Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Relaxing Week

sailing club sunset
Managed to squeeze in another week living on the boat, before we're moved back closer to the marina, and hoisted out of the water. Don't know when we'll experience such an impressive, breathtaking view again, so we wanted to make the most of it. An oak boat from the bronze age was found when they sank the foundations for the nearby railway bridge, and there are roman forts, Iron age settlements and burial tumulii scattered all around. With the mist on the river at night, it still feels incredibly ancient. The complete silence is the most beautiful thing. It's easy to imagine things will be exactly the same 2000 years in the future (if 'man' doesn't mess things up).

Flow wise, we were lucky. It hadn't rained very much upstream, so the thames was trundling along at a much more sedate pace, than when we last visited. The level had also dropped significantly, and no boats appeared to have floated off anywhere they shouldn't have. The houses built on stilts have escaped flooding this year. We noticed that there's more river traffic now, and a whole bunch of people out rowing, preparing for competitions, from the nearby sailing club. In T-shirts! Rather them than me.

The people in the houses on the other bank seem to think nothing of 'popping out shopping' on their small boats every day. We were very impressed with their boat handling skills, especially at night. I suppose it's safer than venturing out onto the roads, where people drive at 60MPH up each other's backsides. And I guess, they get lots of practice.

We experienced the full range of english weather, while we were there. Sunny one day, snowing the next, and pizzling it down with rain the day after. Sumo found himself a beach, and though it's a very little beach, it made him very happy. Deployed the stretchy lead to stop him swimming off after seagulls. Dogma is on the far bank, top right.

sumo enjoying his mini-beach
We get lots of people walking past and pointing at us. It's the boat, i think, rather than us. I guess it must be unusual for a narrowboat to be moored here for any length of time. Especially with it's stove on, and a dog onboard. We're well pleased with the emissions, though. It can be 'full on' and blazing inside, yet there is barely anything visible coming out of the chimney.

On the next visit, our boat Dogma will be out of the water (on wooden support beams), for three whole weeks. So now the hard work begins. There is lots of grinding, chipping and painting of rusty stuff to be done. Sumo is staying in Dorset, because it will be too much work to hoist him up and down a stepladder several times a day (though the marina staff kindly offered).

It will be strange, being on the boat, and it not moving. We got the 'boat wobbles' in the Co-op the other day, whilst browsing the fruit section. They must have thought we were drunk. Swaying about like a couple of lushes.

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