For Hire - Jacqueline of All Trades

Hilary Hunter

Friday, February 17, 2017



  1. Cormorants – Friend or Foe
    26 Nov, 2016
    Cormorants – Friend or Foe
    Early most mornings, Ellie my little Barge-dog and I may be found taking our morning exercise along the local seawalls. As the area near my mooring is largely a nature reserve, the array of wildlife is often breath-taking, in an unassuming British Nature sort of way. Lots of little brown birds defy my rusty identification skills, while larger, noisy ones tease Ellie into hysterical but fruitless chasing as they fly overhead. Having moved from a more rugged coastline to the still magical, but
  2. The Beat of an Ancestral Drum
    10 Nov, 2016
    The Beat of an Ancestral Drum
    Last night anyone in the vicinity of the barge may have wondered what curious rituals were taking place inside, as strange sounds of tribal drums emanated through her riveted  iron sides. The occasion was a gathering of some women friends, curious to discover the powers of a drum circle.  I had joined a local, well established drumming circle some months ago, to find out for myself why so many are attracted to this traditional way of passing a couple of hours.  The oldest known drum is
  3. In praise of a simpler life
    20 Oct, 2016
    In praise of a simpler life
    As I write this morning, the door of my barge is lying open to allow the Autumn sun to stream onto my back where I sit in the galley. My little dog sits outside watching the world go by and my cats, having given up pestering for more breakfast, have settled in a warm spot for their daily snooze. We have all had enough food and drink to satisfy and we have somewhere comfortable to sleep tonight. What more does a person need? Modern Society is constantly bombarded with consumerist messages in
  4. Mama was a rolling stone.
    07 Oct, 2016
    Mama was a rolling stone.
    My mother always blamed her itchy feet on her being a Sagittarian, but as I am not of that persuasion I can only blame her for my inheritance of the same trait. Having lived in 22 different homes, 10 by the age of 21, I feel I have now found my true sanctuary in my beautiful, old barge. I am now free to wander taking my home with me, instead of enduring the heartache of waving goodbye to much loved ,but outgrown, abodes. So Change, something that so many fear, has become second nature. The
  5. Seasons of life
    25 Sep, 2016
    Seasons of life
    This week brought the Autumn equinox and a change in temperature for those of us who had been basking in the ‘Indian Summer’ in the East of England. As I walk Ellie the Barge Dog in the nearby marshlands, that seasonal change is all around me. From the deck I can feel a coolness in the wind, see rain clouds coming over the horizon and hear the migrating birds call as they gather to leave for warmer parts or arrive in flocks from more Northerly ones. So this morning, as I picked blackberries
  6. Healthy, wealthy and wise…
    08 Sep, 2016
    Healthy, wealthy and wise…
    They say you don’t know what you have until its gone, but sadly I grew up appreciating the importance of good health. My father was diagnosed with a neurological condition called Myasthenia Gravis at the young age of 40 and fought its symptoms until his early death just twenty-seven years later. My father’s life during those years revolved around pharmaceuticals. His bedside drawer was filled with pill bottles and his daily routine revolved around his dosage times. We always joked that we
  7. Ellie the barge dog watching the world go by.
    29 Aug, 2016
    The barge over troubled waters ( with apologies to Simon and Garfunkel)
    When you're weary, feeling small, as the song goes, you need somewhere to go, get some headspace, think, cry, sort yourself out. A sanctuary, a haven, a retreat - all are words for this place of peace and tranquillity.  Many women sail through troubled waters. Some of us make a habit of it, at times in our lives.  As wild women, we are survivors, strong enough not to sink, but to sail through the thick of it and out the other side - some emerge rather more unscathed than others. As I am one of
  8. DG is offered as a 'women only' space - to revive, recharge and reconnect.
    20 Aug, 2016
    Only women, or Women Only
    It struck me, when I decided to share my barge, that the female species has been denounced as "only women" throughout history. The patriarchal society we scorn in  some cultures has still not been eliminated in our own 'modern' society. 'Men Only' bars are still within living memory for many of us and the last of the male only golf clubs still cling to their status, I hear. This excluding and condescending, even dictatorial, attitude has been upheld and encouraged for centuries. Indeed in some
  9. DG in a sling,for undignified bottom work, and going nowhere
    18 Aug, 2016
    Rowing against the tide.
    Sitting on my writing perch, the giant beanbag on DG's roof, I can see a man in a small dinghy rowing out to his yacht, moored mid river. From my lofty seat, it doesn't look far and with his  obvious experience his task doesn't appear that difficult. However, I can be certain that if it were me in that little boat things would look very different; a bigger distance and a tougher challenge altogether. Add into the mix the strong current, the outgoing tide and my struggle may well end up halfway