Saturday, May 15, 2021

Hesitation, delay?

We've done the second trip back to house now, and have (we think) everything we need until we go back there in September - the reason for which I will divulge when the time comes.

The current and forecast weather is pretty dismal, and a significant number of keen boaters are still here. If we were already out on the cut, then we'd be happy to moor up and sit it out whenever it rained, but we see little or no point in leaving the marina for that. We'd barely move! At least the temperature has risen. It has been 8° inside the boat in the mornings, now it's twice that. Though that's not good for mid-May, is it?

Our resident swans have hatched two cygnets so far, and continue to sit on the nest. Their normal family is around six, so we're holding out for more to appear soon.

A major annoyance that will no doubt impact negatively on our boating this year is that I have developed a hernia in my groin. It's only small, and gives me no pain, but that's the way I want it to remain until I'm able to have the necessary surgery. I'm very thankful to Neil, the marina manager, for offering his help in doing the heaviest job I'll have to quit - swapping empty gas cylinders for full ones (13kg). 20 litres of diesel would probably be too much for me to carry, too, so I'll buy that by the 10 litres in future.

I'll be having a phone consultation with a doctor, and he/she will almost certainly put me on the path to surgery, but the operations waiting list is pretty long at the moment, so who knows how long it'll be before we can cruise. It's a bit of a downer, but I'm grateful that we have the NHS, and that proper care and treatment are freely available. There are people far more in need than me. I can wait.

Some good news is that Brian Hughes, one of my very favourite bloggers, is back in the blogosphere. Having had to sell the Mouse Boat from which he used to blog about his boating life, he's now producing a vlog that promises to be an amusing and fascinating look at his home county. Have a good look at his brilliant mouse prints while you're there!

"Buyer beware!"

Brian writes,

These days I'm still in Lancashire, albeit as a common landlubber, making short films about the county's rich tapestry of history, folklore and other associated rubbish. If you haven't already, then you might like to join me over at our Lancashire Footnotes page. Go's quiet enough over there. because virtually nobody ever visits, but I've always got some hot buttered crumpets and a pot of coffee ready for visitors.

Just follow the link and give us a wave...

So please do go and have a look. He's good!

Emma Jane's left her mooring to get some work done on her, so we have the light and view from that side of the boat again for a while, albeit a wet and dull view.

Please excuse me now to go and adjust my make-do truss - a bundled pair of socks.


Friday, May 07, 2021

It's all as beautiful as it ever was!

Back from St Albans with the inevitable bulging carful of stuff for life on board Kantara, all of it was offloaded and put away before we collapsed in a heap on the sofa to eat dinner and watch a dreadful film. But who cares about dreadful films, eh? We were back. And it's all as beautiful as it ever was!

There's a long list of things we need to do om Kantara; a couple before we set out on the cut, and the rest to be done en route. Where that route will be, we haven't decided. I'm all for tossing a coin at each junction, and seeing where that takes us.

Changing water filter (in a small cupboard very close to the washing machine - not easy) took three times as long (or was it four?) as it ought, but that made our final success all the more pleasing. The weather today's very good. Several of our friends are now back and planning their journeys. Tomorrow's forecast is for heavy rain, so we'll use the day to collect the last box-load of stuff from the house, then return to paint the cratch board, install the new tunnel-light and horn, and plant a trough of herbs.

Where we go and how we get there I'll be telling you over the coming months.

Monday, May 03, 2021

It's official!

We are now fully engaged in the process of returning to life on Kantara! As reported earlier, we had already made a couple of short visits to make sure the boat was okay, and to bring back from her a number of 'seasonal' things that we won't be needing this side of winter. Then, last Wednesday, we took a load of  things to replace them, but, better than that, we stayed for a couple of days, giving us the opportunity to begin to prepare to cruise. I know it sounds weird, but the sound of the engine revving and ticking over was a thing of great beauty to me. I did all of the fire safety checks - smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers - engine checks, electrical checks. We made the bed, we installed the new seat cushions, I washed the roof. We loved it. 

Regular readers may recognise these scenes from earlier posts, sorry. It was the best I could do on the mooring from which I've taken countless pictures in the last ten years.

I was very surprised to see how few boats had left the marina. Friends who we know to be keen cruisers aren't even in their boats yet. The marina was like a ghost town. Two hours after we arrived I'd only seen three people, and they were in the office. There were no dogs; I heard one bark just once.

We're back in St Albans again now, with a few domestic matters to deal with in the house. We had intended to go back to Yelvertoft today, but decided against joining the post-lockdown hordes on the M1. Tuesday will do just fine.

I've now run out of the boaty photos I've been using to create "paintings" with. I did say that I'd post them here once a month, but that didn't last long. I've been putting them on Facebook, and been bowled over by the complimentary reception they've received. If you're interested, you can find them all - and more - on Flickr now. I hope you enjoy them. I've had a few people ask if I'd treat a photo or two of theirs in the same way, and been happy to do so - free of charge. If that appeals to you, do contact me at nbkantara@gmail,com. 

The weather out there is positively autumnal; wet, windy and chilly. Fingers crossed for a big improvement soon!

Friday, April 16, 2021

No time to read!

I've found it amusing - and, in a way, heart-warming - to find that I have sold no books since the day before lockdown was lifted. Reading is largely an indoor pursuit, isn't it? And now it seems that everyone wants to be out shopping, and eating and drinking with friends, so books are relegated to insignificance. Fair enough. I feel the same.

We've been back to Kantara again since my last post, this time to fit a new water-pump switch and to take more of the things we'll be needing when we live aboard again - and to bring back from the boat stuff that we don't think we'll need. It makes all the difference in a 40x6 foot cabin!

There's no sign in social media that boaters have taken to the waterways in their droves yet. At least, they're not reporting their release from lockdown onto the cut. Perhaps they're out there, and having too much fun to bother. You can be sure that I'll be full of it. I can't wait! Though, of course I'll have to. Grace has finished the seating and cushion covers. She's making curtains for Steve and Karolina's new house are almost done. Then... I'll let you know!

Meantime, if you are looking for something new to read, please check my books here on Kindle Books. They are ebooks that can be read on Kindle Readers, or on any other device with the free Kindle app. They all cost less than a pint, and last much longer! The first three have been Kindle best-sellers, the others are waiting their turn!


Thursday, April 01, 2021

Well, I'm excited!

A big day it was, too! I have little doubt that some of you will think I'm somewhat deranged, but it really was a major occasion when Grace and I drove up yesterday to see Kantara for the first time since November 1st. It was so good to be there again, to see boating friends and share experiences of the past months, and to walk through the boat and find that all was well with her. The thermostatic heater and the dehumidifier had done a good job of keeping the interior free from sub-zero temperatures and dampness. We checked all the systems and found that the domestic water pump switch had stopped working, but it's an easy enough job to fit a new one when we return to live on her again. Everything else was fine.

We had with us a caseful of  just some of the things we'll be needing when we get back to life on board. We brought back a similar bulk of stuff that we will no longer be needing there. The bench cushions for the dinette seats also came with us. Grace is going to re-upholster them and a few cushions from the saloon, complementing the two new curtains and seven blinds she made last year.  As I type, she's removing the doll's house and all of its bits and pieces from the table, to make room for the sewing machine and fabric. Then it'll be frenetic! The doll's house was such a relaxed project. This picture was taken early on. It's much more advanced now, but I have no recent photos.

For some months, I've been posting my pictures on Facebook, in the Isolation Arts Café group. I was chuffed to get a message yesterday from the young man who created it a year or so ago. He had just been approached by St Albans Museum and Gallery who are planning a "St Albans in Lockdown"  exhibition. They want to include include information about the FB group, and also to hang a small selection of  the artwork that's  been posted there throughout the year. And he asked me! He asked Jess (youngest daughter), too, who's been developing her painting skills over the past months and posting the results. It will be a real, physical exhibition that's bound to attract a large number of people. I just hope we're around when it happens! This is the one I've submitted - "Estuary Town".

I'm off now - to find the right switch for the pump. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

It's going to be a big day! (but don't get too excited yet)

It's going to be a big day on Wednesday. We'll be able to spend a day on Kantara. A whole day!! No overnight staying yet. But it's looking good for April 12th. From that date, we can go back to living aboard. How long it'll be after that date that we'll be able to cruise, we don't know, but things are looking up!

Until then... I have nothing to blog. Except...

>> For readers of my book, "Hints and Tips...", there's a new post on the Addendum Blog - "Update to Chapter 6 – Miscellany" <<

…and these additions to my picture gallery.