The first few day’s or a week afloat have always been difficult for us. The transition from stable quay-side to rocking and rolling around is difficult. We have been tied up for the best part of a year and a half so our boat-home has edged into the home category. Things get placed anywhere on board with little or no thought to what happens if you unexpectedly roll gunwale to gunwale.
Out on the river there are many ships and craft coming and going. It starts at about 6 am and is busy through the working week. A landing craft can go past and send through a set of waves that create havoc with our disorganised stowage. So we decided to take ashore some of the things we thought essential…. Two surfboards, off-road pushchair, old search light, spare bench cushions, assorted bits and bobs from the engine room.
We also have need for last few items ordered online. While we can get things posted and collected its surprising the things we can’t do without…. Bretton courtesy flag, Cornish flag, Scotland flag, electrical connections, cheap solar regulator (expensive Victron one sent back to Energy Solutions in Kent for repair), head torch….and still this is not enough. I have been here before – afloat and trying so hard to leave the shore but drawn, terribly back for one last desperate trip – to Trago’s. As if all the air waved EU debate is not enough a quick trip to your local racist EU berating store (complete with welcoming, semi nude, anti EU gargoyles!?). It’s like you could just leave and have some fun at sea with dolphins but something inside just has to go back to check it really is as awful as you thought. Trust me – it is. The only fun to be had was with Nick Skeates who accompanied me.
I promised myself I would not write about such things but we haven’t really sailed away yet and I want to give you an idea of what were going through.
In sunshine and a brisk northerly wind we left the safety of the mooring today and headed up river. It has been raining and windy for a few days so we are keen to get moving. The River Lyhner is a lovely spot. We often anchor here as it’s still water, green rolling fields and no one for miles. We have come here to work on the hull and touch up some caulking and give the paint work a fresh coat. I can work from the dingy which is fun but also tricky as when you try to sand the planks…you push yourself away. So you tie yourself securely and adjust as you work your way along. The view is great and with water all around you its a cracking place to work.
Bryher has been a total star this last week. She has sure signs of molar teeth trying to break through. It must be causing her pain but she’s fine apart from some chewing of fingers and dribble. She can stand up unsupported even when the boat is rolling around. When a large ship passes she looks at us quizzically as her home starts its mad rolling. We laugh as we say (and do) hold on so she gets the message without thinking something is wrong. She loves her life jacket and points at it followed by a point up the companion way hatch. We know this means she needs her daily trip ashore.
Bryher has also received her new bed. We have been given a really top quality ‘Sleepyhead’ (dockatot.com) bed to try. This is to give a transition from her lovely boat cot made by Chris Rees (builder of Grayhound, Spirit of Mystery, Bryhers bed and more). She is getting too big for it and wakes as Bryony lowers her in to it as she sleeps. The first impressions are great! She stays asleep as she is placed in it and has slept through the night much better. She snuggles in and seems to be much happier in it. It kind of looks like an inflatable dingy, but made out of high quality breathable cotton. It supports her as the boat moves on the water and we feel much happier with it as a bed. Luckily…she does too.
Bryony is suffering with hay fever. The wind is blowing off the land and bringing with it pollen. She has started editing together some film for the site which will be great. There has been much stowing going on and as usual I can’t seem to find the biscuit supplies. She is looking forward to some time in her new dingy which we launched on Saturday. Its now twice the job though to keep track of what each one is doing alongside. When the mizzen (smaller mast at back of boat) rigging is finished we can hoist it aboard using the mizzen boom.
We are having serious problems with the power supply. Our amazing solar array has been producing more power than we can use on the quay-side but with the regulator fault and now cloudy skies we are struggling to keep up with demand. If the generator was working again we could charge up of the 240v but this too needs some fettling. We may be forced to Mayflower Marina in Plymouth for a quick stop. Here we can charge up and fill our tanks…shower, laundry and recycling…and dash to Lidl’s all for a few pounds. We hit it like a military op and come away refreshed and with how water etc.
After 3 days of hard toil we have the hull seams touched up and a fresh coat of paint on. It looks great again. Thanks to Kit and Gem for a working visit (and whiskey presents). My arms are aching and back is sore and I have red lead dust up my nose but its a job done. The rain came in on Sunday and we had a very windy and wet night. This morning there is much leakage inside as it’s been so hot and the deck has dried out quite a bit. It will dry though but its a hit to the soul that we can ill afford. Better weather ahead though and France beckons!