Monday, 19 January 2009

Coal comfort

My efforts to burn only wood this winter have failed - I've had to buy a bag of coal.
I've been on and off the boat a lot recently and not been able to keep up with the wood foraging and cutting. One evening, I got back to the boat about 6pm on the 5th Jan, the night when the temperature fell to -9. The taps had frozen and so had the water point but a kind boater gave me some water for my dog, my kettle and hot-water bottle (which I was given for christmas - yay!). My bit of wood finished burning by 8pm and me and the dog slept right next to the stove in a sleeping bag, all my clothes on (me - nothing suited the dog), under a pile of duvets and covers. We were fairly toasty but in the morning I saw the dog's water bowl had frozen on the floor next to us and on the wooden wall in my bedroom, condensation had turned to ice too. It was actually quite funny for some reason. Of course all the windows were iced up inside as well, like being in an igloo. Luckily, I could make hot drinks and food and dress like the Michelin man. God only knows how homeless folks fared without that comfort that night.
Anyway, I bought coal the next day and was roasting, with everything defrosted.

I'm finding it difficult being inactive back on the boat, feeling powerless. Not that being 'active' is particularly empowering at the moment either. I'm making plans, decisions, projects. I've also got some illustration work to get on with which helps me stifle my fury and despair at the injustices going on. Back to boat things: I'm looking for a mooring now. I may even have to get into bed with BW - groan.


Carol said...

Not bad that you got through this cold snap with just 1 bag of coal. I felt cold just reading that post, but I do think there is something rather comforting about being all snuggly warm under cover while outside that blanket is icing up. Luckily (Or unluckily) for me, my menopause has its own internal combusion so throwing the covers off is something I relish a lot at the moment!!

Carrie said...

Hi Carol
If only we could regulate that internal combustion to cold winter nights only, then I'd say - Menopause - bring it on!
I've found some wood now so I'm sawing again, but I'll be very glad to see springtime. I saw my first snowdrops yesterday!

Anonymous said...

This post made me smile. It reminded me of my boarding school days. Our school was a Jacobean mansion and it was frequently cold in the winter.

One winter's night the rattly old radiators failed, and the next morning there was ice in the washbasin in our dormitory (and probably in others). We boys thought that was hugely funny. We thought it was a test to toughen us up.

(That makes me remember more: When I went around the Civil Rights museum in Birmingham, Alabama, I laughed at the exhibit showing 'white' schoolrooms (very smart) and 'black' schoolrooms (very tatty) side by side. An African-American guide was clearly irritated at my amusement.

I had to tell her that the 'black' schoolroom was actually rather better-equipped than my old school, which was one of the most expensive in the UK when I was there.

The difference: We had it tough, but we were taught well and we were taught we were special.

Deprivation is often more a lack of love than a lack of comfort.

Anonymous said...

Hi GB, sorry - didn't see your comment until now. Funnily enough, I always think I live in comfort and luxury most of the time! I think I've ben offered 4 TV's since I moved on the boat, by kind folk who feel sorry for me!
- Carrie