Thursday, November 15, 2012

Getting ready for winter

We're going back to St Albans today for a few days, mainly to see Said the Maiden at their big headline gig in Watford, but we'll also use the trip to take back some of the content of Kantara which we want to protect from the winter. It's easy to say "going home to St Albans", it slips off the tongue because of many years of usage, but it's true to say now that we feel Kantara is actually our home, and the house is our "home from home". We've now spent 12 of the past 15 months living aboard, and the house does feel strangely alien when we go back to it. No disrespect to our "kids", of course, with whom we love to spend the time! Alien, they are not!

We'll be back next week for as few days as we can manage, using the time to load the car with the last of the stuff we need to take back, and winterising the boat. Then, apart from monthly visits to check all is well with her, we won't see Kantara until the worst of the winter is over.

We saw "Looper" at the cinema on Tuesday, an excellent film. The cinema's most luxurious screen had no more than about thirty viewers for this late showing, and Grace and I were the last out of the cinema as it closed at around midnight. The film hadn't been showing for long in Rugby, and this was its last but one showing there. I can't imagine why it hadn't been more popular.

Chatting with Neil from Moody Cow the other day, he told me that he had been a few days behind us as we passed through Cropredy back at the end of September. Speaking with someone in the local shop, Neil happened to tell them that he was based at Yelvertoft Marina. The other person remembered another boat had passed through, also from Yelvertoft... erm, "Calamari" was it?? It turned out to be Kantara!

We bought an electric kettle this week, to use while we are in the marina - gas rings take so long to boil kettles! A simple, cheapest we could find, automatic kettle. Put water in it, switch it on, pour when it boils and switches off. Simple. But it comes with a 7-page Instruction Manual! With a diagram that tells us that the thing on the top which hinges back to reveal the interior of the kettle is the Lid, and also tells us which part is the Handle and which part the Spout. Of course, without the arrow pointing out where the On/Off Switch is, we just wouldn't be able to use it.
There follows a section on "Filling", which usefully reminds us to open the lid at the start of the procedure, and close it at the end. Then comes "Switching On", a complex process involving plugging the Mains Lead into the mains by means of the Plug on the end of said Lead, pressing the On/Off Switch downwards, and observing the illumination of the Power Indicator Light. "Switching Off" is easy, the reader is glad to note, since the kettle does this bit all by itself. However, we are told that we can switch the kettle off at any time by lifting the On/Off Switch. Oh, and the Power Indicator Light will go out.

The list of 21 Safety Warnings is somewhat daunting, but is essential in that it tells me important things such as... that the outside of the kettle gets hot when it has boiling water in it, that I shouldn't open the lid while the kettle is boiling, and that I should prevent children from pulling on the mains cord or knocking the kettle over.

The penultimate Safety Warning is the most important.
"This appliance is not intended for use by persons (including children) with reduced physical, sensory or mental capabilities, or lack of experience and instruction concerning the use of the appliance by a person responsible for their safety."
Frankly, anyone needing this manual must surely fit into at least one of those categories! Are people really this stupid??


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