Soggy Bottom Boy


Don’t you just love that smell in the air in the Spring when an April shower is about to fall? Hard to describe. Like water and dust mixing. That kind of smell. Some people like bus fumes, others glue. I like the smell just before it rains. And if you live in England, you smell it a lot. So, does it ever wear off, the love of rain in the air?

It did today. For me. We’ve had nearly a week of it on and off, just to end the summer wetly. And it is wet. The ducks around our marina seem to love it. They swim around quacking their little beaks off as the sky opens up over us. My best friend says that in England, someone flicks a switch on the 1st of September and autumn automatically begins. Actually, this year it came earlier….chilly mornings and cool days. The sun is still relatively hot…when it appears. And it hasn’t done so in the last two weeks. Ever since we arrived at the marina in fact.

I don’t blame us for the change in the weather. It’s just like that here. Wet. And windy with it this year. I have to admit I don’t mind the rain. I like those cozy days on the boat when the wind blows, the rain falls and I’m enclosed and dry with a good book or a great Blog at hand. Nice cup of tea and a chocolate digestive. Let it rain I say. The world seems to stop too. No one about. All is quiet on soggy days. Then it happened.

I walked to the galley to make a cup of tea. There on the floor was a mysterious puddle. I must have dropped water when I did the dishes I thought. I cleaned it up. An hour later the same puddle appeared. Naturally, new to boating and having heard the sinking boat stories from other boaters and my Helmsmans’ Course instructor, I panicked. Must be water leaking up from the bilge. Must be a breach in the hull (too many movies). Must be something disastrous. Abandon ship!

You must know by now that I am still here and the boat is afloat. Turns out there’s a drip from the hatch when it rains particularly hard. The rain finds its way through and into the wood , dropping out through a seam. Water finds a way. We have a team of experts looking into the matter (that means all the boaters around us) and it ought to be resolved some time soon. Just have to put up with it for now. But I gave it a try, searching for the leak outside during the deluge.

I put on my rain slicker , looking like a cross between a tough cowboy and Neo from the Matrix, only really stupid. A bit OTT as they say here, Over The Top. Actually, I looked quite pathetic standing on the dock beside the boat, arms folded, stooped over and staring at the hatch, willing the gap to show itself where the water was going in. Charlie the Amazon walked by, in a sensible hat and a raincoat, asking me if I’d been tossed out of the boat for being naughty. “Got a leak.” says I. “Welcome to canal boating.” says she. “Hrumph” says I. “HaHaha” says she.

I gave up and came back out of the rain. But I must confess that being out there in a coat to my ankles, hood over my head and waterproof shoes that I felt a great peace come over me. Standing alone (until Charlie came along) in the pouring rain, staring at nothing in particular and contemplating life, the universe and everything. It was a lonely, sobering moment, broken only by a duck that has a quack sounding much like a derisive laugh. I went back into the sanctuary of the boat. For the next while I stood by the hatch, paper towels in hand, mopping up the water from the leak and catching drips in a bowl. I could say I was bailing out the water, but the would be OTT.

It wasn’t until I took off my long slicker that I realised my behind region was soaked. How could this be? I checked the coat. No tears. The inside of the coat appeared dry. I pondered. Where had the water come from? Well, I think you know. I had been standing by the leak and water had dripped back there. It was only now that it had sunk through, reaching my skin. The soggy bottom boy had weathered it all outside only to be bamboozled by the indoor leak. Humiliating to say the least.

It’s still raining. I think I may have bought Noah’s Ark because there seems to two (or more) of every insect known to me seeking refuge on my boat. Crawling or flying, we have them all. I’m sure if other creatures were out there, they’d come in too. And I have a beard. What can I say? Noah, the soggy bottom boy, resides here. Anyone out there know a sun dance?


About geezerbluesoflondon

Writing and Music are my passions. I have been honing both for over six decades now. I was born in London, England but spent most of my life growing up and being educated in Canada. In 2006 I moved back to London, England where I worked at a music shop then taught music from my studio in Kent. I then sold the house and studio and moved on to a narrowboat on the canals of England. I presently live on the boat in a marina in Worcestershire, England. I have 2 published books available from Amazon and Kindle and am about to self-publish my 3rd. I have three grown children. I hope you enjoy what you read in my Blogs.

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