Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter water and camper van

Winter levels in Drumsna. As we pulled up in the van the ducks and swans came madly swimming. They must miss the summer scraps provided by boaters. The river was running fast and high and looked cold. A recurring fantasy (though that sounds like something I want to do) had me falling in fully clothed.

We stayed in Drumsna for the night in winds that swooped around our roof and shook us in our beds. I had to work at convincing myself the van wouldn't be blown into the river. This is all January stuff I think. The morbid thoughts of too long without sunshine.

We were checking on the boat, poor neglected thing, in Albert Marina. But of course she was perfectly well. Her covers are holding up beautifully, and there are people to keep an eye on her - thank you James, if you read this. A major and excellent effect of the all-over cover is that condensation, and therefore mould, seems to be minimal. Just as well, as the missing duvet was still on board along with the memory-foam mattress toppers, left just in case we went back for a last cruise.

Marinas are empty places at this time of year, as are most of the public harbours. But there's a different feel with the lengthening days to the dark emptiness of November. On board Winter Solstice we were thinking of jobs to do for the season to come. Joe measured up for a new fridge - the old one gave up the ghost on the day before we pulled into Albert Marina last September. Amazingly good timing. A new hob is waiting to be installed too. The old one still worked, but only just. The grill was working half time, one side only functioning, and we use that a lot - gluten-free bread has to be toasted to make it edible.

On Saturday night we went to our friend Rachel's for dinner, on board her boat in Athlone. But first we went to our favourite spot beside the lock. This is where we stop whether in van or boat, walking up to the steep streets of what is optimistically, but also truthfully, called the Left Bank.

The water was over the jetty below the lock.

We're starting to plan the summer cruise. Will it be the Barrow, or along the Royal Canal with Rachel to Dublin and the Tall Ships. Excitement flutters just below the surface.

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