Isolation and its effect on sanity

A number of years ago we hired a narrow boat and went through Northern Wales. One of the most enjoyable holidays I have experienced.

In the first photo I thought I was looking at an swanky admiral’s barge but the angle of the second photo reveals more. I take it it’s designed as a canal boat.

River boat.
Originally an 8 berth hire boat on the Norfolk Broads.
Now my swanky barge, complete with leather Chesterfield, LED lighting and 3D TV.
Sleeps 2 now plus 2 guests.
Built 1962, mahogany on oak, single 2.5 litre diesel engine.
And no poncy thrusters.


The next time someone in your house complains about how much isolation sucks, remind them of the sacrifices you once made in your life by instituting the following routine.

Lock all friends and extended family outside. Your only means of communication should be with letters that your neighbors have held for at least three weeks, discarding two of five.
Surround yourself with 200 people that you don’t really know or like: people who smoke, snore like Mack trucks going uphill, and use foul language like a child uses sugar on cereal.
Unplug all radios and TVs to completely cut yourself off from the outside world. Have a neighbor bring you a Time, Newsweek, or Proceedings from five years ago to keep you abreast of current events.
Monitor all home appliances hourly, recording all vital information (ie: plugged in, lights come on when doors open, etc.)
Do not flush the toilet for five days to simulate the smell of 40 people using the same head.
Lock the bathroom twice a day for a four-hour period.
Make sure everyone gets a regulation haircut once a week.
Work in 18 hour cycles, sleeping only four hours at a time, to ensure that your body does not know or even care if it is day or night.
Cut a twin mattress in half and enclose three sides of your bed. Add a roof that prevents you from sitting up (about ten inches is a good distance) then place it on a platform that is four feet off the floor. Place a small dead animal under the bed to simulate the smell of your bunkmate’s socks.
Set your alarm to go off at ten-minute intervals for the first hour of sleep to simulate the various times the crew on watch bump around and wake you up. Place your bed on a rocking table so you are tossed around the remaining three hours. Make use of a custom clock that randomly simulates fire alarms, police sirens, helicopter crash alarms, and a new-wave rock band.
Have week old fruit and vegetables delivered to your garage and wait two weeks before eating them.
Prepare all meals blindfolded and eat everything in three minutes.
Periodically, shut off all power at the main circuit breaker and run around shouting “Fire! Fire! Fire!” and then restore power.
At least once a month, force the commode to overflow to simulate a “black water system” boo-boo.
Buy a gas mask and smear it with rancid animal fat. Scrub the face shield with steel wool until you can no longer see out of it. Wear this for two hours every fifth day while simulating fighting a fire.
Study the owner’s manual for all household appliances. Routinely take an appliance apart and put it back together.
Remove all plants, pictures and decorations. Paint everything gray, white, or the shade of hospital smocks.
Buy 50 cases of toilet paper and lock up all but two rolls. Ensure one of these two rolls is wet all the time.
When making sandwiches, leave the bread out for six days, or until it is hard and stale.
Every ten weeks, simulate a visit to another port. Go directly to the city slums wearing your best clothes. Find the worst looking place, and ask for the most expensive beer that they carry. Drink as many as you can in four hours. Take a cab home taking the longest possible route. Tip the cabby after he charges you double because you dress funny and don’t speak right.
Use fresh milk for only two days after each port visit.
Keep the bedroom thermostat at 2 deg C and use only a thin blanket for warmth.
Ensure that the water heater is connected to a device that provides water at a flow rate that varies from a fast drip to a weak trickle, with the temperature alternating rapidly from -2 to 95 deg C.
Repaint the interior of your home flat grey every month, whether it needs it or not.
Mix kerosene with your water supply to simulate the de-sal plant on the ship picking up jp5 in the intake – if a lit match thrown into your coffee pot doesn’t ignite it, add more kerosene.
Every four hours, check the fluid level in your car’s radiator. Check the tire pressure and replace air lost from excessive pressure checks. Be sure to place red tag on ignition stating “DANGER: DO NOT OPERATE” while you perform these checks. Inform your neighbor as to the results of these checks.
Scrub everything in the house until there’s absolutely not a speck of dust anywhere. Call on a stranger to come inspect your house. Ensure stranger sees dust that has collected in the time it took to find him. Stranger cannot leave until he finds irrational fault with your house/belongings.


A Bill Mauldin fan, I fancy?

Thanks for the chuckle!

“Oh mischief thou art swift to enter in the thoughts of desperate men”


My dad was wounded in WWII. His trunk full of German war prizes was ransacked when he was moved to a hospital but one Luger and his collection of Bill Mauldin cartoons made it home. As a young kid I prized both.


Aye, thought so. :slight_smile:

Good for you sir. My father in law helped in a small way set up communications in England before the invasion at D-Day. We do have some artifacts from his participation. As you have experienced, some have disappeared. He returned from the war on the ship “Gustavas Adolphus”. His buddies did not fare well with seasickness, but glad to get home. He retired from ATT after a good,long career. He would take this isolation in stride. One of the most sane men I ever met in my life. Best thing, he tolerated me and trusted me with my bride. Meant a lot.

1 Like

This whole virus thing has been very stressful for me and my wife. We decided we don’t want children. We’re going to tell them right after dinner.


Another chuckle, Thx Lee_Shore.


Worth a try!!

Wondering if that’ll work with single malt Scotch…

1 Like

Lee_Shore, another chuckle.Thx again,I do like single malt. But never turned down a good Bloody Mary at an OBX place you perhaps know well.

We’re live music fans and have musician friends so we tend to go those kinds of bars. We’ll usually take guests to Nags Head pier at least once during their visit for the California style beach bar experience.
Shallowbag Bay on Roanoke island has great bars and restaurants where you can tie up a boat but you probably know that already.

One of my tenants lives just off the beach road, conveniently halfway between the pirate lady’s place and the blackbird place. A short scooter ride or walk if need be. Avalon Pier a very short 5-8 minute walk. He is well known up and down the beach, and misses his singing and breakfast at the pirate lady’s place. Was supposed to be at “Lost Colony” this season, but that blew up as well with this virus crap… He sang bass at Andy’s church back in the day. Nickname “Buffalo” and one helluva carpenter. Talked to him the other day, telling friends who want to visit to stay away during isolation. Very hard for him to do that. We aren’t youngsters any more.

1 Like

Great graph. I disagree on the ‘car’ value. I’m out driving around every day, sometimes hours, windows down now that the weather is nice stoping at every scenic lookout I pass. Gotta do something besides sit on the couch.