Pick yourself up

Day 68: 1 clementine, passion fruit yogurt with fresh banana, psyllium husks, seeds, honey; lamb lettuce, lettuce, ham, schiacciata, brussel sprouts with cheddar; some chocolate digestives; schiacchiata with ham and cheese; whisky.

I thought there was nothing more depressing than Sundays. But I was mistaken. There’s something more depressing than Sundays. And that’s Alperton. And if you spend your Sunday in Alperton, as I did, then you’re in for a pretty happy day. Alperton is a shithole. And I’m sorry for the people who live here. But it is. It’s not open to debate. In Alperton there’s a Sainsbury’s, a Chinese cash & carry, a massive Hindu temple, several shops selling Indian saris. And then vast stretches of urban, desolated land covered by storage buildings, factories, dilapidated dwellings and some miserable people, including myself. Who bought this little blue stick to pick up shit in a bid to pick herself up (and because I broke the other two sticks I had). It was the best activity I could think of – going to buy this flimsy, blue stick which will likely break again – after eating a whole Ritter sport dark chocolate bar in one go while washing and tumble drying my clothes in an Alperton laundrette.

I think I may have been a bit too harsh with Alperton. I actually don’t mind the Indian bit, which is basically a road that leads to Wembley. It’s really quite authentically Indian. And people were quite happy today. Of course. Because people generally like Sundays. I don’t know how, but they do. Good for them. Still though. Alperton, not the best place. And certainly not the best for a Sunday stroll. They sell great, flimsy sticks though.



Day 67: 1 clementine, 1 bowl of crunchy oats and triple chocolate chips; potato, colin-flower, boiled egg and tuna salad; veggie and tofu noodle soup; beer and wine.

Balance is a very temporary state. This bag of shit is at risk of falling off the edge of the bathroom furniture. Perhaps, after I took this photo, bag of shit fell off, impaled itself on an incense stick and its bowels unapologetically conquered the carpet floor. And that would have been a bit of a scene, because due to my unbalanced diet of cheese and ham toasties and chinese delicacies, I’ve not produced my best poos these days. But then the wind has been blowing very strong, and my whole balance has been shaken quite a bit. After unprecedented, and unwanted, demand, I’m back to the useless loops of thoughts, those very useful questions beginning with why & what if, and the careful rewinding, looking for god knows what kind of crack, sign that can put the mind to rest. Of course it’s the wrong place where to look for peace. As if I don’t know it.

On strike

Day 66

No bag today. Today strike. Women strike.

For my grandmother who had to cook, grow her children, those of other people, clean the house, clean asses, do everything to allow other people to live their lives fully and be expected to naturally to do so, even if, maybe, she’d have gone to do something else, had she lived in a society where she was allowed to think she could indeed have gone to do something else and share those responsibilities. And of course for my mother and all the women in the world who are luckily still alive – and not killed by some asshole of a man – and yet at risk, catcalled, exploited, oppressed, paid less than men. And so on.

Bags of shit for the patriarchy and all those who support it!

Got to go where the bin is

Day 65: 1 clementine, a bowl of crunchy oats & triple chocolate chips with milk; half a fennel, ham and cheese toastie, 1 fried egg, some spoonfuls of pistachio halva; 2 pints, salt crisps, 2 chinese steamed buns with pork and with chicken + mushrooms.

Van Morrison sings Got to go where the love is. But I think it’s better I don’t go where the love is, or I’ll end up leaving him a bag of shit and a heart-shaped cioccolatino on the doormat, with a note saying ‘i love you from the depths of… ‘.

I got to go where the bin is, instead. To throw away my rubbish and, of course, the bags of poo. This morning I threw away 4 smelly bags that had collected outside. I walked all the way to the local Sainsbury’s because that’s where the bins are, according to boaters’ wisdom. Not proper big bins, more like this kind of pedestrians’ bins. That means you’ve got to make your bags small so that they fit. Or else you have to do like I did, and push them through the little opening with your hands while people look at you, appalled.

Finding rubbish bins and finding supermarkets is my main occupation when I reach a new location. They often come together, which is great. While I don’t particularly like rubbish bins, I’ve developed a certain interest in supermarkets since moving along the canal. I like to spot the different produce they have depending on the area, what kind of people there are and what they buy. In Sainsbury’s Alperton they have chinese dumplings, which I’ve never seen anywhere else, for example. But I don’t see why people would buy dumplings there, because there’s a massive Asian store just behind the corner. Mysteries. Life is full of mysteries.

Canal farts

Day 64: 1 clementine, a bowl of crunchy oats with milk, 1 slice of bacon, 1 slice of bread, 1 hash brown; cannellini beans with cavolo nero and spring onions; 6 jelly sweets; ham and cheese toastie, boiled asparagus, boiled beetroots.

I like to look out of the window at night, at the shimmering surface of the canal, lit by the factory lights, interrupted only, briefly, by the passage of a coot. Or by gentle, bubbling farts. Not my farts though, mine are silent, generally. The canal’s farts. The canal farts. It does. I read it this morning in the boaters’ facebook group. It happens when spring comes, the temperature rises and gas starts escaping from the bottom of the canal. Just like a fart! That’s why I feel so at home here. Now it all makes sense. The hot weather is also why the canal is currently full of shit, as it has led to what is called ‘turn over’, or when the shit which sits in the depths of the canal comes to the surface. A bit like a zombie movie. But for real.

Diggin deep

Day 63: 2 clementines, a bowl of crunchy oats with milk, pasta with broccoli; 1 crostone with cavolo nero and cannellini beans, Cornish sardines and roast potatoes; red wine. (picture credit: Bono)

This is a picture of my perfect ass, taken by my friend at the weekend while I was playing treasure trove with Propeller. The little bastard had collected so much stuff that I had to put my whole arm inside the pristine waters and pull out all those marvellous bits of plastic, Indian clothing, non-identified objects reduced to strings and bones that little Propeller had collected during our short trip.

I’ve done loads of deep digging into the waters of my more or less conscious mind over the past months. And I’ve found some good stuff and some rubbish. I definitely know now that my ass looks good when I sit in that position. And you, how deep are you diggin?

Shiny things

Day 62: 1 orange, a quarter of morello cherry and almond tart, 1 fried egg on a slice of olive bread; pasta al forno with peppers and chorizo, praline and lampone ice cream.

Magpies like shiny things. I like shiny things, too. For example, I like that this shiny, pink piece of paper reflects the light and distorts reality. I think it’s quite common for people to like shiny things. It may be because shiny things are a promise of excitement. Of fun things to come. Or maybe because they mirror a glamour version of yourself and others. But eventually even this shiny piece of pink paper will lose its shine. And what are you going to do then? #chasingthenew


Day 61: 1 orange, two small panini with smoked salmon and 1 avocado, a quarter of morello cherry and almond tart; some red wine; 3 pani puri, 1 bombay sandwich, 1 veggie biryani.

Two poos together in the bin smell bad, as you know. But they can also be friends. Friends are the best thing in the world, as my friend said. And I agree. And that thought, which of course could be the beginning of a very long reflection, ends here because it’s Sunday night and time to go sleep.

I’m just talking about friends because I hope someone will come pull me and the boat if the pins come out due to the gusty winds. Just joking. Not about the wind though. I may indeed wake up horizontal to the canal stream. Or somewhere else entirely, if the winds continue. At least I can’t complain that life on board is boring.

10 ways to die on a boat

Day 60: 1 orange, a bowl of crunchy oats with milk; beef burger with bacon and cheese, 1 pint of lager; 2 slices of pizza and 3 lagers.

My friend has come visit me from Italy, so I’ve been falling behind with my shit diary. Poo bags have accumulated in the indoor bin. But I’ve finally got around to take a picture of them. And the smell that emerged from the small bin as I opened the lid was nothing short of a health hazard. It quickly spread to the living room where my friend was sitting. He said it could have killed him, had he not promptly lit an incense stick. So we’ve decided to compile a top ten of the ways in which you can die when living on a boat. Hope you enjoy it.

10: Inhalation of toxic vapours. You forget to throw away the bags. They accumulate in the bin. Then you open the lid and the vapours kill you.

9: Getting hit on the head by the various doors of various furniture which open unexpectedly due to strong winds / idiots on boats passing by fast.

8: Drowning in the canal.

7: Getting poisoned from accidentally drinking canal water.

6: Boat sinking in the night while you’re sleeping.

5: Gas canister explosion.

4: Getting your throat cut by the blades of the heat powered stove fan.

3: Getting hit in the head by a flying swan as you come out on the deck to enjoy a cup of coffee.

2: Boat burning down due to stove overfiring. This may elevate you to a sort of God-like status, as to burn on water is something that maybe only Jesus could have been capable of.

And now, to the number 1. To the one thing which is always on every boater’s mind. The silent killer. Carbon monoxide poisoning. You go to sleep. And you never wake up. Easy.

Dinner stories

Day 59:2 clementines; a bowl of milk and cluster nuts cereals; linguine with mushrooms; 2 lamb chops, 1 avocado.

They sit down for dinner. They eat in silence. Then one says something circumstantial. The other replies something circumstantial. They look at each other. They keep chewing as they look at each other. One of them chews so hard that a tooth comes off. She spits out the tooth and throws it in the plant pot. The plant inside the pot becomes alive and carnivorous. It eats them both and spits out all their teeth, one by one. It then takes a massive shit inside a bag and places it on the table for the next couple’s dinner. And so on until the end of humanity. The end.