... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Monday 23 April 2012

Water to-do!

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.


  1. now that there's so many blogs, they're a bit more respresentative of the range of people you meet - including the idiots. ;-)

  2. Well said that man! But of cause there was a more important very good reason why boat cabins were very regularly moped down. Back in the day, back cabins were made from two layers of tongue & groove with a layer of tar paper in between. If this timber was allowed to dry out, the boards would shrink and the paint/varnish would crack and the seams would open up and the next time it rained they would leak like a sieve. So boaters regularly moped down to keep them wet, in fact some working boat cabins never dried they mopped them that frequently.