It’s been a while since I last dedicated a blog to living on a houseboat. I did say I’d write about it again. This is as good a time as any, especially given that I feel no pull towards any of my short stories in progress.
So here is what it’s been like.
Winter was cold. I would not wish to repeat it on this boat. There’s only heating in the bedrooms, none in the kitchen or the bathroom. The boat is older and, though recently refurbished, not very well insulated.
We had a relatively mild winter, few nights below zero, no snow and for the most part it was dry. Last year was colder and spring took forever to make an appearance.
We were lucky this year and had it been anything like last, I’m not sure that I would’ve been happy to sit it out on the boat.
Now with spring well underway, it’s much better and I can enjoy it more. There have even been days already where sitting on deck was lovely. I’m very much looking forward to more of that.
When I have my own boat, proper insulation will be a must. I also want underfloor heating throughout, which I know is feasible. There are a few creature comforts that I would not like to live without.
A few things concerning mooring on the Thames.
The difference between high tide and low tide is surprisingly big. On average about six to seven metres.
That means that half the time the boat is sitting in the mud and the other half it’s in the water. It’s a mixed blessing, if you will.
It’s not the prettiest sight around the pontoon, when the boats are sitting in the mud. But your home is also not constantly rattled by the waves thrown up by passing traffic.
When the tide is high the view across the Thames can be lovely, if you ignore the junk floating past. And the ducks, geese and swans usually come by, asking for bread crumbs I don’t have and wouldn’t give them anyway.
The ducks usually get bullied by the geese. The swans bully everyone, but always say hello to me, if they are around.
But if the tide coincides with the busy times on the river, it gets rocky. It tends to be worse in the evenings than the mornings and it can certainly get tiresome. Thankfully the tides are moving and I get about a third of the time quiet mornings and evenings.
Another third it’s either or and then there are the times were the high tide hits mornings and evenings. That is what’s currently happening.
I’ll be on the boat for another four months and because it’s not winter anymore, I’ll be enjoying most of that time. But I would not necessarily live on that stretch of the Thames again or on a boat that small.
I don’t regret living there, though, it keeps me sane just as much as writing does, and do I ever enjoy living by myself. I may get a boat mate soon, but again, it won’t be much longer for me anyway.
And perhaps the next boat I’ll live on will be my own.