It’s 9.50 pm on a Thursday evening. I wonder if it’s ok to have my generator on. Am I the only one it is annoying or are my new neighbours cursing me? Is there city protocol for such things? Should I only burn smokeless fuel? What do I do with my ash? I just can’t bring myself to put good, natural wood ash into a plastic bag for landfill but yesterday I was told it was horribly alkaline and bad for the river. Scatter it on the common perhaps? Pee on it to neutralise the pH? That may be a synergistic solution for all boaty waste conundrums…
I got a license! Yes, at last. After only ten months wait, I’m allowed to moor in Cambridge, anywhere in Cambridge. It’s ace. I get woken by rowers. I can go to the pub and stumble home. I can carry my washing to a washing machine, either in a launderette or a home. I can light my fire and then go to the pub while the boat warms up. I can buy food at Sainsbury’s on the way back from work. I can leave work late and get home early (relatively speaking). I can leave home early at get home late. And the burden is gone. The burden of potential. The concept of the commute. The weather-watching, temperature-guaging, procrastinating other eye. The only downside I’ve found so far is the complete lack of exercise I’m now getting. The 15 minute commute on my new lean, mean, no-friction machine (bought for the field) means I barely deserve my shower upon arrival!
I feel bad. I’ll turn my gennie off.
Full batteries are great. Batteries charged, gennie off, the noises I hear now are a flickering fire and the hiss of gas heating my kettle. I am discovering the joys of hot water bottles. What spoilt generation do I come from that hot water bottles become a joy and discovery, rather than an occasional comfort, at the age of 32?!
The flickering fire, I love that too. It is my television screen; I can stare at it for hours, mind floating. Sitting on a sheepskin rug on an egyptian pouf, watching flames dance, thinking about nothing and everything. Wondering what I’m going to do next. Not with my life.. with my minutes. Go for a run? Make a cup of tea? Read? Write? Tidy up? Fix something? And so time progresses in front of the fire until one day I’ll be happy doing nothing; doing that most important thing.
I had two fire dreams today. On one I was on an expedition with a family, flying between the poles, visiting scientists, visiting polar communities, sharing stories, observing and documenting the polar regions changing. Filming and broadcasting the whole experience and wondering if the trip was justifiable or gratuitous. Wondering what would happen if all people who cared about global warming stayed at home. If we didn’t fly, didn’t have children, didn’t burn coal, didn’t drive, use hospitals or eat meat. The global impact of aviation is comparable with the hospital industry. The climate impact of the automobile industry is the same as that of the meat industry. I hear statistics like this every day. I don’t know how true they are but they’re always from reasonably reliable sources, quick to provide back-up. If we arrogant few didn’t burn any fossil fuels, but equally didn’t engage with the global system, how much climate impact would that have in the long run? We might as well all kill ourselves and hope others will follow suit. Ok granted: facetious.
The kettle’s boiling, time to pre-heat my bed.
In my second dream, I met the mac man. This is the lovely man I spoke with at length this morning on the phone. He was great. I didn’t want to stop talking to him. He had a had a jordie lilt to his accent, a gentle manner, patience, kindness, a sweet temperament. At the end I admitted that I had never had such an enjoyable customer service experience before. He blushed audibly and we struggled to find excuses to stay on the line a little longer. And in my fire dream I met him. I’m not sure what it says about me, or society, that I’m flirting with a computer helpline.
It’s been a good day for flirting though, there must be something in the air. Flirt with the World, and the World flirts back. I also phoned Orange today, bracing myself for the usual 38 minute wait, and got through almost immediately. The trick is to select all the options which say you want to quit your contract. Not only do you get connected within minutes (less than 5), but they’ll also offer you every upgrade and perk going. So for the first time in a long time, I even love Orange today: they’re going to give me a flash new phone and unlimited calls to any land-line in the UK from my mobile… quite handy if you live on a boat!
That’s it. I have nothing left to say. This weekend I’m taking Nooksak back to the field, back to the moles and the constellations, the swans, the dawn chorus, the wood stack and friendly landowners, the country. While my city license and field moorings overlap I have two homes: one in the town, one in the country, about a two or three hour drive away by boat. How very middle-class.