“On The Cut”

Writing while the "kids" sleep in the shade.

Writing while the “kids” sleep in the shade.

I think I said somewhere, not long ago on this blog that this boating lark can’t be that difficult, can it? Well, it’s not, we proved that this morning (even though we had the perfect conditions of no wind and no one watching). This morning we had our first solo trip (three kilometres does not make a voyage) up the canal a bit to get away from the noise and dust (and lights) of the boat yard. I was kinda sweating about this little trip, sometimes when I listen to people (hmm) it all sounds so hard to do, and some people make stuff sound so bloody technical and I think “ooh, this sounds difficult, how are we gonna pull this off”?¿! All we had to do was cast off, avoid the two huge widebeams parallel parked in front of us, go up the canal a couple of klicks, turn around, come back a bit and moor up, it sounds easy and for all my worry, it was. This may all sound a little happy clappy-self congratulatory, but we did brilliantly. Vanessa slipped the boat out of her mooring like she’s been doing this stuff for ages, before I’d finished tidying the ropes we were in the centre of the basin and ready for a bit of throttle, nice and easy under the bridge where it gets very narrow and then onwards. I took over for the turn around, I actually can’t think now how that happened, but after a slight false start, I got us facing the other way, my first aquatic three-point turn. Later that afternoon Vanessa was talking to someone who said turning a 12 metre boat around on the canal is quite difficult, I am so glad I didn’t hear that before attempting it, talk like this casts a shadow over what you think you can do and what you can do. Any hoo, we moored up with barely a problem (a huge underground stone stopping me from hammering the stern mooring pin into the ground), and now we are here. It’s cool(er), quieter, and the trees that are shading us have mistletoe growing all over them, which has pleased Vee no end.

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This was also the “kids” first time on the boat under power, I thought they would try to scatter once the engine was started up, but they seemed okay with that, all the outside doors and windows were shut anyway. I don’t know, we had enough on our hands without opening doors to check on the cats, but, there was no loud howling and suicidal attempts to break any windows to escape, and once we had stopped and they were released from the bedroom there was no mad rush and derisive looks of hatred from any of them. (Any one who has or had a cat will understand this last, ooh that is a cold look). We kept them in for a bit and then let them out. The area here is so much better for them, softer ground instead of the hard stone of the boat yard. There is a small dip before a wilderness of reeds which of course Felix and Lara had toIMG_5920 investigate, Vee was a bit worried about this, I wasn’t even sure that they would go in there as the ground is not very solid being dead reeds. Of course once they were in there they did the cry of “oh, where am I, how will I find my way out”, which had Vee beside herself with worry. I swear cats do this on purpose, I can imagine Lara saying “maybe we should go now”, and Felix saying “no, no, give it ten minutes, let’s get them REALLY worried”. They’ve been a bit spooked by the cyclists going by, but other than that all is good in the feline world. As I write this they are all tuckered out in and sleeping in the shade down the side of the boat.

Mistletoe

Mistletoe

We finally got the bill for the work done on the boat the other day, why it took so long I’ll never know, it’s huge, but kinda manageable, we will be tightening our belts a little this winter. There are a couple of things on it that we disagree with, when we were on the hard the borne we were plugged into spazzed out and blew a thingy on our boat, they’re saying that this was our doing and they’re trying to get 280€ from us. The other is…. frankly unbelievable. They are charging us 700€ for several checks that they did to make sure the work they did was up to standard. Mate, I used to work in kitchens, this is like me cooking you a meal, bringing it to your table and eating it to make sure that the is safe and good for you to eat, and then charging you for it. Seriously, what nonsense is this. The trouble is that people with more money than sense, (which the boating world seems to attract), tend not to scrutinise their bill, they simply pay. Maybe if they didn’t pay peanuts they wouldn’t employ monkeys. (I say this because Christian found some pieces to be missing on his boat, and other, vital parts GLUED into place rather than bolted down, wtf). Enough of this, I’m getting irate.

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Happy thoughts. Last night we celebrated our first night on the cut with a barbecue, Christian hauled Tourettes (now called Black Mountain for reasons that will not be explained to us?¿!), (but forever Tourettes to us), through the lock and up to our quiet “corner” of the canal to celebrate with us as apparently he really is going soon. We had a “real” barbee this time, coals and wood on the ground and a grill supported by empty beer cans, yee haw. Christian is brilliant, I cook, he supplies the meat, re-sult! After the cooking was finished we put some extra bits of wood on the fire and chilled, with just enough smoke to keep the mozzies at bay. Out here there is very little light pollution so the stars are magnificent.

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