The Problems With Living On A Narrowboat In The Winter

This time last year I was undoubtedly banging on about how magical life aboard is at this time of year. When the waterways become quiet and still, the temperature drops, and your little floating home becomes the cave of ultimate cosiness. It would either of been that or yet another storm making me question our life choices! But this year folks the honeymoon period is long gone, and I’m getting real.

I have been beyond grumpy these last couple of weeks (I know poor James), partly a result of man-flu, coupled with being extra busy this month and generally a bit run down, I know I’m a delight, right? James asked me what was floating my boat and sinking my ship this week, and I admitted I hadn’t published it this week, because in my head I thought it was an issue that I wanted to cover more than in a couple of lines. When I asked James what his would be this week, it was the fact he couldn’t find the suit he wears once a year, that is of course nothing to do with his lack of organisation, it is of course one hundred percent a result of boat life.

So what is it which has been so awful this week that I felt required it’s own long winded post, I’ve been overwhelmed by the feeling of claustrophobia these last few weeks. The boat feels so messy (even though it isn’t), everywhere feels cluttered and closed in. I even investigated bringing a Kim and Aggie type company in to sort the boat out for me. Last week I think I realised the route of these feelings.

You see the joy of autumn, sunshine with cooler temperatures, peace and tranquillity and stunning scenery are soon replaced with the realities of the approaching winter, the dark nights and cold miserable weather. This in turn sees boaters hitting a retreat to the safety of their boats. You suddenly find yourself spending a lot more time in your boat, and whereas before you would of looked out onto a family of ducks bobbing round, with your side hatch and front doors wide open, you now open all areas to the bare minimum needed to do what you need to, and you daren’t look at the windows because you are met with the terrifying inky blackness out of horror films.

Couple this increased time in the boat with the fact that winter takes up more space I think I’ve found the cause of my problems. Winter takes up so much space, whether it’s the big wool jumpers, the boots, coats, bags of coals and kindling, it all takes up space and what is the one thing we know about space on a narrowboat, it’s at a premium.

This might have passed me by last year, when we were caught up in the honeymoon phase, the excitement of moving into the different seasons. I’ve realised there isn’t much you can do about it, it’s the way that winter is. Hopefully it’s just those first few weeks of adapting to it which take a bit of time and can be a little difficult. I finally have a weekend off in two weeks, so hopefully then I’ll be able to get around to a big sort out, which should help to ease these feelings.

Not having had the time to do this yet this year means that a lot of summer stuff is out and taking up vital space which the winter stuff could use. It is of course my own fault for not having sorted this sooner, winter comes at the same time every year, but after the summer we had it seemed to creep up all the more.

So there you have it, there is the biggest thing sinking our ship at the moment, such a problem in fact, that it commanded it’s own dedicated blog post!

James & Kirsty

A diary of live aboard life

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