Thursday, 4 June 2009

Summer residences

I've been of the radar for a couple of weeks now and this is due to apathy on my part. I'm not there any more but am here but Lisa is still there. In fact you'd need a fairly good radar set to find me now as I am in deepest France at my summer residence. This blog was written before we left and I forgot to publish.

Before we left we went all high tech and bought an ipod shuffle. Lisa had to ask the kids how it worked, how to charge it up and load music on to it. But they had her computer set up in no time and she now has itunes installed. Mine was a little more awkward as I had to find an alternative to itunes as I use the Linux operating system and itunes doesn't come in that. But I too, now have everything up and running, downloaded the software, digitized several cds, loaded them onto my hardware, steered the software in the right direction, made up playlists, repositories and categorized everything. Its all now tickity boo (hope Billy Connelly hasn't that phrase copyrighted) and I have been listening to music through it all day. I'm converted to digital music now. We were some of the last people to be converted to cds as I always consider that, as soon as I buy a medium, it will become defunct almost immediately. Like many of my age, I was scarred for life by the 8 track tapes v compact cassette and the Betamax v VHS wars and always bought the wrong one.

But it went wrong, lights flashing and no music so we changed it for a mp3 player. That's just the way it goes.

We came off the Ashby and traveled north to Pickles' summer residence. It took two days with a stopover at Atherstone. The journey was in all weathers and I had my tee shirt on, jumper on, rain coat on, hat on, hat off, and the rest off and all back on again several times every hour.

I do like a bit of wind (that's wind as in blowy thing as opposed to wind as in turney thing) when boating. Most boaters with 57 foot play boats hate it, never mind those with proper sized boats (that means 70' to the uninitiated; ok, I'm just trying to wind (that's wind as in...oh never mind) you up). It introduces an element of the unknown and chaos to steering. You have to concentrate fully and attempt to predict what is about to happen and what effect each change of direction or hedge or tree or building will have on the bow. It is the bow that you have to watch as the stern tends to look after itself as the propulsiony bits are down there. I enjoy crabbing down the cut taking up the entire width and suddenly someone appears around a bend and it's a struggle straightening it just to pass then get into crabbing position again before being blown into the side. Tell me this the next time we meet and I crash into you.

It suits us very well at Alvecote and it's all pretty relaxed here and just far enough away from Lisa's school to be out of the way but still handy. Lisa reckons she'll be quite happy here for the next seven weeks. Nobody has talked to us (bliss) and the people we have dealt with have been great, relaxed and made thing very easy for us continuous cruising, liveaboards and treated us in a way that many other marina operators did not. I even cleared the roof so we look like 'normal', marina dwelling boaters.

There are several sunken boats in the marina which adds a little something to the place. It gives it a bit of character unlike some of the marinas we looked at. So if your're a marina owner and need a bit of character for your property, sink a boat or two. Three's even better. I wonder, would they sell me one of their sunken ex-working boats to restore for a pittance. Probably not.

This mains electrickery is a wonderful thing. There's no thinking about consumption, no watching what we turn on and no rush to switch it all off again. Our boat is geared up for independent travel and we have few electrical gizmos geared towards mains power. We still have to run the engine for thirty minutes a day in order to heat the water and to top up the 12 volt as the battery charger is a alternator to battery charger and not a mains to battery charger (if that makes sense). I don't even have to fire up the generator to wash a load of clothes.

Next blog will be on France and coming soon. With pictures no less. I've seen a couple of narrowboats over here already.

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