It’s July and that means we’ve now reached 10 months of boat ownership and 7 months of liveaboardship.
To mark these inauspicious occasions, I’ll share some details and ramblings about our river life, close-up. It’s also an excuse to share some pics from my new 85mm lens, truth be told.
The gosling (alarm clock)
During March, April and May, we were absolutely thrilled to be awake at 5 AM every morning with the sound of a honking, rowing goose argument.
It was even better when my clients asked me “what the hell is that noise?” while conference-calling-from-boat during the hundredth daily goose row.
Thankfully, the turf war ended with the arrival of the hatchlings. It was as though a wave of chill descended over the gaggle immediately.
I counted roughly 15 Canadian goslings in the area this year. 5 hatched next to our boat, 5 hatched near our water tap and the rest from unknown local origins.
Not long after the hatchings, I noticed a very large, single group of babies of varying ages paddling the neighbourhood. I was told by a local that Canadian Geese live in tight-knit social communities and operate a creche / nursery system. It certainly takes a village.
I go all gooey as a gosling poop every time they swim up to Odin’s window and I glimpse their yellowy down and wonky, enormous paddling feet. I am definitely not feeding them rolled oats from my back deck every other day, promise.
The f*#%ing leaves and pigeon poop
Speaking of poop, there’s a particularly talented pigeon pooper that likes to sit on a branch immediately above our stern door hatch.
It really amazes me how it never splats the door hatch, even when it’s open.
Oh wait. I meant always. It always hits the door hatch, especially when it’s open. I’ve cleaned many a juicy poop off the stairs and the sofa and the walls. So kind.
Mix that with living under a willow tree that has been malting a strange kinda white fluff since April / May, we’ve got ourselves a regular, slightly annoying clean-up job. The stuff gets everywhere.
I can’t work out whether I’m dealing with willow fluff or spider’s web, they’re so similar. It’s usually both.
The tiny fishiez
Summer arrived properly in June and with it came calm, super clear waters and tiny fishiez.
Looking out over the shallow water from our stern deck, I’ve been watching these little creatures grow-up too. I’ve even spotted the occasional larger shadowy fishy visitor swim by. Swim away, little fishiez!
The engine (grime)
We’ve been told Odin’s Mercedes engine is probably from an old truck. When we bought her, we bit our lip as we watched her spurt and cough. We had zero clues as to what it was going to take to revive her. She would chug a bit with revs, but hated going into neutral and so she certainly wasn’t trusted to make any journeys.
And lets not forget the hours of effort Chris put in to cleaning her engine compartment leading up to engine surgery. It was a container for leaves, willow mess, grease and grime. A dirty, horrible job that he completed almost entirely by hand with a sponge and a bucket.
With a week or so to go before Odin’s appointment with her second boat yard, Chris’s Dad – a diesel mechanic with a garage specialising in commercial vehicles – came to visit. In a matter of hours, his expert hands and eye magically brought her back from the brink.
Odin whirred alive, the propeller started turning and we heard all the right noises. I can still feel the worry/joy when I watched Chris and John take her on her maiden cruise – a quick trip around the island.
A first journey under our own steam
Last Monday, the day came to move our dear Odin to her second boat yard.
We have a large number of cosmetic improvements on the renovation list, including an extension to the bedroom cabin at the front and a shiny new paint job. Unlike our previous journey home from our first boat yard, this one was finally going to be under our own steam.
It was a gentle, sunny (sunburned) 3 hours adjusting to navigating the River Thames. Being responsible for moving / floating / chugging our LITERALLY SINKABLE home however, may take some getting used to.
And so here we are again. At a new boat yard, patiently waiting for Odin’s transformation.
Unlike last time, we should only be parted for roughly 4 weeks. Cross fingers. I’ll try to keep on top of the updates while she buffs and beautifies and comes back to us a-shimmering.