Sleeping on a Narrowboat – A week of lost zzz’s

The last week has been a tough one for getting in the Zzz’s, it’s mainly my fault for popping a blog out saying how kind the winter had been for us. Since then we’ve had a frozen cut, gale force winds, driving rain and snow. I appreciate it is entirely my fault, but I’m going to complain about it anyway!

Nights on the boat in adverse weather are rubbish, and this last week I don’t recall a night where I haven’t been woken mid-snooze by impending weather doom. For any none boaters out there here is a quick guide to adverse weather on a boat:

  • Rain bouncing against the side of the boat at 0200am is not romantic
  • Gales that rock the boat enough to send your dining room table flying to the other side of the boat do not make you feel cosy
  • Risking loosing both feet if you touch the floor without a slipper on does not make you feel more in touch with nature

Adverse weather on the boat is rubbish, and I will tell you now if you are not the heaviest of heavy sleepers or drunk you will be woken up by the bad weather.

But don’t be fooled dear reader that’s not the interruption I’m here to write about. Nothing, and I mean nothing guarantees a night of bad sleep on a boat as much as what I experienced last night.

I’d just drifted off, cosy and snuggled when I got an elbow to the ribs ‘Did you hear that’ James whispered, quite why he whispered when he’d just woken me I don’t know, neither did I have any idea what the ‘that’ I was supposed to of heard was.

‘What’s that?’ I asked, and then he went there, he went and said the one word which is guaranteed to equal a sleepless night for any boater, ‘D-R-I-P-P-I-N-G’. Oh sweet Jesus, dripping, it makes your blood run cold and your hair stand on end. I listened, there was a definite drip drip noise, perhaps one drip every 3 minutes. I reassured James that if it was coming in at one drip every 3 minutes, we’d probably make it till the morning. So off he drifted into a peaceful snore filled slumber.


While I was left spending the night listening to that concerning drip drop. Thanks, a bundle James! Upon waking this morning, we found that the kettle had decided to no longer be watertight, and had sprung a leak, drip dropping from the side board onto the counter. Fabulous, I lost a night’s sleep to a kettle!

One thing this does cement though is how peacefully quiet the nights can be aboard, to be able to detect and loose a night’s sleep to a single drip. It’s a blessing and a curse!

James & Kirsty

A diary of live aboard life

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