A Fish out of Water

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This is the Adventurer, yeah she’s not in the water as we are having some work done, a new rudder, adjustment to the drive shaft, replace the cutlass bearings and a few other jobs. There is a whole slew of other stuff the boat yard said we needed doing, (18,000€ worth which was a definite brown trousers moment), but we don’t have the budget, and we’re not totally sure they need doing anyway. For example, they said the sliding (sun) roof needs a couple of thousand euros spent on it, we’ve been here five days now, opening and closing it to our hearts content, plus a huge (huge!) rainstorm, and just the teeniest dribble of water came through, the only problem being that it catches a little on opening and closing, easily sorted by lifting it a tad.

Anyway, blah blah, I am so not using this blog as a soap box, I have had a few inclement thoughts about this boat yard since we said “don’t do any work yet”, but they started anyway holding us over a barrel by saying that parts were broken and they’d have to charge to put them back and blah blah. Yeah, that’s it, just the good/funny stuff on here from here on out?¿!

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Adventurer’s previous owners, P&B kept a file (actually it’s more like a large box), with all the on board equipment’s manuals, instructions, (and terrifyingly, all the invoices for all the equipment and work done, that’s some scary reading). I’m calming down a bit now, but initially, reading through stuff that I have no idea about, I panicked. Apart from a small panel in the bedroom that is the fuse box (kinda), most everything is different. I have no idea what to do if the inverter starts beeping*, and while that makes me sweat more than I care for in polite company, it also makes this brilliant. Let me digress a little, I have no fear of getting old, but sometimes I get uncomfortable with how I react to things (as a 48 year old) that not long ago I’d pass by without batting an eye-lid. It’s at these times that the irresponsible, (and frankly, irritating) 21 year old me stops by and says to quit worrying, what’s the fuss, what ever crops up we’ll deal with when it happens. I wonder about this philosophy, it seems a little care free but I can’t help but feel life was a little easier back then. I will read everything in the box so that I at least have a heads-up if something goes awry, but for the now I’ll try not to get tied up in the what ifs and remember that we are living a dream that we made come true, and as a friend said recently, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

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*Actually I do on these points as we already encountered them at four o’clock this morning, I just didn’t want to think up new problems to be Jumanjied with.

Road Trip

A brief catch up.

We bought a boat, we’ve been looking for the perfect boat for us for nigh on two years, unfortunately locating that “perfect” boat within our budget was proving… ahem, difficult. We really wanted a boat with a steel hull, and preferably a wood burning stove for cooking, a focal point for the cats, and to keep warm (duh). All this with a budget of, well I’m not going to tell you that because you’d laugh your socks off and think we’re insane, (though on that last, hang around for a couple of weeks, you will get another opportunity to think we are off our rockers). Anyway, it weren’t happening and so we started looking at GRP (fibre glass) hulls, oh a whole new world opened up for us, within a few weeks we’d found a beauty, perfect for us and with the added bonus of a washing machine, (hey, don’t snort derisively at that, we’re just about to completely change our lifestyles from landlubbers to living on a riverboat in a different foreign country, give us some luxury). The boat’s name is Adventurer and is located in St-Jean-de-Losne, (pronounced loon, go figure), near to Dijon. Is that a catch-up, well not really but it’ll do for the now, maybe I’ll do some sort of “Lost” thang and introduce some flashbacks later, but with a much better ending I hope.

Leaving our beautiful finca for the last time.

Leaving our beautiful finca for the last time.

From Alhaurin el Grande (Andalucía, Spain) to St-Jean-de-Losne is (according to the Michelin website) 1804kms, they’re wrong by the way, but I’ll get back to this later. We have a 20 year old car, and we’re going to be carrying all that we own, we did some serious down sizing in the previous two weeks, wait what? Two weeks? Yep, we have cats and you cannot move them via a pet-courier company in the high summer, too hot even with air-con, so we had a choice of leaving in September, or run around like lunatics and get downsized and ready to go in (just over) two weeks. We sold everything we could, donated a lot to charity, and left some stuff for our wonderful landlord, Marcus. Even the desktop computer stayed behind, too big, I’m writing this on my trusty Kindle Fire, which I gotta say is a challenge in itself. I should mention that our car, a two door Suzuki hatchback likes to overheat in the hot Spanish weather, so you can imagine, this is not gonna be a barrel of fun. I called this post Road Trip, probably not the best title as road trip’s always bring to mind a nice calm venture, stopping off at various places, listening to some good rock music, (we haven’t got a stereo), and mostly with the peace of mind that you will reach your destination.

Guess who tried to save money by not going on the toll road in Barcelona.

Guess who tried to save money by not going on the toll road in Barcelona.

We did. We had to stop countless times, the idea was to only drive at night to keep the car cool, but after nine hours of driving we’d not even gone 500 kms so that idea had to go out of the window. I think (the trip is a blur now), during the hottest part of the day we were stopping off for a few minutes to cool the engine at #every# road side stop, (every 12 to 20 klicks). It turns out (after the event), that both me and Vanessa had doubts that our little car was going to get us to our destination, I had contingency plans should the car die, mostly they involved running around, flapping my arms and clucking like a chicken, but hey, they never came into effect so all is good.

Of course, we arrived just as the people who are working on our boat closed for their two hour lunch break but, we made it. 1966 kilometres (Vanessa’s birth year), (I really would like to know how we gained 162 klicks on Michelin’s route, you’re not gonna tell me it was pulling into all those truck stops?¿!), 39 hours, (I think I managed to snooze about eight of them), we did save 70 €uros on Michelin’s projected price for the trip though, cool!

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Next time, A Fish Out of Water.