Coronavirus: 'There's no need to have all that disposable stuff'

Image caption,
Beverley Rogers lives on a Dutch barge with her husband Gary and their teenage children Gaia and Eden

A woman who has lived on a river boat for almost 30 years has urged people to be "inventive" to avoid stockpiling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Beverley Rogers lives on a barge in Woodbridge, Suffolk, with husband Gary and children, Gaia, 18, and Eden, 17.

Mrs Rogers said they had a sustainable lifestyle and have been used to "being self-sufficient".

People could avoid panic buying by using reusable products and turning to natural resources, she said.

The former beekeeper makes reusable food wraps with beeswax and said she had figured out how to make a vegan version with plant-based waxes.

Image caption,
Beverley Rogers says items in cupboards can be repurposed as dishcloths
Image caption,
She also makes reusable food wraps using beeswax

The 50-year-old also makes plastic-free sponges and scourers and bamboo face wipes.

She has been exploring the option of making reusable "cheeky wipes", using bamboo fabric, to use instead of toilet roll as well as reusable menstrual pads.

"We don't have the space to stockpile at all so we can't do that," she said.

"But there's no need to have all that disposable stuff. People are going to be sorting out their cupboards and if you've got some cotton, natural fabrics, then it's actually the time to be cutting them up and making dishcloths, wipes and covers."

Tips for life in a confined space

As the nation gets used to staying indoors, boat-dweller Mrs Rogers recommended finding a way of getting some fresh air and keeping some routine.

She said "even on a narrow boat" her daughter was able to dance and she recommended juggling as a pastime.

Living in a small space, she said "you have to try to respect each other, and not take anything personally, it's everybody's space".

She said the family was trying to do things on their own but in the evening they had a "shared activity", from playing a board game to watching an old film or learning a card game.

"We're making a highlight of every evening by doing something different," said Mrs Rogers.

Mrs Rogers, who works for Suffolk Wildlife Trust and sells her "eco products", said the family had been making their own bread on the Dutch barge and would be making yoghurt.

She said they tried not to use too much plastic so always refilled their bottles of hand wash, shampoo and conditioner by buying larger containers of it.

"We know we're going to be all right with those kinds of things for a while," she said.

Image caption,
Beverley Rogers said boats were useful when it came to social distancing

Mrs Rogers said there were a lot of natural cleaning products people could use, including essential oils, white wine vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

Meanwhile, she said on-boat living meant she could see other people on their boats at a natural social distance.

"It's a bit different from when you are living in a house," she said.

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