Top 5 Ways to Wake Up on a Boat


I do apologise, dear readers, for not having updated this blog in such a long time – I’ve been somewhat busy taking care of my dog who just lost her ear to cancer.


Now you feel bad.

Fortunately, something happened in the early hours of this morning that inspired me to pick up my quill (laptop) and get bloggy with it.

Quick recap: we are currently moored in Rickmansworth, on our way Oop North (Milton Keynes is Oop North when you come from London), on a corner of the canal where the towpath bends around towards a lock. We are also very much In Nature, meaning that when night falls and it is dark… it is dark.

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 10.04.34

Our view during the nighttime.

Around 1am this morning, a cyclist – who evidently thought night cycling with lights is for BABIES – cycled right onto the front deck of our boat.

We know this because we sleep right underneath it and also because, when someone crashes into your bedroom ceiling at 1am then proceeds to yell ‘I RAN OUT OF TOWPATH’, you tend to wake up.

This delightful wake-up call got me thinking about how #boatlife is actually really good for those of us who are not the world’s most natural early birds because it often tends to wake you up in the most horrifying and adrenaline-triggering ways possible.

There really is no better alarm clock; when you’ve been woken by boatlife – you stay awake.



So without further ado, I present to you…

The Top 5 Ways to Wake Up on a Boat!

  1. Wake-Up by Coot

“Oohh boatlife must be so peaceful. Is it so super peaceful? I’ll bet it’s the most amazingly peaceful,” say People when I tell them I live on a boat. ‘Peaceful’ is actually the Number 2 erroneous adjective People use to describe imagined boatlife, after ‘Romantic’.

As anyone who has read this blog before will know, boatlife it is not romantic (unless you think poo and dirt are romantic) and it is most certainly not peaceful. Yes, we are surrounded by nature but – guess what? – NATURE IS REALLY NOISY.

Introducing the drunken football fan of the natural world: THE COOT.



If coots aren’t fighting then they’re procreating and when they procreate they make miniature coots whose natural state is yelling, constantly.


2. Wake-Up by Sinking Noises

Of all the noises to get you out of bed faster than a coot when it sees another coot it doesn’t like or wants to have sex with, sinking noises are numero uno.

Since our boat has never actually sunk…



…I’m not sure what I think sinking noises are but generally bubbling, swishing, dripping, and swooshing are all enough to get me out of bed faster than you can say ‘coots suck’.

Wake-Up by Floating Away

Okay I’ve written about this before but I really cannot stress enough how quickly you wake up once you realise your home is floating freely wherever it pleases. Coming adrift from your mooring is Number Two Not Fun Boat Thing (after sinking).

Also I am sorry to say that that time I wrote about wasn’t a one off. Thanks to soggy ground, dry ground, storms, wind, rain, no rain, and people who don’t understand that four miles per hour is a necessity not a lifestyle choice, this has actually happened many times since I wrote that first blog. Many times I have awoken to the sound of our mooring pins joyfully shaking themselves loose from their dirty homes. Many times I have looked out the window only to see the towpath waving sadly goodbye.

And all this is even despite Ed purchasing a new heavy metal pin-hammering mallet that I can barely lift.


That’s the one!

Wake-Up by Boris Johnson

Once I was woken up from a perfectly good nap in the most horrible way possible: by experiencing the nearby presence of Boris Johnson.

I was awoken as he cycled past, both by his characteristic call of ‘Hrrrmpg burrghh gurrgh bruuhh’ and the sound of people loudly swearing at him.


A rare occasion in which I am in agreement with a cyclist.

Wake-Up Upside Down

Ahh, I saved the best one until last. Also, unfortunately, the most common one of late.

Due to a lack of dredging and an abundance of idiots (the sort who leave paddles open on lock gates), the water levels on the Grand Union have been a nightmare these past few months. More often than not, we awake to a tipped-up boat, broken possessions, and SMASHED WINE.



The fun thing about waking up to low water levels and a listing boat is that, when the boat goes like this:


…we wake up like this:

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 12.35.42

Which is only appropriate if you are a) in hospital, or b) a vampire.

What better way to wake up than with a rush of blood to the head and the acute pain of losing a full bottle of Campo Viejo?


If it was a Reserva then probably don’t even bother talking to me until at least 2pm.


So there you have it!

A comprehensive list of reasons why a life afloat means I am pretty much always wide awake and 100% bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.


Or, at the very least, extremely nervous and easily-startled.

Thanks for reading, I’m off for a nap.




2 thoughts on “Top 5 Ways to Wake Up on a Boat

  1. Hahaha, oh, I LOVE this, your photo illustrations had me laughing out loud. πŸ˜€
    I live on a boat, in Cornwall (though on the hard in a boatyard at the moment), and people always smile dreamily when you say you live on a boat. I love it really, or I wouldn’t do it, but they don’t see you out on deck at 3 am with a torch trying to find out what that ‘THUD’ was, or snapping bolt upright in bed because you heard a gurgling noise, or swearing because the electricity has gone off just as you’re getting ready to go out to work.
    Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed reading this, thankyou. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you for reading! Glad you enjoyed it. I must say a boat in Cornwall does sound a bit more dreamy but I’m always glad to hear I’m not on my own (both with this and being image conscious πŸ˜€ )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s