Monday, October 17, 2016

Spring-cleaning in the rain

That was yesterday morning. The rain started before it was light. Soft rain, big drops, gentle fall that became torrential within a quarter of an hour. This was the rain that Phil and Jackie had deliberately missed when they brought NB Achernar back to the marina on Saturday, having travelled more miles in the previous four days than they usually do in fourteen! (Phil's words)

We were rather concerned that  the weather would be like that when the man from RCR came to do the winter engine check and service in the afternoon. But her arrived over an hour early under blue skies, and it only started raining again as he was packing up to leave. But, job done and RCR paid, he left under a new patch of blue.

We're getting through our "spring-cleaning" list pretty well. Grace has sanded, stained and varnished the interior window-frames, which had suffered over the years from repeated wettings from condensation. I've unblocked the drainholes in the brass frames, hopefully reducing the condensation problem. We run a dehumidifier on a low setting overnight at this time of year, and we wake to a pleasantly dry boat. But still the condensation forms on the windows as the day moves on.

We have a washing line under the cratch cover, but it's only useful in warm weather, particularly when we can have the cover open for a draught to blow through. In autumnal and winter weather, the air out there's too cool and damp. In the past, we've used the shower room for drying washed clothing, and stood the dehumidifier in there to speed the job up. But the shower room's rather small! So we've now put a two-strand line up over our bed, standing the dehumidifier on the floor at the foot of the bed, and this works really well, putting some additional heat into the room, too. The line is very quickly put up and taken down. We don't sleep under it!

Having swept the chimney of the Bubble stove, I've now given the stove itself a good cleaning. I ought to do that every month, to stop it coking up. The diesel fuel burns remarkably cleanly, so the floor of the stove only collects small bits of carbon, and the sides and the flue just get a thin dusting of soot. But that's not something you'd want to accumulate. A neighbour who burns a solid fuel was having to chip the deposits off the inside of his flue with a hammer and chisel the other day!

The same neighbour's just related to me a nasty incident he and his wife experienced out on the cut. I didn't quite grasp the finer detail, but the climax of the moment was him getting hit by the branch of a tree and being knocked backwards off the stern. His wife was in the shower, blissfully unaware! He was, fortunately, unhurt, and was able to wade out of the canal and pursue the boat along the bank until she ran aground. It could have been far nastier!

With Emma Jane still out of her berth, Grace and I've had the pleasure of watching birds in the reeds outside our window. In particular, a pair of wrens, and several reed buntings, who feed off the seedy reed flowers.

The warring geese have moved on, taking their conflict elsewhere, and ducks, swans and moorhens have declined in number, too. I wonder where they've gone, and why. Gulls, however, have increased, and can be very noisy just around dawn. Even noisier are the terns, who squabble with the gulls as a matter of principle, it would seem.

In between bouts of busyness, life aboard NB Kantara is quiet and relaxed. We're going back to see the kids on Wednesday, then driving to Torquay to spend a week with Christine and Mike. We've missed having them with us for the past couple of years. Now we're visiting them in their new home.

I'm putting the finishing touches to a new book, which I hope to publish on Kindle before the end of the month. This one's rather different from "Life with our feet under water", though it's still boat-related. A sequel to my first book is also under production, but I have no deadline for that yet. I have to say that "feet" has proven to be far more successful than I ever imagined it would be. But, success or not, I just simply love writing. Sales, I can't deny, are a great bonus! Watch this space.

It's just started raining again! Torrents!

And it only lasted three minutes!


  1. Busy bees, you two! But we know the feeling. We have two boats to maintain as well...gluttons for punishment that we are! I'm very intrigued about the new book...I wish I could get down to some decent writing, but I hope to do that next month.

  2. I really don't know how you cope with two boats, Val, but I think you two must be some very pleasant variety of insane! I'm quite excited about the new book. It sort of planned itself. It's not one for you guys, though. but would-be and novice boaters. Your next book's in there, waiting to escape, chatting to itself, starting to get itself together. Don't stress over time, the book's not going to go away. I'm looking forward to it.