Sunday, 4 October 2009

A Winter's Tale (and a surprise visit)

This weekend we have been preparing for the arrival of colder months. The first job was to fit a liner into our new chimney, so that we could burn all the lovely fuel that we have recently acquired: 200kg of Phurnacite as well as lots of wood. The unlined chimney had been leaking tar and dribbling nasty stains on to the newly painted roof. We could have just bought a new one, but it was very simple to get a steel tube from Mackays and bolt it onto the inside of the chimney, with the tube fitted neatly into the hole in the boat itself. Drilling three holes at 60 degree angles was interesting (they had to be at these positions to fit a coolie hat) - we don't have a protractor or compasses, so we used our kitchen clock to mark the positions for drilling the three holes!

Then we decided to get the winter coats out of the welldeck, prompting a sort-out of everything that we store both under there and in the fore-peak locker. This is how much stuff we had stored:

Note R2D2 helmet that James wore to cox last year's Christmas Head (fancy dress rowing race)

Some of it went back in, some was thrown away, and some will be donated to Emmaus. But it is all much neater now, and easier to get at the important things like coal and the generator.

Today, we were happy to receive a semi-surprise visitor. My younger sister (not the one who visited recently but the other one, Esther) called last night to ask if she could come and visit, so this morning she arrived from London. She has just embarked on a degree in Medicine at St Barts and the London, having spent the last two yeas travelling. I had not actually seen her since sometime last year, when she came over from France for her interview. So it was lovely to see her, and show her the boat. Now all the members of my immediate family have visited! She found the tranquility of our location and the boating lifestyle to be a welcome break from the chaos of Freshers week in the centre of London, and now she is close by I hope we will see a lot more of her!

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