But today there were patches of blue sky so I came back to my boat. I had a good chat with my current neighbours, who are L-O-V-E-L-Y and gave them one of my courgettes, and they were chuffed. Took myself back to my boat and prepared to spend another evening in the dark, reading Sherlock Holmes by headlamp. Which is actually not the worst way to pass the time, but hardly enough to kick start my va-va-voom, y'know?
Then a boat pulled up opposite. I know the guy who owns this boat, I met him at a lock on the Leeds & Liverpool canal and he showed me a trick for going down locks singlehandedly for which I'm for ever in his debt. He uses this boat so underprivileged families can have holidays. I see it around all the time. Today there's a youngish white couple with a black kid, so I'm guessing he's adopted or fostered.
So they pull up and tie their ropes, and the kid gets out a fishing rod and starts pulling tiddlers out of the canal, really excited. They seem like a nice bunch. I took my glass of wine and Sherlock Holmes and sat on a picnic table next to my boat. Suddenly I hear a voice, loud as anything:
"THIS IS THE BIGGEST SLICE OF CAKE I'V
It was the kid. He was sitting on the front deck of the boat with - surprise - a big slice of chocolate cake in a bowl. He didn't know I was there, and probably didn't care. He was just making that announcement to the world, because when something so monumentally fucking awesome happens like getting the biggest slice of cake of your life while you're on holiday in a boat and you've just conquered nature by yanking live fish from their habitat, you do just have to shout it out loud, don't you?
Anyway, kid and his cake may have provided me with the cure for my jaded life. I live on this canal and I work on this canal, so it's only natural I get bored of it. But there are two boats here which offer holidays to families who could never otherwise dream of doing it (take a look at the price of hire boats and make sure you're sitting down) and I'm going to try and volunteer my services (did I mention I'm a QUALIFIED BOATMASTER now? if not, that deserves a post of its own and I'll rectify that soon). For totally selfish reasons, because I think I need to see boat life though the eyes of other people who really, REALLY appreciate it to remind myself of all the things I should be thankful for.
Because there's more to life than electricity.