Thursday 15 November 2012

Another day at Etruria

Still at Etruria
Total to date : 118 miles, 80 locks, 20 lift bridges, 7 tunnels, 6 aqueducts

We usually leave the bungs out of the portholes in the bathroom and bedroom on the canal side of the boat.  It's nice to have them open a little for ventilation overnight.  The new mooring is beyond the shrubbery that shields the canal from the buildings beyond and last night we had about a dozen reflections of the light through the porthole all over the bedroom.  On the ceiling the "portholes" had ripples of water running across them.

I got to sleep ok but woke in the night and simply couldn't sleep again.  I got up for an hour or two and when I decided to go back to bed and try sleeping again I closed the bedroom porthole and put the bung in it.  I think all that light and ripples was keeping me awake.

On the subject of narrowboat windows, we've noticed there seems to be 2 separate camps.  There are those who keep the tow path side of the boat closed up so nobody can see in as they walk past.  We've moored behind or in front of a boat that looks totally deserted only to notice later that there's smoke coming from a chimney or somebody climbing out of the cratch.  Then there's the other extreme, like a lady I was chatting to the other day.  "Just come and knock on a window" she said.  "I don't do any of that hiding from the world, my curtains will be open!"

I do understand why many people keep that side of the boat closed.  Some moorings have a lot of people walking past and many don't hesitate to stare into the boat.  We take a bit of a middle road.  I do always keep the dinette window blind - whichever side is facing the towpath - closed most of the time.  I do this more because I don't want to advertise having electronic equipment sitting there - laptop, printer, ipad, camera.  People do often peer in but we just give them a wave.  Maybe we'd feel differently if we knew we'd be living this way for years but at the moment we enjoy a chat and our Aussie window shade is sure to start a conversation.  We've had many a chat through the open side hatch!

A couple of times when it's been very busy on the towpath and we're having breakfast late we might leave it closed.  It can feel like we have no neighbours at all then - you can't see who is behind you because the rear door is steel and if we have washing hanging in the cratch we can't see who is in front either.  You only see the canal and maybe a passing boat.  It's a bit strange then to open the blinds or go outside and find people and boats everywhere.

Mick had a win today. While I worked he went off to the little kitchen workshop he'd seen with a "cutting list" of exactly what size pieces he needs to make the bathroom cabinet.  He figured it might be worth asking them if they could cut it for him as they'd have proper equipment to do it.  Back he came with a neatly wrapped parcel under his arm.  While they were cutting the shelves he'd ducked off to an automatic teller to get more cash out as he only had £10 in his wallet.  They handed him the parcel of shelves and said "a tenner will do!"  So, not only did he avoid having to buy a larger piece than he needed, cut it himself with the very basic tools he has at his disposal right now, and then throw out the scraps, but £10?!  He's very happy!

After lunch we went to do a bigger grocery shop to get us by the next few days as we're planning to move on tomorrow.  We decided we'd try Sainsbury's this time.  Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury's are all very close together here.  We left the boat at 2.30pm and walked towards the shops.  We took our time in the supermarket as Mick was extremely happy that it wasn't busy at all.  Usually he wants to get out of there as fast as possible.  We had a good chat with the young fellow serving at the fish counter, spent a while browsing the cheap DVD's and chose a few movies and hunted down a couple of things I'd still not managed to find.  When we got to the door to go out I thought there must be a huge storm brewing.  It was so dark!  It didn't feel like rain coming.  We looked at the time and it was 4.05pm.  It was a bit of a shock - getting dark already.  I felt so disorientated walking back to the boat.  There were little kids just out of school running around and I kept thinking they should be tucked up at home eating their dinner!  In the depths of Winter at home it would be like this coming up to 5.30pm but here we are mid November and not much after 4pm.  Oh well, we might as well get used to it.

Not much in the way of photos :
1. A poor little pub overtaken by the modern age
2. Bright lights outside our porthole tonight

In the drink to date : Elly - phone charger (retrieved - it floated!), Mick - sunglasses, Mick - hearth brush, Mick - mooring hook (retrieved with sea searcher), Mick - reading glasses

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