I don’t understand how people live on narrowboats. It’s not the weather or the narrowness or the watery life that would prevent me. Its the lack of room for hoarding stuff. I’m currently half way through clearing out our loft at home in readiness for men to come and lay new insulation. Already I have brought down the ladder enough stuff to sink the average narrowboat. I can’t ever see us getting into feng shui or minimalist room layouts – we just seem to be natural hoarders.
This has been a wonderful voyage of rediscovery though. Old books, games, clothes, photos, broken musical instruments I mean to repair one day. Not to mention old suits and trousers ready for when I once again have a 32” waist. Letting go of some of this stuff is a challenge, especially for Kath who still can’t bear to part with our Peter’s toddler clothes ( he now weighs about 16 stone!). However the profusion of charity shops that now occupy half of our (and most people’s) town centre gives us an opportunity to feel good about letting go.
What is rather more irksome is that about half of what we have found has gone straight to the tip. Not that I mind dumping it, it’s just that we have been storing all this worthless junk for years and years. It’s a bit like my favourite definition of a fridge, which is “a place to store food until it is rotten enough to throw away”.
What has been good has been the chance to get our kids to face reality. A goodly proportion of our house seems to be dedicated to providing a home for their stuff, even though they haven’t lived here for donkeys years. This week I have been writing ruthless emails like “Your Commodore Amiga 500 and discs and manuals - ebay or charity shop or tip?” Note I haven’t included the “keep” option. So far the main result has been to get them to admit that they’ll never need this stuff again and just to let it go. Why then did they ask me to keep it all in the first place?
So, soon we’ll be partially cleansed – not fully of course, we still have the shed and the garage and the conservatory and the cupboard under the stairs bursting with rubbish. I mean you never know when we’ll want our ice skates again or when we’ll find a need for half a dozen quality cameras that use good old film.
So I guess all this disqualifies us from permanent residence afloat. We just couldn’t do without our clag.