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We Have Stopped Moving
(written Sunday 27th September 2015)
Nearly four weeks since my last post (check out Facebook pages The Gleda Project and Landgirlafloat for interim updates) and to be honest not a lot has changed. We are still anchored in Alvor. Neil dropped the hook back in August and it has been in the same place ever since. We made a decision about two weeks ago to stay here before going into the marina in Lagos. I think Neil thought that he would get bored and want to move on but it hasn’t happened. He is quite content to stay here. In fact he would probably stay here for the winter but I need the convenience of the marina. I’m not adept at using the tender (dinghy) on my own and have to rely on Neil if I want to go ashore or over to see June on Friendship. At the marina, I will be able to come and go as I like without having to disturb or be reliant on Neil. Also the weather will get cooler and the nights will be longer so the convenience of mains electric will be a benefit. I would say that having hot/cold running showers is an appeal but I went round to Lagos with June and Garry on Friendship the other day and June and I checked out the facilities. The showers, and toilets, have glass doors! Although they are frosted; they are not frosted enough. There was a lady undressing ready to go into the shower and we could see every roll! Additionally, attending to your needs in the loo will be obvious to those who happen to glance that way. Can’t imagine why the designer thought that was a good idea. Bet it was a man. Wish I’d now bought the pretty shower curtain I’d seen from a Loja do Gato Preto (fabulous twiddly bits home shop) but then thought I wouldn’t be needing one in the marina. I’m going to get one now as I’m planning to hang one over the door! I know us outdoor types are not supposed to be worried about showing off our bits, and in fact there have been quite a few on boats around us who clearly aren’t, but I’m not one of them, at least not yet.
The weather has been fantastic. Blue skies, sunshine, light winds. Proper holiday weather. We did have a blip a couple of weeks ago. A day and a half of cloud although temperatures still in high teens, low twenties and then it rained for 10 minutes. Not enough to break the drought. This area hasn’t seen any significant rain since May. Hopefully it will hold off a bit longer as we have visitors in mid October and I’m sure they will appreciate the holiday weather. I have been swimming a good few times now with my yellow noodle to give me confidence that I won’t sink if I get tired. June and I usually swim together. She swims over to me, I eventually get in the water (the hardest part) and then we swim back to Friendship, maybe after a sit down on the sandbank, and then I swim back. I do feel good after a swim and then shower off on deck (with my cossie on still). It is just the getting into the water bit that I find difficult and puts me off wanting to go in. Still, won’t be able to swim in the marina although June is looking into pool options at the local hotel and public swimming baths. I would of liked to of swum today but I was sat on deck ready in my swimsuit and sunglasses clutching my noodle and there was a load of crap in the water. It is a very high tide today and the tide was only just dropping having picked up loads of debris off the shoreline that it has been leaving behind in lower tides. I waited for an nearly an hour then Neil reckoned it wasn’t going to clear so I went and had my shower. Typically, it cleared but as I’d already showered and washed my hair and started cooking dinner, I didn’t go in. June and Neil had a swim though.
It is still an odd feeling to just ‘be’ here without any specific jobs, chores, plan etc. Neil said this morning that we “slept in” as he didn’t wake up till gone 8am. However, how can you ‘sleep in’ if you are not going to be late for anything. I think we are body clocks are just adjusting to our situation and natural rhythms. To be fair, mine has always been an 8.30am natural wake up time even when I had to be up earlier for work, I just had to use an alarm clock to make sure I was up. Neil however used to get up a lot earlier than he does now. Our next challenge will be to make this lifestyle sustainable. How to earn some money in the winter to keep us going next year? Ideas are forming and do not include coming back to work in the UK for the winter. I am coming back to the UK to visit for 3 weeks at the end of November and Neil is staying on board in Lagos. Will be catching up with friends and family and doing some budget Christmas shopping. I also have a long list of things to bring back that are either difficult or expensive to buy here.
What we don’t have, and I am missing, is a proper eating/entertaining space in the deck pod. We can easily fit in 4 people on the bench seat and corner seat but then you are sat in a row; hardly social. Additionally, at meal times Neil eats off his lap and I use a tray table to the side on the bench seat but this means I am always twisted to one side while eating which is not comfortable. We have had a couple of deck parties where we have had up to 14 of us on deck which is the ideal socialising space but not ideal for eating supper when the wind is a bit too cool or the sun is down (also we don’t have a table and chairs so again even on deck have to eat off our laps or to the side). We are going to try and work out a solution while we are in the marina. It will mean some adjustment to the deck pod so may not be achieved this winter. We will probably find that in the winter we will eat down in the saloon again as it will be dark at dinner time but it is likely still to be warm enough to lunch in the pod. We have met loads of different people while here. Different nationalities, backgrounds, ages…. but all essentially doing the same thing. Some have given up a home on shore and the boat is home like us, others are renting out property but with no fixed plan on when they will return. I find their stories fascinating. Two weeks ago we had 14 aboard:- Daniel & Marie – ‘Ginger Lily’ (French), Guido & Nicole – ‘Casa De Liou’ (Italian & Swiss), Jan & Baukjen – ‘J&B’ (Dutch), Indie & Natasha – ‘Pegasus’ (American & Russian), Alan & Bev ‘Clemmy’ – (British), Garry & June ‘Friendship’ (British). Our second get together was with Ian and Jackie (British) ‘Rivalady’, Roger and Pam (American) ‘Deja Vu’ and Garry and June. All of which are in Lagos for the winter.
I’m writing this sat on deck under the awning we had made at the same time of the deck pod enclosures. Again this is something that we need to modify as it would do with being about half a metre wider all round and with some roll up sides. A winter project for me and the Pinnock sewing machine. I had a go at making a winch cover, following a You Tube video, and it turned out not too bad although I only used a test fabric and have yet to make one in Sunbrella (marine) fabric as the final one. Making items such as this could be a small money maker when in the marina although I have discovered a lot of people have sewing machines on board and similar ideas.
I have been to the shopping centre in Portimao twice since my last post. Once both Neil and I went with Garry and June again and I bought some DVD’s from the local ‘Cash Express’ shop. June and I swop around the various series although I couldn’t watch Grey’s Anatomy. Those who know me know I am extremely squeamish and ‘can’t do’ hospital stuff. I’m fine with CSI though and have at the 2nd series of NCIS to get stuck into (not that I’ve seen the first). I don’t watch DVDs everyday but with the nights drawing in I sometimes like to watch a couple of eps before bed. I spend a good part of the day reading my outside books (I have 20 now to go into the book swop at Lagos) and read my Kindle in bed before I go to sleep so I don’t worry about melting my brain with a few DVDs. I would however like to catch up with Downtown Abbey, Outlander, The Great British Bake Off and The Walking Dead when I get back to he UK. This last week June and I went to Portimao with Jackie from Rivalady and Pam from Deja Vu. We seemed to spend half the time trying to sort out the best deal for internet connections. We got deals with MEO (Portuguese provider), as Vodafone have stopped their 15gb for €15 deal. However when I opened my MEO sim up when I got back to the boat but it did not fit in my tablet, hence my trip to Lagos with Garry and June as I went to the MEO store there to sort it out. They gave me the correct size card. I checked it out over lunch time to see if it was working and found that the sim was locked! So headed back to the store for them to unlock it. I waited 20mins to make sure it did unlock before returning. What a palava. Garry and June also had a problem with their connection and ended up having to fork out for a taxi back to Portimao to try and sort out their issue. Lesson learned – check everything OK before leaving the store.
We may find ourselves almost alone come Thursday 1st October. Garry and June are heading into Lagos for the start of the winter package and some of the others will be heading out too. We will be holding on a couple of weeks and go in just before our visitors so we can have more time at the end of the season next year. Saying that, if the weather stays this good we may get our guests to come to Alvor. There is a shop here that makes bespoke coats, jackets, skirts and dresses that I think Nicole will like. Although Im sure with her new sewing machine and sewing skills, she could probably replicate.
Debating whether to get up at 3.00am tomorrow morning to see the total lunar eclipse which we are assured is visible from Europe. It is also coincides with a time when the moon seems larger as it is slightly closer to earth. An experience to add to our others – to watch an eclipse from deck in The Algarve.