Nov 25 2012 By Natasha Gorbert-Hopkins
There are two side-hatches into the boat’s engine room – double doors made of steel on each side, about 1m high.
I tip-toed down the gunnel (the ledge that runs along the side of the boat), and tried to lift the lid, balancing carefully to avoid falling into the icy canal. No luck – we must have locked them. How unhelpfully thoughtful.
One last attempt, before panic set in (I needed the loo and had left my phone inside the boat). There was another side-hatch into the kitchen, set above the worktop and sink, and I couldn’t remember having locked it.
Yes! The doors opened. I slipped off my boots (I didn’t want mud on the work surface) and stood barefoot on the side of the boat, before crouching down and ungracefully squeezing inside. I clambered past my empty cereal bowl, avoided getting my feet in the sink, and lowered myself down on to the floor. I reached out for my boots, feeling a sense of resourceful pride in managing to get myself out of a tricky situation.
I walked down to hang my coat up on the front door. Huh... the catch looked like it was on. I gave the door a gentle push... and it opened. I just hadn’t tried hard enough before. I can’t really blame that one on the boat!