For Hire - Jacqueline of All Trades

Friday, February 17, 2017


Hilary Hunter


  1. Do pets float?
    08 Apr, 2017
    Do pets float?
    When you have always been an animal lover and had pets about you all your life, it’s hard to imagine life without our little furry friends. I have been fortunate enough to share my life with many cats and quite a few dogs in my time. I also had a “Good Life” spell of raising goats, hens and ducks which, although hard work when raising small human animals, was a magical time that filled me with many happy memories. This fluffy existence all came into question when I decided to move all my worldly
  2. rerigged to sail for many years more
    30 Mar, 2017
    Tender Loving Care
    When I first fell into the boating world, one of the first things other boat owners told me was that “a boat is a hole in the water you drop your money in” and B.O.A.T stands for “bung on another thousand”. Nevertheless, when I became enchanted by a very elderly and somewhat neglected Dutch sailing barge, all the warnings fell on deaf ears. To be honest, the survey, by a British surveyor who worked in the Netherlands, was quite good and finished his report by complementing her as a “nice
  3. Is barge life for you?
    23 Mar, 2017
    Is barge life for you?
    I spend a lot of time on board my barge. She is my haven and favourite place to muse. I love my time here, no matter what the season. In the warmer weather, I plunge into my rooftop beanbag, usually evicting a sunbathing cat. The charms of this open-air vista are obvious to many. Yet, even on a cold winter’s night, when wind meets tide and she gently creaks and rocks, there is a sense of safety in her ancient, iron sides and a soothing cosiness comes from the glowing stove. Throughout the
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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