Job #3 involved a lot of swearing and some falling over.

No, it wasn’t fixing the hot water. The heater has been sent away to a Mikuni borstal in Southampton where it will be prodded with a stick whipped into shape.

We’ve got to the point in boat living where in order to navigate our way through the good ship we have to dodge the obstacles littering our path. These obstacles consist primarily of junk. Useful junk though, such as extension cables, tins of paint, art boxes, various hammers and screwdrivers... and an exercise bike (no, really...). There isn’t anywhere handy to store the bike but a nice big sideboard with drawers and cupboards would be ideal for hiding everything else away whilst making the boat look sophisticated and grown up. Sideboards are for grown ups. This is a well known fact.

So, we ordered a nice looking one online and were a little surprised to discover we had to pay an extra £10 for delivery. We have a van, we could collect (read ‘we’ as ‘the hubby’) but no, it would take two people to deliver it in a very big lorry. Pah, I thought, I’ll show them when it arrives and I carry it nimbly onto the boat without any assistance. They’ll have to pay me back my £10 because I’m so strong and capable and would have effectively delivered it myself...

Ok, so it didn’t quite go according to plan.

The lorry arrived eventually after getting lost on the way to our pub.

Yes, pub.

I pointed at the tiny marina and pulled an expression that I hoped conveyed the message of “does this look like a pub to you?” I fear it didn’t work as the deliveryman asked again if it was. Eventually he lifted my flat pack sideboard into my awaiting cart with such ease that I thought maybe he had accidentally delivered a box of Styrofoam balls by mistake.

Now, I am a bit useless at maths, but he drove the lorry, he unloaded my sideboard, he loaded it onto my cart... I count that as ONE man. I was tempted to ask for half my money back since I only got half a delivery service... I didn’t though because he was nice and friendly and I’d only have to phone up the company later to inform them that someone was missing a box of Styrofoam balls and please could I have my sideboard. I'd mention it then.

It was only when I came to transfer the box onto the boat that I realised I had in fact mistaken the delivery man for a human and not the Iron-man that he was because I tried to lift the box up and... Nothing happened.

It was too bloody heavy for me to lift.

So heavy in fact, that I had to unpack it and move it piece by piece onto the boat whilst accepting that I am a wimp with no upper body strength...or lower body strength for that matter.
Still, I was yet to prove my capabilities by assembling the sideboard. I’d have it done in an hour or so. I mean, how hard can it be to assemble a piece of flat pack furniture in a confined space?

Look it has knobs, well, feet to most people, but nowt shows progress like a set of knobs...
Six hours later the hubby arrived home to find me swearing at bits of wood and screws and he may have taken pity on me because he got involved (with a complete disregard for the instructions...).

At this point I was left to control the unruly wildlife that was taking an interest in proceedings and consume copious amounts of tea.

But we did finish the epic build only eight hours behind my original schedule. It hasn’t stopped us dumping all our junk on the floor and we still trip over everything. Well, I do because I’m clumsy with no sense of balance or self awareness. The hubby just strides over it all... but we do feel all sophisticated and grown up now because we own a sideboard.

HMS LCTNOITRMWWTLI goes for a run. Well, it was more of an amble.

Yes, we took the old girl (or should that be boy since we gave the boat a masculine name?) out to stretch her (his?) legs and have a break from all the DIY.

We didn’t go too far, just far enough to get away from the hustle and bustle of our home mooring. There’s a secret spot that only the locals know and where the world can pass you by in relative silence. I say relative because the geese were noisy beggars and kept up with regular swim-by honkings.

The only folk we met on the river were the inmates of HMS Salter’s Party Boat of Loud Disco Noises or Goring, if you prefer its proper name.

We disguised ourselves as a grassy bank:

Actually, I don’t think the spot is that much of a secret because there was a well used fire pit. I started the camp fire whilst the hubby wasn’t looking (I deny all accusations that I have a habit of accidentally setting things on fire).

Rob also took the opportunity to stand in a field and play his mandolin. The lengths some musicians will go to to get their music heard. He did a great rendition of Postman Pat though. Yes, that was one of my requests...

I think I drank a gallon of tea whilst Rob pickled himself slowly in rum. That made winning at cards that evening a lot easier but it did mean I had to do some proper crewing on the way home the following morning whist Rob recovered.

Was lovely to get out onto the river again. Hopefully, we'll do it a lot more.

Job #2 Prod the shower pump with a stick.

And so I did. This is no lie. I also threatened it with a hammer but we don't talk about that.

In all fairness, there wasn't anything wrong with the pump per se; it just needed a little bit of love and de-limescaling.

The plumbing from the shower to the pump, on the other hand, needed a bit more work (and prodding with a stick). I probably didn’t help matters with my over exuberance to get the work done (let’s just say that water was draining into the bilges for a little while).

In the end, Rob bought me this:

Who knew a plunger could be so much fun? And who knew how much limescale grit could get stuck in a plug hole?

This really isn’t an exciting post.

We now have a shower that drains remarkably well though.

Shame we don’t actually have any running hot water.

Ooh, could that be job #3?

DIY? Yes, I know I'm not to be trusted.

We've decided that since I've far too much spare time on my hands I should attempt to fix the boat.

So, I made a list of all the jobs that need to be done. It went something like this:


No, it isn't actually a list I know, but if I actually wrote one then I'd reach old age by the time it was finished and I really wouldn't be up for much DIY. And the boat would've sunk. So I thought I'd keep it simple.

So, job #1. Fix the lights.

This was a pesky one. You know there's that job you've been meaning to tackle for the last few years but have been putting it off because the last time you tried to fix it you just made it worse? Well, okay, you might have done it properly the first time round but read my bio, it says I'm rubbish at DIY. Anyway...

It really was a simple job: a 2 minute attach-a-wire type affair, only to get to the wire I had to take the ceiling down first. Not so difficult really, I know, but you have to factor in that to get the ceiling down I had to chip away at polyfilla-ed screws. 25 of them to be exact and that can make you lose the will to live.

The last time I did this job it went swimmingly right up until I put everything back together and the wire for the light fitting fell out. So I left it dangling for a year and a half whilst I cursed at it and gave it the Evil Eye. It turned out that this didn’t help fix it at all, which is why, on Tuesday I tackled the job once again. It took 4 hours to remove the polyfilla from the screws; it took 30 seconds to pull the ceiling panel down:
I reattached the wire for the light and gave it a good tug this time (not chancing that problem again). I then set about my one woman job of putting the ceiling back together.

I failed, but it wasn’t from lack of trying. The ceiling panel was big and I’m little. I could hold the panel in place but I didn’t have a spare hand to secure it. I tried using my head but even that wasn’t big enough. In the end I resorted to bullying Smiles, my neighbour, into helping.
And so, tadda:

I promptly showed off my magnificent handy work and the fuse tripped. I tried showing off the lights a few more times and each time they tripped and left me light-less. So, I returned to cursing it and giving it the Evil Eye and planned never to attempt to fix it again. It was to stay like that, a constant reminder as to why I should never do DIY. It would be my bargaining tool with the hubby in a “Do you really want me to try and fix that? Look what happened the last time I tried. Really dear, you should fix it yourself,” kind of way.

But Rob, the ever practical chap that he is, suggested trying a different light bulb. So I did and it worked. There was much whooping and even a victory dance.

We now have working lights and this is good news.
Unfortunately, it also means that I’m forced to tackle job #2.
I’ll let you know how it goes...