With a bit of detective work and some common sense (along with a little speculation), I think that I’ve sussed out what is wrong with the batteries (see Foot Noose and Floating Free). It seems that all three are being used for domestic use instead of only two, and the solar panels are only charging the two that are supposed to be for domestic use, little point in charging the starter battery (dedicated to only be used to start the engine) as it gets charged by the alternator when the engine is running, (it’s a symbiotic thang). That’s the first stage of sorting out this problem, unfortunately the next stage of actually fixing it is way beyond me, in the battery compartment there are just so many wires going hither and thither, many to do with stuff that I have no idea about, that I think it best to leave that to someone who knows. At the moment our “domestic” batteries are charged, so we can start the engine by jumping the starter off of the domestics, or taking the starter out and charging it at a friend’s house. At a push I could drive the car up here and jump start the boat. All good fun.
I proper worked on Tuesday, yeah I know that’s not good English, it felt like proper work when I’d finished. Through illness and various family crises, a boat in the marina has been left without being cleaned for over a year, I was asked by Neil, a friend of the boat owner (who is in the UK), how much I’d charge to clean it. Luckily (because I mostly always undersell myself), he added another 20€ to my quote. So I proper worked and earned more than I used to when working as a chef in Spain, for half the hours. That boat was filthy though, moss had grown between the steps and all over the deck, very slippery, five hours to clean it to perfection working flat-out, I am so glad Neil threw the extra 20 on top! And then, because of my most excellent painting labours on our boat, for the next two weeks I’ll be painting the coach on the Alcyon (the boat-yard boss’s daughter’s), I promise I didn’t undersell myself on on the quote for THIS job…
… Ahem. Actually, on reflection this last may not entirely be true. I am a sucker for people’s bullshit, so when the boss of the boat-yard says that the average wage is about 12€ an hour, I believe them, it is not until I get home and start to think ‘hmm, how on Earth do these people get by with the high cost of living’, that I realise that I may’ve been duped. I quoted 100€ a day to do this job, this is a small fortune for me, but I think that I could probably have done the job for a lot more. I was paid the exorbitant (for me) sum of 80€ to clean that boat, H2O would have charged 450€. To paint the coach of the Alcyon, would be minimum 4000€, I’m figuring 10 days work, so please feel free to call me a numpty. Thankfully, because I have no idea of the price of materials (or the price of labour) I said that all the paint and whatnot would be supplied at their cost.
The last few days have been quite hectic, what with work and, wait for it, a social life, no no really, we’ve actually had to write down where we are going to be making that piece of paper a social-diary?¿! We had “aperitifs” at JP’s on Sunday, we will be mooring outside their house all winter and they wanted to discuss some stuff with us. I wasn’t sure about the etiquette of such a social meeting, I have read in the past that if you are invited to a French person’s house then you need bring nothing with you, we were not really comfortable with that so we took a bottle of wine. “Non non, you shouldn’t have”, but I noticed the bottle was taken and spirited away?¿! Still, the beer was delicious. On Monday we had a photographer come to the Adventurer for photographs (duh) and an interview with us for an upcoming book about people who live on boats, newbies and old-hands alike. The book will be published in Germany but we’ve been promised an English translation that I will be able to post here, in the meantime some of the photos are included within this post. And then on Tuesday we popped around to Christian’s boat for farewell drinks (again), apparently he really is going now which is a bit scary as the fog has already started coming down on the Rhône and we’ve already had blustery days, my thoughts are that he’ll be back, quite soon.
The cats are content, they love being out here and it’ll be a shame when we have to move down to the winter mooring in the next few days (or weeks depending on the batteries ha ha). There will be a bit more activity on the towpath there than here, but the kids are getting very used to it, Felix doesn’t even move now when the canal workers zip by on their scooters, Lara is still unsure of the noise and gets on to the boat whenever they pass. Heidi gets off the boat and explores for a time, but rarely (if ever), sleeps off the boat, I think she knows the shape of things to come and has staked her claim to the bed for the winter. I wouldn’t mind but oh she is so grouchy in the night if you happen to disturb her, she has this amazing trick of making a bed ever so much smaller. Felix loves sleeping under the solar panel and has made the rear door canvas covering into his own personal hammock.
Okay that’s me, I’ll probably not have much to say for the next two weeks, unless I choose to bore you with working on the Alcyon. Best wishes as always and please feel free to leave a comment.