Just back from Morocco, via Heathrow, smugly congratulating myself on splitting my life between Casablanca and Surrey. Wriggled through the impossibly small hatch into the belly of Joja. Problem one: there’s no power, so my entry is made in darkness. Problem two: feel my way down the steps with a foolishly large suitcase and remember why people living on boats tend to favour duffle bags over rigid luggage. Problem three: whilst wedged between my case and the saloon paneling, I find my ankles plunged into icy water. Problem four: the river seems to have expanded its horizons and is not where it can normally found (i.e. outside, lapping poetically about in the Thames). It transpires that the saloon is partially filled with the marina. Ironically, in addition to the electrics being out, the fresh water tank seems to have sprung a leak, so we find ourselves in the unusual situation of being partially submerged while having no fresh water onboard. We spend an interesting few minutes attempting to explain this to our six-year-old. She listens, all the while, ecstatically splashing her new school shoes in the fish tank that her cabin room has become. She’s doing this by torchlight (due to afore mentioned power failure) so it is only the next day that we realize that we now have a parquet-covered ridge the size of a felled tree running the length of the boat.
I might be new to life ‘afloat’, but I’m guessing that whatever is under our parquet floor rapidly expands when saturated. My mind casts back to media friends living in Barnes, who have a plush scarlet rug with a built in designer ‘recliner bump’. My mind snaps back to reality to conclude that we’ve little chance of passing off our newly acquired bump as desirable.
Ian goes off to shake a spanner at the bilge pump. Seems almost all boat-related incidents go back to the problems with The Bilge. Sounds like something furtively lurking beneath us waiting to have another go. Conclude that with no light on board, other than that of an ageing Maglite, it’s probably best not to mention ‘the furtive lurkings of the bilge’ to the six-year-old.