Frozen chickens, pork chops - you know how I feel.
Gammon steaks from the "chiller cabinet", you know how I feel.
Even Linda McCartney Pies, you know how I feel.
It's a new dawn, it's a new day, and it's damn cold - for me. And I'm feeling Brrrrrr...
Look, I don't want to moan. And in fact, I have no inclination to really; when you are on a trip like this, even the shittest things have a fascination factor. I am really very happy indeed living on this boat. Really though, this morning took the biscuit. Or more appropriately, the frozen peas.
Picture the scene: 7am. Sun streaming through the gap in the curtains – one of those golden mornings that make you feel like you are a little worker bee, cuddled up in a honeycomb before the shift starts. You are snug and warm, largely by dint of the fact that you have two duvets and a quilt - bearing a dozen appliqué milkmaids done in a country cottage style - on top of you. You awake to the sound of gentle tinkling somewhere nearby. It is very fairytale like, and you listen to it as you swoop gently between sleep and wakefulness at the edge of the day. The tinkling continues. Has Santa come early, you think in your half-sleep. Or are the fairies blundering about collecting up the bottles after another durunken all-night do? Perhaps it is the sound of the nightingales kissing each other goodbye before fluttering off to their beds, you fancy as you turn over for another five minutes.
When you start wondering if it is someone chucking gravel at your boat, you can be sure you are more awake than asleep. It was at the gravel-suspecting point that I yawned awake with the dawning realisation that the tinkly sound was emanating from inside, not outside my boat. 'Must be a small rodent playing silly buggers with a handful of gravel down there by the back door' I thought. As soon as I thought this, I became aware that I was still asleep and muttering utter bollocks to myself. I commanded myself to wake up. The more I forced the crankie-handle of my frozen brain round in an attempt to cough it into life, the more I began to suspect that I was indeed missing something. I mean, what kind of rodent would sneak into a boat under cover of darkness just to throw stones at a window that it could easily throw stuff at from the outside? No, this was not the work of a vole or water rat. This was something else. But what, reader, what?
I sat up, bolt upright, and looked at the window. I'd just heard the tinkling sound again but had missed the perpetrator, mammalian or otherwise. I sat and waited for it to happen again. That was when I noticed how chuffing cold it was. This fact was duly confirmed when a glistening bud of water that I had took to be a droplet of condensation fell off the window frame to the floor with the unmistakable sound of a small piece of gravel hitting a hard surface. Water doesn't make a gravelly sound, does it.....not unless it is frozen. I reached over to the window to touch one of the plethora of similar droplets arranged like a string of diamonds along the frame. They were rock solid. I looked at the window. It was caked with ice on the inside. I contemplated getting out of bed. I thought 'Sod it'.
Of course I did get up soon after that – I am far too greedy to deny myself breakfast-based gratification, whatever the weather. And once the fire was going, I felt it was safe to wake the rest of my brain up, gently. Shortly after lighting the stove though, before the boat heated up properly, we had a glance at a dodgy thermometer we dug out of our camping kit. It read just under 3 Degrees C.
Our boat is officially colder than our fridge.