I'm not quite sure where all the dirt comes from, but the oil and grease on the lock paddles play a significant part. There is also quite a bit of crawling and clambering involved onto the roof and on and off the boat. Running between the locks to get each one prepared and pushing the heavy gates results in you sweating in the most unfeminine way. I had purchased some pastel coloured T-shirts and a white fleece for the boat which I have now switched out for darker colours.
|You learn from your mistakes|
There isn't much room for girliness, your clothes have to be practical and hard wearing. Your footwear waterproof with a good gripping sole. You need to know you are going to land safely when you are jumping off the boat onto the towpath. By the second day of our journey, I had given up putting on makeup, the routine comprising of sunscreen on face, hair tied back and baseball cap on. I quickly came to accept my hands would end up looking workman like and that every muscle in my body would ache. Funnily enough, before our journey I was concerned how I would get a workout in, something that was quickly dismissed after half a day of cruising.
I became slightly obsessed with the level of the water tank, checking the map each day for water points to refill. We took showers that involved turning the water on, turning it off while soaping up, turning it back on to rinse and still the water goes down quickly. My choice of shaving legs was to either do it wet and cold or put up with hairy legs. Once back home I luxuriated in a 15 minute hot shower, soaping and shaving until my heart's content.
|Water point, the oasis of the canal network.|
Paul, being more of a numbers person became obsessed with the battery power. We have a digital display telling us the "Time to go"which is scary because on a boat no power means no water, no heating or lighting, no toilet. Now we use power sparingly.
|Fiendish battery monitor.|
Of course, when in the Marina we have unlimited water and power and we use it with abandon...