only be a matter of time until I grow some balls and man up with regards to the electric bicycle but in the meantime, I shall just be doing regular cycling when its dark and I’m very glad my mum made me buy a helmet. As for everything else, I’m slowly entering the 21st century. I started with no toilet, no shower, no heating, no cooker, no fridge, no standing head room and a vintage bicycle from the dump. Now I’ve got all the above minus the shit bicycle which makes me think I must be doing something right! Don’t worry though, I won’t be getting too posh…that’s my lot for the year, back to squirrelling away every penny for the restoration.
Go forth an buy waterproof socks!!! Stay warm and keep floating 😀