I may be exceptionally innocent, but while browsing a few blogs that I rarely read the other day, I came across something which genuinely surprised me. It seems, that while most of us have been worrying about how the winter drought and subsequent water shortages will affect our ability to go boating, there are some people out there whose primary concern is whether they will be able to continue using a hosepipe to wash their boat.
Now, as I say, I may have led a sheltered life, but in all the years I have owned a boat, sitting in a canal full of water, it has never occurred to me that I would need to used expensively processed drinking water to wash it with. Maybe, just maybe, for a final rinse of a shiny white little yogurt pot, but for a dirty great steel narrow boat? It beggars belief.
Keeping their boats clean and well presented was of the highest importance to working boatmen and women, but when all your water for drinking and washing had to be collected and stored in one or two two-gallon cans, no way would this be wasted on the boat when there was water in the canal (far more polluted and dirty than today's canals, too, it has to be said). They didn't spend hours or expensive products washing and polishing their pride and joy either - but still, in most cases, kept them immaculate.
Go to any gathering of historic boats and nearly all the boats will be gleaming - but I can almost guarantee you that none of them will have seen a drop of tap water.
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