Thursday, 10 November 2011

Underneath the mattress


What's under yours? All those savings you can't entrust to the bank? It was never very likely that we ourselves would have much to stash away – serving with a mission agency in Brazil for the central part of your working life is not exactly a smart career move if your principal aim is to accumulate a decent pension. But perhaps there's more to life than that...

Erin Mae came with a very nice 8" mattress, interior sprung, 4' wide (this paragraph apologises to those unfamiliar with imperial measurement abbreviations). There was also a further 6" wide, custom made piece, interior sprung and carefully crafted, together with some plywood panels underneath, that slide out to make a 4' 6" bed. Trouble was that when you took into account the depth of those panels and added a 2" memory foam topper, our heads were getting perilously close to the overhead cupboards. Makes it hard to relax in the night in case you get up without thinking and bash your bonce, crash your cranium, knacker your noddle – you get the idea. Also, because the 6" bit was made by a different person to the main mattress and, being mostly under the gunwale, less lain upon, it stuck up and created a ridge. In the end we bought a 6" deep, 4' wide memory foam mattress (3" of that wonderful foam) and persuaded the company to sell us a 6" wide piece of the same stuff to go down the side at night. Works a treat. We're 4" further removed vertically from the risk to life and looks, and the comfort is unsurpassed. The old memory foam topper now lies folded underneath the dinette seating, waiting to provide superior luxury for our first overnight guests (or us, if those guests merit the bedroom).

Problem – the slide-out panels were getting harder to slide out. Today I tried silicone lubricant, to no effect. So out came the new cordless drill and off came parts of the construction under the mattress, to be shaved down to give an extra mm or so of clearance at the side (see, I can do metric). While down there we had a look below. As with many narrowboats, what sits under the bed is the poo tank. Its proper name is "black tank", but ours is a nice sort of polypropylene, and if the contents are actually black then we're in trouble! Everything looked in order and sealed tight. The only issue is that, being over to one side of the boat, when it gets full it has the same effect as a couple of front-row prop forwards standing on the gunwale. I'm thinking of patenting a device to tell you how near you are to needing a pump-out by the amount of left-list on the boat.

Meanwhile, it just doesn't do to think too much, as you drift away with the sandman, about what lies just beneath the mattress. Even if it's all those savings, worrying about them could keep you awake at night.

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