Narrowboat wives love the rain
Love it or hate it the rain in England is a constant. Like a nosey neighbour that just pops by when you happen to be hanging out your delicates, the rain has no intuition. However, I’m determined to embrace that neighbour, invite her in for a cup of tea and put on another load of dirty laundry.
I love the rain. My mum used to hate it. I think that is when I first formed the notion that the rain was something dangerous, something to be feared or something to be avoided at all cost. Yet, on most children’s programs there would be children in welly boots stomping around in the wet stuff and having what looked like an extreme amount of fun. At our house the closest I got to the rain was drawing in the condensation on the inside side of the windows.
So it comes as no surprised that I would want to put my grown up size wellies on and go stomping up and down a tow path in the rain. When other boaters are safely tucked away doing Sudoku or witling I much prefer to embark on a cruise. Because of the Sudoku and witling it usually means that the canal traffic is down to a minimum and you can cruise at a slow ‘got nowhere to be’ kind of speed. It means you don’t have to pull over, get caught in a shallow and have to use your push off stick to continue on your journey.
I recently bought a swanky, not cheap, waterproof jacket for just such the day. ‘Will this be completely waterproof?’ I asked the sales assistant a little suspiciously. I’m from the era when waterproof attire was like wearing a hard plastic bag.
‘Oh yes,’ he nodded enthusiastically. Then he paused, ‘how much rain do you think you’ll encounter?’
‘How much rain?’ I thought, ‘How much rain is in England? It’s like asking how long is a stick, how much rain?’ I internally shook my head.
‘A usual amount of British rain,’ I replied rather calmly!
‘Oh yes, that should be fine.’
And with that I bought my first grown up waterproof jacket. Last weekend I had the opportunity to really test out that jacket. After testing it for three hours of ‘British rain’ I then had the opportunity to throw it on the soggy ground and stomp on it. Then I further had the opportunity to write a harshly worded email to the selling agent about ‘British rain’ and ‘waterproof’ and ‘false-advertising’ while my third change of clothing dried in front of the fire.
When we first bought the boat we inherited whatever gifts were left behind by the previous owners. I random bar stool- very nice condition. A brand new sleeping bag- smelling a bit like mould. A closet full of ancient plastic wet weather gear- there were trousers made of plastic, jackets and hats. ‘I’ve no need for them now,’ I thought naively upon buying my swanky waterproof jacket, ‘I’ll just donate them.’
Fortunately for my laziness I hadn’t got around to donating the booty yet as my cruising in the rain day ended with me fully clad from head to toe in sunshine yellow waterproofs. Yes, sometimes old school is the best school. Sure- I made a sound like crackling thunder when I walked, and sure, I couldn’t sit down without splitting the snug-non-give material; but, I was dry and I was happy and I was sunshine yellow!