Wednesday, 9 November 2011

I've got buttons for my coat. . . .

. . . . and sails on my boat. So much more than I needed before. (Paolo Nutini - Pencil Full Of Lead)

(And thank you for the comments of support - it does make a difference to know I'm not the only one.)

Today has been a good day.

At last. After the heartache of the last few days; realising the insulation I'd bought wasn't really going to do the job unless I spent a whole load more money; realising I was almost out of money; accidentally punching the corner of the occasional table (more than "occasionally" hurt) whilst picking a stray sock up from the floor, and rendering my left hand useless for a day (my right arm is already on light duty due to the fractured collar bone); having several unproductive days on the boat; and then enduring hell on earth in the world's nastiest "retail leisure park". Nearly drove me to tears. So I decided to take a day out, drive down to Cornwall and purchase my new boat toilet. I'm glad I did!

Having carried out a fair bit of tinterweb research I came to the conclusion that composting toilets were the way forwards. There are several reasons for this:
  • I cannot dump shit into the sea - it is so many kinds of wrong. I have spent the past two summers having a professional interest in the water quality on the beach where I worked. Which is where I would be living. (South Devon's The Bay As sung about, and featured in the video by Metronomy - Awesome band)
  • It seems that the general opinion is, sea heads are not nice - they smell, leak, are overly complex to use, and there's the constant problem of how to dispose of the waste.
  • I don't fancy paying someone to suck it out.
  • Neither do I fancy lifting the container of a porta potty over the side of the boat and tottering down the pontoon with it - euwwwww.
  • A composter does not smell and emptying should not be unpleasant - every one's a winner.
After seeing one for sale on ebay, and exchanging a few emails, I drove to Padstow in Cornwall to have a proper look at these things. I can not speak highly enough of the folks at kernowrat. Incredibly knowledgable, friendly, helpful, and genuinely interested in the products they sell and lifestyle they promote. And their prices are good. Proper cheered me up it did!

However, whilst talking to the owner it occurred to me that my take on life is not like most people - you mention storing your waste in the bathroom while it composts to most people and they will think you're some kind of tree hugging hippy. And when you then tell them you want to live off grid rather than contribute to a corrupt daylight robbing economy - well, then they'll truly made their mind up about you.

I also figure that I should tell something about myself. I like to know about people, what drives them, why they do what they do, and who they are - so I should perhaps give some of that away?

Anyways, I'm a 31 year old dizzy blonde, I'm a university trained / 10 year time served mechanical engineer (yes, the two can go together), I also want to work as little as possible for a living (if I'm honest). I find that if I work a 40 hour week, I have no time or energy left to enjoy my free time. . . . I also remember from my first real love; when we were renting a room with no money to spare, we laughed, loved and were happy. Once we got the house, the more material things we had, sky tv and everything else, the less happy we were. We worked so bloody hard to pay for it all, we were so tired and stressed - it broke us. The lesson there seems pretty obvious?

So, I'm not wanting to live off grid because I have some particular political axe to grind. It's not an attempt to preach to others about how to live a martyr-like existence. It's purely because I want what I earn to pay for the things I want. My time should belong to me. The less I invest in our consumer driven society, the less I need to work. . . . and the more I can spend my time doing the things that make me happy. I also believe that we need to all take reponsibility for our actions. I don't eat meat very often because if it isn't RSPCA approved or above (no great shakes but better than nothing) then I will not perpetuate the inhumane treatment of those animals. Unfortunately, cheap meat is not happy meat. So I go without, it's not going to kill me?! And it does make a difference slowly; some supermarkets no longer sell battery eggs - because the public doesn't like them.

I believe that the more we all try and impact less upon the world around us, the better the world will be, the easier our lives will be and the happier we will be. Use less, waste less, reuse, recycle, mend, etc. Or at least that's how I want to live my life.


  1. +1 on the composting head. We're saving up for an airhead for our boat at the moment. Never understood why people try to insist on "flushing" just because they're used to it on land. On a boat it just doesn't make sense. Sewage is more gross than compost if you ask me!

    Nice of you to introduce yourself here too. Sorry about your relationship going poorly. I feel you. Right now we're trying to sell a house and get out of the rat race while fixing up our boat.


  2. Sounds like tyou really did have a bad week-

    Whats with the insulation, I guess you'd need to strip down all the deckhead and bulkhead linings and trim, no easy task. Dont envy you the winter onboard, but then again, is not Torquay nearly tropical :)
    Having sailed my boat 700 miles around the UK coast during January, I know its going to be cold on board
    Hope you get the diesel tank sorted, diesel in the boat is just not nice.
    BTW, I'm sailing from Liverpool to Honfleur next year, may haps I'll call in at Torquay, make a change from Newlyn

  3. I don't know much about composting heads, but now I definitely want to know. Maybe that's the reason my buddy keeps saying no paper in his head, cause he doesn't have one...