25 March 2009

Learning the ropes

Although we’re a few weeks away from leaving our long-term mooring, mentally we are already gone. Some people would argue that I’ve been mentally gone for a while but that’s another story…That’s perhaps why these few days pinned by the wind above Swanley locks have been so interesting, because, while not doing anything that we haven’t done a hundred times before, we are thinking differently. I am in ‘Greygal at large’ mode, looking at things from a liveaboard/continuous cruiser perspective. Now I know that we’re not actually going to be these things for some years to come, but cutting the umbilical chord from a ‘fixed marina berth in perpetuity’ situation has encouraged a quasi full-timing mindset.

For example, now I know why ccers are so organized and attentive: they plan when they’re going to shop or when the shop will come to them; they keep tanks topped up/emptied just in case; they keep a good eye on the weather and take advantage of weather windows; whereas we just sat back and enjoyed the lull in the storm when we should have been moving to tackle the ‘no milk ergo no coffee’ crisis that developed yesterday...and potentially the water one if himself decides to shower with his usual gay abandon.

As it was, because we’re still within reach of our car, that little crisis was soon solved with a shopping trip and a double lug down the towpath, once with shopping, the second time with coal. Who needs to diet when you get all this exercise for nowt? But soon we’ll be travelling/working and the car won’t be in reach; the weather may still be bad; we may still be a day’s cruise from a waterpoint; and the fortnight’s supplies that we brought with us may have been polished off within the week. So we need to get our act together a bit, I reckon. Although work/cruises tend to last only 1-2 weeks, I can envisage longer sojourns, particularly over the summer when things are quieter for us – and of course, there is the new dynamic in play of propelling ourselves around from A to B which may well demand extended stints on board. No hardship, but planning will be to the fore.

Despite the grim weather, we’re thoroughly enjoying our time out. Geoff and Mags on Seyella are still with us, our dogs disgracing themselves as we walked past this afternoon, kicking off at lovely Meg through the window. Susie went straight up to the glass, peered at Meg and let rip with a fusillade of bossy barking. Honestly, she is such a show up! After a close encounter with a dead fox (there’s an equation here: the more minging something is, the greater the attraction) we came back and set about lighting the fire, so we are now all toasty and contemplating dinner.

Earlier this morning, we had a visit from Mike of Dutchy Engineering to discuss a few bits and pieces we want doing to the boat before we leave the area in May. If you’re within an hour’s drive of Nantwich, I can thoroughly recommend Mike for all things boaty – he’s conscientious in his work, his rates are very reasonable and he is professional in his approach eg he actually rings you when you ask him to, which is more than a lot of canal-related traders seem to manage. Also to be mentioned in dispatches today are Snaygill Boats and Lemonroyd Marina, both of whom responded to my request for information about casual moorings.

Last but not least, my thanks to all those people who left comments last time round – it’s great to know that we’re not alone on this journey and that there’ll be a welcome in the hillside when we travel Pennines-wards.


BigJohn said...

Hi both

Looks like it'll be our turn to visit you next week. As we're sure you'll have noticed from our blog, Epiphany is nearly at Market Drayton.
Hope we can arrange to track you down.
John & Fiona

Dogsontour by Greygal said...

It'd be great to see you. Here's hoping paths cross at some stage!

Geoff and Mags said...

Don't worry about Meg, she's been barked at by lots of dogs!
Why didn't you say, we could have sorted you out with some milk and coal. We're usually well provisioned.
You're right, if you have to rely on "shanks's pony" to get the shopping you have to plan ahead a bit.
See you soon