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The First Days: Day 2!

We slept all night with the hatch open, safe in the knowledge that unless the rain goes really sideways the new extension will keep us dry. It’s surprisingly warm inside Lexia. We missed a teary farewell with Lucy as she ran off in a panic first thing, having forgotten the time of her motorbike test. However, we may get another chance as Dave suggested over coffee that we leave Lexia here over the weekend. Sam booked a hire car from Bath to take us to Uncivilisation festival in Hampshire later today, and we’ll probably make a pitstop in my hometown of Portsmouth and see my best friend El before we get back to Lexia on Tuesday and carry on up the river.

I keep wondering whether we are cheating to nip back and forth and hire cars and so forth, but then I remember we haven’t actually set any ‘rules’ for this trip. We’re assuming that with the mode of travel and the skills and experiences we’ll be seeking out we will be facing quite enough challenges to be going on with.

For example:

The Toilet Challenge (look away if this is Too Much Information)

Our toilet is a bucket. With an optional seat and lid, and a handle with a rope tied to it. We do not use it for solids. We have a folding army spade for those, though so far we’ve depended on pubs and the facilities at Dave and Lucy’s moorings. There’s a tiny indoor space in the prow with a sliding door in front of it. Instead of paper we use water, and then slosh out the bucket in the river or woods. The romantic mystique we have (obviously) always preserved in our 12 year relationship is in tatters. Ah well.

The Work Challenge

Sam has agreed on a trial basis to remain a web administrator for one day a week while we travel. Today is the first day he is trying it out. It’s going surprisingly well just from Sam’s tethered phone connection, though we did have a couple of internet timeouts, and my jubilant Facebooking as I responded to our friends ‘bon voyage’ messages had to be curtailed. Still, it looks possible, which will mean we have a bit of income trickling in as we go. We’re powering the tech from solar panels, though we’ll need to depend on internet cafes quite often too. Sam’s work and this project will often tether us to the structures we are trying to learn independence from. We’ll just have to deal with it and remain aware of it.

The next post will be on Uncivilisation Festival, happening 19-21 August at the East Meon Sustainability Centre. We’ll shortly upload Vivi Mimola’s edit of last year’s event which was such an inspiration to us. We’ll write our thoughts on this year’s events. It’s a great place to meet and speak with people who think differently. People who no longer expect nor want another chapter in the growth and prosperity story we’ve been telling ourselves for far too long.



5 thoughts on “The First Days: Day 2!

  1. TMI warning!

    So yeah, the toilet challenge onboard a small boat, I feel for you. Luckily for us (Tim, I and a couple of friends), most of the 30 travel days for the Control of the Commons project took place in rural Australia, the wild edges of the Danube or the farmland along the Sambre in Belgium. However, the Subak [http://timesupboatingassociation.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/tangled-in-a-sea-of-red-tape/] & Subak II were both open craft with no covered spaces and once we reached civilisation, especially towards Brussels, privacy became an issue.

    Not being naturally equipped I did use a ShePee on occasion, though trying to manouver one while standing on board a moving boat and holding on to the boat (even in calm water) is not recommended! I also discovered that the little bailing bucket we had was a discrete backup that could be used as a potty in urban areas (i.e. the canal running through central Brussels) without attracting attention. Otherwise the wild woods, attempting to walking back at least 50 metres from the water’s edge was for more specific needs. But you’re not always near the woods, nor a friendly pub or a marina!

    The solution that we’ve been thinking about for longer term boating is a temporary, DIY “composting” loo, ideally something that wouldn’t be used for more than 2-3 days before being carefully emptied out into an appropriately sited, deeper hole in the ground (away from fresh water, food crops etc) or incinerator or traditional toilet. (Some marinas also have septic tanks that loos or drains can be emptied into). Effectively it would be a larger sealable bucket lined with newspaper and damped down with sawdust and / or Bokashi composting bran. As with all composting toilets it would be best if this was just for solids.

    Posted by Pippa Buchanan | August 31, 2012, 8:48 pm
    • Sounds like a good solution. Currently our boat is so small and enclosed that just having it on board for five minutes is a potential issue for the other person, but if we end up getting a bigger boat for the long term I’d love to do a composting toilet.
      I love your project! Where are you going to be next?

      Posted by naomisurvive | September 2, 2012, 1:05 pm
  2. Hi,
    I’ve lived on a small sailboat in UK for 3 years now, was wondering if you are aware of the requirement for ICC/CEVNI for European inland waterways – see here for info:
    Wishing you all the best with your journey. If you have any questions feel free to contact me & I’ll be happy to try to help/advise…

    Posted by David Breeze | September 2, 2012, 11:50 am

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