This post has been brought to you by Robin Hamilton, surly narrowboat dweller and tasty bit of rough from Barging In. Josephine Myles is his humble scribe, and is offering thanks on his behalf to Heidi and Marie.
How to make a cup of tea on a narrowboat in ten simple steps
- Shift sleeping cat and boyfriend’s arm off chest and peel back covers quickly, before the frigid air makes you chicken out. Leap out of bed and pull as many layers of clothing on as possible. You may end up looking like a tramp, but that’s only to be expected when you live on a boat. Woollen hats with ear flaps and thermal undies are essential during the winter months.
- Stagger through to your galley and make an unnecessary amount of noise clattering about with the kettle and lighting the wood burning stove. This is to wake Dan up. It won’t work, but never mind. You can always go back and wake him up in a more pleasant way once you’ve had a hot caffeine injection.
- Discover your water tank has run dry. Turn the air blue cursing Dan for using up all the water last night with a totally unnecessary shower. Well, okay, it probably was necessary bearing in mind the mess he was in when you’d finished with him, but you can conveniently ignore this fact as it’s early and you haven’t had your first cup of tea yet.
- Head outside with your kettle and walk along the towpath through the early morning mist. Eventually reach a spring in the hillside, and fill up your kettle with delicious fresh water. Feel somewhat rejuvenated by splashing some over your face.
- Get back to the boat and put kettle on hob. Turn on gas. Gas refuses to make an appearance. Curse even louder at inconsiderate boyfriends and their profligate use of the water heater last night.
- Stumble out onto the front deck and open the gas storage hatch. Discover you neglected to buy a fresh bottle of gas last time you ran out. Rub temples vigorously to try and ease caffeine withdrawal headache and startle all the ducks by letting loose a torrent of foul language.
- Remember you have a perfectly good wood burning stove you can heat the kettle on, and regain some measure of calm.
- Boil kettle on stove, but discover your milk has gone sour. Knock head against nearest flat surface and resign yourself to drinking your tea black, rather than white – the way every self-respecting Brit drinks it.
- Slurp down mug of black tea while glaring at stove. Decide that Dan can make the next round of tea. You’ll let him find out for himself all the trouble he’s caused with his inconsiderate late night showers.
- Remove layers of clothing and crawl back into a warm bed. Snuggle up next to Dan who makes delicious sleepy noises. Nuzzle against his fresh-smelling neck and decide maybe that shower was worth it after all.
Meet Robin and Dan properly in Barging In by Josephine Myles – published by Samhain tomorrow.